Lame-Duck Power Struggle

By | 2018-12-12T23:01:41+00:00 December 12th, 2018|Michigan, News, Uncategorized|

Called the lame-duck session, it's the period in politics post an election but before newly elected officials can take office, and in the Michigan Legislature it's scheduled to last through Dec. 20. Currently, the Republican [...]

From Struggle to Success

By | 2018-12-12T22:53:57+00:00 December 12th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Melinda Phelps did not initially set out to be a certified public accountant. Born and raised in Detroit, and a product of Michigan colleges, Phelps first started out as a stockbroker. But as a proud [...]

Together We Can

By | 2018-12-14T11:24:33+00:00 December 12th, 2018|Michigan, News|

BTL Photo: Andrew Cohen “It’s a self-portrait,” said artist Michael Gute, describing "Detroit Figure," one of his paintings featured in the Together We Can Exhibition, whose purpose is to bring awareness to the [...]

Gay, Trans and Disabled

By | 2018-12-05T16:45:35+00:00 December 5th, 2018|Michigan, News|

“Some people only choose to be equitable because the law of the land will punish them for deviating from that behavior,” said Brumalis. “If trans people lose protections, there will be a surge in assaults, unemployment and homelessness because there won’t be anything to shield and protect us from bigotry.”

BTL to Host Final Farewell Party for Common Language Bookstore Dec. 15

By | 2018-12-10T09:13:47+00:00 December 5th, 2018|Ann Arbor, Michigan, News|

After 27 years as a beacon for those in Ann Arbor's and Southeast Michigan's LGBTQ community, Common Language Bookstore will be forced to close its doors one final time at the end of 2018. According to husbands and co-owners Keith Orr and Martin Contreras, this comes after years of market pressures that have made running the store unsustainable.

Equality Michigan Announces Leadership Changes

By | 2018-12-05T16:48:14+00:00 December 5th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Equality Michigan has announced that Executive Director Stephanie White will be leaving her position effective Jan. 9, 2019. The organization's boards unanimously decided not to renew her contract. This decision, according to a press release, was made as a result of EQMI's efforts to retool for 2019 and years to come.

LGBT Detroit Hosts Holiday in December

By | 2018-12-05T15:33:27+00:00 December 5th, 2018|Michigan, News|

LGBT Detroit invites supporters of their services to celebrate the holiday season together with their 16th annual Holiday in December benefit. The benefit, happening on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. that includes gifts and raffles, will support LGBT programs and services.

WSU June Panel on LGBTQ History Available On YouTube

By | 2018-12-05T15:31:49+00:00 December 5th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Last June, in honor of Wayne State University's 150 years in existence, the Wayne State University Library System's Reuther Library invited its student body and the local community to take part in exploring the school's history and "evolving relationship with LGBTQ students, staff and faculty." Though the actual event happened during a pride month panel already, the event is now up for viewing on YouTube.

The Mary Kay Foundation Awards First Step $20K Grant

By | 2018-11-28T16:34:49+00:00 November 28th, 2018|Michigan, News|

PLYMOUTH – In support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Mary Kay Foundation announced in November that it is awarding $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across the country. First Step has received a $20,000 unrestricted grant to support local survivors of domestic violence in southeastern Michigan. This year’s grant contribution brings the Foundation’s total investment in its shelter grant program to $50 million.

All Means All

By | 2018-11-21T10:52:17+00:00 November 21st, 2018|Michigan, News|

Two years ago, after the Michigan State Board of Education approved a set of policy recommendations for the support and inclusion of LGBTQ students, the father of a child attending Dexter’s Cornerstone Elementary School scheduled a meeting with principal Craig McCalla. He took issue with the school's bathroom policy: allowing students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

2018 Michigan Midterm LGBTQ Analysis: State Supreme Court

By | 2018-11-14T16:18:33+00:00 November 14th, 2018|Election 2018, Michigan, News|

The current makeup of the seven-member court is five Republicans and two Democrats. Two Republicans were up for re-election Tuesday: Kurtis Wilder, who was appointed to the Court in 2017 by Gov. Rick Snyder; and Elizabeth Clement, who was also appointed in 2017 by Snyder. Wilder lost his seat to Democrat Megan Cavanagh. The other Democrat in the running, Samuel Bagenstos, came in third place while candidates from the third parties of Libertarians and Natural law came in fifth and sixth respectively.

San Francisco Opera cancels David Daniels’ Performance Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

By | 2018-11-16T13:08:21+00:00 November 14th, 2018|Michigan, News|

In a press release posted on their website Nov. 8, the San Francisco Opera announced it was removing University of Michigan professor and countertenor David Daniels from the role of Medoro in Handel’s "Orlando." Initially planning to present the opera next summer, the announcement comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed last month against Daniels in which it is alleged that he sexually assaulted one of his students.

