April 16, 1960 – January 4, 2018
Lesbian writer, filmmaker, and punk musician Rayya Mokdessy Elias was born in Syria, grew up in Metro Detroit, and graduated from Center Line High School. She moved to New York in the 1980s, returning intermittently to Michigan, living in Warren and Royal Oak. Elias directed the film shorts Anonymous and Lunchroom and authored the memoir Harley Loco. She was survived by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The Cut, January 5, 2018
The Alpha Wolf
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
December 7, 1960 – May 12, 2020
Originally from North Carolina, Redford resident and trailblazing activist Aimee Stephens was fired from her job as a funeral director in Garden City in 2013 when she revealed she was transgender and would be living as a woman. She filed suit against her employer but did not live to witness the Supreme Court decision that her firing violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Stephens was survived by her wife Donna.
New York Times, May 12, 2020
Between The Lines, May 18, 2020 [online only]
March 23, 1960 – March 8, 2020
Longtime African American LGBTQ activist and Chicago resident Marcus Zohntell Loveless graduated from Redford High School in 1978 and earned his Bachelor’s from Wayne State University. In 1988, he helped form the Michigan Lesbian/Gay Democratic Caucus. Loveless was later an instrumental force with the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and active in the founding of Affirmations.
Windy City Times, March 9, 2020
Hyde Park Herald, March 10, 2020
August 2, 1960 – February 11, 2019
James Osmond Brown II, known to customers and leather community members as Diamond Jim, grew up in Highland Park and graduated from Detroit’s Cass Tech High School. Over the years, he held such titles as Mr. R&R, Mr. Leather Detroit, and Mr. Michigan Leather and in 1994 helped form the Michigan International Gay Rodeo Association. From 2001 to 2010, Brown operated Diamond Jim’s Saloon.
Between The Lines, March 7, 2019
March 17, 1960 – November 18, 1993
Redford resident John Frush was one of nine children and was a familiar presence in Detroit’s gay bar scene. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 33.
Cruise, November 24, 1993
May 27, 1960 – December 31, 2005
Marcia Patrick grew up in Drayton Plains, graduated from the University of Michigan, and later worked as a paralegal for a Southfield law firm. Patrick and her partner Jan Pierce were longtime participants in Metro Detroit’s LGBTQ community, joining in Affirmations golf outings and supporting the Triangle Foundation.
Between The Lines, January 12, 2006
December 1, 1960 – December 4, 1994
Detroit native Roger Alan McKinney graduated from Fraser High School in 1979. McKinney bartended at the Back Pocket and the CCW in the early 1980s before moving to South Haven, where he worked as a nurse’s aide at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 34.
Cruise, December 14, 1994
August 18, 1960 – August 25, 1987
From Northbrook, Illinois, Scott Flack received his B.A. in political science from Michigan State University in 1982 and earned his law degree from Rutgers University Law School in Camden in 1985. He later worked as an AIDS lobbyist for a firm in Washington, DC. He died of complications from AIDS at age 27.
Washington Blade, October 28, 1987
February 8, 1960 – June 23, 2015
Rex Allen Weaver grew up in Lansing, where he became a regular in his late teens at Trammpps. After moving to Atlanta, he enjoyed a long career as a hair stylist, most recently at the DASS Salon and Spa.
In Loving Memory of Rex Weaver