January – Let It Be Resolved: A proposed resolution intended to help stop anti-gay attacks in Ferndale was both presented and unanimously adopted by the Ferndale City Council. This is the first time that any elected body in Ferndale has ever passed anything to do with gay and lesbian people, according to Craig Covey, president of the Friends and Neighbors of Ferndale. This was in response to an upsurge in the number and the seriousness of hate crimes, harassment, and minority-targeted vandalism.
February – Detroit AIDS Housing Approved by City Council: Wellness House and Cass Corridor Group collaborated to renovate Temple Towers. The housing development with 60 housing units was only the second project in the nation to bring together a neighborhood-based organization and AIDS service agency to provide affordable housing for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. Pictured: Rob Fetzer, executive director of Wellness House
April – Greek History: Greg Gruley, a 22-year-old psychology major, became the first openly gay man at Central Michigan University to be initiated into a Greek social fraternity on April 26.
July – Serving LGBT Students: E. Frederic Dennis, coordinator for Residence Life at Emory University in Atlanta, was named director of the Office of LGBT Affairs at the University of Michigan. He was the first African American to head the office in its 27 year history.
November – Vanity Plate Okay: In an effort to increase LGBT visibility and to support his gay son, P-FLAG member Mike Neubecker purchased a state of Michigan license plate that reads “GAY SON.” The Secretary of State delayed the process, stating the controversial auto tag “might be offensive” and that it “might not be in good taste.” With help from statewide organization, the Triangle Foundation, the plate was issued and delivered on Nov. 5.
Gays in the Workplace
1995: GLOBE became an official ERG in 1995 for salaried, hourly and retired employees of Ford Motor Company, its subsidiaries and agency personnel who are LGBTQ and their allies who support an inclusive and safe workplace for all employees. GLOBE has expanded to more than 480 members with chapters as far reaching as Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.
1996: On Sept. 19, “Big Blue” IBM (International Business Machines) announced it will extend medical benefits to domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees. They joined Time Warner, Xerox, Apple and Eastman Kodak, among others.
1997: On June 15, Chrysler Motors officially recognized People of Diversity (POD), a gay and lesbian employee group.
1998: The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents granted domestic partners benefits to same-sex partners of faculty members on March 17. Michael McGuire (pictured), co-founder of the LGBT Faculty and Staff Advocacy Coalition, was instrumental in getting sexual orientation added to all EMU policies.
1999: Marquette’s Internet Bagel Cafe made it clear that it will not discriminate during hiring or service to customers. The Cafe is known in Marquette as one of the more progressive employers in the city because it states up front that it will not discriminate for any reason, including sexual orientation. The Cafe joined two other gay-friendly employers, Taco Bell and the Metz Bakery.