John Ferman

John Ferman pic

July 6, 1950 – May 1, 1995

John Barry Ferman attended Davison High School and worked as a go-go dancer in Detroit gay bars during the 1970s.  While pursuing a degree in psychology, he founded the first gay student organization at the University of Michigan-Flint.  A longtime Flint resident, Ferman spent his last years in Key West, Florida.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.

Flint Journal, May 4, 1995

John Pierre Adams

John Pierre Adams pic 2

July 28, 1921 – January 9, 1994

Born in Detroit, John Pierre Adams served in the U.S. Army during World War II and, while living in New York City following his tour of duty, performed with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company.  He returned to Detroit in the 1950s and worked as a shipping clerk for an equipment company.  In the 1970s, Adams led the local gay organization ONE in Detroit as its president for three years.

No known obituary

Malcolm Boyd

Malcolm Boyd pic

June 8, 1923 – February 27, 2015

Nationally renowned Episcopal priest, civil rights activist, and author Rev. Malcolm Boyd made headlines in the mid-1970s when he came out as gay.  During the early 1960s, he served as chaplain at Wayne State University in Detroit.  His many books included Take Off the Masks and Gay Priest: An Inner Journey.  Boyd was survived by his husband Mark Thompson.

New York Times, March 2, 2015

Between The Lines, March 12, 2015

Malcolm Boyd Papers at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center

Diana Artz-Iffland

Diana Artz-Iffland pic

September 23, 1948 – August 7, 2012

Kalamazoo nutritionist Diana Zhenhua Artz-Iffland earned her B.S. from Western Michigan University and her M.S. from Michigan State University.  She was a longtime member of the People’s Church and, with her life partner River Artz-Iffland, was active in the pioneering local lesbian organization Lavender Morning.  For 18 years the couple operated Pandora’s Books for Open Minds.

LifeStoryNet

Jack Birkinsha

January 22, 1940 – December 18, 2001

Jack Birkinsha of Byron Center was a Kansas native, earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and retired from the Great American Life Insurance Company.  As an attorney in Detroit in the late 1970s, Birkinsha served as a trustee for the monthly paper Metro Gay News and, as a member of the Committee for Gay Rights, helped push for the city’s Omnibus Human Rights Ordinance.

St. Joseph News-Press, December 25, 2001

Diane Boulais

Diane Boulais pic

August 1, 1952 – August 3, 2019

Originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Diane Boulais resided in Ludington with her wife Ann Schrader, who she met in 2001 while attending People’s Church.  Her worked variously as a surgical technician, an organic farmer, and a dune buggy tour guide.  Boulais also volunteered with West Michigan Community Mental Health, speaking against stigma and lobbying the Michigan legislature and the U.S. Congress.

Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service

John Monahan

John Monahan pic

May 10, 1945 – January 1, 2002

Colorado native and longtime Saginaw resident John Michael Monahan worked as a rehabilitation therapist.  During the 1980s, he became active in the Michigan Organization for Human Rights and in 1990 co-founded the Triangle Foundation and served as its president.  Following a heart transplant in 1993, Monahan moved to Detroit to engage in activism full time.

Between The Lines, January 10, 2002

Saginaw News, January 16, 2002