Jason A. Michael

About Jason A. Michael

Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.

First Ever Royal Oak Family Pride to Take Place June 12

By | 2019-05-15T16:54:44-04:00 May 15th, 2019|Entertainment, Features, Guides, Pride Guide|

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.

Affirmations ED Dave Garcia Holds First Community Chats

By | 2019-05-09T11:25:14-04:00 May 8th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Art Deco Burlesque Brought Back by Tundra-Mae Fury

By | 2019-05-01T15:28:03-04:00 May 1st, 2019|Entertainment, Features|

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.

Como’s to Reopen Under New Ownership

By | 2019-05-03T14:32:23-04:00 May 1st, 2019|Entertainment, Features|

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.

Inclusive Justice to Host Gay Catholic Church Activist April 13

By | 2019-04-10T16:25:09-04:00 April 10th, 2019|Entertainment, Features|

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.

SAGE Table Looks to Link Up Different Age Groups

By | 2019-04-10T16:14:18-04:00 April 10th, 2019|Guides, Health & Wellness|

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.

Southeast Michigan Community Mourns Loss of Dani Som, 20

By | 2019-04-10T16:12:54-04:00 April 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|

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.

For Love and Faith

By | 2019-04-04T14:16:40-04:00 April 3rd, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Kelly Stough’s Murderer to Be Tried in Court

By | 2019-04-03T16:55:34-04:00 April 3rd, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Ruth Ellis Center’s Youth Advisory Board Visits UN

By | 2019-03-13T14:05:39-04:00 March 13th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Aut Bar Sold

By | 2019-03-06T15:15:42-04:00 March 6th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Transgender Thought Leader Says ‘Transphobia Is A Sin’

By | 2019-03-06T15:14:46-04:00 March 6th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib Visits REC to Hear From LGBTQ Faith Leaders, Youth

By | 2019-03-01T13:49:52-04:00 February 27th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Remembering Ruth Ellis

By | 2019-02-20T15:22:04-04:00 February 20th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

OBITUARY: Nathan D. Strickland Jr.

By | 2019-01-30T14:45:28-04:00 January 30th, 2019|Michigan, News|

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.

Services Take Place for Slain Trans Woman

By | 2018-12-19T13:02:02-04:00 December 19th, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.

San Francisco Opera cancels David Daniels’ Performance Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

By | 2018-11-16T13:08:21-04:00 November 14th, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.

Common Language Bookstore to Close

By | 2018-11-14T16:06:51-04:00 November 14th, 2018|Michigan, News|

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

‘OutCasting’ LGBTQ Youth Radio Program Founder Receives AARP Purpose Prize

By | 2018-11-14T16:03:13-04:00 November 14th, 2018|Entertainment, Features|

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 Co-Chair Q&A: Bridie Johnson

By | 2018-11-07T16:45:07-04:00 November 7th, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.

Affirmations Hosts ‘Transgender and Thriving’ Workshop via MCC-D

By | 2018-11-07T16:43:16-04:00 November 7th, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.

Standing Up To Trump

By | 2018-10-31T16:00:24-04:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.”

SAGE Table Comes to Detroit

By | 2018-10-31T15:34:11-04:00 October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.

From Injury to Industry

By | 2018-10-31T15:03:21-04:00 October 31st, 2018|Guides, Health & Wellness|

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.

LGBTQ STEAM Leaders Needed

By | 2018-10-24T16:01:24-04:00 October 24th, 2018|Michigan, News|

According to Dr. Truman Hudson everyone starts life with a "blank canvas." “Which oftentimes is shaped by the decisions that others have made for us," he said. He is a lecturer of multiculturalism at the [...]

UM Dearborn Lecturer Earns Support from Ford Fund

By | 2018-10-18T10:24:54-04:00 October 17th, 2018|Automotive, Guides|

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.

Local Author is Divinely Queer in New Book

By | 2018-10-10T13:45:50-04:00 October 10th, 2018|Michigan, News|

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.