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Election 2024: Michigan Fact Sheet

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GLAAD and Equality Michigan have prepared a fact sheet for reporters and voters in Michigan about LGBTQ people and the issues that will be central to the 2024 election. We’ve also included guidance and best practices for journalists to accurately include LGBTQ people in your campaign coverage.

Equality Michigan’s Director of Advocacy & Civic Engagement Emme Zanotti (she/her) issued the following statement about the importance of factual and informed reporting with regard to Michigan’s LGBTQ community:

“Media institutions in our state bear serious responsibility in not letting politicians spread malicious lies about LGBTQ+ people. Our plea to stop platforming falsehoods and extremism is not rooted in politics, but rather in the principles of truth and decency. If we seek to understand what the consequences of negligence might be, we simply need to open our eyes, because LGBTQ+ Michiganders are already having to live with them.”

In 2023, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed landmark protections into law for the LGBTQ community and people of color, including expansions to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and reproductive health care access. Michigan is again poised to play a major role in the political makeup of the U.S. Congress, with several seats up for grabs in November, including that of long-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Reporters must take extra care to be accurate and inclusive when reporting on conversations and proposals about marginalized people.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis (she/her) explained that “GLAAD and Equality Michigan’s fact sheet will help inform every reporter and LGBTQ voter in Michigan about the stakes of the 2024 election. Media must ensure LGBTQ voices are accurately covered and included in all campaign conversations and coverage of state legislation about our lives. Accurate and inclusive LGBTQ representation in news stories is essential for the safety, freedom and success of every person in Michigan.”

LGBTQ Michiganders: Context to Know and Report

4% (373,000) of adult Michiganders are LGBTQ, with 27% of them raising children.
According to the LGBTQ Victory Institute, a record 283 out LGBTQ people won elected office in 2023 for a total of 1,185 out elected officials nationwide. Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, is the first out LGBTQ person elected to statewide office.
In 2023, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her administration made significant progress in protecting and advancing LGBTQ rights:
Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA): ELCRA, which became law in 1976, bans discrimination “based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.” The bill’s expansion, effective February 13, adds language to codify protections based upon sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
LGBTQ Commission: Set into motion by executive order, this advisory body of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is charged with keeping the governor and department director apprised of policies impacting Michigan’s LGBTQ population. The commission also explores actions to advance and protect the LGBTQ community’s safety, health and well-being.
”Conversion therapy”: House Bills 4616 and 4617, signed into law by Governor Whitmer, protect the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ youth. The law prohibits the usage of state and federal funds toward the harmful practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”
Legal name change: House Bill 5300 was introduced with Governor Whitmer’s support. If passed, it would remove the barriers and difficulties transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people face throughout the name change process.
Michigan voters enshrined a right to abortion into the state constitution in November 2022 with 57% of the vote, and elected candidates to give both state legislature chambers a pro-equality majority. 

Several pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation were also introduced in 2023, targeting the freedom of transgender people to use restrooms (House Bills 4195 and 4510), the freedom to read (House Bill 4136), the ability for transgender students to participate in sports (House Bill 4546), criminalizing health care for transgender youth (House Bills 4257, 4539, and 4540), and expansion of broad religious exemptions (House Bills 4075 and 4345).
Michigan’s Supreme Court issued a ruling expanding LGBTQ parents’ custody rights. The ruling in Pueblo v. Haas ensures protections for unmarried same-sex parents in long-term relationships to maintain custody and parenting time in the event that their relationship is dissolved.
In response to nationwide book ban efforts targeting the LGBTQ community and people of color, the Michigan Library Association (MLA) and a coalition of Michigan residents formed MI Right to Read to protect intellectual freedom, oppose book ban attempts and legislation, and educate about the harmful effects of book bans.
The LGBTQ records of Nikki Haley and Donald Trump are documented on the GLAAD Accountability Project, which includes policies and proposals targeting LGBTQ Americans, and false and harmful rhetoric about them. Trump has amassed more than 200 attacks in policy and rhetoric against LGBTQ Americans throughout his one-term presidency and 2024 campaign.
The Biden-Harris administration’s LGBTQ record includes more than 320 appointments, nominations, statements and policies of support, as documented via GLAAD’s Biden Accountability Tracker.
Polling and turnout analysis from the 2020 election indicate that LGBTQ voters played a deciding role in the victory of Joe Biden for President and in key battleground states.

