A coalition of Michigan advocacy groups is launching the new "Don't Change Yourself. Change The Law" campaign in an effort to combat the state's lack of anti-discrimination legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.
According to a campaign press release, the Unity Michigan Coalition is calling upon House Speaker Jase Bolger to amend the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, passed in 1976 to protect Michigan residents from employment and housing discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion and national origin. As part of the campaign -- which was timed specifically to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) -- coalition members are urging Bolger to update the law to include protection for LGBT workers.
Included is a video interview with a man identified as Dave, who claims to have been fired from his position as community services coordinator and removed from his coaching position on sports teams at an area schoolboard after announcing his intention to start a gay-straight alliance group among the student body. Much of the campaign site's other content is decidedly tongue-in-cheek, with special tips for men and women who are trying to appear "not gay" in the workplace. But organizers hope users will look at the more serious issues beneath the humor: “If you’re great at your job, you shouldn’t have to change anything about yourself to keep it," Denise Brogan-Kator, executive director at Equality Michigan, is quoted as saying. "What really needs to change is the law.”
The campaign also comes on the heels of a new study, conducted by Harvard researcher András Tilcsik, which found that gay applicants were 40 percent less likely to be granted an interview than their heterosexual counterparts.
Watch a video interview with Dave below: