Floyd Dunn

Floyd Dunn pic

March 5, 1951 – April 17, 1996

Native Detroiter Floyd Dunn was a playwright, civil rights activist, and leader in the 1980s of the Detroit Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays.  Dunn later served as the founding director of the Black AIDS non-profit organization Project Survival and advocated for the inclusion of men and women of color in clinical trials.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.

No known obituary

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

Robert Penick III

Robert Penick III pic

September 24, 1965 – May 23, 1992

Robert Edward Lee Penick III graduated with the class of 1983 from Cass Tech High School in Detroit.  He came out in the early 1980s on the dance floors of such gay nightclubs as Todd’s, Bookie’s, and the Famous Door.  At age 20, Penick moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

No known obituary

Carl Andrews

Carl Andrews pic

August 23, 1966 – December 18, 1993

Born in Detroit, Carl Vinson Andrews came out at age 13 and later worked in financial services for the State of Michigan and was active in the state employee labor union.  He served as secretary of Dignity-Integrity/Flint in the late 1980s and was involved the James Baldwin/Pat Parker Society in the early 1990s.  In 1991, Andrews was profiled in Outweek magazine.

No known obituary

John Pierre Adams

John Pierre Adams pic 2

July 28, 1921 – January 9, 1994

Born in Detroit, John Pierre Adams served in the U.S. Army during World War II and, while living in New York City following his tour of duty, performed with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company.  He returned to Detroit in the 1950s and worked as a shipping clerk for an equipment company.  In the 1970s, Adams led the local gay organization ONE in Detroit as its president for three years.

No known obituary

Columbus Howard

July 9. 1924 – February 19, 1999

Born in Detroit, Columbus Howard spent much of his life in Inkster and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  In 1958, while employed as a 33-year-old stockroom worker at Montgomery Ward in Dearborn, Howard was prosecuted for gross indecency after being caught with another man in Detroit’s Rouge Park.

No known obituary

Henry Bertschinger

October 2, 1910 – August 26, 1972

Henry Bernard Bertschinger was born in Detroit and later resided in Roseville and Mount Clemens.  Prior to World War II, he worked as a baker and in the late 1950s he held a factory job at Bundy Tubing in Warren.  In 1947, Bertschinger was arrested for accosting an undercover Detroit police officer.

No known obituary

Diane Bono

Diane Bono pic

July 19, 1941 – May 30, 2016

Taylor resident and Detroit native Diane Mary Bono graduated from Allen Park High School in 1959 and later worked as a cosmetology instructor.  From 1974 to 1979, along with her then-partner Donna Chartier and their friend June Reynolds, Bono operated the Casbah Lounge, the first lesbian-owned lesbian bar in Detroit.

No known obituary

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Sarah Edmonds pic

December 1841 – September 5, 1898

Born in Nova Scotia, Sarah Emma Edmonds began presenting herself as Frank Thompson at age 15.  Thompson moved to Flint in the 1860s and was considered “quite a lady’s man.”  After serving as a male nurse in Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry the Civil War, Edmonds resumed living as a woman.  Her memoir Nurse and Spy in the Union Army became a best seller.

No known obituary

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