The first ever Royal Oak Family Pride will take place at the June Food Truck Rally at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market on June 12. The event, which will feature a full schedule of fun and family friendly activities including drag queen story time, a dog fashion show, face painting, a bounce house, photo booth, a performance by the Sing Out Detroit Choir and more, was the brainchild of Royal Oak resident David Mates Knapp.
A total of 13 people came out to Affirmations April 30 for two community chats with returning executive director Dave Garcia who had just returned to the center the day before. Eight people, mostly members of the Senior Koffee Klatch, came out to the morning session and five to the evening. Four members of Affirmations' staff were present at each meeting and there were two board members at the morning section and three in the evening.
Billed as a musical tour of everything from vaudeville to low-down burlesque, dream ballets and other bombastic Broadway brevities, a highlight of the upcoming Detroit Modernism Week will be a benefit performance by Tundra-Mae Fury on Sunday, May 12, at the Willis Show Bar in Detroit’s historic Cass Corridor.
Popular Ferndale eatery Como’s is set to reopen in May. The new owners, check out Zack Sklar and his Peas & Carrots Hospitality Group, are planning to keep the restaurant’s focus on pizza. Beyond that, the restaurant is undergoing a complete renovation.
When Aaron Bianco, a gay layman, was brought in to manage St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in San Diego in 2016, he joined the church with great hopes. He had been invited by Bishop Robert W. McElroy to start an LGBTQ ministry at the church and become one of about 300 churches across the country that, in direct opposition of church policy, welcomed and embraced the LGBTQ community.
Edie Franklin, a mainstay in Detroit's drag scene for years, is set to be officially recognized for her contributions with the Living Legend award at the fourth annual Motown honors at Gigi’s Gay Bar on April 14.
A SAGE Table is a program of SAGE Metro Detroit, an agency dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older adults, and is an intergenerational dinner event designed to start conversations with those of varying generations. The latest SAGE Table took place at the Ferndale Affirmations LGBTQ community center on April 4, and I was invited as a reporter to attend and experience the evening firsthand. Upon arrival, I was greeted at the door by Judy Lewis, SAGE Metro Detroit’s training and education manager.
Though he had relocated to Portland, Oregon, last summer, when word traveled back to Detroit that 20-year-old Dani Som, aka Dani Sommerville, had taken his own life in February, his friends here were devastated. By all accounts, Som was bold, audacious and outgoing. He was confident in his identity as a trans man who was disabled, and he advocated for all the communities of which he was a part.
A United Methodist Church minister in Lansing has declared he will perform same-sex weddings despite a recent denominational decision continuing the prohibition of gay marriage. At the church’s annual conference, which took place last month in St. Louis, delegates voted 438-384 in favor of what was called the Traditional Plan. The Plan continues the church’s ban on the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and the performing of same-sex weddings.
Albert Weathers, pastor of the Logos Church in Detroit, was ordered Friday, March 29 to stand trial for open murder in the death of Kelly Stough. Stough, a transgender woman, was shot and left to die in the area of Six Mile Road and Brush Street in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2018.
A group of six members of the youth advisory board of the Ruth Ellis Center traveled to New York from Feb. 21 through 24 to take part in the 2019 U.N. Global Engagement Summit at the United Nation’s headquarters. The opportunity came about as part of a collaboration between attorney London Bell and the Bell Global Justice Institute and the Ruth Ellis Center. Bell, a member of the United Nations Association of Greater Detroit, had been preparing the youth for the trip since last June.
Owners Martin Contreras and Keith Orr recently announced the sale of Aut Bar, the popular LGBT owned restaurant and bar in Ann Arbor’s Braun Court. Aut Bar will now be owned by BarStar Group, which currently owns and operates several successful establishments in Ann Arbor including Lo-Fi, Nightcap and Babs’ Underground.
Poet, educator and self-described thought leader, J. Mase III will be speaking at the opening ceremony for LGBTQ Week at Oakland University on March 12. Mase will be speaking about faith and the criminalization of the black trans body through poetry and a discussion. As a trans man, Mase said he was a unique insight into the issue.
