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
July 23, 1945 – May 7, 1987
Before moving to Houston in the late 1970s, Patrick McGee taught school by day and at night performed in various Detroit gay nightclubs as the drag sensation Trisha Trash. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
This Week in Texas, May 15-21, 1987
March 17, 1924 – June 11, 2010
Retired school teacher Jean Ross in 1981 founded the Lansing chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She was also active in the Lansing Association for Human Rights and the Lansing Area AIDS Network.
Between The Lines, June 24, 2010
May 11, 1955 – September 14, 2016
Larry Zimmerman worked as a real estate agent and was a founding member in 1980 of the Motor City Business Forum. He later served as dean at Macomb Community College.
Detroit Free Press, September 16, 2016
April 7, 1931 – February 26, 2010
Ron Worsley taught theater at Wayne State University and Henry Ford Community College. He also produced salacious musicals for the annual “Do a Fool” weekend held by the leather group Tribe.
Between The Lines, March 18, 2010
March 17, 1954 – October 27, 1986
New Jersey native Susan Green worked as a field organizer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights from 1983 to 1985 before moving to Madison, Wisconsin.
Cruise, November 12, 1986
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