New focus group on tobacco messaging and the LGBTQ community

Have experience with tobacco? Identify as an LGBTQ ?

Jim Toy Community Center is conducting two focus groups to learn about tobacco use and effective quit tobacco messages in the LGBTQ community . This is a Michigan Department of Community Health funded project that is facilitated by Affirmations Community Center.

These focus groups will be held at the Jim Toy Center during the second full week of October (Oct 14-20th). Participants will receive a $20 gift card. Food will also be provided at the focus group.

Interested? Please click here to fill out the interest survey. The survey will close at midnight on Sunday, Oct 6th.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are these focus groups?
These focus groups are an opportunity for you to talk about tobacco use in a small group discussion. This is a way for us to learn about your personal experiences with using tobacco. You will be asked questions about any previous or current use of tobacco, as well as any experiences with quitting. We’ll also talk about some quit tobacco campaigns – what works and what doesn’t.

Who can participate?
Anyone who has ever used tobacco! This includes current or previous users, and casual users of all forms of tobacco (i.e. cigarettes, cigars, hookah, chew tobacco, etc.).

How long will they last?
Participants will need to commit about two hours of their time. This includes time to sign-in, meet the other participants and have the focus group discussion. The focus group discussion will last approximately an hour and a half (90 minutes).

Where will these focus groups be held?
Focus groups will be held at Jim Toy Community Center (319 Braun Court Ann Arbor, MI 48104 ).

Why is this important?
Even though tobacco use has decreased in the general population, rates of tobacco use remain high in LGBTQ communities. Your thoughts about tobacco use and quit tobacco messages will help the Michigan Department of Community Health develop effective quit messages.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Lydia Ahlum Hanson, MPH, MSW
Health & Wellness Manager
Direct line: (248) 677-7223

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OUTFest – Save the Date!

OUTFest - Save the Date!

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Ann Arbor 4th of July Parade—March with us!

Join the Jim Toy Community Center and show your Pride in the Ann Arbor 4th of July Parade!


Bring your friends and family and not only show your Gay Pride but your American Pride as well because after all, We are American Families!

We will be lining up at 9am on Maynard Street between William and Jefferson!

Parade begins at 10am.

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New Volunteer Orientation

The Jim Toy Community Center will be conducting two new volunteer orientation sessions:

  • Sunday, June 9 from 12pm-1pm
  • Tuesday, June 11 from 8pm-9pm

New volunteers only need to attend one session.

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Register today for the Shore to Shore Equality Ride!

Banner 10The Shore to Shore Equality Ride is an exciting 4 day Bicycle Tour across beautiful lower Michigan, beginning in the Detroit Metropolitan area and ending on the picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline. Come experience fall in all its wonder with access to scenic side trips, refreshments & meal breaks along the way. This is the inaugural year for the Equality Ride, so the event is limited to 100 VIP riders who will start in Ferndale and travel to Saugatuck via paved roads and enjoying many of the great Michigan biking trails.

For more information on the route and how to join the Jim Toy Center team, please visit the event website.

The Equality Ride is produced by the Michigan LGBT Community Center Network (CCN). The CCN is a collaboration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Community Center organizations across the state of Michigan. CCN members participating in the Equality Ride are Affirmations, The Jim Toy Center, Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, KICK, The Network and Perceptions.

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Jim Toy’s Birthday Bash—Save the date!

Pic from

On Friday, April 12, from 7 to 10pm we’re hosting a Jim Toy Birthday Bash and JTCC fundraiser at the Corner Brewery Lounge in Ypsilanti. Additional details are forthcoming, but the long and short of it is that this will be a social gathering to celebrate the birthday of our namesake and to fundraise for the Jim Toy Community Center to support its efforts in the pursuit of equality.

We hope to see you there!

Pic courtesy
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Public Policy Meeting

There will be a Public Policy Committee Meeting at 6 PM tomorrow, Wednesday (March 27), at the Jim Toy Community Center.

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JTCC 2012: Year in Review and A Look Ahead

The Jim Toy Community Center has prepared its 2012 newsletter. Inside you’ll find a review of our activities and accomplishments over the past year as well as a look ahead to the future. Download it today!

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Vote Like Your Rights Depend on It!

Vote the ENTIRE ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6th!

Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6! Don’t forget to make a plan for when you’re going to the polls, how you’re going to get there, and what you’re going to vote for! Ask you friends and family what their plan is, and offer to help out if they need it.

Every election matters! Our representatives and elected officials make decisions about civil rights, health care, the economy, jobs, and other issues that affect our lives. Remember that your voice matters, and your vote counts!

Don’t forget to vote the non-partisan section of the ballot, often on the back or the bottom!

