July 29, 1912 – March 1, 1976
For more than three decades, Danny Brown directed the Jewel Box Revue. Prior to establishing the famed touring company, Brown emceed female impersonation shows at the Club Frontenac in Detroit during the pansy craze of the 1930s.
Drag, volume 6, number 21, 1976
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
August 15, 1926 – January 8, 2003
Delores “Dee” Sweet operated D’s Lounge in Mount Clemens during the 1970s and ’80s, at the time the only gay bar in operation in Macomb County.
No known obituary.
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
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
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
December 4, 1945 – January 11, 2016
A founder in 1979 of the Lansing Association for Human Rights, William Beachler later helped establish the Pride Scholarship for LGBT students at his alma mater Michigan State University.
Between The Lines, January 21, 2016
Remembering William Beachler
Bill Beachler papers at Michigan State University