Jackson Mayor appoints LGBTQ Liaison in final celebration of Pride Month

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FILE – In this June 30, 2019, file photo parade-goers carrying rainbow flags walk down a street during the LBGTQ Pride march in New York, to celebrate five decades of LGBTQ pride, marking the 50th anniversary of the police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. Democrats flooded Twitter and email inboxes this week with praise for the watershed Supreme Court decision shielding gay, lesbian and transgender people from job discrimination. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

JACKSON, Mich.(WLNS) – Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies today celebrated the final day of Pride Month by appointing Jackson Pride Center’s Karyl Baker as the new LGBTQ Liaison to the Mayor’s office.

Dobies also penned and delivered a rainbow-themed, open letter instructing the County to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” in protected classes under the County’s Equal Employment Policy, and authored a draft, County Anti-Discrimination Policy to protect the LGBTQ community. The letter follows the County’s creation of an ad hoc committee to consider an anti-discrimination policy.

“Jackson has grown leaps and bounds in terms of its support for the LGBTQ community,” said Karyl Baker, the new LGBTQ Liaison to Mayor Dobies. “I look forward to continuing to work with city leaders to make Jackson a place that is built on love, and is a place that even more LGBTQ families can call home.”

Baker is the second LGBTQ Liaison to the Mayor’s office. She succeeds Julia Josling, who helpedto pass the city’s non-discrimination ordinance in 2017. The first-in-Jackson positions followed the creation of the city’s first pride parade and the opening of the first pride center.

Baker said she aims to foster strong communication between the LGBTQ community and city leaders, and continue to advocate for policies that make the City and Jackson County a more inclusive place to the LGBTQ community. 

“Karyl knows that our work to make Jackson more inclusive to the LGBTQ community is not over. That’s why we are today calling on the County to include protections to the LGBTQ community in policy,” said Mayor Dobies. “To make it easier, we’ve sent them copies of proposed language that they could consider and pass at their next meeting.”

Mayor Dobies recently declared June as LGBTQ Pride Month in the City of Jackson, and was joined by Karyl Baker and others in raising a pride flag on the flagpole in Blackman Park in downtown Jackson. 

photo of the rainbow letter and policies Mayor Dobies delivered to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and copies of the proposed policies are attached.

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