If you need any assistance on Election Day, call the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683).

- Your friends at the Jim Toy Community Center 

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Michigan Trans* Voter Guide

Transgender people face uncountable challenges, and we don’t want voting to be one for you. Whether you’re a first time voter or you have done this before, this guide is intended to empower you as a voter. Remember, voting is a fundamental right for all citizens. It is imperative, as a minority community, to raise our voices to make the changes we want to see.

Let’s Vote!

Here are some gender-marker related considerations that you may want to think about when deciding how you will go and vote:

  •  If you have not been able to change your gender marker on your driver’s license/ID and you don’t want poll workers seeing your ID, then absentee voting might be a good option for you.
  • If you are a first time voter, you must have registered in person at your local clerk or Secretary of State in order to vote absentee. This option is also good for trans* students, trans* folks with disabilities and trans* folks who need English assistance.

Different Ways to Vote

  • Absentee voting (recommended if you are nervous about outing yourself at the polls):
    • Absentee voting applications are in the column on the left side of the page and the application must be to your city/township/county clerk by no later than 2pm on Saturday, Aug 4th for primaries and 2pm on Saturday, November 3rd for general. The completed absentee ballot must be returned no later than 8pm on the day of the elections.
    • First time voters: If you have registered by mail or through a third party organization, you will have to verify your identity at your local clerk by showing a photo ID. This can be done either before the elections or if you drop off your absentee ballot in person.
    • If you’ve applied for an absentee ballot and show up at the polls, that may be challenged, so do your best to turn it in if you’ve applied for it.
  • Voting in person:
    • Make sure you are at the correct polling location. Check the webpage or ask your local clerk. An organization called People for The American Way has a polling location hotline as well (800-326-7329).
    • Please look at the Trans* Tips for Feeling Good at the Polls section for help on gender identity concerns, disability and language barriers concerns.
    • ‘Typical’ ballot: Michigan law requires you to present a photo ID to go through a typical ballot process, so bring this with you if you have it.
    • No photo ID with you: Affidavit followed by a ‘typical’ ballot: If your name is on the voter registration list but you do not have a photo ID on you, then you will go through an affidavit process:
      • First, you will sign an oath, saying that you do not have an ID on you.
      • Next, a precinct board member will ask you a few questions in person to verify some information.
      • Finally, you will be given a typical ballot and it WILL be counted as part of the voting totals.
    • Pollworkers are uncertain: Affidavit followed by provisional ballot: If your name does not appear on the registration list or if the poll workers have suspicion about whether you are:
      1. 18 years old,
      2. a citizen,
      3. a true resident of the city/township or (4)
      4. whether you registered before the deadline,

      Then you will go through the affidavit process. You will be asked questions specific to the uncertain info and will be issued a provisional ballot instead of a typical ballot.

      Your provisional ballot status only matters if it is “challenged,” which may happen if the precinct board member is still unsure about the verification of your information. This will go through a court process, post-election.

Trans* Tips for Feeling Good at the Polls

Modified from the National Transgender Center for Equality’s “Overcoming Voting Obstacles”

Remember – it is your right to vote.

If you registered to vote and you show up to vote, you vote. Period.

What you should have with you just in case:

  • If you have legally changed your name and you did not re-register under your new legal bring the following items with you to the polls:
    • The copies of the court paperwork you had to go through
    • Or some older photo IDs or physicians’ letters if you don’t have that paperwork
    • If you don’t have any of these items or don’t want to bring these items but you are on the registration lists, ask to go through the affidavit process. If you’re not on the registration list, ask for a provisional (see Ways to Vote for more info) Please also call the Our Vote hotline (866-687-8683) to report and for further assistance.
  • If you have not gotten a legal gender marker change on your photo ID and/or your photo does not ‘match’ the presentation of your gender that day, and you’re nervous about poll workers challenging your identity, you should bring:
    • Copies of older photo IDs
    • Physicians’ letters
    • Any other documents that prove you are who you are
      • Follow the same starred procedure above if you are still questioned or if you don’t have these items
  • Bring a voting buddy! Be it a fellow trans*friend, a family member or someone else who makes you feel comfortable, bring them with you to the polling location. You are legally allowed to have someone assist you in the polling both if:
    • You have a disability
    • You are unable to read or write (make sure the other person is a registered voter too!).
    • Language barriers exist

The trans* community has always been integral to positive social change, despite receiving little recognition for hard-fought efforts. We need to be involved and visible in the conversation around voting and civic engagement, so that we can hold our politicians accountable to our community. Voting is a way we build our power as a community, a way to start making change so that we finally see our values and our needs highlighted by those representing us.

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