Common Language Bookstore to Close

By | 2018-11-14T16:06:51+00:00 November 14th, 2018|Michigan, News|

They held out as long as they could. Keith Orr and Martin Contreras, owners of Common Language Bookstore in Ann Arbor, recently announced that they plan to close their feminist, LGBTQ store at the end of the year. The announcement comes after years of dwindling sales that they attribute at least in part to internet sales and the rise of online giant Amazon.com

Detroit Barbershop Helps Patrons Express The Bearded Lady Within

By | 2018-11-07T16:50:48+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Michigan, News|

One look at The Bearded Lady's waiting room - a bright, cheery space complete with a beer fridge, coffee maker, bookshelf, standing lamp and a backdrop of family photos - and visitors might think they missed the barbershop and stumbled across someone’s living room. Ash Hipps is the shop's owner. She said that's exactly how customers are supposed to feel because comfort for all is the shop's priority.

Creating Change Co-Chair Q&A: Bridie Johnson

By | 2018-11-07T16:45:07+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Creating Change is an annual LGBTQ conference put on by the National LGBTQ Task Force. Hosting hundreds of workshops, caucus sessions, keynote speakers and more, the more than 30-year-old event tours across the U.S., every year choosing a city in which to showcase the LGBTQ community's local and national community. This year, Creating Change 2019 is coming to Detroit in January. In advance of the event, BTL has reached out to interview four local co-chairs who are involved in putting on this Detroit-specific event. This interview is part of that series.

Affirmations Hosts ‘Transgender and Thriving’ Workshop via MCC-D

By | 2018-11-07T16:43:16+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis is known by many in the LGBTQ community for his book that explores the relationship of the transgender community to religion: "Transgender: Theology, Ministry and Communities of Faith." The 2003 work has helped give Tanis, who is not only transgender himself but also the managing director for the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies at the Pacific School of Religion, a unique outlook on the topic.

Measuring Outcomes for Boys and Men of Color

By | 2018-11-07T16:40:40+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Michigan, News|

DETROIT – Five Southeast Michigan organizations that serve boys and men of color received support to evaluate their impact thanks to funding made available through the Community Foundation and the national capacity-building program called Research, [...]

Standing Up To Trump

By | 2018-10-31T16:00:24+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

The rally was called We Will Not Be Erased and the message was clear: no matter what he tries to do, Donald Trump cannot redefine the transgender community out of existence. The rally, which drew a crowd of about 120 to the Ruth Ellis Center parking lot Friday, was organized after The New York Times reported on a leaked memo from the Trump administration that revealed its desire to define gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”

Aimee Stephens to Be Honored at ACLU Annual Dinner

By | 2018-10-31T15:45:17+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

Although her legal battle began in 2013, Aimee Stephens is still fighting for the right not to be fired simply for being transgender. A former employee of R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, she announced to her team members that she would be transitioning from male to female and lost her job as a result. Now, even though the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the funeral home's actions are a form of sex discrimination, Stephens stands at the brink of a review by the Supreme Court of the United States — potentially reversing the ruling in her favor. Despite this reality, the ACLU has chosen to recognize Stephens for her landmark case at their Nov. 9 Annual Dinner, among four other honorees.

Michigan Outscores National Average in HRC Municipal Equality Index

By | 2018-10-31T15:42:49+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

Last month the Human Rights Campaign recognized Michigan as high above the national average in its annual Municipal Equality Index. The state earned 73 out of 100 possible points — 15 points higher than the national average of 58. HRC is a national LGBTQ activism organization and releases its Index in an effort to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the LGBTQ-inclusiveness of laws, policies, benefits and services across 506 U.S. cities. These cities are chosen in an effort to fairly represent some of the largest communities of LGBTQ people across the nation.

Nov. 6 Opportunity to Amplify Voices of Trans, Gender Non-Conforming People

By | 2018-11-01T15:14:39+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

With the midterm elections coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 6, millions of LGBTQ people are preparing to cast their ballots for politicians who are prepared to fight for their rights. However, for some who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming, it's not as easy as showing up to the polls. For instance, members of those populations might be at risk of special scrutiny, harassment and discrimination at the polls in the form of misgendering and being called by their dead names. This reality can create a fear of voting beyond the already many barriers that trans and gender non-conforming voters currently face.

SAGE Table Comes to Detroit

By | 2018-10-31T15:34:11+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

Its aim is to promote intergenerational conversation over a nice meal. For the second year in a row, SAGE Table, sponsored by SAGE — an organization that provides advocacy and services for LGBTQ older adults — will bring together the old, the young and those inbetween as part of a nationwide initiative. Last year, there were 232 SAGE Tables across 40 states involving more than 3,000 participants.