BY DAVID RYALS
More than 80 people came together at Affirmations in Ferndale on Nov. 3 for what Rachel Crandall-Crocker called the “greatest night of my life.”
Crandall-Crocker, the executive director and co-founder of Transgender Michigan, celebrated her birthday and the 20th anniversary of the organization she started in 1997 with her wife, Susan Crocker to provide advocacy, support and education while serving to create coalitions in the state of Michigan to unify and empower transgender and gender non-conformist communities.
“Twenty years ago a party like this would have been out of the question. There would have been only a few of us here,” she said. “It is amazing this number of people came out…We created Transgender Michigan to make this possible and it worked! There were a few crossdresser clubs but we were one of the first transgender clubs anywhere.”
In Halloween style, friends and allies enjoyed food, drinks and music provided by local DJ Megan Johnson, a trans woman who owns and manages Five Star Entertainment.
When asked what members of the community can do to keep supporting TGMI, Crandall-Crocker said, “One thing we could always use is money. And they could donate on our website at transgendermichigan.org. I want to say a lot of people don’t think they have what it takes to be an activist. I have multiple disabilities and I’m an international activist. And if I can do it, anyone can. You don’t even have to be fluent. I’m not fluent….”
While speaking to attendees Crandall Crocker recalled the time when she first proposed the idea of the organization.
“People said we wouldn’t last one week, but now look at us,” she said. “With all of you continuing to fight for the transgender community we will have another 20 years of activism ahead of us. Remember, anyone can be an activist and do the right thing.”
Find out more about how to support TGMI online at http://www.transgendermichigan.org/ or call 800-842-2954.
BY DAVID RYALS