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Michigan Democratic Party LGBT and Allies Caucus Holds Spring Meeting

Plans for Pride, election season well under way

One of the most often derided cliches of political journalism is to say “a lot is at stake in this election” but it is quite literally true this time, especially for LGBTQ+ people. That was also the message of the spring meeting of the Michigan Democratic Party’s LGBT and Allies Caucus spring meeting over Zoom on April 14. 

Michigan’s Democrats have worked to codify protections and foster acceptance of the community since winning control of the Legislature in the 2022 midterms, including passing an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act that adds legal protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination across the state. But America is fracturing along state lines, with Republican state parties passing or introducing 510 anti-LGBTQ+ laws in statehouses around the country just last year, according to the ACLU. Sixteen of those laws were proposed in Michigan. 

“My main priority is advocating for legislation that has been presented, but not necessarily heard just yet, pertaining to strengthening hate crime punishments and more specific definitions because these cases are mostly charged on the federal level,” said Richard Seeger, a gay activist and LGBT and Allies Caucus member from Fraser. He said he's a member because current anti-queer hate crimes “are very difficult to prove.”



It is important to remember that the Mitten State is purple and not blue. The progress the community has made in two years could easily be undone if the backlash against LGBTQ+ rights is strong enough at the ballot box. That’s why Michigan’s LGBT and Allies Caucus will coordinate with Out for Biden-Harris, a program from the president’s reelection strategy designed specifically to engage with voters in the community as he barrels ahead with his rematch against former President Trump. 

“We have a lot to do in this election. But I am confident that if we keep our heads down and work hard, we will be victorious in fighting for our community,” Caucus co-chair Roland Leggett said. 

The caucus will have a major presence during Pride Month, including booths at events like Motor City Pride to provide information about LGBTQ+ candidates, policy issues and networking opportunities. 

Networking is one area that Seeger said the party could work on, especially when it comes to social media, although he did express a wish for more in-person events. Most of the in-person events in the run-up to November are in the planning stage, and updates are available through the events page of the Michigan Democratic Party’s website. Excitement is already building for the Michigan Democratic Party Legacy Dinner, a gathering of party members, politicians and candidates that will start at 5:30 p.m. on June 8 at the Huntington Place (formerly known as Cobo Hall) convention center in Detroit. Tickets are available at mdplegacy.com.

Leggett said that “if cost is an issue” for travel or lodging to attend any event to contact him at [email protected]. Tickets for these events aren’t always used, so it’s always possible that spare ones can be found in some situations. If that doesn’t pan out, there are often volunteer opportunities. If you don’t need such an accommodation but would be interested in financially contributing to making sure less well-off community members can attend, you can either reach out to Leggett or donate to the party at michigandems.com.

Speaking of candidates: the caucus only started endorsing candidates for office during the last couple of election cycles. Future meetings over the next few months will be dedicated to formulating a standardized process for doing just that with the goal of finding the most equitable process possible in formulating questionnaires for candidates and forming an endorsement committee to evaluate responses before offering endorsements. Any currently registered Michigan Democratic Party members will be eligible to vote on the questions. 

“We are opening up the committee to community members. The committee will be a mix of current leadership and community members [who] will vote on endorsements,” Leggett said. 

The caucus’s bylaws are also subject to future change. Leggett expressed the opinion that “the current bylaws give the chair” of the caucus “way too much power.” The process to amend the bylaws is likely to play out over meetings over the course of this summer, which Leggett said he wanted to make as equitable as possible. 



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