Sylvia Robinson

Sylvia Robinson pic

October 28, 1941 – June 15, 2001

Sylvia Robinson moved to Detroit at age 10, attended Northwestern High School, and earned her MSW from Wayne State.  In 1977, she was appointed liaison to the gay community for the city’s Human Rights Department.  Robinson also co-founded the Detroit Coalition of Black Gays in 1979, served as education officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, and later attended Full Truth Fellowship Church.

No known obituary

Joseph Zendell

Joseph Zendell pic

October 10, 1949 – January 15, 1995

Joseph Mattingley Zendell coordinated programs for the Michigan Council for the Arts in Detroit from 1974 to 1981.  Active in the Association of Suburban People and the Motor City Business Forum, he also served as an early financial officer with the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  In 1982, Zendell moved to Illinois to lead the Evanston Arts Council.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.

Chicago Tribune, January 21, 1995

Stuart Itzkowitz

Stuart Itzkowitz pic

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

John Monahan

John Monahan pic

May 10, 1945 – January 1, 2002

Colorado native and longtime Saginaw resident John Michael Monahan worked as a rehabilitation therapist.  During the 1980s, he became active in the Michigan Organization for Human Rights and in 1990 co-founded the Triangle Foundation and served as its president.  Following a heart transplant in 1993, Monahan moved to Detroit to engage in activism full time.

Between The Lines, January 10, 2002

Saginaw News, January 16, 2002

Cappisene Ford

Cappisene Ford pic

January 11, 1953 – December 26, 1995

Cappisene Ford, known to most in the gay community as Ms. L.T.D. (for La Twiggy Darling), began to entertain in the 1970s at the Escape, My Fair Lady, and other Detroit bars.  She later went on to perform in Paris and Hong Kong.  From 1979 to 1980 she served as Records Officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.

No known obituary

Hal Lawson

Hal Lawson pic

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

Richard Villaire

Richard Villaire pic

May 8, 1948 – January 19, 1995

Ferndale resident and pioneering AIDS activist Richard William Villaire was born in Wyandotte and attended Roseville High School and Ferris State University before earning his B.A. in psychology at Eastern Michigan University.  He was an officer of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights and was a founder of Wellness Networks, Friends Alliance, and the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project.

Between The Lines, February 1995

Metra, February 15, 1995

Between The Lines, March 1995

Charles Tyson

Charles Tyson pic

April 12, 1944 – August 27, 1986

Charles Tyson served as vice president of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights in the mid-1980s.  He and his business partner Kathie Dannemiller formed the consulting firm Dannemiller Tyson Associates in Ann Arbor.  He was also active in the Human Rights Campaign Fund and the Republican Party.

Cruise, September 3, 1986

MOHR newsletter, October-November 1986

Henry Messer

Henry Messer pic

September 22, 1927 – February 18, 2014

From 1976 to 2014, Dearborn Heights neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Messer was a tireless advocate for gay rights in Michigan, active in the Association of Suburban People and the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  In 1991, Messer played an instrumental role in establishing the Triangle Foundation, which later became Equality Michigan.

Between The Lines, February 20, 2014

Bradley Grant

Bradley Grant pic

June 4, 1963 – July 19, 1993

Bradley Grant was a longtime member of the Detroit chapter of Black and White Men Together.  He served on the board of the Michigan Organization or Human Rights and was active with the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council.  He also performed as a female impersonator under the name Peaches la Fleur.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 30.

BWMT Detroit newsletter, August 1993