Nikki Nicholas

Nikki Nicholas pic

October 1, 1983 – February 21, 2003

Southfield resident Nikki Nicholas, an entertainer in Detroit gay bars, was found slain at age 19 in what the Triangle Foundation identified as an anti-trans hate crime in an abandoned house in Green Oak Township.  The Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project held a candlelight vigil in her memory and the National Association for the Advancement of Transgender People later marched in Lansing in her honor.

Between The Lines, March 6, 2003

The Final Assault on Nikki

Valerie Connell

Valerie Connell pic

June 21, 1953 – November 20, 2008

St. Joseph native Valerie Jean Connell became a champion horse rider during her school years, taking part in multiple horse associations and winning prizes at the Michigan State Fair.  After graduating from Edwardsburg High in 1971, she joined the U.S. Army, later earned her B.S. and M.S., and went on to teach social studies in Florida.  Connell was survived by her partner Lenora Ledwon.

Miami Herald, November 23, 2008

Harold “Buddy” Bigham

Harold Bigham pic

August 17, 1915 – December 27, 1977

Harold James “Buddy” Bigham grew up in Royal Oak and had a long career as a photographer in the research department of General Motors.  A homeowner in Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, Bigham was a familiar patron for many years at the Diplomat, Bookie’s Club 870, and other local gay bars.

Detroit Free Press, December 28, 1977

Thomas Kyewski

Tommy Kyewski pic

October 27, 1961 – May 21, 2005

Known in Detroit’s gay community as Tommy K, Thomas Patrick Kyewski attended Hamtramck High School.  At various local nightspots in the 1980s and ‘90s, he did go-go dancing and performed as Tina Wells, and held the distinction of winning both the Miss Gay Detroit and Mr. Gay Detroit competitions.  Kyewski also won female impersonation titles at Gigi’s, the Gold Coast, Club Incognito, and Footlights.

Our Community Roots

Florence Hunn

Florence Hunn pic

August 24, 1887 – March 24, 1984

Noted interior designer and architect Florence Ely Hunn, known to friends as Dannie, grew up in Iowa and was educated in Germany and at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.  Around 1917, Hunn and her life-long companion Mabel “Jims” Warren acquired a lakeshore cottage near Saugatuck, where they shared a bohemian life together for more than five decades.

Grand Rapids Press, March 25, 1984

Holland Sentinell, March 26, 1984

Florence “Dannie” Ely Hunn at Saugatuck-Douglas History Center

Chester Kallman

Chester Kallman pic

January 7, 1921 – January 18, 1975

Brooklyn-bred Chester Simon Kallman was a librettis, poet, and longtime companion to poet W.H. Auden.  Kallman pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan and while in Ann Arbor he and his roommate Strowan Robertson were the nuclei of a gay social circle.  He went on to write three volumes of poetry and authored or co-authored librettos for several operas.

New York Times, January 19, 1975

Phyllis Glanz

Phyllis Glanz pic

April 24, 1949 – October 19, 2019

Phyllis Terry Glanz was born in Detroit, was a member of the Southfield High School class of 1967, and earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1971.  She later moved to New York and traveled the world in a global career in shipping and sales.  Glanz and her life partner of 25 years Sara Mayes were married in 2013.

Detroit Free Press, October 20, 2019

Frederick Lake

Frederick Lake pic

May 13, 1930 – June 28, 2002

Born in Kalamazoo, Frederick Allen Lake graduated with the high school class of 1949 from Bay City Central.  We went on to apprenticed in the craft of organ building in Hamburg, Germany and was employed by pipe organ firms in Saginaw and Illinois before moving to San Francisco to work as a voicer for Schoenstein & Company.  Lake corresponded with ONE magazine from Bay City in the mid-1960s.

The Diapason, February 12, 2003

Maureen Dorrington

Maureen Dorrington pic

December 20, 1960 – July 19, 2002

A graduate of Groves High School in Birmingham and Eastern Michigan University, Maureen Elaine Dorrington of Beverly Hills performed was a noted actress on Detroit area stages.  Her work included roles in two gay-themed productions of the Jewish Ensemble Theater, Torch Song Trilogy in 1996 and The Laramie Project in the 2001-2002 season, for which she was nominated for a Wilde Award.

Between The Lines, August 8, 2002

Danny Lightcap

Danny Lightcap pic

April 3, 1962 – October 19, 1989

Daniel Patrick “Danny” Lightcap was born in Pontiac and was active in the drama club at Pontiac Northern High School, where he graduated with the class of 1980.  Lightcap worked a waiter at the Woodward Lounge in Detroit and at the time of his passing was pursuing a B.A. in creative writing at Wayne State.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 27.

Cruise, October 25, 1989