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History of LAHR
 
Introduction & The Beginning
- This information was compiled by Bill Beachler, our newsletter publisher and longtime Lansing resident and LAHR member.

LAHR started as a very loosely organized group on August 23, 1979. It was considered to be a cutting edge group in Michigan. There were not many LGBTQ groups in Michigan at the time. The first meetings attracted less than 50 people and were held at Dr. Mary Hartshorn and Barb Harte’s house. There was no board of directors or officers. The meetings were potlucks, mainly social gatherings, and venues for people to discuss LGBTQ issues. They also would play music and sing, as Barb Harte was very connected to the women’s music community.

LAHR coalesced around a cause from the very beginning. Shortly after LAHR formed, Lansing police officers were doing entrapment arrests of gay men at Lansing’s bars, Trammpp’s and Joe Cavello’s, that were known as gathering places for gay men. Gay men were arrested, not for soliciting sex, but for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police were staking out the bar with an undercover officer posing as a gay man, and as men would approach and simply talk to him, they were arrested.

LAHR took immediate action. Members researched and compiled a 100-page report that highlighted the community views, outlined statistics and facts in regard to the arrests and noted how the arrests were illegal. The group presented the report to the Lansing City Council in a standing room only meeting, wall-to-wall with LAHR’s community members, by organizing over 10 volunteers just to speak, to discuss the report and its findings. Due to the council’s limit for public comment of only three minutes, LAHR’s members formed a line and each took three minutes of the speech so that one person could start where the last person left off. They also organized legal assistance and advocated for the men arrested. It was something to behold as the community got behind the cause as one cohesive group, and they succeeded! Only two of over 30 men arrested went to trail and both were found not guilty! (This introduction was written by LAHR President, Gina Salvatoriello, in Nov., 2003, based upon discussions with Bill Beachler. The remaining history was written by Bill Beachler.)

Health & Education - LAHR has always been a leader on health issues in the local LGBT community. The LAHR newsletter published the first article in Michigan about AIDS based upon technical information sent to Bill Beachler by a contact from Los Angeles and analyzed by LAHR cofounder and newsletter editor Dr. Mary Hartshorn. The following article appeared in September, 1981, long before AIDS even had a name: "FYI: Kaposi's Saroma, a rare malignant disease, has been noted to increase in occurrence this past year, among gay men. Symptoms can include violet-tan colored, raised, firm skin lesions, swollen glands, abscess around the rectum, fever, and/or weight loss. The cause of the increase has not been documented, although "poppers" are regarded with suspicion. Please note that many of the symptoms mentioned are also symptoms of other, more benign illnesses; nonetheless, if you suspect a problem, you would be wise to consult your doctor. The course of the disease is variable, as is the success of treatment. The first step is diagnosis."

By May, 1983, under the leadership of William Sawyer, LAHR President, Mike Hendricks, assisted by Jan Sperling, who was a 3rd year medical student in the MSU College of Human Medicine, formed the Lansing Health Information Network Council (LHINC). Mike was elected to the LAHR Board on July 12, 1983, as Chairperson of the Education Committee and on August 16, 1983, the Board voted to officially recognize LHINC as a subcommittee of the Education Committee of LAHR.

LHINC was formed in response to the urgent need for quality health care in the gay community in the Lansing area. The Council was formed by representatives of the MSU Lesbian/Gay Council, LAHR and the Lesbian/Gay Hotline, MSU College of Human Medicine, Listening Ear, and the East Lansing Drug Education Center Clinic. LHINC had four main goals: to educate mental and medical health care providers to the gay community on issues of particular concern to lesbians and gay men, to educate the gay community and other concerned persons on such matters, to provide a referral list of health care providers to the gay community, and to provide limited health care for areas such as STD's.

LHINC published a supplement to the LAHR newsletter from June, 1983 through September, 1984. Mike and his partner John Novak moved to Washington, D.C. in August, 1984. LHINC's activities were replaced by the Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN), which was established shortly thereafter. LAHR members assisted in LAAN’s creation and the two organizations have worked together successfully and cooperatively ever since.

