If you attended the Motor City Pride parade over the weekend, you no doubt noticed that not only did Gov. Gretchen Whitmer participate, but she also was wearing a very special jacket. On the back of a black leather jacket the word “We” is written in large white letters. Overlaid are the words: “They/Them, She/Her, He/Him,” each word a different color of the rainbow.
Needless to say, this left some people wondering where the jacket came from. Turns out the jacket is a one-of -a-kind piece designed by Julia Pickett, Whitmer’s senior photographer/videographer.
“The governor and I were brainstorming ideas for Pride and the idea for the jacket was born from that conversation,” Pickett tells Pride Source via email. “We wanted to make sure that the governor had something to wear that she was comfortable and confident in and that showed her strong support for the LGBTQ+ community.”
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The jacket came from Gov. Whitmer’s own personal wardrobe. Pickett modified the jacket by designing the artwork and painting it directly onto the leather. “It took me a couple of days to figure out what I wanted the message to be,” she says. “Once I had the concept down, I played around with the design and fonts on the computer before finally painting on the jacket.”
Gov. Whitmer did not see the design beforehand.
“I kept the design a surprise until the day of Motor City Pride, and it turned out exactly how we had both hoped,” Pickett says. “She loved it!”
Pickett is very proud of the way the jacket turned out.
“Both as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and as a member of her staff, it meant the world to me to see her wear the jacket,” she says. “I’ve worked in the governor’s office for over two years now and have seen firsthand the impact her actions have had on our community.”
Pickett says having an ally in the governor’s office is important for all of Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community and that having a boss who trusted her to design the jacket for her Motor City Pride appearance is “so amazing.”
She added that the response so far to the jacket has been “incredible.” “It shows how strong and widespread Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community and our allies are,” she says.