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Meet 10 LGBTQ+ Candidates Running for Office in Michigan

Openly queer trailblazers ready to serve and represent 

Sarah Bricker Hunt

The old adage “representation matters” may not be more important anywhere than it is in government. People elected to state, local and federal positions hold a great deal of power when it comes to championing causes like anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and ensuring equal and fair access to resources we all share. That’s why people like Roland Leggett, chair of the LGBT and Allies Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party, work tirelessly to populate what he calls a “pipeline” of qualified candidates to elected roles big and small.

“It’s not just about making sure people vote — it’s about making sure people take action,” he tells Pride Source. The Caucus works alongside organizations like the Unity Fund, a Michigan-based PAC focusing on assisting LGBTQ+ candidates for legislative, executive and judicial offices in Michigan and the similarly focused LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, which spotlights LGBTQ+ candidates across the country. 

These are 10 of the dozens of openly LGBTQ+ candidates running for offices at every level of government across Michigan, including statewide offices and roles serving select localities. Kick off your local candidate research at Vote411.org.

Alyshia Dyer, Washtenaw County Sheriff

Alyshia Dyer served as a road patrol deputy and marine deputy for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office for nearly a decade before embarking on a career as a therapist and social worker. Endorsed by LPAC, an organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary candidates to public office, Dyer would become the first Democratic woman elected to a sheriff role in the history of Michigan.  "As sheriff, I will rewrite jail policies that impact our LGBTQ+ community in collaboration with our LGBTQ+ community, including policies that have placed incarcerated trans people at increased risk of not receiving gender-affirming care and of being placed in solitary confinement," Dyer tells Pride Source. "I will bring the Washtenaw County Jail into compliance with best practices laid out by the National Center for Transgender Equality. This will include adhering to federal standards requiring the use of a person's lived name and pronouns, which is not currently mandated by the administration's policy. As a pansexual candidate running for a seat that has always been held by men, I deeply believe it's time for change and we deserve a sheriff's office that will be accountable, transparent and forward-thinking."



Travis Radina, Ann Arbor City Council (Ward 3)

Travis Radina has served as an Ann Arbor City Council Member since 2020, when he was elected on a platform of improving the lives of his neighbors and the community he loves. Prior to serving on city council, Travis served as Ann Arbor’s LGBTQ Liasion to the Mayor and as President of the acclaimed Jim Toy Community Center, the non-profit that oversees Ann Arbor Pride and provides support to local LGBTQ+ community members in myriad ways.

Katie Scott, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (District 9)

Katie Scott was the first out lesbian elected to the Washtenaw County Commission in 2018. Since then, this ICU nurse, mother, labor activist and community leader has been working to advance LGBTQ+ rights, workplace democracy, public health issues and tackling issues like housing and food insecurity. Scott’s campaign platform focuses on a belief that county government should act as a safety net when it comes to providing health and human services — topics close to the heart of this veteran medical professional and community advocate. 

Kerene Moore, Judge (District 15 — Ann Arbor)

A social justice attorney with over 15 years of legal and public service experience, Kerene Moore is the current director of conviction integrity at the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office and has served as a juvenile referee and judicial attorney in the county’s circuit court. Prior to these roles, Moore provided free representation to over 1,000 under-resourced clients and founded Outreach, a pro bono LGBTQ+ advocacy project with University of Michigan Law School students. Moore has also served on committees and boards of organizations like the Jim Toy Community Center, Equality Michigan, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission. 

Domonique Clemons, Genesee County Clerk

Elected as the first out LGBTQ+ county clerk in the history of the state in 2022, Domonique Clemons is running for reelection to a role that has him overseeing the maintenance, upkeep and issuance of Genesee County’s vital, legal and property records. The position also plays a pivotal role in protecting our democracy — Clemons serves as the Chief Election Official for the country. A Flint native, Clemons has also served as Genesee County Commissioner and Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners, where he championed projects like the creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission and the equitable distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds. He also worked to fund several programs and projects, including the largest blight elimination plan in Genesee County history and the Redevelopment of Buick City, all while passing a balanced budget.