Greater Lansing Gay Men’s Chorus - The April, 1986 LAHR Newsletter had the following front page news item: “On Tuesday, March 18,1986 there were 42 men named in sexual charge warrants that police used in a highly publicized mass roundup; it was organized in advance with the news media to create a major spectacle for the purpose of providing harsh and punitive treatment to individuals, who had been secretly caught in an alleged victimless crime. The police, Prosecutor Houk (who had been discussed for a potential appointment to the Ingham Circuit Court), the Lansing State Journal, and several other local news media cooperated in an effort, giving the appearance of a vigilante group, that has resulted in the destruction of the lives of many people, their families, and friends. In six months, 65 people have been arrested in Ingham county and sexual orientation is an underlying issue. The majority of these people were charged with a felony.”

One of the people arrested was Larry Barnard. Prior to March 18, 1986 Larry was married with two children, living in Okemos, and working as a school teacher in the Holt school system. This very public arrest, motivated Larry to come out. At a meeting of the LAHR Board on April 8, Bill Beachler nominated Larry Barnard for Communication Officer of LAHR. Larry’s election to the Board began one of LAHR’s most memorable and productive eras.

In 1987, Larry was elected LAHR’s Education Officer; in 1988 he moved to San Francisco where he volunteered at the Parsonage Episcopal ministry; in 1989 Larry was back as LAHR’s Education Officer and in 1990 he was again elected as Education Officer, but with conditions. Larry commented during the election, “LAHR needs to do more, maybe a name change, maybe reorganize the structure, needs to coordinate better with the lesbian community, needs to network better with other organizations, Lansing needs a chorus, coffeehouse, more candidate nights, needs a service club, needs to encourage people of color and needs to be more supportive of those both in and out of the closet.” Also, in 1990 LAHR had a new President, John Huebler, providing new leadership.

During these years as an officer, Larry worked as a buddy for LAAN, hosted meetings and potluck suppers at his home, initiated programs of public education regarding gay rights issues, and actively participated in many community activities, including a local food bank. Then on November 13, 1989, Larry invited LAHR to a potluck supper at King Arthur’s Court clubhouse in DeWitt. The clubhouse had plenty of space, a beautiful fireplace and a piano. The stage was set, according to Larry’s preconceived plan. The regular LAHR meeting began with music. Larry asked Stuart Ouwinga, and a few others in attendance to join him in some personal selections, including, “The Best of Times is Now.” Following these selections Larry announced that we had just heard the first performance of the Greater Lansing Gay Men’s Chorus. President John Huebler thanked Larry, introduced Jeff Swanson, Executive Director of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR) and noted there was much interest in LAHR’s new lesbian/gay youth outreach program. There were 31 present for this very special LAHR meeting.

The first official performance of the Greater Lansing Gay Men’s Chorus with 12 members, director, and accompanist, as part of the LAHR Education Committee activities using a $200 anonymous donation and ultimately a $500 per year budget, was held on December 11, 1989. This event was LAHR’s holiday potluck and dessert auction attended by 50 people at King Arthur’s Court. The successful auction, with auctioneer Jeff Swanson, raised $1,000 for LAHR, PFLAG, and Dignity. The Chorus, with Larry’s theme “A Positive Image for Greater Lansing” on the program, performed under the direction of Rick Wendorf. The first songs included: Jingle Bell Rock, Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman, Silver Bells, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, and White Christmas. This successful performance, with the Chorus dressed in their red bow ties, was a proud moment for Larry.

March 15, 1990, was a sad day in Greater Lansing. Larry died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 52. On March 24th, the LGBT community held a memorial service for Larry with the Rev. Melanie Morrison at the United Ministries in Higher Education in East Lansing with 65 people in attendance. As announced in the Lansing State Journal, the purpose of the service was to celebrate Larry’s many contributions to the LGBT community. Larry’s beloved Greater Lansing Gay Men’s Chorus sang “Anthem,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “One” and “Family.”

