January 28, 1925 – June 21, 2003
Hal Lawson, a graduate of Wayne State University, was founding chair from 1958 to 1960 of the Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first known organization for homosexuals in Michigan. He was later involved in ONE in Detroit, the Association of Suburban People, the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, the Unitarian-Universalist Gay Caucus, and Dignity/Flint.
Between The Lines, July 17, 2003
April 9, 1959 – October 10, 2018
Known as “Auntie” to tribal youth in Michigan, Cindy Pigeon of Wayland led workshops on native culture and was active with the Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council and the Indian Workers Conference of the United Methodist Church. She was an avid sports enthusiast, kept score for Hopkins Public Schools, and pitched softball with the Salem Indian Mission team. She was survived by her wife Faith Pigeon.
Grand Rapids Press, October 14, 2018
March 23, 1932 – February 27, 2005
Marlene Kutz grew up in Dearborn and later resided in Livonia and Harrison Township. A subscriber to the Ladder in the early 1970s and supporter of the Forum Foundation in the 1990s, Kutz was also a sister in the Catholic Church.
Detroit News, March 1, 2005
November 7, 1948 – November 5, 2010
Mary Frances Crimmins of was born in Port Huron and graduated from Saints Peter & Paul High School in Saginaw. She pursued a lifelong career as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She volunteered with Edgewood UCC Health Ministry and the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Crimmins was survived by her life partner Carol Grayhawk.
Lansing State Journal, November 21, 2010
March 26, 1949 – August 5, 2005
Onetime Birmingham resident Daniel Lee Stoepker was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986. He was a church elder active in Presbyterians for Gay and Lesbian Concerns and served on the board of directors for AIDS Partnership Michigan. Stoepker was preceded in death by his partner Brad Kosko and survived by his daughter and son. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 56.
Between The Lines, August 11, 2005
December 9, 1954 – June 13, 1999
Raised in a military family, Rev. James Joseph Beates earned his theology degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He moved to Michigan from West Falls, New York and lived in Detroit and Garden City. Beates was the first openly gay pastor to serve in the Presbytery of Detroit and was active in Friends Alliance. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.
Detroit Free Press, June 16, 1999
Cruise, June 23, 1999
Between The Lines, June 24, 1999
May 13, 1947 – February 8, 1993
Detroit native and onetime seminary student James Earl Proffitt was an out real estate agent and for sixteen years was organist for Zion Lutheran Church in Ferndale. In the 1980s, he served as an officer of the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council and later worked for AIDS Care Connection. Proffitt fathered a daughter with lesbian friend J. Charlene Genther. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.
Detroit Free Press, February 10, 1993
Royal Oak Tribune, February 10, 1993
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
December 28, 1958 – January 3, 2012
Born in Pontiac, Mark George Bidwell earned his bachelor’s at Lawrence Technological University. He also attended SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and earned a master’s in pastoral ministry at the Samaritan Institute of Sunshine Cathedral. In 1989, Bidwell joined the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, rose to the position of deacon, and later served as senior pastor until his resignation in 2011.
Between The Lines, January 20, 2012
February 17, 1965 – May 17, 2010
Janine Denommé was born in Detroit and majored in religious studies at the University of Detroit Mercy. She later earned her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and served as director of youth programs at the Center on Halsted in Chicago. In April 2010, Denommé fulfilled a lifelong dream and was ordained by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests contrary to the Church’s ban on women priests.
Huffington Post, May 19, 2010
Detroit News, May 28, 2010
Elegy for Janine Denommé