Equality Michigan Announces Staff Changes

DETROIT – Equality Michigan announces the appointment of Emily Dievendorf to lead the organization as its executive director. Having previously served as policy director and then managing director, Dievendorf has been with Equality Michigan since 2010. She will continue to lead the organization through its efforts to end LGBT workplace discrimination in Michigan and bring marriage equality to LGBT families in Michigan.

Equality Michigan, the statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization serving Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV communities, supports victims of anti-LGBT or anti-HIV related harassment, discrimination, or violence and is the primary LGBT lobbying organization. The organization has been serving Michigan’s LGBT and HIV communities for over twenty years.

Prior to joining Equality Michigan, Dievendorf worked in the Michigan House of Representatives for Democratic state legislators Alexander C. Lipsey of Kalamazoo and Andy Coulouris of Saginaw. She served as Chief of Staff to Rep Coulouris, the Chair of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services. She has since been active in numerous progressive issues since her youth, particularly LGBT equality, race relations and equality, women’s rights, and HIV/AIDS. Dievendorf is a graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University.

“Equality Michigan’s Board of Trustees is excited to have Emily as Executive Director. She understands the movement, the state legislature, and the needs of Michigan’s LGBT and HIV positive communities. With her experience, we will be able to develop support to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to provide protections for the LGBT communities as well as craft a successful strategy for our marriage equality efforts,” said David Wait, chair of Equality Michigan’s Board of Trustees.

Dievendorf commented, “It is humbling to be at the reins of such a prestigious organization. The team at Equality Michigan is impressive and dedicated, and I know that working together with Michigan’s LGBT communities, we will continue to accomplish amazing things. I look forward to continuing to develop the important partnerships we have around the country and working to bring our communities closer to equality. Our focus under my leadership remains to coordinate a more efficient, strategic and organized movement that is committed to achieving wins for LGBT people that sustain while serving as a proactive force for change in Michigan politics and treating the symptoms of the disease that is discrimination through a radically intentional victim services program.”

The organization also announces the arrival of Bryan Victor, who joined the organization in late January as victim advocate after the departure of Sara Spurgeon from the position. Victor has been active in the areas of LGBTQ health, HIV/AIDS and anti-violence work for many years. He previously served as a survivor advocate with the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Project in Boston, and as a group facilitator in the batterer intervention program with Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County. He comes to Equality Michigan from the Horizons Project at Wayne State University where he worked as part of a research team investigating innovations in HIV prevention for young transwomen and gay men. He is a graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

Victor remarked, “It’s an honor to be working at Equality Michigan. I look forward to serving survivors of violence and advocating for structural changes that will prevent discrimination and violence from occurring in the first place.”

Dievendorf added, “Equality Michigan is incredibly fortunate to have the talent and experience that Bryan brings to our team. In his first few weeks, I have already seen his passion for helping victims and dedication to making our victim services the best in the state. Bryan’s expansive knowledge is clearly going to be an asset in our advocacy work for all victims of discrimination but will be especially valuable as Equality Michigan continues to engage more aggressively in the fight against HIV and for the livelihood of HIV positive Michigan citizens.”

Via press release