LAHR Leadership & Gender Parity - LAHR was formed on August 23, 1979. The new organization had three purposes: 1. help coordinate gay and lesbian activities in the Lansing area through increasing communication, 2. organize social groups and events for area gays and lesbians, and 3. assist in local, state, and national gay/lesbian activism. There were a couple of other local groups in existence at the time including Gay Liberation at MSU and a Gay Support Group meeting on Monday nights. The first LAHR Newsletter was published in September, 1979.

During LAHR’s 25 years, the organization has only had 16 leaders (5 women and 11 men). LAHR’s fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30. This leadership included:

1979-80 - Mary Hartshorn/Barbara Harte (founders)/Gene Martin
1980-81 - Andrew Stuart, Meeting Facilitator
1981-82 - William Sawyer/Tim Knight
1982-83 - William Sawyer
1983-84 - William Sawyer
1984-85 - Vacant/William Sawyer, Acting
1985-86 - Gary Zick
1986-87 - Gary Zick
1987-88 - Gary Zick
1988-89 - Gary Zick
1989-90 - John Huebler
1990-91 - John Huebler
1991-92 - Ed Hinspeter
1992-93 - Ed Hinspeter/Jim Phillips
1993-94 - Jim Phillips
1994-95 - Jim Phillips
1995-96 - Lynette Holloway
1996-97 - Cheryl VanDeKerkhove
1997-98 - Chris Swope
1998-99 - Chris Swope
1999-2000 - Chris Swope
2000-01 - Clyde Keep
2001-02 - Michael Todd
2002-03 - Cheryl VanDeKerkhove
2003-04 - Gina Salvatoriello / Dayle Benjamin

Subsequently Updated:

2004-05 - Robin Reed & Matt Wiengarden (Co-Presidents)
2005-06 - Robin Reed & Matt Wiengarden (Co-Presidents)

In the September, 1993 LAHR Gay & Lesbian News in an article entitled “Gender Parity Update,” newly elected LAHR President Jim Phillips stated, “Until Elaine Donnoe was recently elected to the LAHR Board, it was easier to find a Lesbian on the cover of a national news magazine than at a LAHR Board meeting. The gender ratio is now 8 to 1. It certainly seems to me that half of our community is not being sufficiently represented on the LAHR Board. Half of the views are not being heard. Half of our direction is not being followed. Half of our energies are not being tapped. If the Gay and Lesbian community is to make civil rights gains in the Lansing area and stop the Religious Rights’s efforts to roll back previous gains, we need the strength of the entire community. If LAHR is to play a leadership role in these battles, LAHR must make a commitment to Gender Parity on our Board.”

On October 9, 1993, with 25 people present for the LAHR annual meeting and election of officers held at the Coral Gables, the following BY-LAWS Amendment was unanimously adopted - amend ARTICLE V - OFFICERS: Add this new Section 7 to read as follows: “Parity between the genders shall be the organizational goal for the Board of Officers. No more than eight positions on the Board of Officers may be of the same gender.” At this election of officers, the following women were elected: Kathy Fay, Linda Henderson, Alicia Perez-Banuet, Elaine Donnoe, and Lisa Laughman. On December 12, 1993 Cindy Lehmkuhle, Georgia Davidson, and Robin Reed were elected to the Board. President Jim Phillips had talked to these members and encouraged their interest in the Board. The men on the Board were Jim Phillips, D Bill Haines (Bill Beachler), Barry Scates, Bob Lundy, Rod Brauher, David Smith, Dave Miller (moved Jan.) / John Huebler (elected Feb.), and Gary Zick. The first full Board of Officers was now complete with 16 members.

Hotline - The October, 1981 LAHR Newsletter contained “A Message From Our Out-Going Chairperson,” Andrew Stuart. Andrew wrote, “Now that we have the office (September14, 1981 was the official opening of the first LAHR office at the Plaza Center - Romney Bldg.), work has started on getting our hotline up and going. I will be coordinating that effort in conjunction with the Education Committee. The first training session is scheduled for October 18th at 2:00 at the office, Suite 837, Plaza Center. Anyone interested in working the hotline, or who will be getting a lot of referral calls is welcome. Contact Mary Hartshorn or myself for further information.”

