I am John Austin, President of the State Board of Education. I am here to celebrate with you as an ally today, and press us forward to do more to make Michigan the most welcoming and inclusive state.

We’ve come a long way in the last 10-15 years…fast, to appreciate and acknowledge that, yes, there are gay people among us, always have been, always will be, …and they are our friends and children, our neighbors, our spouses… and deserve the same rights..including to marry, as everyone else.

Now we are at a moment when we are saying, yes, yes there are transgender people, and school children, among us. Always have been, always will be, and they deserve to be embraced and acknowledged, and supported and loved, and have the same chance to get an education…and yes…to go to the bathroom…where and when they want!

Michigan must, if we are to have a future, embrace and celebrate all our people in all our diversity, black, white, brown, immigrant, gay, straight trans or queer…and help us all to thrive here, get educated here, make our lives and careers here…and celebrate here!

That is why we will say to our schools…here is what you can do to acknowledge, embrace and support your LGBT school children, and recognize their basic rights.

And we will reject and defeat those who sow hate, and fear and division. Who seek to dictate gender identity with the same bathroom bills that made North Carolina a national pariah.

We must keep Michigan moving forward not backward. We have to send a message that Michigan is the most welcoming and inclusive state where all are celebrated and all are educated.

We can’t let the haters win, that is not who we are in Michigan. Let’s make this election a referendum on what kind of State we are, and want to be. Go to to get involved. Thank you so much for the opportunity to stand with you and fight.

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