Tim Retzloff

Tim Retzloff teaches history and LGBTQ studies at Michigan State University.

November 1996: Pilgrimage of Remembrance: Michigan Residents Join Thousands for D.C. Quilt Display

I am grateful to have documented the perspectives of different Michiganders who made the pilgrimage by chartered bus: A gay man from Battle Creek there to honor his lover. A student from Ferndale High School. A volunteer with the Lansing Area AIDS

A Particular Type of Courage': Glen Johnson, Dead at 61, Was Openly Gay During Precarious Era For LGBTQ+ Corporate Workers

In a 1997 profile in the Affirmations newsletter, Glen Johnson pledged to contribute “time, money, and enthusiasm” to the Ferndale community center. Over three decades, Johnson gave time, money, enthusiasm and much more to Affirmations as [...]

50 Facts, 50 Years Later: What You Should Know About Christopher Street Detroit ‘72

This summer marks a milestone anniversary, yet most people don’t realize there’s an anniversary to mark.A half century ago, Michiganders who united in a bond of sexuality and gender that diverged from the so-called norm — those we [...]

Remembering John Kavanaugh: An Unabashed Hellraiser Leaves One Helluva Legacy

Early coordinator of the Detroit Gay Liberation Front, a founder of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, and a constant gadfly for change within the Episcopal Church, John Kavanaugh died Dec. 17 at age 82. He had been in declining health for [...]

Gentlest But Most Unshakeable Campaigner' Jim Toy, Michigan LGBTQ+ Trailblazer and Icon, Dies at 91

On April 15, 1970, at a large demonstration held in Kennedy Square in downtown Detroit to protest the war in Vietnam, Jim Toy became perhaps the first person in Michigan to publicly come out as gay.A year-and-a-half later, Toy co-founded what was [...]

Jim Toy Just Received His Honorary Doctorate from U-M. Here's What the Pioneering LGBTQ+ Activist Told Us.

Fifty years ago this fall, pioneering activist Jim Toy co-founded, with Cyndi Gair, the Human Sexuality Office at the University of Michigan. Now designated the Spectrum Center, it was the first campus "gay office" in the U.S. established to serve [...]

Jerry Moore, Activist, Last Link to Detroit Mattachine, Dies at 92

Jerry Abraham "Jai" Moore, a tireless advocate for civil liberties and social justice, and the last surviving officer of the Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society of the late 1950s, died May 22 at his home in Clearwater, Florida. He was 92 [...]

Obituary: Stuart Itzkowitz

[Photo: Stuart Itzkowitz in Detroit's Gay Pride March, ca. 1975] Pioneering Metro Detroit gay activist, psychologist, one-time diarist and retired Wayne State University lecturer and counselor Stuart Itzkowitz died Nov. 5. A resident of Grosse [...]

David Balas, Benefactor and Early Out Elected Official, Dies at 67

In eulogizing David Balas, Rabbi Michael Schadick noted that Jewish sages teach that those who pass away during the High Holy Days "are particularly special to God." David Lloyd Balas, arts supporter, benefactor and three-term, openly-gay member of [...]

Which Stonewall? Whose Stonewall?

  "Ho Ho! Hey Hey! We won't pay to be gay!" The chant, led by Vivian Thompson on a bullhorn and in unison with a couple dozen or so other protesters, announced the stance of Lansing People's Pride as they marched on June 17th through Old Town, [...]

Shockwaves from Stonewall: Revisiting Gay Liberation in Michigan

The Stonewall uprising had reverb. Multiple nights of rioting against police in June 1969 sent shockwaves across the country and sparked gay organizing on a mass scale. A new, radical group in New York called itself the Gay Liberation Front, the [...]

Whatever Happened to? ...

As I rework my dissertation into a book manuscript — cutting sections here, smoothing out passages there, tugging at paragraphs like taffy over there, finding the through line — I have been sneaking out and doing some last-minute oral history [...]