On July 10, 1999, Eric Drown from Pleasant Ridge, MI sent a letter to LAHR, ATTN: Hotline staff, “Greetings, Enclosed you will find the original journal for the Lansing Lesbian/Gay Hotline started on the first night of operation in October of 1981....I’ve included a picture of Barb Hart & Mary Hartshorn, the two wonderful women who single handedly perceived the need and started the hotline. I attended the first training session for volunteers held early in October of ‘81. Some of the original cast of characters included: Ken Moran, (L.A.), Jerry Bezaire, (San Francisco), Roger Glum, (Lansing), Bob McInnis, (decreased), Andrew Stuart, (Lansing?), Bruce Hart, (San Francisco?), Howard, Judy, Pete, & Lyin. I hope you enjoy this ‘piece of your history.’”

The first entry in the journal, October 22, 1981, “Wonderful People, Welcome , you creative devils! This is your book. You may draw, write, create, sketch, doodle, scribble, or realize your wildest potential. All are welcome. As we fill in the last pages, this book will hold our keys to the universe! Enjoy! Sort of like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Or the time capsule of the Ozone.”

The first two entries, dated October 23, 1981 (which I assume was the first day of operation of the Hotline) - “Here sit Ken & Mary, freezing their asses off - quiet so far, but compassionable.” - MAH. “A silent night but certainly not a lonely one! Lots of interesting rapping and got to know Mary as a loving, caring, concerned sister - who also happens to love kitties!” Ken

At the LAHR meeting of September 14, 1982, Gary Zick gave a summary of the proposed changes to the LAHR By-Laws. There were 17 members present and all voted yes for the following two of several changes: Article IV - Officers - Section 8: Supportive Services Committee Chairperson. This Chairperson shall have the responsibility of general supervision of the affairs of the Supportive Services Committee; including the Lesbian-Gay Hotline, support groups and other supportive services established by the Association. This Chairperson shall be required to have expertise in one or more of the services established to be considered eligible for the position. The Chairperson shall prepare an annual activities report for submission to the Records Officers for the Annual Report; and shall report on all accomplishments at each meeting.

Article V - Committees - Section 5: Supportive Services Committee. This Committee shall be responsible for planning and conducting essential services for the Lesbian and Gay Community which may include the administration of a telephone hotline, support groups, and other activities deemed appropriate; and shall conduct fundraising activities to assure financial support for the Association.

One of the primary sources of financial support for the Hotline is the City of East Lansing. LAHR received its first grant from the East Lansing City Council on February 15, 1983, totaling $1,030. This grant has continued every year in various amounts. LAHR was notified on March 3, 2004, that the grant will continue to be recommended by the Community Development Advisory Committee to the Human Relations Commission at their public hearing on March 10th for fiscal year 2004-05 in the amount of $1,458. In the original 1983 application submitted by LAHR Financial Officer Michael Perrone, was an organizational chart which showed the Supportive Services Committee responsible for the Lesbian/Gay Hotline, which had a Policy and Monitor Board, Director, and the following coordinators reporting to the Director: referrals & records, training, volunteer, fundraising, publicity, and financial. Another important source of financial support for the Hotline for many years has been designations to United Way.

During LAHR’s 25 years, the Hotline, which is in its 23rd year of service, has only had 12 leaders (3 women and 9 men). The LAHR Hotline is the oldest continuously functioning LGBT hotline in the State of Michigan. The Hotline’s leadership included:

1981-82 - Mary Hartshorn
1982-83 - Mary Hartshorn / Tom Mooney
1983-84 - Tom Mooney
1984-85 - Tom Mooney
1985-86 - Tom Mooney / Pete Doty
1986-87 - Pete Doty
1987-88 - Rich Spickard
1988-89 - Andrew Stuart
1989-90 - Andrew Stuart
1990-91 - Andrew Stuart

1991-92 - Andrew Stuart / David Smith
1992-93 - David Smith
1993-94 - David Smith
1994-95 - Chris Meyer
1995-96 - Chris Meyer
1996-97 - Joe Cook / Dory Rickert / Mike Carlson, Acting
1997-98 - Mike Carlson
1998-99 - Mike Carlson
1999-00 - Rachel Crandall
2000-01 - Rachel Crandall
2001-02 - Kirk Taskila
2002-03 - Mike Carlson
2003-04 - Mike Carlson

