The Livingston County Board of Commissioners on Monday will be voting on a resolution that appears to disapprove of a county organization advertising about LGBTQ+ events.
The Human Services Collaborative Body (HCSB) in its summer newsletter, published May 25th, has an advertisement from the Livingston Diversity Council and the Pride Alliance of Livingston promoting a Rainbow Reception Rally that was held June 4th in Brighton and the Pride March, set for Saturday, June 10th in Howell.
The resolution, put forward by Commissioner Wes Nakagiri, notes that the HSCB was officially recognized by the Board of Commissioners in 1995 “to coordinate health and human services across systems” and “reduce the barriers to service of those in need”.
It then references the HSCB’s 2023 Summer Newsletter, in which it “promoted events of two private organizations; and these private events did not involve coordinating health and human services across systems, so that these events are outside of the mission of the HSCB; and because these events are outside of the HSCB mission, it is inappropriate to promote these events under the banner of the HSCB.”
The resolution then notes that because the HSCB is under the “jurisdiction of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, the promotion of private events is not acceptable,” and then prohibits “any body, committee, board, authority, or any other entity appointed by the Livingston County Board of Commissioners from promoting events or activities of any entity when these events/activities are not clearly within the scope of the mission of the appointed entity.”
In response, Livingston County Diversity Council Executive Director Nicole Mathews-Creech said they were “disheartened” by the pending resolution, which the council sees as an effort to discriminate against a specific group who is a part of the community.
“The mission of the HSCB as stated on the HSCB page of the Livingston County website is “ensuring a system of support for members of our community,” she said. “The events in question are hosted to provide support for members of our community and are thus in line with the mission of the HSCB. We strongly encourage the board of commissioners to consider the danger of approving such a resolution and heading down the path of restricting access to information about services and supportive programming for all community members.”
Also speaking out was Erin Knott from Equality Michigan, the state’s premiere LGBTQ+ advocacy organization.
“I think when you talk about all the news that we see of the anti-gay and anti-transgender actions from the highest levels of state and local government across the country, and even here, in local districts across Michigan, I think that those stressors really weigh on the LGBTQ+ community,” she said. “I just think it’s important that organizations have access to this type of information. And we all know that there are members of the LGBTQ plus community that step out and go to Pride for the first time. It’s their first experience of feeling surrounded by love and in a welcoming and inclusive environment where they feel like they belong. Why not have that be the place that they can see like, ‘Oh, here’s where I can get information on X, Y, or Z’ localized to them in their particular community. It really is a shame.”
Monday’s meeting of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners starts at 6 p.m. in the Board Chambers, 304 E. Grand River Ave. in Howell.
It can also be accessed via Zoom.
Virtual Meeting ID: 399-700-0062