Garnet Lewis, Freeland, receives the Political Award for too many reasons to list here. She has extensive experience in higher education and political activism. She helped charter the Saginaw Area Democratic Club, is active in Get-Out-The- Vote, and has volunteered with several community groups. Garnet was the first openly-gay Michigan resident to campaign for state representative.
Former Saginaw city council member and State Rep., Andy has supported LGBT equality thru proposed bills in Lansing: second-parent adoption, Matt’s Law (anti-bullying) , and adding the words “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” in Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act – it would stop legal discrimination against LGBT people. Andy was never embarrassed to fight for equality.
Kyle Bostwick (Saginaw) receives the 2012 Political Pride Award. During high school Kyle joined the Saginaw County Democratic Party and has been an active member since. He has worked and managed local and state campaigns and currently serves as treasurer for the Saginaw County Democratic Party, treasurer of the Saginaw Area Democratic Club and as the Legislative Aide for State Rep. Charlie Brunner, 96th District (Bay County). As a political professional in Lansing and locally, Kyle will continue to work on the civil rights for all people. Kyle is a great role model to young individuals who aspire to a career in politics.
Annie Boensch, member the Saginaw City Council, has been a leader and supporter of equal rights, not only for the gay community, but for all Saginaw City and County residents. She was the first Saginaw County political leader to sign her name a statement from Unity Michigan LEAD (Local Elect-eds Against Discrimination): Elected officials from across the State of Michigan who proudly support of non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender residents; and has encouraged other city council members and county elected officials to add their names to LEAD. Annie, as a political leader and a mother, has been a model Ally for the LGBT community. One person can be a difference. Annie is an example.
Don Tilley is a high school political science/government teacher at Bay City Central High School and serves on the Bay Coun-ty Board of Commissioners. In January, Mr. Tilley proposed a Human Rights Ordinance in Bay County that would have banned LGBT discrimination in all county government services and contracts. Though much of the opposition to the ordinance focused on the rights of trans people, Mr. Tilley held the high ground and would not consider dropping Gender Identity from the ordinance. Though it was not approved, a policy to protect county employees from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation was. Mr. Tilley’s work as an ally to the LGBT community continues to raise awareness in the region. In the midst of what was an emotionally charged environment, Mr. Tilley never lost sight of his life as a teacher. He is a role model for young people who often wonder if they can make a difference in society. The LGBT community is in his debt, especially those LGBT county employees who no longer have to look over their shoulders, wondering if they will be fired or bullied. Don Tilley made a difference.
Congressman Dan Kildee serves in the U.S. House of Representatives where he continues to work tirelessly for LGBTQIA people in Michigan’s 5th District and throughout the United States. Now in his second term, Mr. Kildee is the vice-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the House. In addition to meeting at Delta College with local LGBTQIA and political leaders, Mr. Kildee and his staff championed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, co-authored the Student Non-Discrimination Act, co-sponsored a resolution to stop conversion therapy on LGBTQIA youth and have continued to fight for marriage and family equality. Mr. Kildee is a vocal opponent to the wave of so-called anti-transgender bathroom bills and efforts to allow discrimination on the basis of deeply held convictions. Congressperson Kildee has proven themselves time and time again to be a strong and reasoned voice for LGBTQIA civil rights.
DAVID M. TERRASI is a school and clinical psychologist who advocates for people with disabilities as well as sexual orientation or gender identity. David Terrasi and Victor Pafford were the first gay couple legally married in Bay County in 2015. Terrasi was elected as a Bay City Commissioner in November 2015 and he was instrumental in the passing of the Bay City’s non-discrimination ordinance.
State Rep. Vanessa Guerra – House District 95, D-Bridgeport Township receives the Political Award for supporting and co-sponsoring legislation that would expand the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act to protect Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. She has supported House Resolutions declaring June LGBT Pride Month each year she has been in office, State Rep. Guerra has attended Perceptions events and publicly supports LGBT equality issues.
The City of Bay City became the 43rd city in the state of Michigan that adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance aimed at protecting of the LGBT community and individuals with physical and mental handicaps. The City of Bay City has been outstanding in working to improve the quality for LGBT people through the political or electoral process. Additionally, Bay City has created a welcoming environment for employees, citizens, and visitors.