Homer Young-Kennedy III

Homer Young-Kennedy III pic

August 7, 1952 – September 1, 2004

While pursuing his first undergraduate degree at Oakland University, Detroit native Homer Young-Kennedy III served as arts editor for the student newspaper.  He went on to earn a B.A. in audiology and speech from Michigan State University and taught special education.  Young-Kennedy moved to New York City in 1980.

In Tribute: Homer Young-Kennedy III: 1952-2004

Colleen Regan

Colleen Regan pic

July 18, 1949 – August 9, 2006

Detroit native Colleen Annette Regan was valedictorian of the class of 1967 at McKenzie High School and went on to earn her B.A. and M.A. in education from the University of Maryland.  She left teaching to pursue a 20-year career as a Certified Public Accountant, retiring in 2003.  Regan and her partner Kathe Kirkbride resided in New Mexico.

Lesbian Connection, November/December 2006

John DeCecco

John DeCecco pic

April 18, 1925 – November 2, 2017

Erie, Pennsylvania native John DeCecco, a pioneering scholar of sexuality and longtime editor of the Journal of Homosexuality, taught at the University of Detroit from 1953 to 1955 and at Michigan State University from 1955 to 1960.  Turning his interests to psychology, he moved on to an esteemed career at San Francisco State University until his retirement in 2003.

Windy City Times, November 12, 2017

San Francisco Chronicle, April 26, 2018

John DeCecco papers at the GLBT Historical Society

Suzan Selewski

Suzan Selewski pic

August 17, 1959 – May 1, 2018

Suzan Ruth Selewski of Taylor graduated from Riverside High School in Dearborn Heights.  For 18 years she taught at Logan Elementary School in Detroit.  She retired in 2013, preceding a long battle with ovarian cancer.  Selewski was survived by her spouse and life partner of 23 years Julia Herod.

Detroit Free Press, May 5, 2018

Judy Freespirit

Judy Freespirit poc

April 3, 1936 – September 10, 2010

Born in Detroit, poet, activist, and educator Judy Freespirit studied drama and speech at Michigan State University.  After being heterosexually married, she came out in the feminist movement in California.  In 1973, Freespirit coauthored the Fat Liberation Manifesto and in 1978 helped defeat the Briggs’ Initiative.  Among her other publications was the 1982 chapbook Daddy’s Girl: An Incest Survivor’s Story.

The Reporter, December 2010

In Memory: Poet, Essayist, Activist Judy Freespirit

Judy Freespirit papers at the GLBT Historical Society

Chet Sampson

Chet Sampson pic

October 15, 1916 – October 2, 2010

Chester James “Chet” Sampson of Los Angeles was born in Hubbell and attended Michigan Tech before transferring to the University of Michigan.  During World War II he produced variety shows in the U.S. Navy.  He later taught high school in Grosse Pointe before opening his own travel agency.  In 1965, he founded ONE in Detroit, only the second formal homosexual organization in Michigan.

Grosse Pointe News, November 4, 2010

David Blair

David Blair pic 2

September 19, 1967 – July 23, 2011

David Blair, better known as Blair, was born in Newton, New Jersey and moved to Detroit in the 1990s.  He achieved national recognition as an openly queer socialist poet, artist, singer-song writer, and activist.  Blair also taught poetry to Detroit Public School students and at the Ruth Ellis Center.  Among his many achievements were a National Poetry Slam title and the BENT Writing Institute Mentor Award.

Between The Lines, July 28, 2011

Metro Times, August 3, 2011