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
December 8, 1998 – February 16, 2019
Dani Som, also known as Dani Sommerville, was born in Southfield and was a 2017 graduate of Berkley High School. He received a Spirit of Detroit Award in 2015 for achievement and leadership, including his involvement in music and theater, as well as extensive volunteer work. As an out young trans man, Som was active with Affirmations and FtM Detroit. Months after moving to Oregon, he took his own life.
Between The Lines, April 11, 2019
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
October 22, 1987 – January 10, 2013
Ciara La’Shae White was musically inclined at a young age, playing clarinet and bass clarinet in the concert and marching bands at Ruddiman Middle School in Detroit and taking part in the marching band, as well as junior ROTC, at Mackenzie High School. She was a beloved member of the LGBT community and the Ruth Ellis Center.
Stinson Funeral Home
July 13, 1992 – Last seen December 10, 2014
Jay Ralko of Warren was active in the GLBTA Student Union while a student at Wayne State University and was employed at Kroger. The 22-year-old trans man went missing on December 10, 2014, sparking an extensive regional search. He was found dead in his car thirteen days later. Police suspected that Ralko took his own life.
Oakland County Times, December 24, 2014
Windy City Times, December 26, 2014
Remembering Jay Video
November 2, 1982 – December 7, 2018
Detroit native Kelly Stough, also known as Keanna Mattel, was shot and killed in an anti-trans murder on E. McNichols near Palmer Park. She attended MacKenzie High School and was active in Detroit’s ballroom scene as part of the Legendary Iconic House of Ebony. Police arrested and charged a Sterling Heights pastor for Stough’s death.
Detroit News, December 10, 2018
Between The Lines, December 13, 2018
November 17, 1971 – November 1, 2010
Quinn Collins came out as a transman to his mother in 2002 and inspired her to form Chicago’s first chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays specifically devoted to parents of transgender offspring. Months before his death, Collins moved to New Buffalo, where police questioning about the gender on his driver’s license during a traffic stop made him feel unsafe in the small Michigan town.
Windy City Times, November 10, 2010