March 31 2017 11:48 AM

Pink, white and blue flags fly at Lansing, East Lansing city halls

The Transgender Pride Flag flies over the East Lansing City Hall Friday March 31. It was part of eight municipal governments honoring the International Transgender Day of Visibility project.
Todd Heywood

FRIDAY. March 31 — The flag poles at Lansing and East Lansing City Halls flew an additional flag today — the transgender pride flag. The flags were hoisted over the city halls to honor International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The day was originated by former Lansing resident Rachel Crandall-Crocker, founder of Transgender Michigan.

The two cities were not alone in the state to fly the flag. They joined with Ypsilanti, Kalamazoo, and Ferndale; as well as Ingham and Wastenaw counties and the Ypsilanti Community School District in honoring the day with the flag. It’s the first time in Michigan history the flag has been flown at Michigan municipal buildings.

We are fortunate to have local elected officials in Michigan who are willing to stand up against discrimination and send a strong message that transgender residents and students are welcomed and valued," said Equality Michigan Executive Director Stephanie White in a press release. Equality Michigan partnered with the local governments and Transgender Michigan to honor the day

“Transgender Michiganders continue to face high rates of harassment and violence in many aspects of daily life. To change that, we need to build awareness and address gaps in legal protections such as the fact that Michigan state law does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Flying the transgender pride flag can be one step in that conversation."

Crandall-Crocker said the visibility associated with the light blue, pink and white flag flying over municipal government buildings was important to raising awareness of transgender rights issues.

“The International Transgender Day of Visibility has grown over the years into the global phenomenon that it is today. But it’s not happening on its own,” she said in a statement released by Equality Michigan. “The actions that each of these individual local governments are taking are making it happen; without these, the day would mean nothing.”

For more on the Transgender Day of Visibility, see this week’s story on the event in City Pulse.