Jackson LGBTQ Liaison Julia Josling Outlines Goals for 2019

Jason A. Michael
By | 2019-01-30T14:47:16-04:00 January 30th, 2019|Michigan, News|

Last June, Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies appointed local activist Julia Josling to the volunteer position of LGBTQ liaison to the mayor’s office. Now, after seven months on the job, Josling chatted with BTL to reflect on her new position and her plans for the future.
“I took on the role of the LGBTQ liaison because I felt a responsibility as a transgender individual to advocate for the LGBTQ community,” Josling said. “I am a social worker, so advocacy has always been an important aspect of my life. I have personally faced discrimination and know what that feels like. I know LGBTQ individuals who have forgone accessing needed services or have not had their voices heard simply because of who they are, or who they love. When presented with an opportunity to advocate for the LGBTQ community, I could not decline because I believe everyone should have a voice as well as a seat at the table.”
Josling was an obvious choice for the LGBTQ liaison position having worked in Jackson on progressive causes for the past several years. Currently serving as the president of PFLAG Jackson, Josling also worked with Jackson Together in 2017, which successfully helped to pass the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
“It was through these efforts I became involved in city government and gained an understanding of why change on the local level is so important,” Josling said. “I also sit as a commissioner on our City’s Human Relations Commission and stay involved with efforts to bring the community together.
Josling’s full-time job is as a social worker for the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Walden University and is a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and the National Association of Social Workers.
Now, as LGBTQ liaison, Josling said she has two main areas of focus.
“The first is creating stronger relationships between the LGBTQ community and the City of Jackson,” she said. “This has already been moving forward prior to my coming on as the LGBTQ liaison. There have been growing numbers of LGBTQ members and support organizations within the city as we continue to work toward building a longstanding reputation of Jackson being a welcoming and inclusive town.
“The second area of focus is to increase the amount of LGBTQ inclusive resources within the City of Jackson,” Josling continued. “This includes medical and mental health professionals. The Jackson Pride Center, a local non-profit organization, has been doing remarkable work with identifying these types of resources currently in the Jackson community. Something as simple as visiting the doctor can be difficult for an LGBTQ person if they feel they are not safe or welcome. It is important to examine how to increase both the amount and visibility of inclusive services in the city.”
Future goals, Josling said, include continuing to identify ways of strengthening relationships between the LGBTQ community and the City of Jackson.
“Ideally, we would like to have a longstanding reputation of Jackson being a welcoming and inclusive community,” she said. “This helps promote both social and economic growth in our city. We want to attract new businesses and talented individuals to help steer our city into future generations, and one of the best ways we do this is is by sending the message that everyone is welcome here.”
So far, Dobies said he is pleased with the job that Josling has been doing.
“Julia is surely a trailblazer for our city,” he said. “With her continued leadership, the LGBTQ community has someone as city hall that understands their concerns and can act on their needs. She’s working to help Jackson become a leader in building a more tolerant, inclusive city. I’m proud to work with her to create a more welcoming city for LGBTQ families to call home.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.