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In the wake of two recent United States Supreme Court Rulings that affect the work of diversity, equity & inclusion of marginalized communities, Chosen Family of Michigan feels that it is important to address this in a more comprehensive way than our traditional written official statements. I want to first thank our Policy Squad for their assistance in helping us to review these cases.

Our vision is centered on uplifting marginalized communities into equity, understanding and opportunity.

In Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, the conservative majority ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that race cannot be a factor considered in college admissions. Race has been used as one factor to assist colleges in creating a more diverse college environment. After this ruling, many news providers questioned the overall standing of diversity, equity & inclusion programs at colleges. As DEI education & consulting is one of Chosen Family's major programs, we wanted to directly address this. First, this case was narrowly focused on race. Although future court decisions might address whether or not other protected demographics- such as sexual orientation or gender identity- can be used in admissions processes, as of right now, these other groups weren't directly affected by this decision. Additionally, this decision affects one tool in the DEI toolbelt, there are many other tools that can and should continue to be utilized. Educating staff on pronouns or intersectionality to create more inclusive campus environments, or curbing the increase in tuition rates to assist colleges in being more accessible to lower-income communities- whom many of which are also marginalized, addressing inequitable policies, or creating more partnerships with inner city highschools to help create a bridge to higher education, are all programs that can continue. It also doesn't prevent students from using things like race in their admissions essays and for colleges to consider it as a factor if it directly ties to other life experiences-an example being if it's part of why they took on a leadership role in a place the student volunteers at. Uplifting marginalized communities isn't about granting "special privileges," it's about recognizing the reality that marginalized communities face many more barriers to entry & sometimes need a leg-up (not a hand-out) in order to achieve their dreams & contribute their gifts and talents to our communities.

In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the conservative majority again decided in favor of the plaintiff. In this case, a website designer did not want to design a custom wedding website for a theoretical LGBTQ+ couple, citing her religious beliefs. It's important to make clear that this case should be viewed as incredibly narrow, only applying to custom, original services. However, we have already seen businesses attempt to use this ruling to discriminate against customers in other types of businesses, including at a hair salon in Traverse City who wants to deny services to transgender customers.

Although I believe the website designer filed this case out bigotry, many on both sides of the isle can probably relate to the idea that we would want to avoid having to create customizable messages for causes we don't support. For example, if I were a cake decorator, I would not want to create a cake for a Nazi Party celebration. However, political opinions, or an individual's behaviors & choices, are simply that- choices, and are changeable. This differs from denying services to protected demographics and unchangeable characteristics- like who you love, or what color your skin is. Regardless, in this narrow decision, the website designer would still theoretically have to provide a basic, non-customized website to a gay couple. This decision should not provide license for businesses to discriminate in all types of service.

Professionally, both my business education & background in business has always taught me that not embracing the reality of diversity and serving all of those in a public marketplace economy is bad for business. Chosen Family of Michigan will continue to work to educate businesses and communities on the importance of DEI in the workplace.

Personally, as a person of faith, I believe my faith calls me to love others. My faith is not affected by the lifestyles of others & therefore I work to still serve those who might live their life differently than I would.

In the midst of unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ+ rights around the country, we have seen incredible progress in our home state of Michigan. However, with every step in the direction of equity, those who have hate & bigotry in their hearts will fight back even harder in an effort to undo our progress. Now more than ever, organizations like Chosen Family are needed to continue fighting, to continue advocating, to continue educating, and to continue serving our community. We need your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation at

Thank you.

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Updated: Jul 31

Our Executive Director & a volunteer table for the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan's DEI Committee at Benton Harbor PrideFest in June to explain the updated blood donation guidelines.

In 1983, in response to the HIV crisis, the FDA instituted a life-time blood donation ban on men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and women-who-have-sex-with-MSM (see our FAQ on this topic posted last July here). Gradually reduced from a lifetime ban to a 3-month deferral from MSM sexual contact, this was finally fully repealed earlier this year and replaced by a general risk assessment for all populations (see our statement about this here). Chosen Family of Michigan was pleased to do our part by petitioning for these changes last summer in partnership with the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan at Pride events, and this summer we were able to return to Pride events to explain the updated guidelines!

What is the new eligibility criteria to donate?

The language on the donor assessment prior to donation will be adjusted to ask the same sexual behavior questions for all populations to identify individual risk, rather than sexual orientation.

All prospective donors will be asked if they have had new or multiple sexual partners in the last 3 months. Those who answer yes will be asked if they also had anal sex during that time frame. Only those who answer yes to both questions will be asked to defer from donating for 3 months.

  • Those who answer "no" to having new or multiple sexual partners in the last three months will not be asked about anal sex. Anal sex does not result in deferral from blood donation if you have not had new or multiple sexual partners in the last three months.

The use of HIV preventative medications such as PrEP will cause a deferral period to donate due to its potential to interfere with HIV testing.

What does this all mean for LGBTQ+ people?

This change in FDA policy replaces a discriminatory policy that was not based in science and ultimately furthered the stigma that HIV is a "gay disease." Other demographics have had higher rates of HIV for a while now, and yet the MSM deferral remained. Testing blood for HIV has come a long way since 1983, but the fear-based policy stayed in place- until now.

For decades, MSM were unable or deferred from donating even if they were in a long-term monogamous relationship- including married gay men who only had sex with each other. This new policy removes discriminatory language and replaces it with a policy that is based on riskier sexual behavior for everyone and not a ban simply on what gender you have sex with.

We know further adjustments to this policy should be explored. PrEP medications are an important tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS but being on this medication results in a deferral- meaning many LGBTQ+ will still be unable to donate without restrictions. CFM will continue to advocate for the FDA to conduct more research to determine to what degree, if any, PrEP medications truly affect the screening of blood donations.

Ultimately, this new policy helps remove stigma and restrictions based on sexual orientation, while being more closely aligned with science. In the midst of a blood shortage, we hope more LGBTQ+ donate blood.

Many organizations that collect blood donations, such as the American Red Cross (who we partner with), are still awaiting their adjusted questionnaire forms to be approved by the FDA. Once approval is granted, these organizations will be able to begin collecting donations under the new guidelines. Stay updated on this by following us on social media!

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Today, Governor Whitmer signed House Bill 4616 into law, banning mental health providers from providing "conversion therapy" to LGBTQ+ minors. We applaud this step to protect LGBTQ+ youth as Michigan joins 21 other states who ban this dangerous practice. Licensed medical professionals have a duty to uphold the public health & welfare & this practice violates their duty & ignores the science & research on this issue. There is more work to do, but CFM is pleased with the progress being made in our State to protect LGBTQ+ people, even in the face of an unprecedented number of attacks on our community around the nation.

Help us continue to fight by making a tax-deductible donation at

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