January 9, 1956 – March 1, 2003
Detroit native Veronica Perryman Mitchell attended Mumford High School. In a 1995 Detroit Free Press feature, she revealed how HIV helped her turn from a life of addiction. Among her achievements, Mitchell served as AIDS ombudsperson for the City of Detroit, began a women with AIDS support group in C-HAG, and sat on the board of Men of Color. She died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.
Detroit Free Press, March 6, 2003
Between The Lines, March 13, 2003
July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009
Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham. She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender. Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.
Detroit News, January 28, 2009
June 9, 1962 – June 29, 2016
Redford pharmacist Darnell Demorris Jones was as an advocate and activist for transgender people in transition. He served as vice president of the Gender Identity Network Alliance and co-founded the group Transcend the Binary. For his outreach work, Jones received the Outstanding Ally Award from Affirmations in 2014.
Oakland County Times, June 30, 2016
September 10, 1925 – December 20, 2014
Longtime Farmington Hills psychologist Howard Norton Baver began his career in Hartford, Connecticut before moving to Metro Detroit. As a straight therapist with a number of gay and bisexual clients, he founded The Gay Connection as a monthly discussion group in 1985 when many of them told him the only places they would meet were gay bars. Haver was also a key supporter of the Jewish Gay Network.
Between The Lines, January 8, 2015
March 19, 1954 – January 29, 2014
Longtime HIV and AIDS educator and advocate Kaye Lourena McDuffie served as communicable disease coordinator and intervention prevention specialist for the Lansing Area AIDS Network. Born in Ferndale, she graduated from Cass Tech in Detroit before attending Lansing Community College and Michigan State University. A devoted wife and mother, McDuffie was also active in local theater.
Between The Lines, February 6, 2014
LAHR newsletter, March 2014
Riley Funeral Home
November 28, 1931 – April 16, 2012
Dolores Jan Harris was active with the Genesee County chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Born in Lansing, she married in 1950, worked as a paraprofessional with Brandon Schools, served as a Girl Scout leader, and sang in the choir of Ortonville United Methodist Church.
Oakland Press, April 18, 2012
March 14, 1927 – August 23, 2013
A suburban housewife and mother, Virginia Dolores Szymanski inherited the Royal Show Bar from her step-father in the early 1960s. While she owned and operated the Detroit bar, it became a popular gathering place for black sissies, black gay men, and black drag queens.
A.H. Peters Funeral Home