Madison Heights Adopts LGBTQ Pride Month Proclamation

Madison Heights Adopts LGBTQ Pride Month Proclamation

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 29, 2018)

Madison Heights, MI – Madison Heights has joined neighboring cities Hazel Park and Ferndale in proclaiming June to be LGBTQ Pride Month in the city.  The proclamation was made Tuesday by the City Council with a rainbow flag affixed to their desk.

Resident Emma Green approached the Mayor Brian Hartwell with the idea, knowing that big cities like New York and San Francisco, as well as several smaller communities throughout Michigan, have made public acknowledgment of the challenges that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer people face.

“Unfortunately discrimination against the LGBTQ plus community has been normal though most of history. The Stonewall Riots and the assassination of Harvey Milk are a testament to that.  Mike Pence’s support of conversion therapy is a testament to that.  Just two weeks ago Oklahoma gave the okay for adoption agencies to discrimination against LGBTQ couples seeking to adopt.  Discrimination against the LGBTQ community is far from gone,” Green said to council and to the supporters in the council chambers.

“This resolution is a clearly stated message that Madison Heights will not take the side of homophobes, transphobes or bigots or even neutrality.  This resolution is proof that the city is truly defined by its motto, the City of Progress.”

Green wrote the resolution herself, which included history of harassment, discrimination, and even death of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Among Green’s supporters was Stacey Wynn, who has lived in Madison Heights since the age of ten and is a mentor for youth in marching band.  “I am a gay woman who came out much later in life and still find it difficult,” Wynn said.  “But the support of this young lady, my adoptive son through marching band and other kids, we have a wonderful community of young people that have supported me in ways that I have never thought would be possible.  And I just want you to know how proud I am of her for doing this.”

Brianna Kingsley, the Chief Operating Officer of Equality Michigan, thanked council for their recognition of the community and invited the City to continue their efforts towards equality by adopting a nondiscrimination ordinance.  Forty Michigan municipalities have local-level protection making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation, including Royal Oak, Ferndale, Birmingham, Farmington Hills, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Fenton and Southfield. Such ordinances make it a violation of local law to fire someone for being gay or transgender, deny them service in a business based on sexual orientation or gender expression, or refuse them access to housing.

Kingsley applauded council’s decision to issue a proclamation.  “Thank you for taking the time to make this proclamation because, as you are aware, we don’t always have these kinds of positive message.  So this is a glimmer of hope.  It is a light in the dark.”

Mayor Hartwell thanked Green for drafting the resolution and said that as an attorney he sees cases of discrimination that happen in the city and beyond. “A small gesture on our behalf to recognize Pride Month in Madison Heights can start a ripple and a wave to disassemble discrimination in our city,” Hartwell said.  “Education and public announcements like the City of Madison Heights recognizing Pride Month is a good place to start.”

June is known as pride month within the LGBTQ community. Among the celebrations is the upcoming Ferndale Pride Festival taking place June 2.

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