Rachel Crandall-Crocker recognized as Pride Month Game Changers honoree

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — After hiding her true self for decades, Rachel Crandall-Crocker came out as transgender in 1997.

But the hardest part of her transition, according to Crandall-Crocker, was what happened next.

“I was all alone,” Crandall-Crocker said. “I was fired and lost my marriage. I didn’t have any money. I found the cheapest one-bedroom apartment I could find, then rented out the room and slept on the couch.”

Motivated to ensure other transgender individuals do not “go through” what she did, Crandall-Crocker and Susan Crocker, her now-wife, established Transgender Michigan (TGMI).

TGMI started as the first transgender help line in the United States, then expanded into an online clearinghouse for transgender information and events in Michigan. Fast forward to the present day, TGMI is a nonprofit organization that provides numerous services and programs across the state.

The Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and Comerica Bank continue to celebrate Pride Month throughout June by recognizing Crandall-Crocker as the next Game Changers honoree.

“As a recognized leader in advocacy and support on the local, state and national level, we’re pleased to celebrate Rachel Crandall-Crocker as a Game Changers honoree,” said Kevin Brown, director of community impact for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “Rachel’s work to establish the nation’s first help line to support the transgender community, along with a regular cadence of other resources, is helping create a safe space for all.”

Since its inception, TGMI has educated Michiganders about gender identity and expression. The nonprofit has chapters and affiliates across the state that utilize support groups as well as social clubs to connect local transgender individuals.

As co-founder and executive director of TGMI, Crandall-Crocker said advocating for equality and inclusion for the LGTBQ+ community is very important.

“I once got a call from someone who was thanking me,” Crandall-Crocker said. “I asked this person, ‘Why did you call the helpline?’ The person answered, ‘I called because I just wanted to know that you were there.’”

Crandall-Crocker said she is grateful to receive recognition for her work. Additionally, she believes the Game Changers platform will help raise awareness of TGMI.

“I was really flattered,” Crandall-Crocker said about being named a Game Changers honoree. “It makes me understand that people are aware of everything. Sometimes it can be lonely, so just being nominated helps me understand that people do notice.”

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