April 29, 1930 – January 1, 2022
Denison University graduate James Willis Toy moved to Detroit in the late 1950s to become a church organist. In 1970, he helped co-found the Detroit Gay Liberation Front and the Ann Arbor GLF. A year and a half later co-founded the Human Sexuality Office at the University of Michigan, where he earned his MSW in 1981. Toy’s activism and achievements for Michigan’s LGBTQ community are unparalleled.
Between The Lines, January 13, 2022
James W. Toy papers at the Bentley Historical Library
November 15, 1953 – October 24, 1991
Dale Allen Cramton grew up in Jackson and graduated from Parkside High School. As a first-year college student, he was founder of the Gay Liberation Front at Central Michigan University in September 1971. Cramton later moved to Los Angeles where he made a life for himself as an artist. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 37.
Jackson Citizen-Patriot, October 26, 1991
June 1, 1950 – May 11, 2007
A founding member of the Detroit Gay Liberation Front, Vaughn Perry Grubbs was born in Detroit, attended Redford High School, and completed two years at Wayne State University. Grubbs was later employed as regional manager for a rental car agency. His life partner Marque Sime preceded him in death by two weeks.
Detroit Free Press, May 11, 2007
October 10, 1953 – October 8, 1978
Born in Battle Creek, John Wayne Schallberg attended Climax-Scotts High School, graduated from American Beauty College, and operated the Masquerade Shop in Climax. He was a participant in the Kalamazoo Gay Liberation Front and, as Nadine, was one of several drag queens who rode the hood of a Ford in Detroit’s first pride parade in 1972. Schallberg took his own life just before his 25th birthday.
Kalamazoo Gazette, October 10, 1978
December 8, 1940 – December 3, 1986
Originally from Minneapolis-St. Paul, David Sindt earned degrees in horticulture and divinity before earning his Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan in 1971. During his studies at UM, he examined the recently formed Detroit Gay Liberation Front. After moving to Chicago, Sindt founded Presbyterians for Gay/Lesbian Concerns. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 46.
David Sindt Profile at LGBTQ Religious Archives Network
David Sindt Papers at the Presbyterian Historical Society
May 3, 1948 – November 5, 2019
Grosse Pointe Park resident Stuart George Itzkowitz moved Detroit in 1974 after earning his Masters at the University of Michigan. He became active with the Wayne State University GLF, was a founder of MOHR, and served on the board of Wellness Networks. He went on to get his Ph.D. from Wayne State, where he later taught. Itzkowitz was preceded in death by his husband and partner of 38 years Larry Zimmerman.
Between The Lines, November 21, 2019
December 19, 1952 – April 27, 2017
Detroit native Peter Cooper, Cody High School class of 1971, worked for National City Bank for 20 years and for a decade was employed with AIDS Partnership Michigan. While in college in the early 1970s, he became involved in the Wayne State Gay Liberation Front. He was subsequently active in MCC Detroit, ASP, Simcha, and Affirmations. Cooper was survived by his partner of 12 years Jonathan Quirk.
Between The Lines, May 4, 2017
August 7, 1947 – February 3, 2002
Originally from Waterford, Harry “Kitty” Kevorkian became involved in the Gay Liberation Front in Ann Arbor during in the early 1970s. He, took part in numerous protests, once crashing an event donned in skag drag at the home of the president of the University of Michigan. Kevorkian was a candidate for the city’s mayor in 1974 and later headed the bus union during a 42-day walkout.
Between The Lines, February 21, 2002