This commission, which was established in June, will address issues impacting the LGTBQ+ community, such as health, safety, and economic opportunity. This includes attracting LGBTQ+ people to move to Michigan by creating a safe space for them.
Preventing discrimination against queer people will also be a goal of the advisory body.
"As we face a National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans, Michigan has been a beacon of hope for equality under Governor Whitmer’s leadership," said Dakota Torolski, the Michigan state director for the Human Rights Campaign. "From including explicit protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protecting youth from the harmful practice of ‘conversion therapy,’ Michigan is leading by example."
The commission's appointees are made up of a mix of LGBTQ+ people from across Michigan, including doctors, police, and LGBTQ organization leaders.
Here's who was appointed and their bios from the state:
Brandon Shamoun, of Detroit, is the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Involvement, Activities and Organizations at Wayne State University. He is currently the chair of Stonewall Sports Detroit, an LGBTQ+ sports organization in metro Detroit, and the co-chair of Queer Employee Organization (QWSU). He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State University and Master of Education in higher education from Grand Valley State University. He is appointed to represent educators for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Dr. Renee McLaughlin, of Chatham, is the National Medical Director at CIGNA Healthcare. She previously served as the founding member of the Chattanooga LGBT Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Adrian College, a master’s degree of science in biology from Wayne State University, a degree in medicine from the University of Pittsburgh, and an LGBT Leadership certificate from Stanford University. McLaughlin also served as a former major of the United States reserve active duty. She is appointed to represent medical professionals who regularly provide care to the LGBTQ+ community for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Lacey Mandoka, of Rosebush, is a Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal member who currently works at Elijah Elk Cultural Center as a leadership intern. Previously, they have also worked at Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe as a housing specialist. They hold an associate degree in native studies with a concentration on history and law from Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College and are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University. They are appointed to represent a tribal community for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Audra Wilson, of Saginaw, is a Clinical Workflow Specialist at Great Lakes Bay Health Center. She is a current board member for the Great Lakes Bay Pride and the Pride Festival committee, as well as a facilitator for a local support group for underserved, at-risk minorities. She is appointed to represent the transgender community, for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Erin Knott, of Kalamazoo, is the Executive Director at Equality Michigan, a state-wide non-profit that educates and supports the LGBTQ+ community on the laws, policies, and regulations that are vital for support and safety. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social psychology and criminal justice from Western Michigan University and a master's in administration from Central Michigan University. She is appointed to represent LGBTQ+ Advocacy Organizations for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Anthony Williams, of Birmingham, is the Chief Executive Officer at Corktown Health, a non-profit LGBTQ-focused medical home. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School. He is appointed to represent LGBTQ+ Advocacy Organizations in the form of a community center for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Al Gray, of Marquette, is a LLMSW at Suunta Integrative Health. They also serve as a program coordinator for Trace Holistic Inc in Marquette, Michigan. Gray is also a volunteer co-facilitator with the Upper Peninsula's Stand with Trans Teen support group. They hold a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology and a Master of Social Work from Northern Michigan University. They are being appointed to represent rural communities for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Diane Kreger, of Ann Arbor, is a psychotherapist who works in private practice with the Arbor Wellness Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kalamazoo College, a master's in psychology of education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a post-master's certification in Family Therapy from The Philadelphia Center. She is appointed to represent the private sector for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Angela Gabridge, of Grosse Pointe Park, is the Executive Director of MiGen – Michigan LGBTQ+ Elders Network. At MiGen, she has successfully grown the operating budget from $400k to $2M and led the staff into a statewide expansion in 2022. She is appointed to represent parents, guardians, or caregivers of a child who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Kevin Nguyen, of Ypsilanti, is a Master of Policy and Political Social Work student at the University of Michigan. He is a intern with an Ann Arbor City Council member and community engagement and development assistant with the dispute resolution center of Washtenaw and Livingston counties. Nguyen holds a bachelor's degree in criminology with a minor in psychology from Northwest Missouri State University. He is appointed to represent 18-25-year-olds in the LGBTQ+ community for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Dr. Tonya Griffith, of Grosse Pointe Woods, works as a clinical trauma therapist at Limitless Possibilities Counseling Services, a private practice she owns in Harper Woods. She also works as a Special Services Program Manager at the Development Center in Detroit. Tonya holds a master's degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University and a doctorate in Social Work from Walden University. She is appointed to represent social workers or mental health professionals who work regularly to provide care to the LGBTQ+ community for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Bishop Bonnie A. Perry, of Detroit, is a Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, which oversees seventy-two churches, over 100 clergy, and more than 17,000 lay people. She is the co-founder and serves as Co-Chair for End Gun Violence in Michigan. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the College of the Holy Cross, a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, NYC, and a Doctor of Ministry in congregational development from Seabury Western Theological Seminary. She and her spouse of 36 years, the Reverand Doctor M. Susan Harlow, have been advocates for the LGBTQ+ community for decades. She is appointed to represent religious institutions that welcome the LGBTQ+ community for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
Danielle (Dani) Woods, of Detroit, is a 24-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department. She also serves as the LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer and oversees LGBTQ investigations and complaints, a role she has proudly served with distinction for 10 years. Woods is also the chairperson for the LGBTQ+ community council within the Detroit Police Department – Office of the Chief. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cleary University. Danielle is appointed to represent first responders for a term commencing November 30, 2023, and expiring on November 29, 2027.
LGBTQ+ Commission Administrator
Raúl Hernández Guzmán has been selected as the first administrator for the LGBTQ+ Commission. Mr. Guzmán is a passionate advocate for Inclusive Access to Education, Equitable Employment Opportunities, Community Building and Social Impact. With a diverse array of experience, he is deeply committed to change management, fostering positive organizational change, and making a meaningful impact on the community.
Mr. Guzmán holds a professional Strategic Human Resources Leadership certificate from Cornell University, a Master of Management from Aquinas College, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and International Business from Grand Valley State University. In addition to his professional endeavors, Mr. Guzmán has dedicated his time to meaningful volunteer work in the equity and service learning spaces, including leading medical students on a trip to Peru, where they offered services to a maternity clinic.
Originally from México and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Mr. Guzmán has wholeheartedly embraced West Michigan as his home for the past two decades. Through his multifaceted pursuits and personal interests, he consistently contributes to the vibrancy and inclusivity of the West Michigan community.