On July 30 every gay community center in Michigan began a 100-day hunger strike, protesting Michigan’s extreme anti-equality legislation. Now approaching its third week, the strike continues to gain momentum and show strong community support. The first week of strikers consisted of leadership from the eight, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community centers across Michigan. Each took 24-hour shifts striking, while living on display in the windows of Affirmations, in the heart of downtown Ferndale.
Since the campaign launched, it has gotten the attention of media world-wide. Sources in Alaska, Washington, California, England, and Thailand, are just a few that have reported on Michigan’s anti-equality status. Several supporters have even committed to conducting their own 24-hour hunger strike, to show their support.
“I don’t live in Michigan, or even in the US, but I just wanted you to know that I will conduct a 24-hour hunger strike as a show of support. Please let me know when your campaign starts so I can join you in spirit. I am lucky in that here in the UK, I have the same rights as everyone else”, said Angela Burrow, a strike supporter in England.
Local supporters honk their horns or give the thumbs-up to the daily striker in the window display. In addition, community activists have come together from all over the state to participate in the strike.
“I decided to strike because every day I run into people who, though supportive of equal rights, are surprised that gay people can legally be fired in Michigan,” said Kathleen LaTosch, community activist. “Even gay people don’t know! People just don’t realize how bad Michigan has become on equal rights. If they knew, they’d act. I wanted to do my part to help raise their awareness.”
In Michigan, LGBT citizens can legally be fired from their jobs and denied public housing and accommodations if they are gay or transgender or perceived to be. They are also not able to get married or jointly adopt, and cannot receive benefits for their partners if they are a public employee.
To sign up to be a striker or to participate in other ways, please visit www.Hungry4Equality.com or call (248) 677-7227. Interested supporters can also watch each striker live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hungry4equality.
Affirmations is metro Detroit’s community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. Open since 1989 and located in Ferndale, a suburb of Detroit, Affirmations provides a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, and cultures can find support and unconditional acceptance and where they can learn grow, socialize and have fun.