October 27, 1961 – May 21, 2005
Known in Detroit’s gay community as Tommy K, Thomas Patrick Kyewski attended Hamtramck High School. At various local nightspots in the 1980s and ‘90s, he did go-go dancing and performed as Tina Wells, and held the distinction of winning both the Miss Gay Detroit and Mr. Gay Detroit competitions. Kyewski also won female impersonation titles at Gigi’s, the Gold Coast, Club Incognito, and Footlights.
Our Community Roots
November 21, 1967 – October 10, 1994
Born in Lincoln Park, Darin Travis Huff graduated with the class of 1986 from John F. Kennedy High School in Taylor and performed with the Taylor Ballet Company. Huff came out at age 16 and for many years worked as a go-go dancer at the Gold Coast, was active in the Performer’s Awards of Detroit, and was also a Mr. Gas Station titleholder. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 26.
No known obituary
March 24, 1965 – November 21, 1995
Warren resident Charles Petty grew up around Waterford and Pontiac and graduated with the class of 1983 from Lake Orion High School. He was a bartender at the Woodward and the Other Side, as well as a dancer at the Gold Coast. Petty later handled maintenance at the TNT Health Club and his lover was Danny Potter. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 30
Cruise, December 13, 1995.
August 6, 1940 – December 29, 1990
Bruce Dettloff started his gay bar career as a waiter at the Conquest Lounge in Detroit, rising to the position of manager and rechristening it Blue Boy. In 1975, he opened the Gold Coast Saloon and later operated Applause. He also helped establish the BTI Bowling League and was co-founder of the Detroit Bar Guild. Dettloff was shot and killed at his home at age 50.
Cruise, January 9, 1991
Ten Percent, January 15-28, 1991
January 22, 1943 – June 23, 2005
Erroll Wayne Hert took his mother’s name Vaunda for his stage name, wowing audiences as the renowned Vaunda Lee at Menjo’s, the Gold Coast, Triple XXX, and other Detroit bars in the 1970s and 1980s. He won the Camp Prize from the Performer Awards of Detroit in 1982. Hert resided in his hometown of Bedford, Indiana at the time of his death.
Our Community Roots
May 29, 1963 – February 2, 1995
Hamtramck resident George Benjey was born in Detroit, grew up Downriver, and graduated from Woodhaven High School in 1981. A longtime member of Metro Detroit’s LGBTQ community, Benjey worked at the Gold Coast Saloon, Backstage, and Tiffany’s.
Cruise, February 8, 1995
Metra, February 15, 1995
April 15, 1948 – September 18, 2010
Longtime Utica resident Dennis Ashby worked as a waiter and bartender at various Detroit bars from 1968 until his death in 2010, including Eddy’s, Morey’s, the Adobe, Todd’s, and the Gold Coast.
OutPost, September 29, 2010