Leon Smith

Leon Smith pic

August 7, 1952 – January 12, 2012

Detroiter Leon Smith attended Murray-Smith High School and became active in the local LGBT community in the 1980s.  He helped launch the Men of Color Motivational Group, was one of the original organizers of the Hotter Than July pride celebration, and took part in a support group for HIV+ men sponsored by what was then known as Kick!.

Between The Lines, January 26, 2012

Sabra Fischer

Sabra Fischer pic

August 11, 1938 – October 16, 2012

Sabra Fischer grew up in Glencoe, Illinois and attended Ohio Wesleyan University.  She later earned her M.S.W. from Wayne State University in Detroit, owned a private practice in social work and later massage therapy, and raised two children in Harper Woods.  She and her partner Sue Grywalski moved to Lexington along Lake Huron in 1994.

Port Huron Times Herald, October 17, 2012

Pomeroy Funeral Home memorial

Mary Ellen Raleigh

Mary Ellen Raleigh pic

June 2, 1940 – January 29, 2012

A graduate of Mott Community College and the University of Michigan, Mary Ellen Raleigh taught English and business writing at UM-Flint from 1975 to 1995.  She served on the campus Task Force on Sexual Orientation, played competitive Scrabble, and authored a longtime column for East Village Magazine.

Flint Journal, January 31, 2012

Nita Hardie

Nita Hardie pic

July 8, 1929 – September 23, 2012

A native of Breckinridge, Texas, Nita Hardie served as political science professor from 1964 to 1992 at Western Michigan University.  There, she inaugurated courses on race and gender, established the Women’s Studies Program.  Hardie was also a founding member of the Michigan Democratic Party Women’s Caucus.

Kalamazoo Gazette, October 14, 2012

Coko Williams

Coko Williams pic

October 1, 1976 – April 3, 2012

Coko Williams, a 35-year-old transgender woman who sometimes worked as a hairstylist, was found shot to death in Detroit’s Palmer Park neighborhood.  After Fox 2 Detroit identified her as a “male prostitute” in its report of the crime, activists launched a protest against the station for being transphobic.  There was also no evidence that Williams engaged in sex work.

Between The Lines, April 5, 2012

Dimitrez Griffin

Dimitrez Griffin pic

March 23, 1975 – March 28, 2012

Detroiter Dimitrez Griffin was active in such groups as the Horizon Project, Mpowerment Detroit, and the Black Male Xchange.  As an HIV+ man, he advocated on behalf of other men who had sex with men.  Griffin was found murdered in his apartment at age 37.

Between The Lines, April 5, 2012

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller pic

June 18, 1962 – July 12, 2012

A native of Flint, Kelly Miller moved to Kalamazoo in 1998 and worked with State Farm Insurance.  As a tireless “PFLAG mom,” she volunteered for various local LGBT causes, including the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, the annual Pride celebration, and an anti-bullying campaign through her job.

Between The Lines, July 26, 2012