LGBT groups in the US have begun a 100-day hunger strike to protest state laws which the campaigners claim are anti-gay.
Leaders from the Community Centers Network (CCN), which is made up of eight lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups in Michigan, are refusing food for 24-hour shifts, living on display in the front windows of Affirmations, the state’s largest LGBT community center on 9 Mile Road, in the heart of downtown Ferndale.
The strike is an effort to highlight the inequalities in current legislation in the run-up to November’s general election.
According to the protesters, LGBT residents in Michigan are not only barred from getting married and adopting, they can be fired by the employer because of their sexuality or gender identity, denied public housing and have domestic partner benefits taken away.
Affirmations executive director David Garcia started the strike yesterday (30 July) and told The Daily Tribune that ‘Michigan is the Mississippi of the civil rights movement when it comes to gay equality’.
He added: ‘This is a day of hunger because we hunger for equality…this is the civil rights battle of our time.’
Garcia said the state should be ’embarrassed’ by its record on gay equality.
‘When we speak to our straight allies about this they get angry,’ he said.
‘Without the straight community we will never win equality in this state.’