Ken Collier

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January 9, 1949 – February 19, 1996

Known as the Godfather of House, legendary DJ Ken Collier spun music around Detroit for more than 30 years at such gay clubs as Bookie’s Club 870, Heaven, Todd’s, the Chessmate, and L’uomo.  His skill with the turntable inspired a new generation of DJs and helped put Detroit’s dance scene on the global musical map.

Metra, February 28, 1996

MetroTimes, May 15-21, 1996

Olga Madar

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May 17, 1915 – May 16, 1996

The daughter of a coal miner, Olga Madar earned a degree in physical education from Eastern Michigan University and rose to become the first woman on the board of the United Auto Workers in 1966 and an international vice president of the union in 1970.  Madar resided in Detroit’s Indian Village.

New York Times, May 18, 1996

Christopher Flynn

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April 29, 1931 – October 29, 1990

A onetime executive assistant with the Joffrey Ballet, Christopher Flynn operated a private dance studio in Rochester in the early 1970s and introduced his student and future superstar Madonna to gay nightlife at Menjo’s.  In 1977, Flynn served as a founding officer of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.

Cruise, November 7, 1990

Ten Percent, January 1-14, 1991

Biejay Brewitt

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September 16, 1942 – June 18, 1993

Raised in Tacoma, Washington, Barry Joseph “Biejay” Brewitt served in the Army Medical Corps, attended the University of Detroit and Wayne State University, and worked for Westin Hotels.  He was a founder and longtime officer in the early Detroit leather group Tribe.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 50.

Tacoma News Tribune, July 1, 1993

Ashton O’Hara

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March 1, 1990 – Body found July 14, 2015

Detroiter Ashton O’Hara, also known as Jessica Storm, identified as trans and genderfluid, loved to dance, and enjoyed styling hair.  The 25-year-old’s death in July 2015 marked the 14th murder of a transgender person in the U.S. that year.

Between The Lines, August 20, 2015