February – Addressing Anti-Gay Violence in Schools: The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network of Detroit released their report assessing the climate for gay and lesbian youth in Southeastern Michigan schools. The report, titled “Bruised Bodies, Bruised Spirits,” underscored the need to educate school staff about dealing with issues of sexual orientation.
February – Some Justice: Sean McBride, who was shot and left for dead in a 1994 anti-gay attack in Detroit, was awarded a settlement of $10 million for the refusal of a Pinkerton Guard to assist him, leaving him a paraplegic.
October – Serving LGBT Teens: Matthew Barton, 17, a senior from Novi High School, was appointed to serve on a national Gay/Straight Alliance panel with six other teens from around the country. Barton helped decide funding distribution of GSA’s across the country. Tzabaco Catalog Safe School’s Fund provided the money.
November – Believing Out Loud: PFLAG downriver chapter hosted guest speaker, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton at its Nov. 21 meeting. Gumbleton was key in generating support for the issuance earlier in the year of a tolerance statement for gay youth by U.S. bishops. Gumbleton has also been vocal in urging gay priests to come out.
December – Equality in Ypsilanti: The landmark decision to extend equal rights to all in the city of Ypsilanti was made on Dec. 16. Following the passage of the ordinance, a large group assembled to celebrate. Mayor Cheryl Farmer cut the first piece of rainbow-hued sheetcake embalzoned with the words: “December 16, 1997 – There IS a law against discrimination in Yspilanti,” answering President Clinton’s call at an HRC dinner in Nov. 1997, saying “There ought to be a law against it (discrimination).”
Milestones in the Transgender Movement
1991: “Paris is Burning” is released. The documentary focuses on gay and transgender ball culture in New York City.
1993: Transgender Youth Brandon Teena is violently murdered in Nebraska. The film “Boys Don’t Cry” later shares Teena’s story with a national audience.
1995: The University of Michigan Medical Center announces their Comprehensive Gender Services Program, which serves the transgender population, and is run by Dr. Sandra Cole, director of the program.
1996: Michigan hosts the National Transgender Conference where nearly 230 transgender people and allies joined together for five days in early June. The event was sponsored by Crossroads.
1997: Susan Crocker and Rachel Crandall-Crocker founded Transgender Michigan, and dedicated the organization to improving the lives of transgender individuals in the state.
1999: The advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized the first Transgender Day of Remembrance, to honor the memory of Rita Hester and other transgender people like her who were lost to bigotry and anti-transgender violence.