Subsequently Updated:

2004-05 - Mike Carlson
2005-06 - Mike Carlson

Newsletter - The first issue of the “LAHR Newsletter” was published in September, 1979, a few days following LAHR’s formation. The first newsletter contained the following items: “LAHR: An Introduction,” “Federally Guaranteed Civil Rights?,” “Proposed Revision of Criminal Code Good News For Gays,” “The Book CO-OP: Books and Information,” “Dignity: A Group for Gay Catholics and Their Friends,” “M.S.U. Lesbian/Gay Council,” “Women’s Centers,” “Gay Support Group,” “The Abbey Press,” “Calendar of Events” and “Coming Attractions.”

The LAHR newsletter is Michigan’s oldest, continuously produced monthly newsletter with subscribers from coast to coast across the country. It was called “LAHR Newsletter” from 1979 until June, 1990, when it became “Gay & Lesbian News,”which was the first layout done on the computer. These were a couple of several LAHR changes implemented by LAHR’s new President, John Huebler. In addition, the LAHR membership records were converted from a manual list to a computer database, which was used to produce the newsletter’s first mailing labels. The name was changed again in April, 1999 by the Layout Editor to “LGBT News.” The name was changed again in Dec., 2003 by Layout Editor Robin Reed to “The LGBT News / Lansing’s LGBT Connection!”

The LAHR newsletter originally was an 8 page newsletter printed on 8 x 14 colored paper and folded in half. Beginning in Jan., ‘81 the newsletter was printed on 8 ½ x 11 white paper and was 8 pages two-sided. Beginning in June, ‘83 the newsletter had a slightly cleaner look, but was 2 pages two-sided with the LHINC and other attachments. The “LAHR Newsletter” continued with no change until it was done on the computer in June, ‘90, became the “Gay & Lesbian News,” had a different grey look and became 4 pages two-sided with attachments. The first ad, from Pam Sisson, appeared in March, ‘91. The grey look disappeared in Jan., ‘92 and a calendar was added. The number of pages increased to 6 in May, ‘92. In June, ‘92 the look again became more professional, graphics were added, it contained 16 ads and again increased to 8 pages. The next major change occurred in May, ‘94, when pink was added to the white pages including the triangle, the pages were folded with a periodical look, pictures were added, there were 21 ads, and it became 14 pages. In Nov., ‘95 the newsletter became it’s current length of 16 pages and contained 28 ads. The last significant change occurred in Dec., ‘00, when purple replaced pink.

The LAHR newsletter has only had 3 publishers in its 25 year history. Those individuals are:

Sept. ‘79 - Oct. ‘81 - Mary Hartshorn
Nov. ‘81 - Mar. ‘83 - Gary Zick
Apr. ‘83 - May ‘04 - Bill Beachler

Subsequently Updated:

June ‘04 - Oct. ‘05 - Bill Beachler

Bill Beachler joined LAHR in Feb., 1980 attending a meeting in the home of Mary Hartshorn, invited by Gary Zick. Bill was first elected Records Officer (Secretary) in Dec., 1980 through Sept., 1981 and wrote his first article for the newsletter in Feb., 1981 titled “What is the Fund for Human Dignity?” Bill used the name D. Haines. Bill was elected Records Officer again on Aug. 3, 1982 and remained Secretary until Sept., 2000. Bill used the name D. Bill Haines beginning in Oct., ‘82 and continued to use the name until Oct., ‘96. Bill Beachler won the Prism Award at the 5th Annual Awards on October 11, 1997.

