Ronald Owens is a Saginaw native and Deputy Political Director for Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Ronald’s passion for Public Service includes working alongside other volunteers to knock on doors and support politicians such as Representative Adam Zemke, Congressman Dan Kildee and Senator Debbie Stabenow. Ronald worked in the office of Former House Democratic Leader Sam Singh to increase inclusion for the SOGIE community within the State of Michigan. Ronald played an incremental role in inspiring Governor Whitmer to sign an executive directive in her first week in office, to strengthen prohibitions against LGBTQ discrimination in state employment, contracting and provision of services. Ronald will continue to fight for and support the SOGIE community, in the next steps of his career of setting up a progressive agenda in Michigan to move families forward.
Allison Matthew has proven to be a supporter of Perceptions and the SOGIE community within the Great Lakes Bay Region. In her roles of parent, student (graduating with a master’s degree), and employee for Consumers Energy, Allison has found time, over the past 4 years to work on numerous projects, most notably: The Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival, and Perceptions Holiday Gala “successes” as well as being a Perceptions Trustee, and overall supporter of Perceptions. As a trustee, she volunteered to assist with facilitating a listening session with Transgender individuals taking part in the Perceptions programming efforts. In October of 2018, she assisted in planning and being a part of a panel offering a presentation regarding SOGIE and rural collaborative issues at the global ‘Out & Equal summit’ event in Seattle, Washington. Allison worked alongside her peers at Consumers Energy along with representatives of Dow and Perceptions. She has worked as a liaison between ‘PRIDE Alliance at Consumers Energy’, the employee resource group representing the SOGIE community at Consumers Energy, and Perceptions; her efforts have assisted in having Consumers Energy recognize Perceptions’ programming efforts and impact within the Great Lakes Bay Region, and becoming a sponsor of Perceptions activities.
Jenny Bell is a loving, kind, compassionate person that is teaching all communities what it means to be transgender, while navigating her own transition. Jenny is a member of the Perceptions Transgender Groups and a member of the newly formed Transgender Groups Steering Committee. She is looking forward to bringing new ideas and topics to the Transgender Groups. Jenny is an active volunteer and has attended multiple events running tables to bring awareness to the community about Perceptions and the transgender community. Jenny represents the transgender community with enthusiasm, understanding, and has a passion for teaching the Great Lakes Bay Region about the transgender community at all events she works. No matter where she goes, Jenny leaves the Great Lakes Bay Region in a better place than it was when she arrived.
Glenn T. Madigan II, Bay City, receives the Rising Star Award. As President of Bay City Central High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance, he organized the Ally Week, No Name Calling Week, Day of Silence, and other activities. He has educated Central High and the surrounding community about issues facing the lives of LGBT citizens. Glenn recently received the Perceptions Saginaw Valley Scholar- ship.
Fred is a newcomer in the community and “came out” within the last year. Fred is very friendly, personable, and always willing to lend a hand when needed. He has been a great help to Perceptions and has become involved in many of our projects and functions. Since his coming out, he has blossomed and become a great asset to our organization and our community. He is a Rising Star AND a shining star!
“Charis” is a Professor of Biology and Director, Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence in Delta College where she has established talking points of The Genetics of Homosexuality. She has presented and published LGBT issues at state and national conferences and workshops. Charis speaks on behalf of GLBT faculty/staff regarding same-sex benefits and was co-chair in the development of Prism, the campus organization for GLBT faculty/staff/ students. Charis is a model of Pride.
Charin Davenport is a trans* activist for human rights and equality. Char spoke at nearly every pubic meeting in support of Human Rights Policies and Ordinances in Bay County and City of Saginaw. She put a human face to transgender issues and has become a fierce advocate for TLGB equality. As an English instructor, Ms. Davenport shares her story with her students and colleagues at Delta College and SVSU. She is a Board Member and Communications Director for Transgender Michigan, and Advisor to the Perceptions Board of Trustees. She writes for several blogs, as well as the Perceptions newsletter. Char works closely with several organizations, including Equality Michigan, the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Education, and the ACLU.
Jodi Liebmann is an out, loud and proud ally of the LGBTQIA community in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Through her tireless work with the Underground Railroad, she is a powerful advocate for the victims of sexual assault. He belief that people can accomplish all they have a mind to has helped change the lives of countless women and children for the better. Through her work with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Jodi has been at the forefront in organizing seminars and work-shops to raise the level of LGBTQIA awareness in Midland. At nearly every city council or county supervisor hearing on human rights in the region, Jodi has been a visible and often outspoken presence. Jodi is a consistent and conscientious voice of reason, and serves as an excellent role model for LGBTQIA+ allies everywhere.
Brandon Errer is in his second year as president of Living Proud, the student-run LGBTQIA organization at Saginaw Valley State University. In the last year, Brandon helped convince SVSU’s Board of Control to change the school’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy to include sexual orientation. Brandon continues to advocate for a long overdue and much needed LGBTQIA resource center on cam-pus, and is a firm believer in the implementation of gender neutral bathrooms throughout the school. Among his many talents, Brandon is a kind and patient teacher who is always willing to educate others on LGBTQIA issues. In the future, Brandon hopes to convince SVSU to include gender identity and gender expression in its non-discrimination policy
Cara Mitrano is a senior at Midland High School, where she helped start the school’s GSA. The GSA’s advocacy work raised awareness of LGBTQ issues through numerous activities, including Asexual Awareness Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and faculty awareness training. Despite vandalism and bullying at Midland and H.H. Dow High Schools, Cara continued to display LGBT-affirming posters on her lockers. The administration of one school even demanded she remove LGBT-positive posters from her locker. With poise and dignity, Cara collaborated with school faculty and Lambda Legal to protect her rights. In the Fall, Cara will attend Wayne State University, where she will continue her advocacy work through the GLBTA Student Union.
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