April 19, 1964 – March 23, 2020
Writer and artists Brent Dorian Carpenter was born in Detroit and graduated from Cass Tech in 1981. His entrée into Detroit’s African American LGBTQ community came in 2001 when he approached Hotter Than July planners to promote his first novel, Man of the Cloth. Carpenter became and AIDS activist and he worked as a reporter and regular columnist for Between The Lines before moving to Atlanta in 2006.
Between The Lines, April 16, 2020
July 27, 1944 – June 21, 2020
Dearborn Heights resident Joy Estelle Geng graduated from Plymouth High School, earned her MBA at Wayne State, and worked for Ford Motors from 1967 to 1997. Geng was an early board member of the Triangle Foundation, initially using Jay Grange to protect her job, and remained active with the organization after it became Equality Michigan. She was survived by her partner Maria Winiarski.
Between The Lines, July 9, 2020
April 24, 1928 – May 22, 2020
Jerry Abraham Moore grew up in Detroit, graduated from Redford High School, and attended Wayne State before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950. Following his military service he became immersed in Detroit’s gay bar scene and from 1958 to 1960 served as secretary of the short-lived Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first ever formal homosexual organization in Michigan.
Between The Lines [online only], June 12, 2020
October 1, 1983 – February 21, 2003
Southfield resident Nikki Nicholas, an entertainer in Detroit gay bars, was found slain at age 19 in what the Triangle Foundation identified as an anti-trans hate crime in an abandoned house in Green Oak Township. The Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project held a candlelight vigil in her memory and the National Association for the Advancement of Transgender People later marched in Lansing in her honor.
Between The Lines, March 6, 2003
The Final Assault on Nikki
June 21, 1953 – November 20, 2008
St. Joseph native Valerie Jean Connell became a champion horse rider during her school years, taking part in multiple horse associations and winning prizes at the Michigan State Fair. After graduating from Edwardsburg High in 1971, she joined the U.S. Army, later earned her B.S. and M.S., and went on to teach social studies in Florida. Connell was survived by her partner Lenora Ledwon.
Miami Herald, November 23, 2008
August 17, 1915 – December 27, 1977
Harold James “Buddy” Bigham grew up in Royal Oak and had a long career as a photographer in the research department of General Motors. A homeowner in Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, Bigham was a familiar patron for many years at the Diplomat, Bookie’s Club 870, and other local gay bars.
Detroit Free Press, December 28, 1977
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
August 24, 1887 – March 24, 1984
Noted interior designer and architect Florence Ely Hunn, known to friends as Dannie, grew up in Iowa and was educated in Germany and at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. Around 1917, Hunn and her life-long companion Mabel “Jims” Warren acquired a lakeshore cottage near Saugatuck, where they shared a bohemian life together for more than five decades.
Grand Rapids Press, March 25, 1984
Holland Sentinell, March 26, 1984
Florence “Dannie” Ely Hunn at Saugatuck-Douglas History Center
January 7, 1921 – January 18, 1975
Brooklyn-bred Chester Simon Kallman was a librettis, poet, and longtime companion to poet W.H. Auden. Kallman pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan and while in Ann Arbor he and his roommate Strowan Robertson were the nuclei of a gay social circle. He went on to write three volumes of poetry and authored or co-authored librettos for several operas.
New York Times, January 19, 1975
April 24, 1949 – October 19, 2019
Phyllis Terry Glanz was born in Detroit, was a member of the Southfield High School class of 1967, and earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1971. She later moved to New York and traveled the world in a global career in shipping and sales. Glanz and her life partner of 25 years Sara Mayes were married in 2013.
Detroit Free Press, October 20, 2019