Olga Madar

olga-madar-pic

May 17, 1915 – May 16, 1996

The daughter of a coal miner, Olga Madar earned a degree in physical education from Eastern Michigan University and rose to become the first woman on the board of the United Auto Workers in 1966 and an international vice president of the union in 1970.  Madar resided in Detroit’s Indian Village.

New York Times, May 18, 1996

Nancy Gardner

nancy-gardner-pic

September 8, 1955 – October 2, 2014

Lansing resident Nancy Gardner worked as a computer analyst and volunteered with Capital Area Literacy, Haven House, and Edgewood United Church of Christ.  She and her spouse Julia Grant were one of more than 300 Michigan same-sex couples to wed on June 21, 2014, the day after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional.

Lansing State Journal, October 5, 2014

Christopher Flynn

christopher-flynn-pic

April 29, 1931 – October 29, 1990

A onetime executive assistant with the Joffrey Ballet, Christopher Flynn operated a private dance studio in Rochester in the early 1970s and introduced his student and future superstar Madonna to gay nightlife at Menjo’s.  In 1977, Flynn served as a founding officer of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.

Cruise, November 7, 1990

Ten Percent, January 1-14, 1991

Biejay Brewitt

biejay-brewitt-pic

September 16, 1942 – June 18, 1993

Raised in Tacoma, Washington, Barry Joseph “Biejay” Brewitt served in the Army Medical Corps, attended the University of Detroit and Wayne State University, and worked for Westin Hotels.  He was a founder and longtime officer in the early Detroit leather group Tribe.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 50.

Tacoma News Tribune, July 1, 1993

Ashton O’Hara

ashton-ohara-pic

March 1, 1990 – Body found July 14, 2015

Detroiter Ashton O’Hara, also known as Jessica Storm, identified as trans and genderfluid, loved to dance, and enjoyed styling hair.  The 25-year-old’s death in July 2015 marked the 14th murder of a transgender person in the U.S. that year.

Between The Lines, August 20, 2015