About Kate Opalewski

Kate Opalewski is BTL's features editor and has been since 2015. She has covered a variety of topics ranging from art, politics and community outreach. Recently, she was honored by the Detroit Police Department LGBT Advisory Board for her work for the local LGBTQIA community.

Fighting Despite the Fear

By |2019-04-25T14:41:13-04:00April 24th, 2019|Michigan, News|

Bridget, better-known as LaKyra, Butts has faced violence and discrimination in every aspect of her life as a transgender woman of color. For her, it’s a harsh reality that women who make up her demographic get killed at disproportionately higher rates than any other group within the LGBTQ community — a fact that’s not lost on her."It's a scary feeling knowing you could die tomorrow," she said.

Equality Michigan Announces Breakthrough Goals for 2019

By |2019-03-28T02:35:56-04:00March 28th, 2019|Michigan, News|

There’s no doubt the LGBTQ community can celebrate the political gains made in 2018, but the Trump administration's attacks on the LGBTQ community have escalated since then — particularly toward transgender people. And last year's midterm election results, while encouraging, do not reduce the imminent threats the LGBTQ community faces; there is a lot of work yet to do.

Gay, Trans and Disabled

By |2018-12-05T16:45:35-05:00December 5th, 2018|Michigan, News|

“Some people only choose to be equitable because the law of the land will punish them for deviating from that behavior,” said Brumalis. “If trans people lose protections, there will be a surge in assaults, unemployment and homelessness because there won’t be anything to shield and protect us from bigotry.”

Shop the All Things Detroit Online Marketplace This Holiday Season

By |2018-11-14T22:39:49-05:00November 14th, 2018|Guides, Holiday Gift Guide|

Jennyfer Crawford Provides Opportunity for Shoppers to Buy Local : Six years ago Jennyfer Crawford set out to build a community of entrepreneurs and makers. From her one-bedroom apartment the self-taught entrepreneur began hosting tiny events for friends with small businesses. In 2012, Crawford founded the Detroit-based firm, Ask Jennyfer, which helps promote and brand Michigan-based retailers.

Nov. 6 Opportunity to Amplify Voices of Trans, Gender Non-Conforming People

By |2018-11-01T15:14:39-04:00October 31st, 2018|Michigan, News|

With the midterm elections coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 6, millions of LGBTQ people are preparing to cast their ballots for politicians who are prepared to fight for their rights. However, for some who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming, it's not as easy as showing up to the polls. For instance, members of those populations might be at risk of special scrutiny, harassment and discrimination at the polls in the form of misgendering and being called by their dead names. This reality can create a fear of voting beyond the already many barriers that trans and gender non-conforming voters currently face.

Freedom House Detroit Celebrates 35 Years

By |2018-10-27T16:40:58-04:00October 24th, 2018|Michigan, News|

On Friday, Oct. 19, Freedom House Detroit hosted its annual Voices of Freedom event at the MotorCity Casino Hotel with hundreds in attendance, including some Freedom House residents. To help celebrate 35 years of welcoming those "yearning to breathe free" were notable speakers like the night's keynote, John Prendergast of The Enough Project, Mistress of Ceremonies and Fox2 News reporter and anchor Amy Lange, and Deborah Drennan, executive director of the Freedom House.

LGBTQ Ally Sam Bagenstos Vies for Seat on Mich. Supreme Court

By |2018-10-09T15:33:42-04:00October 2nd, 2018|Election, Election 2018, Michigan, News, Statewide Races|

Considered by some to be the most important race for the people, the campaign for justice of the Michigan Supreme Court can often be overlooked when the public is particularly focused on the gubernatorial and congressional races. This year, two of the court's seven seats are up for consideration and following the November election, 25-year strong civil rights attorney Sam Bagenstos is hoping to fill one of them.

‘Life in the Doghouse’

By |2018-09-19T12:15:53-04:00September 19th, 2018|Guides, Pets|

Ron Danta says that to "truly do rescue really well, you cannot at all be selfish." And, to show how selfless they are, he and his partner Danny Robertshaw have opened their 4,400-square-foot home to over 80 dogs in need of adoption.

Pros and Cons of Canine Influenza Vaccination

By |2018-09-19T12:08:16-04:00September 19th, 2018|Guides, Pets|

Over the past few months, news outlets, veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers have all been warning the public about the canine influenza epidemic that has hit nearly 100 dogs in New York City and elsewhere. However, Dr. Glynes D. Graham — owner and primary veterinarian of Patterson Dog & Cat Hospital in Detroit — says that there is "no need to panic." She said that although vaccination is always a personal decision for the pet owner, "there are many precautions" available for those who are concerned.

Advocates for Change

By |2018-08-24T11:03:40-04:00August 23rd, 2018|Michigan, News|

AJ Sims said he is passionate about two things: LGBTQ laws and transgender rights. He has been able to pursue his passion by way of a youth advocacy project at the Ruth Ellis Center in [...]

Mara Keisling Keynotes Pride Brunch in Kalamazoo

By |2018-05-29T15:46:29-04:00May 29th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, was in Kalamazoo on Saturday, May 26 to talk about her work in the advocacy organization, their legislative work in the presidential administration, and the political power of optimism.

Nickki Stevens’ Secret to Success: Her Mom

By |2020-10-16T06:55:59-04:00May 9th, 2018|Michigan, News|

Walk into Gigi's Gay Bar today and you're likely to see drag queen Nickki Stevens grace the stage. Her punchy humor, big looks and classy style — despite her trucker mouth — have been thrilling audiences since the late '80s. But, what some might not know is that in many ways, Stevens' act could be considered double. After all, even though her mother, Sharon Hughes, doesn't grace the stage herself, she spends her Saturday nights working concessions, selling jewelry, and providing her drag daughter much support: from painting, to cleaning, to decorating.

LGBTQ Wedding Expo Attracts Hundreds

By |2018-03-14T20:29:50-04:00March 14th, 2018|Michigan, News, Wedding|

Ashley Howe and her fiance Justine Simpson have been to several bridal shows, but none quite like the Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo held on Sunday, March 11, in MotorCity Casino's state of the art ballroom in Detroit.

Expo Cuts Through Cake Politics

By |2018-03-13T13:49:04-04:00March 8th, 2018|Marriage|

BTL LGBTQ Wedding and Anniversary Event Returns to MotorCity Casino. Click here to get tickets. Same-sex marriage may be safe for now, but the LGBTQ community is not safe from business owners who are allowed [...]

Grooming Future LGBTQ Leaders

By |2017-11-16T09:00:00-05:00November 16th, 2017|Michigan, News|

The Equality March in Flint this past June. Photo courtesy of Equality Caucus. Nicole Derusha-Mackey is on a mission to build a farm team full of LGBTQ people who will best serve their community [...]

Gretchen Whitmer On LGBTQ Issues

By |2017-10-24T09:00:00-04:00October 24th, 2017|Michigan, News|

No stranger to duking it out, Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Gretchen Whitmer is showing up for the LGBTQ fight. "That's one of the first and most important things to do is show up," says Whitmer. "I [...]