2022 40 Under 40 award recipient: Doug Booth

Doug Booth, 34


Health Net of West Michigan

Doug Booth likes to be involved. He likes to get others involved, too.

“My biggest influence is the child that I once was. I grew up a closeted gay boy in West Michigan. Everything I do, I think back to then and ask if I would feel safe with me now? I was scared and unsure of what life had in store for me. I think back to then because I know there are still kids in our area that may feel the same way now that I did then. That’s unacceptable for me, so I will always try and help and stay visible for the LGBTQ kids in our communities.”

Booth has enlisted more than 50 businesses and nonprofit organizations and 700 individuals calling for a ban on conversion therapy in Michigan.

“I have drafted a research paper so that data is front and center, rather than emotions. I am approaching this at the local level because the legislation isn’t moving at the state,” Booth said. “This is a lot of disruptive work because a lot of individuals and organizations in this area only like to say they stand by the LGBTQ community; they don’t actually like to act.”

Booth also is involved with the city’s inaugural steering committee for the participatory budgeting process.

“I was able to ensure that equity was built into the program and not as an afterthought when gaps became present. Ensuring equity is front and center has allowed us to be flexible and find the best way to move this program forward.”