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October 2023: Transgender Empowerment Month

WHEREAS, Michigan is home to approximately 311,400 LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) adults, 32,900 of whom identify as transgender, and 61,200 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 17 of whom 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, in addition to local non-discrimination protections and recent protections extended by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Michigan now has state-level non-discrimination statutes that expressly include strengthened protections against discrimination in state employment, including for gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. The 2019 executive directive extended those protections to the employees of anyone doing business with the state as well; and,

WHEREAS, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act expansion in 2023 expanded civil rights protections for all Michiganders by defining and codifying sex-based discrimination as being inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected statuses, thereby extending the protection of the law to LGBTQ+ residents as it pertains to discrimination in housing, employment, and other forms of discrimination; and,

WHEREAS, more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has made their living situation more stressful and 56% of LGBTQ youth stated that their mental health was "poor" most of the time or always during the pandemic; and,

WHEREAS, 41% 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, 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 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 with whom they lived attempted suicide at half the rate of those whose pronouns were not 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 the month of October 2023 as Transgender Empowerment Month in Michigan.