James Dressel

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October 14, 1943 – March 27, 1992

James Dressel flew combat missions for the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War before being elected from Holland to the Michigan Legislature, a seat he lost due to sponsoring a bill to include sexual orientation under the state’s civil rights protections.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 48.

Michigan Tribune, April 1992

A Different Angle: Jim Dressel

James K. Dressel papers at the Bentley Historical Library

Bella Bruinekool

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November 3, 1999 – May 19, 2013

Weeks after posting a YouTube video describing herself as a lesbian, eighth-grader Isabella “Bella” Bruinekool took her own life.  An honor roll student at Milwood Magnet School in Kalamazoo, she enjoyed reading, skateboarding, photography, baking, and her friends.

Between The Lines, June 6, 2013