LGBT leaders head to the White House

Michigan's Pugh, Skillman, Thompson among Pride Month invitees

by Jessica Carreras

At least three leaders of Michigan's LGBT community were invited to an LGBT Pride Month reception June 22 at the White House where they will join other leaders from across the country in both celebrating the community and meeting with President Barack Obama.

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, Affirmations CEO Leslie Thompson and Equality Michigan Executive Director Alicia Skillman are among an undetermined number of individuals who received personal invitations to the Washington, D.C., event. No official list of invitees was announced, nor did the White House make the reception publicly known. All three will be meeting President Obama.

Pugh made headlines last year when he was elected as Detroit's first-ever city councilman - and council president. He posted a video on his Facebook shortly after receiving his invitation earlier this month, telling his followers, "Who gets an invitation to the White House? I'm so excited. I'll make sure that I tell Barack and Michelle that you said hello."

He later elaborated on his invite to Fox 2 news, his former employer. "It's an honor, really, to represent the people of the city of Detroit who were not bigots, who accepted my candidacy for the qualifications I brought to the table and did not in any way judge or reject me because of who I am," Pugh said. "And so I think that this speaks to the character of the people of the city who made me the top vote-getter in the election."

Thompson announced her invite on Facebook, while Skillman talked about her invite at the Michigan Pride rally at the Capitol in Lansing on June 12. It was met with loud cheers from the crowd.

"I'm just overwhelmed with the opportunity to represent Michigan and Equality Michigan at the White House," she later said. "I hope to have an opportunity to talk with the president and let him know how things are in our state and that we really need him to continue doing whatever he can in his administration to make things better for our community, and to help make Michigan more inclusive."

Look for further coverage of the LGBT Pride Month reception in future editions of Between The Lines, and on

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