Leslie Blackburn, Lodi Township Board of Trustees

If elected, Leslie Blackburn would be one of the first out LGBTQ+ people to serve on the board of trustees for Lodi Township in Washtenaw County southwest of Ann Arbor. Blackburn has a corporate background in engineering and management, where they earned skills they will bring to the table as a township trustee. A spiritual awakening after the birth of their daughter led Blackburn away from corporate life to become a teacher, artist, healer and guide focused on personal empowerment and spiritual growth. Blackburn’s platform focuses on issues like environmentalism, systemic oppression and a commitment to dismantling racism through community care. Blackburn advocates for what they call the Four Foundations: repairing relationships with our bodies, community, ancestors and nature.

Emily Dievendorf, Michigan House of Representatives (District 77)


When Emily Dievendorf was elected to office in 2022, they became the first out nonbinary person elected to the state legislature. Dievendorf is also openly bisexual. Prior to serving as a state rep, Dievendorf spent years working in public service and advocacy, including as executive director for Equality Michigan. While in office, Dievendorf has championed several impactful pro-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation, including the amendment to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act that codified LGBTQ+ discrimination protections, laws that would knock down the state’s long-standing sodomy law and “gay panic” defense, and measures aimed at easing the legal name change process and have added legal protections for LGBTQ+ families. 

Laurie Pohutsky, Michigan House of Representatives (District 17)

In 2018, Laurie Pohutsky became the first openly queer female legislator ever elected to the Michigan state house and the first to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore. Pohutsky has been a steadfast advocate for LGBTQ+ Michiganders, becoming an outspoken voice on the importance of amending Elliott-Larsen and sponsoring and co-sponsoring a long list of pro-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation, including LGBTQ+ family protections, and working to ongoing efforts to rid the state of outdated sodomy and “gay panic” defense laws and many others. "I’m running for re-election because despite all of the incredible work we’ve done to advance LGBTQ+ rights and causes this term, there’s so much more work to be done and I want to make sure that not only does the work continue, but we can grow our majority to ensure our rights aren’t stripped away," Pohustsky tells Pride Source.

Jason Hoskins, Michigan House of Representatives (District 18)


Jason Hoskins, Michigan’s first Black, openly LGBTQ+ state legislator, took office in 2022, where he immediately tackled pro-LGBTQ+ causes including the Elliott-Larsen amendment and a host of other bills aimed at improving the lives of the Michigan LGBTQ+ community. Before serving in the Michigan House, Hoskins, who holds a law degree, worked for years in public service supporting state legislators and as a member of the Southfield City Council. Before winning his race in 2022, Hoskins told Pride Source, “When you're talking about banning critical race theory, and you're potentially thinking about bringing up ‘Don’t say gay’ bills, I think it is very important to have people of color speaking out and queer people of color speaking out. And so that is a responsibility that I know I'll have if I'm elected, but it's certainly a responsibility I'm willing to take on because it's needed.” 

Jason Morgan, Michigan House of Representatives (District 23)

In addition to making history as one of Michigan’s only openly gay elected officials, Jason Morgan is likely the first person elected to the legislature with a muscular dystrophy diagnosis. Morgan told Pride Source in 2022 ahead of his election win, “I felt like I needed to talk about my disability in a way that was not a story that would make people feel bad for me by any means — because I am so, so fortunate to be where I am in my life — but to use it and to share it as a story of hope, of overcoming pretty big obstacles to achieve your dreams because that's how it has been for me.” Prior to his election in 2022, Morgan served as a union educator and as the first openly LGBTQ+ Washtenaw County Commissioner. Despite his young age (Morgan is 35), the candidate boasts a long list of accomplishments, including working alongside Congress Members John Dingell, Debbie Dingell, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens as well as Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

Other candidates running for reelection include Mike McFall (Michigan District 14), Noah Arbit (Michigan District 20) and Brendan Johnson (Oakland County Board of Commissioners). Many other queer and ally candidates are running for offices in Michigan. Find Equality Michigan's list of endorsements at
bit.ly/4e5fEo4 and keep up with BTL for election news through Nov. 5.



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