Christine and Susan at their wedding in June 1990. Photo courtesy of Facebook

In Memoriam: Lesbian Murder Victims Susan Pittman and Christine Puckett


The LGBTQ community remembers and honors one of the darkest moments in Metro Detroit's LGBTQ history 25 years ago.

Mothers and co-founders of Affirmations Community Center in Ferndale, Susan Pittman and Christine Puckett were brutally murdered on May 5, 1992 by their neighbor in the driveway of their Huron Township home.

"From a historian's perspective, the Pittman-Puckett murders was a clear turning point for the local gay and lesbian community (bi and trans were not yet considered in the mix in 1992)," said Tim Retzloff, who teaches LGBTQ studies and U.S. history at Michigan State University.

"Affirmations was barely three years old and the Triangle Foundation (now Equality Michigan) was early on in its important work combatting anti-gay violence. The tragedy helped unite the community, which came together for the vigil held in response to the slayings in order to express grief and outrage at the horrifying and senseless loss of two of our own. At the same time, thanks to coverage in the local media, viewers and readers in Metro Detroit came to see the raw hatred that gay and lesbian people had to steel themselves against every day while simply trying to live their lives."

There is a tribute to the women, in the form of the Pittmann Puckett Art Gallery at Affirmations. The exhibition and performance space is intended for the presentation of work by LGBTQ and allied artists.

The full Pittman Puckett story can be read online at

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