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October 2021: Transgender Empowerment Month

WHEREAS, Michigan is home to approximately 311,400 LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) adults, 32,900 of which identify as transgender, and 61,200 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 17 of which 3,950 identify as transgender; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan's LGBTQ+ residents contribute to the fabric of our society, hold positions in every sector of our economy, and live in every corner of our state; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan has been at the forefront of advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ people, beginning with the nation's first non-discrimination ordinance passed in 1972 in East Lansing, and the nation's first Civil Rights Commission to independently recognize that discrimination "because of sex" includes sexual orientation and gender identity in 2018; and,


WHEREAS, despite local non-discrimination protections and recent protections extended by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Michigan does not have any state-level non-discrimination statutes that expressly include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected characteristics from being fired, denied housing, or refused service; and,


WHEREAS, more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has made their living situation more stressful and 70% of LGBTQ youth stated that their mental health was "poor" most of the time or always during the pandemic; and,


WHEREAS, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth; and


WHEREAS, Michigan's economic vitality depends upon welcoming people of diverse backgrounds, ending discrimination, and attracting and retaining top talent from around the world; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan must continue to support the rights of every resident and promote equality and freedom from discrimination, and recognize the continued need for education and awareness to end discrimination and prejudice; and,


WHEREAS, October 11 is National Coming Out Day which celebrates and affirms LGBTQ+ identities, and when LGBTQ+ youth feel affirmed in their gender identity and sexual orientation, they report lower rates of attempting suicide; and,


WHEREAS, October is LGBTQ+ History month, observing historical figures such as Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender woman of color who threw the first brick during the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969 which is recognized as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement; and,


WHEREAS, October 20 is International Pronouns Day, which seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace and is important because transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all of the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan celebrates LGBTQ+ individuals during this month, and we also recognize the important work that must be done across intersections to create a more equitable state for all identities;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as Transgender Empowerment Month in Michigan.