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Andy Garcia, the director of Creating Change, said he wants members of the community to leave the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference “feeling like they understand what makes Detroit special.” And part of what makes Detroit special is the ecosystem of organizations, some of which are listed below, that work and support the LGBTQ community in the Motor City.
Corktown Health Center
Corktown Health Center is Michigan’s first and only health center to focus on the LGBTQ community. Not only does the health center provide comprehensive, culturally competent care, it helps train the next generation of physicians with its partnership with Wayne State University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine. Corktown Health Center is located at 1726 Howard St. in Detroit.
For more information, call 313-832-3300 or visit corktownhealth.org.
Equality Michigan is the state’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to advancing equality for LGBTQ Michiganders and their families. Our goal is to ensure that all LGBTQ Michiganders are afforded comprehensive protections from discrimination. In 2019, EQMI will work toward ending discrimination in housing, champion transgender equality, reach 25,000 voters and ban conversion therapy. The organization works simultaneously to educate the public and secure victories by lobbying the executive branch, the Michigan Legislature and local governments on issues like amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as policies that promote safe schools, equitable parenting and LGBTQ health and human services.
A workshop titled Around the State in 30 Days will be held on Friday, Jan. 25, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Greco room on the 4th floor of the Renaissance Center. The workshop will be facilitated by Serena Johnson, director of victim services, and Genny Maze, lead victim advocate. It will give an in-depth view of what it looks like to provide monthly victim services statewide in 30 days.
Equality Michigan is located at 19641 West 7 Mile Road in Detroit. For more information, call 313-537-7000 or visit equalitymi.org.
FtM Detroit is a community-based group made by and for transmasculine identified people in the greater Detroit and Southeast Michigan area. The group seeks to strengthen ties among transmasculine identified people in the area through social gatherings, discussion and support groups, and activism projects. The group’s aim is to promote positive visibility and presence of the transmasculine community, both within the queer community and in the greater Detroit area.
Learn more on Facebook at facebook.com/FtMDetroit/.
Founded over 20 years ago, this African-American-led LGBT campus has 6,000 square feet of space for administrative programming and events. It has become the “largest property of a black-owned LGBT center in North America,” said Curtis Lipscomb, LGBT Detroit’s executive director. LGBT Detroit collaborates with the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin schools of medicine to tackle issues like HIV, cancer and tobacco cessation. The organization operates the world’s second oldest black pride, Hotter Than July, celebrating its 24th anniversary this year. Inside LGBT Detroit’s #SafeBraveSpace is where social support is available and members of the community who are impacted by violence have access to free counseling.
“In many black and brown spaces, being an out LGBT person can be extremely harmful to those that disclose to family. Most African-Americans are social conservatives and still have little direct contact with people who identify as queer,” Lipscomb said. “In most of urban America, there isn’t an institution like ours that helps people who identify as queer. We are in a city with a high concentration of black and brown people. LGBT Detroit is another resource for people, particularly those interested in cultural competency.”
LGBT Detroit is located at 20025 Greenfield Road in Detroit. Call 313-397-2127 or visit lgbtdetroit.org for more information.
Ruth Ellis Center
According to the Center’s leadership, it’s hard to put into context the significance of a space like the Ruth Ellis Center unless members of the community see it for themselves. That’s why the agency, which provides trauma-informed services for homeless, runaway and at-risk LGBTQ youth and young adults of color has formalized a tour in collaboration with Creating Change organizers on Friday, Jan. 25, from 7:15 to 9 p.m. at the administrative offices of the Center located at 77 Victor St. in Highland Park.
REC has established itself in the Detroit community as a place that supports young people by allowing themselves to be who they are in an authentic way.
“Be open-minded and do not hesitate to ask questions of the staff who will be present,” said Mark Erwin-McCormick, director of development and advancement at REC. “Use this as an opportunity to learn from the experiences of staff members and what it means to create a safe space for LGBTQ young people.”
Beyond the tour, the REC staff has volunteered their time to ensure that there are safe spaces available in the form of hospitality suites during the Creating Change conference.
Spiritual Hospitality Suite: Hosted by Ryan Fielder, a manager in the REC Second Stories Drop-In Center and Emani Love, community activist and organizer.
Transgender and Gender Queer Hospitality Suite: Hosted by Brandi Smith, TransJustUs coordinator, and Jeynce Mizrahi Poindexter, trans victims advocate at Equality Michigan
Youth Hospitality Suite: Hosted by Sterling Clemmons, youth service manager at the REC Second Stories Drop-In Center.
A workshop titled Ruth Ellis Center: Embedded Activism will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. in the Ambassador Salon on the third floor of the Renaissance Center. The workshop will be facilitated by Jessie Fullenkamp, director of evaluation and education, and Angelika Lewis, evaluation and education coordinator.
More information is provided for guests in the Creating Change registration packets. REC will provide free shuttle service from the Marriott at the Renaissance Center in Detroit to the Center for the first 30 people interested. The Center recommends using Lyft otherwise. TD Auto Finance, longtime supporters of REC, will provide volunteers and refreshments during the tour.
Contact the Ruth Ellis Center at 313-252-1950 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trans Sistas of Color Project
The Trans Sistas of Color Project aims to uplift, influence and impact the lives and well-being of trans women of color in Metro Detroit. What separates this group from other local organizations is that it was founded in 2015 by and for the people it serves – trans women of color.
“The programming, the events, the work we do, the emergency assistance we provide, it’s all done by trans women of color,” said Jeynce Mizrahi Poindexter of TSOCP. “All of these things are intentional because trans women of color are the ones being killed in the streets, shunned from families and forced into sex work, and are continuously victimized by entities and agencies and members of the community. We are one of the most vulnerable populations that exists. It can be really difficult for trans women of color. It’s a constant fight and we know this as trans women of color helping to uplift and empower other trans women of color.”
As larger organizations locally and nationally deal with the political issues and the legal barriers, TSOCP handles day-to-day issues such as helping trans women of color pay bills, find housing, get medication and afford transportation in the Metro Detroit area.
Learn more on Facebook at facebook.com/TSCOPD/.