Michigan leaders push to protect LGBTQ+ community: ‘We are asking for equality’

Leaders say more must be done to protect LGBTQ+ community

They say it’s an issue that doesn’t get close to enough attention.

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Michigan political leaders, police, and prosecutors are speaking out and pushing for change to protect the LGBTQ+ community.

They say more must be done to protect the community, especially trans women of color.

Jeynce Poindexter is a case manager at the Ruth Ellis Center, a safe space for young people who identify as LGBTQ+.

“We have girls that we employ, that look up to us, that want to know how to make it, that want to see a tomorrow,” Poindexter said.

Transgender women of color are especially vulnerable. Harassed, threatened and killed -- simply for being themselves.

“It’s really unnerving, it’s bone-chilling actually because it continues to happen,” Poindexter said.

Detroit police, local prosecutors, and state senators want to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect gender identity and sexual orientation.

“We went from all Democrats to a republican,” Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) said.

“Now that we’re introducing this to extend further into hate crimes, it used to be a democratic issue, public polling is on our side,” Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield)

After several transgender women of color were murdered within a mile or two of this haven, advocates say Lansing needs to act.

“Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later but it is about the pressure that comes from legislators having to constantly say why they do and don’t support this,” Hollier said.

“If we don’t have leaders and people who are willing to stand up and say,’ We know this is wrong and as long as it takes we’ll continue to push against it,’ If we don’t do that, who’s to fight?” Jeynce said.

Read: Hear from trans women of color who are working to help others in Metro Detroit

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.