Our History at Wayne: LGBTQ Life at Wayne State University Panel Discussion - June 12th

(35943) Clipping from the Gay Liberator, 1970

7:00-8:30 p.m.
David Adamany Undergraduate Library
3rd floor Community Room
Since the 1969 Stonewall riots, June has included a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) culture, starting with the first Christopher Street Parade in 1970. Fifty years ago, there was virtually no public support for LGBTQ rights but now marriage equality is the law of the land. Between these two ends of the spectrum lies a rich history of fighting for equality in nearly every area of public life.

This June, as we celebrate how far we’ve come, as well as the university’s sesquicentennial, the Wayne State University Library System’s Reuther Library invites the campus community and beyond to explore Wayne State University’s history and evolving relationship with LGBTQ students, staff and faculty in a panel discussion featuring former Wayne State students and staff who will share six decades of experiences at Wayne State as LGBTQ individuals.

Wayne State’s Marquita Chamblee, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, will provide the welcome and introduction of the panelists.

Panelists will include:

Reverend Dr. Renee McCoy
Renee McCoy began at Wayne State University at age 16 in 1967 and remembers learning about campus police filming homosexual encounters in restrooms as part of a campus crackdown.  Though she was a lesbian and did not partake in such activity, she understood this as targeting her as well.  She later went on to found Full Truth Fellowship of Christ and was a vital African American LGBTQ leader in the city.  McCoy wrote her doctoral dissertation on HIV/AIDS and African American men who have sex with men and earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at Wayne in 2005.  She now resides in Seattle, Washington.

Kim Ferguson
Kim Ferguson grew up in Detroit and attended Wayne State University from 1970 to 1974.  While an undergraduate at Wayne, he was a founding member of the Wayne State Gay Liberation Front, the first LGBTQ organization on campus and the predecessor to JIGSAW.  Following graduation, Ferguson worked for the State of Michigan Department of Social Services.

Lynne Rose
In 1994, Lynne Remsburg, now Lynne Rose, became the university’s first paid staff member devoted to programming and counseling for LGBTQ students, along the line of similar offices at UM, MSU, Eastern, Western, and Oakland.  The office was phased out after Rose took a new job and after the departure of Wayne President David Adamany.  She earned her Bachelor’s from Eastern Michigan University and her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.  Rose currently has her own private practice in Ann Arbor specializing in clinical social work.

Ashton Niedzwiecki
Ashton Niedzwiecki identifies as a pansexual transgender man.  While a student at Wayne State University, came out as trans at age 26 and began pursuing hormone therapy and gender affirmation through the local organization Transcend the Binary.  Niedzwiecki soon became a noted student activist and served as president of the GLBTA Student Union—now called JIGSAW.  In 2014, he co-founded FtM Detroit, a support group for transmasculine identified people in the metro area.  Niedzwiecki earned his B.A. in psychology from Wayne in 2016 and plans to pursue graduate studies in social work.

The panel will be moderated by historian Tim Retzloff. 
Dr. Tim Retzloff teaches history and LGBTQ studies at Michigan State University.  He earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 2006 and his Ph.D. in history from Yale in 2014.  Retzloff is currently at work on his first book, Metro Gay, about gay and lesbian life and politics in Metro Detroit from 1945 to 1985.  His writings on Michigan’s queer past have appeared in the anthology Creating a Place for Ourselves, the journal GLQ, the collection Making Suburbia, and the pages of Between The Lines.

This panel discussion is part of a series created by Wayne State’s University Archives at the Walter P. Reuther Library celebrating Wayne State University’s sesquicentennial.

Let us know if you’ll be joining us through our Facebook event

Related Reuther Library Collections Include:

LGBT Detroit Records

South Eastern Michigan Gay and Lesbian Association Records

Gay Liberator

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Records

Ernest L. Horne Papers