Virginia Szymanski

Virginia Szymanski pic

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

William Karagas

William Karagas pic

May 10, 1919 – December 25, 1995

A native of Philadelphia, William Angel Karagas served as a warrant officer during World War II.  Beginning in 1954, he was the heterosexual owner of Detroit’s Woodward Lounge, which he operated for more than forty years with his brothers Sam and Andy.

Detroit Free Press, January 2, 1996

Joseph Covello

Joe Covello pic

September 20, 1920 – April 23, 2010

A 1939 graduate of Eastern High School in Lansing, Joseph Covello served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.  He operated Joe Covello’s as a mainstay in Lansing’s gay community from the early 1970s until it was closed for urban renewal in the early 1990s.  Covello was preceded in death by Helen, his wife of 63 years.

Lansing State Journal, April 25, 2010

Joseph Accardi

July 17, 1905 – December 11, 1980

Born in Italy, Joseph Accardi immigrated to the U.S., married in 1937, and worked as a storekeeper and an autoworker in Detroit before moving to Grand Rapids.  He owned and operated Papa Joe’s Show Bar from the late 1950s until his death.

Grand Rapids Press, December 13, 1980

Metra, December 18, 1980

Sandra Cole

Sandra Cole pic

September 17, 1937 – May 15, 2017

Noted sexologist Sandra Cole founded the Comprehensive Gender Identity Program at the University of Michigan in 1993 and served as its director until retiring in 2000.  She was also a longtime advocate for transgender legal and civil rights, and helped secure gender identity as a protected category in the UM bylaws and Ann Arbor’s human rights ordinance.

Ann Arbor News, June 23, 2017

Sandra S. Cole papers at the Bentley Historical Library

H. Coleman McGehee

Coleman McGehee pic

July 7, 1923 – March 14, 2013

The Rt. Rev. H. Coleman McGehee of Bloomfield Hills served as bishop the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan from 1973 to 1990.  A leading ally of the LGBTQ community for more than four decades, McGehee served on the Advisory Board for the Triangle Foundation and ordained some of the first openly gay priests in the Episcopal Church.

Between The Lines, March 21, 2013

Anthony Trupiano

Anthony Trupiano pic

March 3, 1961 – April 9, 2018

Athony Trupiano grew up in St. Clair Shores, graduated from Lakeland High School in White Lake in 1980, and later earned a degree in mass communications from Alma College.  A devoted Democrat, Trupiano hosted a progressive radio program for more than 20 years, often showcasing LGBTQ causes and featuring queer and transgender activists as guests.

Press & Guide, April 12, 2018