TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. July 11, 2023 — It was reported yesterday that Studio 8 Hair Lab, a salon in Traverse City in the 103rd House District, will refuse service to members of the LGBTQ+ community. In Facebook posts, the salon owner compared LGBTQ+ people to animals and pedophiles. She also referenced a hate crime bill that has been deeply mischaracterized online and by right-wing politicians and pundits. In response, state Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) issued the following statement:

“To compare our LGBTQ+ neighbors to animals and pedophiles is breathtaking hate and bigotry from a studio in my community. It is also dangerous because it dehumanizes fellow Michiganders at a time when violence against LGBTQ+ residents simply for who they are is already on the rise.

“Had this salon owner read the bill she references, she would have seen they in no way criminalize the use of wrong pronouns; the bill protects every Michigander from hate-based violence and ensures accountability and justice for all, while specifically exempting constitutionally protected speech.

“The statements posted online perpetuate hate that has no place in Traverse City or anywhere else in Michigan. I will continue doing everything in my power, at home and in the Capitol, to ensure the rights of all Michiganders are protected and upheld. It is all of our responsibility to ensure Michigan is a welcoming and safe place for everyone.”