Equality Michigan Hires New Transgender Victims’ Advocate

Jason A. Michael
By | 2016-09-08T09:00:00-04:00 September 8th, 2016|Michigan, News|

DETROIT – Jeynce Poindexter, known throughout metro Detroit’s LGBT community as Jeynce Mizrahi, has been hired as Equality Michigan’s first ever transgender victims’ advocate. Poindexter comes to EQMI after being active in the LGBT community for quite some time.
“I’ve had years of experience volunteering with Men of Color, the REC Boyz, the Ruth Ellis Center,” Poindexter said. “I’ve gone to sessions and workshops for youth and HIV prevention. Whatever it is that I could have done throughout the years I have done it. So I knew this new position wasn’t too far out of reach for me. It was already stuff that I was very familiiar with.”
In their statement on the hire, EQMI’s Director of Victim Services Amanda Kearns said the agency was thrilled to have Poindexter on board.
“Ms. Poindexter brings a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to our team,” said Kearns. “We are excited for her to provide even more culturally appropriate services to the trans community in Detroit and throughout Michigan.”
Kearns said EQMI is dedicated to taking on trans issues and making sure that segment of the LGBT community is represented.
“This hire and new position at EQMI is but one example of how transgender issues are a priority for the department and agency as we deepen our outreach to traditionally underserved populations within the LGBTQ community, particularly trans communities of color,” Kearns said.
For her part, Poindexter has been making a name for herself as of late in the trans community. She began holding community panel discussions this summer to address the needs of the trans community, how the community at large can be of help and how to bridge the gap in services that sometimes excludes trans men and women.
“I decided to try to and be proactive instead of just sitting back and pointing fingers,” said Poindexter. “I would rather try to identify the problems and see how things could be resolved … think of ways that we could bridge the gap and have conversations where there is a broad level of respect for everyone. The meetings have gone exceptionally well.”
Poindexter partnered with the Trans Sistas of Color Project to organize a picnic and memorial service in July for members of the trans community lost to violence. The event was called Remembering Our Fallen Angels.
“The picnic was to not only bring light to the violence against the trans community, but it was also to show a form of respect for any and every trans who has been a victim of violence in our community,” Poindexter said. “I knew some of the girls, a lot of them, and those that I didn’t know well I knew in passing. It gave me a greater sense of respect and responsibility to acknowledge them and acknowledge their lives and let their family and friends know that we did not forget them.”
It was at the picnic that Poindexter was approached by Serena Johnson, EQMI’s senior victims’ advocate, and asked to apply for the position.
“She pulled me to the side and told me that she was informed that she should meet me,” Poindexter recalled. “She had been told that I was doing good work in the community. Then she gave me her number and told me to follow up with her.”
Poindexter did. And after two interviews the position was hers. But before she took it, Poindexter said she had nearly as many questions for those interviewing her as they did for her.
“I had several really key questions that I took to the interview,” explained Poindexter. “I really was excited about their responses. They were questions pertaining to did they have any apprehension about working with a trans woman. I got really good responses and feedback from Michael [Gipson, deputy executive director], Amanda, Stephanie [White, executive director] and Serena about the broad scope the position entails and how I could go about doing it. I wanted to make sure I was going to be working in an environment that I would be comfortable in and that would allow me to thrive both personally and professionally.”
Indications are Poindexter will.
“Jeynce has contributed a lot to the ballroom community and I’m happy to see that she is stepping up as an advocate,” said Bre’ Campbell, executive director of the Trans Sistas of Color Project. “I’m really excited to see her growth not only in this position but as a leader in the community.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.