Skip to main content

Governor Whitmer Establishes First-Ever Statewide LGTBQ+ Commission


June 11, 2023 



Governor Whitmer Establishes First-Ever Statewide LGTBQ+ Commission

Months after expanding Elliott-Larsen, Governor continues taking action to fight for the LGBTQ+ community


DETROIT, Mich. – Today, at the Motor City Pride parade, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order establishing Michigan’s LGBTQ+ Commission. The commission will address issues facing Michigan’s LGTBQ+ community, including health, safety, and economic opportunity, with the goal of making the state a place where anyone can build a bright future. 


“As we celebrate Pride, we must continue taking action to ensure that everyone has the freedom to be who they are in Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “That’s why I am establishing the LGBTQ+ Commission to focus on health, safety, economic opportunity, and talent retention for the LGBTQ+ community. This issue is personal for me, and I will fight like hell to bring more diverse voices into the decision-making process so we can build a brighter future for every Michigander. While other states are engaged in the business of bigotry, Michigan is standing up for the LGBTQ+ community.”


“During Pride month and throughout the year, we must work together to make Michigan a welcoming beacon of opportunity where everyone can succeed and be themselves, no matter who they are,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “This first-ever statewide LGBTQ+ Commission will work to end discrimination and inequality against LGBTQ+ Michiganders and attract members of the LGBTQ+ community to Michigan by ensuring our state is a safe place for everyone to thrive. Our vision for Michigan is expansive enough for everyone, and Governor Whitmer and I will continue using every tool in our toolbox to build a Michigan where everyone can envision a bright future for themselves.”


LGBTQ+ Commission

The LGBTQ+ Commission will advise the governor and the director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity on policy matters impacting Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community and its members, including eradicating and preventing discrimination against the community and its members and addressing other forms of inequality. The Commission will look at ways of improving and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community and promoting LGBTQ+ culture, history, and economic contributions to Michigan through coordinated efforts and advocacy across state government. Additionally, the Commission will look at ways to attract potential future residents from the LGBTQ+ community by ensuring that Michigan is a safe place where its members and their families can thrive. The governor will appoint individuals that represent the interests of a diverse range of communities and perspectives.


"This is what recognition feels like, and this is what representative government looks and acts like. After years of state leaders ignoring LGBTQ+ pride, suppressing our rights and policy needs, and raining on our parades, the rainbows are out and shining bright in Michigan now," said Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield). "From finally achieving a decades-long fight of securing basic rights for LGBTQ+ residents, to formally and emphatically recognizing and embracing Pride Month, to establishing this new commission that gives us not just a seat at the table—but our own table—in state government, our policies are at last becoming as vibrant as our people. This commission will enable LGBTQ+ Michiganders to raise concerns, share ideas, and establish goals to continue making Michigan a welcoming state for all residents, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."


“LGBTQ+ Michiganders face unique obstacles, from health disparities to harassment, and I applaud Governor Whitmer for acknowledging that and addressing it with this commission," said Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia).


“The establishment of an LGBTQ+ Commission signifies a major milestone in advancing LGBTQ+ rights and ensuring that the voices of our community are heard at the highest levels of government,” said Representative Jason Hoskins (D-Southfield). “This bold initiative demonstrates Michigan's dedication to cultivating a more inclusive and welcoming state, where every individual can live authentically and without fear of discrimination.”


"This year is historic as our Democratic trifecta and the largest LGBTQ+ caucus in Michigan history are in charge and ushering in real progress,” said Representative Emily Dievendorf (D-Lansing). “I continue to be grateful and unsurprised by Governor Whitmer's commitment to achieving equality. I support the Governor's commission and look forward to continuing the good work."


“I am excited by the opportunity for Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community to have a dedicated space to advise the Executive Branch on policies, programs, and projects that will most benefit LGBTQ+ Michiganders from West Bloomfield to Wyoming and beyond, said Representative Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield. “Governor Whitmer’s initiative to form the commission is consistent with her record as the most pro-equality governor in Michigan history, and I am so grateful for her leadership.”


“This year, Michigan has become the most pro-LGBTQ+ it has ever been,” said Representative Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor). Establishing the LGBTQ+ Commission is a huge accomplishment in our state. This commission will advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ Michiganders. I’m so proud to celebrate with the most LGBTQ+ friendly Governor we’ve ever had and to make clear to all, that we love you!”


"The governor’s executive order creating the LGBTQ+ Commission is a win for economic development,” said Representative Mike McFall (D-Hazel Park). “Inclusivity ignites innovation, and Michigan's success hinges on attracting, embracing, and empowering the best and the brightest talent." 


“It is inspiring to see public recognition and support from Michigan’s leaders and elected officials on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community through the creation of a statewide LGBTQ+ Commission, particularly at a time when our community continues to face a record-breaking wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric across our country,” said Gwen Stembridge (she/her), Advocacy Campaign Manager for The Trevor Project. “Michigan’s statewide LGBTQ+ Commission will play a critical role in ensuring state policies are inclusive and address the unique needs of all LGBTQ+ Michiganders — like legislation that was recently signed codifying LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections into law and a bill currently being considered that would ban the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.” 


“Gretchen Whitmer has been and continues to be a champion for LGBTQ+ Michiganders. From her first days in office when she prohibited the use of state funds for so-called “conversion therapy” to signing into law a bipartisan amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act earlier this year, the Governor has relentlessly led Michigan toward progress,” said Kelley Robinson, President, Human Rights Campaign. “This commission is just another example of her and our elected officials’ commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.”


“Today, Equality Michigan applauds Governor Gretchen Whitmer for establishing an LGBTQ+ Commission. Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has taken repeated action to protect Michigan's LGBTQ+ community,” said Erin Knott, Executive Director, Equality Michigan. “In addition to issuing a proclamation marking June as Pride Month, Whitmer was the first governor in Michigan to fly the Pride Flag. From protecting minors from conversion therapy to strengthening protections against discrimination in state employment through executive actions, as well as signing Senate Bill 4 reaffirming civil rights protections for sexual orientation and expanding coverage to include gender identity, Governor Whitmer has proven herself to be a staunch ally and fierce protector of LGBTQ+ Michiganders."


Read the executive order here.


Governor Whitmer’s Actions to Protect the LGBTQ+ Community

Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has taken action to protect and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. 

  • In January 2019, signed an executive directive to strengthen protections against discrimination in state employment, including for gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. This directive extended those protections to the employees of anyone doing business with the state too. 
  • In February 2019, called for an expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. 
  • In June 2019, became the first governor in Michigan to fly the Pride Flag on a building.
  • In June 2020, renamed the Lewis Cass State Office Building to the “Elliott-Larsen Building” in honor of the bipartisan sponsors of Michigan’s Civil Rights Law.
  • In June 2021, issued a proclamation marking June as Pride Month to recognize the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ Michiganders and became the first Michigan governor to march at the Motor City Pride parade.
  • In June 2021, signed an executive directive to prohibit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services from using any state and federal funds for conversion therapy on minors. It also requires any department or agency that regulates, provides, procures, or pays for medical or mental health services for Michiganders must act to protect minors from conversion therapy.
  • In December 2021, filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court arguing the language of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • In March 2023, signed bipartisan legislation strengthening and expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The bill reaffirms legal protections for sexual orientation and expands coverage to include gender identity and expression.

LGBTQ commission

Motor City Pride 2

Motor City Pride

Motor City Pride LG