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Rachel Crandall Crocker said she feels “wonderful” about this year’s Transgender Pride in the Park. The largest gathering of transgender and gender non-conforming people and their allies in Michigan happens on Aug. 12 from 12-6 p.m. at Donald Red Geary Park in Ferndale.
“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years,” said Crandall Crocker, the executive director and co-founder of Transgender Michigan. She started the organization in 1997 with her wife, Susan Crocker, to provide advocacy, support and education while serving to create coalitions in the state of Michigan to unify and empower transgender and gender non-conformist communities.
Her expression, “Wow,” speaks volumes when asked how things have changed in two decades. Without minimizing the Trump administration’s recent attacks against the transgender community, Crandall Crocker said she is proud of what TGMI has accomplished.
“Things were a lot different 20 years ago. Almost nobody heard the word transgender. Nobody had ever met any of us,” she said, noting that’s why one of the issues the organization focuses on most is education. “I mean, originally we had to ask people if we could educate them. Now, people request the education.”
Crandall Crocker said this is why TGMI started chapters as far reaching as Sault Ste. Marie so transgender people and their friends and families could connect with one another. As of today, there are 14 regional chapters and seven special interest groups including ally outreach, FtM (female to male), older adults, prison outreach, spirit and faith outreach, outreach for transgender people with disabilities and youth.