• Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz receive the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement, Friday, Jan 25, at the Creating Change conference in Detroit. Sue Hyde presented the award. BTL Photo: Andrew Potter

BTL Co-Publishers Jan Stevenson, Susan Horowitz Awarded for Activism at Creating Change

BTL Staff
By | 2019-01-30T14:53:58-04:00 January 30th, 2019|Michigan, News|

Dedicating one’s time and energy to being an activist, particularly to a cause like LGBTQ civil rights, is never something undertaken lightly. Perhaps even rarer is a person who is willing to dedicate their life to such a cause. In the case of wives and Between The Lines Co-Publishers Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz, their decades-long commitment to enhancing the lives of the LGBTQ community in Michigan and beyond via their work in publishing and through the National LGBTQ Task Force has not been lost on their peers. Recognized last week at the Taskforce-sponsored 2019 Creating Change Conference, the couple received the Susan J. Hyde Award dedicated to their longevity in the movement.
“I was totally humbled and grateful,” Horowitz said of learning she had been chosen to receive the award. “You don’t want to rush ahead, but at this point in your life, to be honored for the work that you’ve done is pretty cool.”
The award itself is named for the former Creating Change Director Sue Hyde who dedicated a 30-year career to bringing the national Conference to LGBTQ people of all walks of life around the U.S. Hyde was also in attendance last week to present the couple with their honor.
“I am honored and proud to present the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the movement to two women well-loved in the Detroit area, in Southeast Michigan, in Michigan and in the United States’ LGBTQ communities,” Hyde said in her address. “… Hereabouts you know Jan and Susan as longtime movement stalwarts since 1995.”
Hyde went on to address both Stevenson’s and Horowitz’s work within their local communities, how they met and began their collaboration and to thank them for their service.
“As I talked with Susan and Jan about their well-lived lives, we reveled in their very long and complicated herstories of work in this community and in this movement. I reminded them both that participation in oral history projects and written memoirs would yet be another wonderful gift to all of us and we laughingly renamed the award to be ‘the too stubborn to quit award,'” Hyde said. “So thank you … for blessing us with the assurance that whoever we are, and no matter how forsaken we may feel, that we all have a place in the family of LGBTQ people.”
Stevenson took the podium first, welcoming Creating Change attendees to Detroit, expressing her gratitude for the recognition and emphasizing what the Task Force has meant to her in both her life and career.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award from the Task Force, an organization that I have served and loved for decades and that the award is named after one of my personal heroine’s Sue Hyde,” Stevenson said. “The theme of this conference … resonates so strongly because that’s what the Task Force is to me. As a board member and volunteer, I learned about organizing, working in diverse groups, struggling with complex issues and learning to accept that the good is not the enemy of the perfect. The Task Force, and especially Sue Hyde, have embodied to me that in organizing, kindness, empathy and compassion are as important as being right; that empowering others raises us all.”
Horowitz spoke next, speaking directly to longevity and reflecting on the great forward strides in progress that have been attained since she first came out as a lesbian.
“Next month marks 47 years ago at the age of 19 that I came out in 1972. That world defined me as a criminal and mentally ill — not great for a job hunt. It was disturbing and shame-based language that too often succeeded in isolating and killing too many of us. I was lucky and I soon found a radically different message on a button with just three words … ‘Gay is good,” Horowitz said. “… It filled my heart with hope. I knew then and I believe today, as I am sure Frank Kameny did, that who has the power to define us in life is an essential key to our liberation. It’s why I was attracted to printing presses, why I started a film festival and why I am committed to our community newspaper here in Michigan, Between The Lines.”
Horowitz finished her remarks with an overall message of thanks to the Conference.
“In the wise words of Sue Hyde, I want to remind you of something she said last year: ‘May Creating Change always be our space and place and time to love each other, to nurture each other, and to build a movement that secures freedom, justice, dignity and equity for all of us.”
To view the full introduction and acceptance speech on online to BTL’s Facebook page at gaybe.am/Lp.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.