As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
Compiled by Sharon Gittleman
• Taylor couple flees state due to neighbor’s harassment
A lesbian couple from Taylor moved to Missouri after enduring months of harassment and property destruction from their neighbor, Derek McDonagh. The crux of the dispute revolved around a fence in between the two properties. A fence dispute 11 years prior led to the deaths of Affirmations board members Susan Pittman and Christine Puckett who were shot to death in the front yard of their Huron Township home by their neighbor, Jim Brooks.
• Is he or isn’t he?
Blogger “Salam Pax,” captured the attention of Internet surfers with his tales of gay life in Iraq under the grip of Sadaam Hussein and during the dictator’s removal by American and European forces. Many questioned whether he really existed, while others eagerly awaited his messages of strength and survival. Salam Pax, means “peace” in Arabic and Latin respectively.
• Grant loss dooms program
State budget shortfalls ended the $3.1 million in funding once given in support of the School Health Curriculum Grants, ending the program that helped educators fight HIV-AIDS and anti-gay bullying in schools. The grants had been awarded since 1985.
• Gay journalists of the world, unite!
The Detroit chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists was revived by Free Press reporter Matt Helms. The organization, originally formed in 1990, fizzled out during the Detroit newspaper strike. During the group’s zenith, there were 50 LGBT journalist members culled from print, television, radio and related organizations.
• Governor goes to gay gala
Jennifer Granholm gave a speech at the Triangle Foundation’s annual Dinner Event – the first time a sitting Michigan Governor attended the fund-raiser, dedicated to recognizing the accomplishments of LGBT activists.
“I feel right at home here and I really appreciate the support you all gave me during the election,” said Granholm.
• College graduation at anti-gay church
Northwestern Michigan College announced its plans to hold the public institution’s graduation at the New Hope Community Church, a house of worship not known for its embrace of the LGBT community. New Hope hosts a “First Stone” ministry designed to “cure” gay people.
New Hope’s size and its non-denominational status were the primary reasons the site was chosen for graduation ceremonies, said College officials.
Faculty, students, church members and the American Civil Liberty Union weren’t thrilled with the school’s decision.
“Having a secular event in a religious venue could violate the separation of church and state,” said ACLU attorney Paul Bare.
• Legislator tries to clear the books
State Representative Steve Tobocman (D-Southwest Detroit) introduced two packages of bills designed to rid Michigan of antiquated, often unenforced laws, including gross indecency statutes designed to criminalize LGBT sex. Other laws targeted by Tobocman forbid cohabitation, blasphemy, cursing and swearing. Most of the statutes were passed between 1897 and 1930.
• Affirmations changes announced
Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center implemented a series of programs aimed at serving the everyday needs of LGBT people. The programs were the first designed to meet the Center’s new focus on wellness and personal development.
Affirmations also announced the addition of two new board members in May – Ken Rosen and BTL’s own Khristian Speelman.
• Ford Motor Company Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Allan Gilmour received the Equality Forum’s first International Business Leadership Award on May 3.
• TransGender Michigan celebrated its first year of incorporation on May 8.
• On May 10, Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit Pastor Mark Bidwell married his long-time love Greg Owen.
• Activist and community leader Gregory Lambert, 41, died on May 12 from complications of HIV.