Compiled by Sharon Gittleman
• Gay teen murdered
An 18-year-old Grand Rapids youth, Justin Bogdanik, died of pneumonia, two weeks after he was beaten and left unconscious at a Genoa Township freeway rest stop on July 11. The teen had been sexually tortured and had his eyes glued shut.
Police theorized that the youth was picked up at the rest stop by a man in a white tractor-trailer and was then assaulted, restrained, tortured and dumped along I-96 between Brighton and Howell.
• Church groundbreaking marked
Dozens of people gathered to celebrate a groundbreaking service for the New Covenant Assembly of Justified Believers church in Detroit. The church is the first scripture-focused ministry welcoming non-traditional families to be built in the city.
The sanctuary will seat 75 worshipers, many of whom once prayed in a congregation at the George Fadiga Community Pride Building in Ferndale.
• New police chaplains named
Ferndale added five new gay-friendly police chaplains to the city roster, including Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit Pastor Mark Bidwell. The department also revised the chaplain’s policy statement adding a clause requiring volunteers to “offer pastoral care freely to all persons regardless of race, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age disability or sexual orientation.”
• Hotter Than July march
A controversy reduced attendance and marred the festivities at the eighth annual Hotter Than July – Detroit Black Gay Pride celebration. The ALORDE Collective boycotted the kickoff march after female impersonator Diva was asked to be the grand marshal of the parade.
“We made that decision based on the fact that we’re an organization that wants to be taken seriously because we deal with serious issues,” said ALORDE Board Member Torrena Dye.
During the event’s candlelight vigil, Diva pointed out that the Stonewall battle between police and gays – the event that sparked modern gay activism – was fought by drag queens.
• Foundation funds PFLAG initiative
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays received a $40,000 grant from the Arcus Foundation to expand its Safe School Assessments program. The program measures how well schools and school districts are protecting LGBT youth by comparing the occurrence of anti-gay incidents to the presence of specific school safety policies and practices. The Kalamazoo-based Arcus Foundation is devoted to creating a more diverse and pluralistic society.
• BTL’s new talk radio show took to the airwaves in a weekly program hosted by Publisher Susan Horowitz and Photographer Khristian Speelman, heard from 9-10 a.m. on WPON 1460 AM each Friday morning.
• Michigan Equality was named 117th of the “Top 250 Michigan PAC’s in the 2002 Election Cycle,” by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, after the LGBT organization raised more than $59,000 to help candidates who supported anti-discrimination policies for gays and lesbians.
• Torii Hamilton and Elizabeth Kendall were married in Ontario on July 4.