Former bar owner and gay rodeo enthusiast James Osmond Brown II, known to many as Diamond Jim, died Feb. 11 from congestive heart failure. He died at his home in Detroit with his rescue dog Diamond by his side. He was 58.
It’s been 30 years since his death and still Robert Mapplethorpe remains a provocative figure. In a new performance piece, titled "Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)" presented by the University of Michigan's University Musical Society March 15 to 16, music, poetry and photography come together in a theatrical context.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib visited the Ruth Ellis Center Feb. 21 for the second time, to hear from faith leaders and LGBTQ youth about the importance of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. The visit, which drew an invited crowd of about 20, was sponsored by Inclusive Justice, a statewide Michigan faith organization dedicated to addressing LGBTQ inclusion issues within the faith community. Tlaib received a warm welcome.
The year was 1978 and Jaye Spiro was teaching self-defense classes at senior citizen centers around Detroit. At one such complex, whose name she no longer recalls, Spiro met a feisty senior citizen named Ruth Ellis.
Black Bear Brotherhood Forum Examines Intersections of Sex Work and Increased Usage of Crystal Meth Among Black Gay Men
The Black Bear Brotherhood is a Detroit social collective aimed at connecting black LGBTQ men of size and their allies. Part of the group's mission is furthering the wellbeing of its members and on Feb. [...]
It’s a new concept. A nude art show aimed at attracting an audience of queer folks of color. FreQshow, which will be co-produced by artist and local style icon DL Perrett and Imagine This Productions, [...]
Last June, Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies appointed local activist Julia Josling to the volunteer position of LGBTQ liaison to the mayor’s office. Now, after seven months on the job, Josling chatted with BTL to reflect on her new position and her plans for the future.
He had, friends say, warm eyes and a nice smile and always a kind word for everyone. Community activist Nathan D. Strickland Jr., widely recognized as an up and coming leader in the LGBTQ community, succumbed to his lengthy battle with cancer Jan. 24. He passed just two weeks before what would have been his 28th birthday.
Despite temperatures topping out in the teens, a crowd of more than 200 came out Saturday to support the Drag Queen Story Time program at the Huntington Woods Public Library. After right wing fringe groups [...]
Detroit Police Department LGBT Liaison Cpl. Dani Woods has agreed to participate in the National LGBT Task Force's Creating Change conference following a lengthy meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24 with Director Andy Garcia and other [...]
There were two obvious takeaways from last week’s installment of Affirmations’ ongoing monthly community chats. First, Affirmations Board President Mike Flores, who conducted the chat, wants the community to know that the center is continuing [...]
Racist hate literature was found on cars in Ferndale New Year’s Eve. The fliers, created by a white supremacist group based out of Texas, were met with disdain and disapproval by local community leaders.
For the Huntington Wood Library’s Drag Queen Story Time, a glittering drag queen comes to the library to read to young children once a month. The program, said to be the third of its kind [...]
Kelly Stough, known to some as Keanna Mattel, was laid to rest in fine style Saturday with a funeral at the James H. Cole Home for Funerals in Detroit with a memorial service later in the evening at the Affirmations LGBTQ community center in Ferndale. Stough was murdered Dec. 7 in the Palmer Park neighborhood and was remembered fondly by friends and family. That, her mother said, is the way it should be.
A small crowd of about 20 came out Monday, Nov. 19 to the Wayne State University Student Center Ballroom for what organizers believe was the university’s first official Transgender Day of Remembrance service. The service, [...]
About 20 people came out on Tuesday, Nov. 20, for a Transgender Day of Remembrance service at the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park. The service was designed to be an intimate conversation among trans women and men of color.
It was supposed to be a quick run to pick up a few groceries, but when Jacqueline Street, a trans woman, stopped into the Walmart in Benton Harbor on Nov. 15, she got more than just bread and milk at an unbeatable price. Street said she was discriminated against and repeatedly misgendered while attempting to check out.