Best Practices

Stories about or that mention LGBTQ people should include LGBTQ voices. 
In stories specifically about transgender people, seek and include a transgender person. GLAAD can connect you. 
Prioritize facts, expertise and LGBTQ lived experience over candidate and campaign opinion in your reporting. If a candidate remarks about LGBTQ people, always include facts and context. For example, any discussion of transgender health care must note this care is supported by every major medical association (30+ statements here). Additional resources below. 
Review and report a candidate’s LGBTQ record and support from anti-LGBTQ groups. Ongoing documentation is available on candidates, other public figures, and groups via the GLAAD Accountability Project.
Avoid shorthand descriptions of political conversations about LGBTQ people as a “culture war debate.” This dehumanizes marginalized people as a “side” and allows oppressive policies and politicians to escape accountability for creating and fueling the “war.” This language adds to voter apathy by alienating viewers and readers who find vaguely defined “culture wars” irrelevant to their lives. Focus your reporting on the policies, consequences to all taxpayers and the people directly harmed, and the candidates proposing them and their LGBTQ history.
Be factual and clear in your language: “(candidate name) has proposed policies restricting health care for transgender people, despite the fact that this care is supported by every major medical association.”
Do not repeat, or clearly state as false, “groomer” rhetoric. Experts in child abuse prevention have raised alarms that this rhetoric undermines understanding of actual child abuse and endangers innocent people and children.
Include greater context: 500+ anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed in state legislatures through 2023. This is a broad scale, coordinated attack against LGBTQ Americans’ growing visibility and acceptance, via targeting health care, book bans, curriculum and conversation bans, sports bans, and bathroom bans.
Inform your readers and viewers about this larger pattern of LGBTQ animus as you report on individual topics and bills and candidates supporting them. Note also how health care and drag ban bills have been blocked in court as unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Report connections between anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies to violent and extremist incidents: the ADL Center on Extremism has documented at least 700 attacks against LGBTQ people through 2023, including murders, assault, harassment, and vandalism. The report notes increasing connections of anti-LGBTQ violence by people from extremist groups like Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
Anti-LGBTQ posts on extremist media, further amplified on extremist cable programs, have been followed by bomb threats against children’s hospitals, libraries and schools, endangering and inconveniencing all students, families and residents in these communities.
Report connections between anti-LGBTQ extremism and other attacks on freedoms: states proposing bills targeting LGBTQ people have also banned abortion and denied and denigrated fair elections. In addition, several states have passed laws or introduced bills mirroring  Florida’s extreme “Don’t say LGBTQ” law. Lawmakers in Nebraska passed a bill both banning health care for transgender youth and abortion after 12 weeks. Texas lawmakers proposed more than 140 anti-LGBTQ bills last year,  passed extreme restrictions on abortion, and enforced draconian laws.

Additional resources:

GALLUP: 7.2% of U.S. adults are out as LGBTQ, including 20% of Gen Z, the most out generation in history; a projected 14% of voters will be out as LGBTQ by 2030.

GALLUP: record high 71% support for marriage equality.

GLAAD: 84% of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.

GLAAD Media Reference Guide: terminology and 20+ topic areas to learn about and accurately report on LGBTQ people.

Medical Association Statements Transgender Health Care: 30+ statements from every major medical association and world health authority, across specialities and patient lifespan, supporting health care for transgender people. Health care for transgender people is mainstream care with widely held consensus of both the medical and scientific communities.

Factsheet for Reporters Covering Transgender Health Care: what to know about transgender health care and how to responsibly include trans voices in your coverage.

About GLAAD:

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.


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