Hotter Than July Conference Focuses On Past, Future Of Detroit's African American LGBT Community

By Jason A. Michael

DETROIT - Nearly 60 people attended Hotter Than July's annual Gathering on LGBT Issues Friday. The conference took place at the Michigan State University Detroit Center in Midtown.

Tim Retzloff, a longtime Between The Lines contributing writer and a doctoral graduate of Yale University, delivered the keynote address, which focused on African American LGBT History in Detroit from 1945 - 1985.

"IT's history that's slowly being forgotten," Retzloff said.

While he mentioned familiar names like Ruth Ellis and controversial minister Prophet Jones, Retzloff also spoke of lesser known early gay organizers in Detroit such as Leon DeMeunier and John Pierre Adams. He spoke of the separatism and racism that existed in Detroit's lgbt community.

"African Americans who were 'in the life' in the two decades after World War II had far different options for socializing than lesbian and gay whites," Retzloff said. "They were largely unwelcome at the white working class gay bars around Farmer and Bates during the 1940s and `1950s."

Applause at the end of Retzloff's presentation was thunderous. It was followed by a panel discussion on bridging the gap between the lgbt community's past and future. Later, the Hotter Than July Milestone Awards were presented. Awardees included veterans of Detroit's lgbt community Kofi Adoma, Hank Millbourne and Rev. Darlene Franklin as well as younger activists Bre' Campbell and Royale Theus.

"We believe that Hotter Than July is a space where we recognize not only our past but our future," said Curtis Lipscomb, executive director of KICK, the agency that produces Hotter Than July.

  • Latest News

Enter To Win

Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more

Special Section: Pride Source Votes
Revealing Bigotry: Taking On Gary Glenn

In a Sept. 27 op-ed in the Detroit News, conservative Republican columnist Nolan Finley raised serious concerns about three Republican candidates running for the state house Nov. 4. Todd Courser of Lapeer, Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell and Gary Glenn of Midland -- all correctly identified by Finley as a "trio (who) seeks tea party tyranny." Nolan describes Glenn and Courser as "extremely anti-gay (who) would turn the Republican Party into a fundamentalist denomination of the Christian Church if given the chance." Finley warned that the trio's narrow views on the Legislature could cripple the government and its ability to work across the aisle to move the state forward. Their agenda also includes killing any expansion of the Elliot-Larsen act to include LGBT protections.

View More Pride Source Votes
This Week's Issue

Download or view this week's print issue today!