For the LGBTQ community, Jennifer V. Kurland’s race for governor is one to watch not only because of its progressive platform but especially because of her running mate: Charin H. Davenport. Beyond being a vocal activist for LGBTQ rights and affiliated with such organizations as Transgender Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan and the National Association for Transgender Equality, Davenport herself is transgender — meaning that her potential appointment as lieutenant governor would be unprecedented for both the state of Michigan and much of the U.S.
With the Nov. 6 midterm election coming up next week, there is still time for LGBTQ voters to familiarize themselves with both Kurland’s positions on a variety of important issues as well as Davenport’s. BTL caught up with her in the middle of a busy campaign schedule to chat about the issues that she believes are priorities in the gubernatorial race.
What makes you qualified to be lieutenant governor of Michigan?
I have a lot of experience in education. I taught high school in New York state for five years. After that, I moved to Michigan where I taught at Delta College in Bay City and at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw and I was there for about 10 years. Now I’m at Oakland University as a special lecturer in writing and rhetoric and this is my third year. I understand education at just about every level. … I also understand the perspective of parents and the children themselves — I have three children who all went to public schools and they did very well. … I also am a Vietnam era veteran. I served in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1981. I have a solid understanding of the value that veterans bring to our communities and the needs they have in order to be full participants in our communities. … Another thing I bring to the table is I have an understanding of what is commonly referred to as intersectionality. As the only veteran, I believe who is running, as well as the only transgender person who is in place and I think the only teacher, I understand how poverty, race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and just one’s geography intersect and form not just our identities but also how they (affect lives).