In a press release posted on their website Nov. 8, the San Francisco Opera announced it was removing University of Michigan professor and countertenor David Daniels from the role of Medoro in Handel’s "Orlando." Initially planning to present the opera next summer, the announcement comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed last month against Daniels in which it is alleged that he sexually assaulted one of his students.
They held out as long as they could. Keith Orr and Martin Contreras, owners of Common Language Bookstore in Ann Arbor, recently announced that they plan to close their feminist, LGBTQ store at the end of the year. The announcement comes after years of dwindling sales that they attribute at least in part to internet sales and the rise of online giant Amazon.com
AARP's Purpose Prize is designed to honor extraordinary individuals who use their life experience to make a better future, each year selecting winners who have gone above and beyond to achieve that goal. In the case of one of this year's winners, Marc Sophos, his focus has been on LGBTQ youth. The New York-based journalist is the founder and executive director of Media for the Public Good — a nonprofit that focuses on creating media from underrepresented points of view. Putting his nearly two decades of radio experience to use, Sophos created "OutCasting" a youth LGBTQ public radio program, and the accompanying podcast "OutCasting Overtime." Each episode is created by LGBTQ teens.
Creating Change is an annual LGBTQ conference put on by the National LGBTQ Task Force. Hosting hundreds of workshops, caucus sessions, keynote speakers and more, the more than 30-year-old event tours across the U.S., every year choosing a city in which to showcase the LGBTQ community's local and national community. This year, Creating Change 2019 is coming to Detroit in January. In advance of the event, BTL has reached out to interview four local co-chairs who are involved in putting on this Detroit-specific event. This interview is part of that series.
Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis is known by many in the LGBTQ community for his book that explores the relationship of the transgender community to religion: "Transgender: Theology, Ministry and Communities of Faith." The 2003 work has helped give Tanis, who is not only transgender himself but also the managing director for the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies at the Pacific School of Religion, a unique outlook on the topic.
The rally was called We Will Not Be Erased and the message was clear: no matter what he tries to do, Donald Trump cannot redefine the transgender community out of existence. The rally, which drew a crowd of about 120 to the Ruth Ellis Center parking lot Friday, was organized after The New York Times reported on a leaked memo from the Trump administration that revealed its desire to define gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”
Its aim is to promote intergenerational conversation over a nice meal. For the second year in a row, SAGE Table, sponsored by SAGE — an organization that provides advocacy and services for LGBTQ older adults — will bring together the old, the young and those inbetween as part of a nationwide initiative. Last year, there were 232 SAGE Tables across 40 states involving more than 3,000 participants.
Oct. 5, 2010 started off just like any other day for Brandon La Forest. He woke up a little early, had a meeting at the office and was on his way to an appointment in Lansing. But just outside the city, while La Forest stopped to avoid an accident that had just happened in front of him, his life changed forever.
At a press conference Friday, Oct. 19 that capped off the daylong Faith, LGBTQ Inclusion and Human Rights conference at Metropolitan Community Church – Detroit in Clawson, faith leaders from across Michigan came together to [...]
Dr. Truman Hudson is a lecturer of multiculturalism at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. Hudson, who won the 2018 Ford Fund Community Corps award, is currently conducting a class, EDA 515 – Communities and Schools: Building and Sustaining Partnerships, that will require students to work with LGBT Detroit and Ford GLOBE to co-design a leadership development supplementary educational curriculum. The effort is called the Blank Canvas Project.
Longtime Between The Lines columnist and contributor Charles Alexander was recently recognized by the Hannan Center as one of their 70 over Seventy: The Next Chapter Awards honorees. Alexander was presented with the award at [...]
They say that everyone has at least one book in them. However, it’s in the getting it out and on paper where complications sometime arise. Jennifer Miracle-Best, the author of the soon-to-be-released book "Divinely Queer: My Journey to Spirituality through Sexuality" is all too familiar with that process. She is gearing up to sign copies of the book at a launch party at Metropolitan Community Church-Detroit in Clawson on Friday, Oct. 19.