February 26, 1968 – pronounced dead November 6, 1999
Mundy Township resident Bruce Michael Hays attended Grand Blanc High, came out as a teen sneaking into Detroit bars, and in the mid-1980s started a computer dating service for Flint-area gay youth. He later completed three years of college and worked as a bartender. Hays gained national notoriety for swiping Michael Jackson’s glove from the Motown Museum. He took his own life at age 31.
Flint Journal, November 12, 1999
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
August 18, 1972 – December 19, 1994
Adrian Travelle Davis of Detroit performed at the Peach Bowl with his middle school band and later directed the Murray Wright High School band and the a cappella quartet Gifted. Davis graduated from Cody High School in 1994 with plans to attend Ferris State University. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 22.
Detroit Free Press, December 22, 1994
April 1, 1983 – June 18, 1999
Swartz Creek resident Jason Michael Johnson was born in Flint and attended Swartz Creek High School. He was a member of the concert band and the swim team and participated in quiz bowl. He was also active in the online gay community. Johnson lost his life at age 16 in an automobile crash in I-75.
Between The Lines, July 1, 1999
May 8, 1998 – July 3, 2018
Al Davey attended East Kentwood High School in Kentwood and went on to study communications and creative writing at Eastern Michigan University. They also edited Cellar Roots, the EMU literary and arts magazine and authored At the Close: A Collection of Poems. Davey was non-binary and active with the campus group QUEST, Queer Unity for Eastern Students. They took their own life at age 20.
Grand Rapids Press, July 4, 2018
Eastern Echo, July 9, 2018
May 28, 1969 – June 23, 1990
Diane Kotila was born in Southfield and graduated with the class of 1987 from Kimball High School in Royal Oak. She was a student at Oakland University and was employed by William Beaumont Hospital. After losing her life in an automobile accident, friends held a benefit at the Railroad Crossing for a fund in her name at Affirmations to help provide lesbian and gay youth with counseling and support.
Royal Oak Daily Tribune, June 24, 1990
Affirmations newsletter, September 1990
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
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
February 14, 1996 – February 12, 2016
Born in Tecumseh, Saja Mykel Nieto graduated in 2014 from Adrian High School, where he was active in the LGBT Club and the Color Guard. In addition to studying zoology at Northern Michigan University, Nieto worked at Pet Supplies Plus, as a supervisor at Adrian Image Center, and as a manager at B Fit.
Adrian Daily Telegram, February 15, 2016