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
May 23, 1995 – August 8, 2015
According to Detroit police, 20-year-old Amber Monroe was engaged in sex work In August 2015 when she was shot and killed near Six Mile and Woodward. She was the twelfth trans woman of color murdered in the U.S. that year. Monroe attended Oak Park High School, studied at Wayne State, and was a familiar face at the Ruth Ellis Center.
Between The Lines, August 20, 2015
December 18, 1999 – April 9, 2015
Sam Taub was a ninth grader at West Bloomfield High School who identified as trans and skated with the Darlings of Destruction Junior Roller Derby League in Roseville. Taub struggled with anorexia and anxiety and took his own life at age fifteen.
The Advocate, April 16, 2015
Detroit Free Press, July 16, 2015
Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons
March 2, 1953 – June 7, 2006
Detroit native and Center Line resident Jamie Marie Phillips-Fox was a pioneering transgender volunteer and activist in South East Michigan. With her future wife Michelle Fox-Phillips, she founded what was then known as Transgender Detroit. Phillips-Fox was also involved in Crossroads, Transgender Michigan, Affirmations, and PFLAG Detroit.
Detroit News, June 10, 2006
Between The Lines, June 15, 2006
April 7, 1984 – June 23, 2015
Birmingham native Jessie Makaila Shipps was a decorated veteran the U.S. Air Force, serving from 2003 to 2014. She was active in SPARTA, an organization for trans military members, and produced a number of YouTube videos documenting her gender transition. Shipps and her spouse Leeanna resided in Hampton, Virginia with their daughter Grace.
The Advocate, June 24, 2015
Detroit News, July 5, 2015
September 5, 1934 – July 3, 2011
Minnesota native Vicki Marlane was among a troupe of female impersonators who performed at the Diplomat Lounge in Detroit in the early 1960s. Born Donald Sterger, Marlane underwent gender affirmation surgery in San Francisco, where she continued to perform into her 70s. She was subject of the 2009 documentary Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight. She died from AIDS-related complications at age 76.
Bay Area Reporter, July 14, 2011
Vicki Marlane photographs and artifacts at the GLBT Historical Society
Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight on Vimeo
October 1, 1976 – April 3, 2012
Coko Williams, a 35-year-old transgender woman who sometimes worked as a hairstylist, was found shot to death in Detroit’s Palmer Park neighborhood. After Fox 2 Detroit identified her as a “male prostitute” in its report of the crime, activists launched a protest against the station for being transphobic. There was also no evidence that Williams engaged in sex work.
Between The Lines, April 5, 2012