The newsletter has only had 8 layout editors. Those individuals are:

Sept. ‘79 - Oct. ‘81 - Mary Hartshorn
Nov. ‘81 - Mar. ‘83 - Gary Zick
Apr. ‘83 - Mar. ‘84 - Bill Beachler
Apr. ‘84 - Sept. ‘84 - John Huebler
Oct. ‘84 - May, ‘90 - Bill Beachler
June, ‘90 - May ‘92 - John Huebler
June ‘92 - Mar. 94 - Mark Sartor
Apr. 94 - Oct. ‘97 - Robin Reed
Nov. ‘97 - Apr. ‘00 - Vicky Sharland
May ‘00 - Jan. ‘02 - Chris Swope
Feb./Mar. ‘02 - May ‘06 - Robin Reed

Subsequently Updated:

June ‘04 - Oct. ‘06 - Robin Reed
Aug '09 - Present (2012 as of this writing) - Melissa Cogswell

Originally, the LAHR newsletter was free. However, that changed on Jan. 20, 1981, when a fee of $3.00 was approved. At that time there were 180 people on the mailing list and 75 copies of the newsletter were distributed in the bars. First class postage at the time was increasing to 20 cents. In August, 1982 the fee was increased to $5.00 due to 400 copies being produced for 100 paid subscribers, free distribution to the bars, and also mailing 50 copies to local high school libraries and counseling offices. On September 14, 1982 the LAHR Bylaws were amended to establish an annual membership fee of $10.00. The November, 1982 newsletter contained a newsletter / membership form for $15.00, with $5.00 for the newsletter and $10.00 for the LAHR general fund. Even with this change, the Jan., 1983 newsletter contained a message from President William Sawyer announcing financial distress and reporting the size of the newsletter would be reduced to 2 pages and the number of copies and distribution would be restricted.

The newsletter and membership fee remained the same for many years, until Dec. 11, 1994 when the newsletter subscription was increased to $10. The annual membership and newsletter combined was now $20.00, but one could still choose one option or both. On May 14, 2000 at a special membership meeting, the Bylaws were again amended under the leadership of Chris Swope to combine the LAHR membership and newsletter subscription. Since many individuals only had subscriptions, the new minimum membership / subscription fee was set at $15.00 to avoid a loss of contributors; however, the following membership ranges were established: individual, family, patron/matron and benefactor. In addition, in Feb. ‘02 LAHR solicited bids for the first time to find a new layout editor, resulting in hiring Robin Reed.

During the 1990s the newsletter contained several monthly articles from regular writers. These included political news by Robert Lundy, “Dear Jody” by Jody Valley, “Book Review” by Nancy Bischof, “Frankly Speaking” by Frank Nelson, “Escape....With Chad” by Chad Schulz from Escape Travel, “Family Fitness” by Mike Carlson, “Pastor Bill” by Bill Berman, “Out at the Movies” by Mike Carlson and “On Books” by Val Meyers. This volunteer effort continues today with several regular writers listed on page 2 of the Newsletter. LAHR is very grateful for all the volunteers, past and present, who have helped to make the LAHR newsletter one of the most successful in the country.

Prism Awards - The first documented suggestion for an annual awards ceremony was received by LAHR as a result of a November 3, 1987 letter to the LAHR membership signed by President Gary Zick. The letter stated, "As part of our effort to prepare ourselves for the new year, LAHR would like to solicit your input in setting goals for 1988." There were 21 ideas developed at the October LAHR meeting and the membership was asked to ranked the ideas and "to list other ideas for consideration." The November 10th minutes from the LAHR meeting held at the Hollister Bldg where the LAHR office was located, noted that, "We received a total of 14 responses to our survey for 1988 goals." David Youngs, the newly elected Social Chair, was the lead on this activity. One of the 14 responses was from Ken Beachler, who recommended the need for an annual awards ceremony. At the December LAHR meeting, it was decided the first goal of the new year was to increase membership and the second goal was to increase communication with the media - an awards ceremony would wait.

The September 20, 1992 LAHR minutes contained the first documentation of community awards as follows: "John Huebler reported that David Smith (Hotline Director) has the lead for the LAHR Annual meeting/dinner. Ed Hinspeter, LAHR President, would like to have community service awards and recognition for the Hotline volunteers. LAHR will pay for the dinners of the Hotline volunteers and we will thank them in general, so that each volunteer can remain anonymous. There was discussion about the Hotline’s confidentiality. Some Board members questioned the need for the tight secrecy. We discussed the community service awards and that LAHR would also pay for the dinners of the award winners and their partners. Various names of men and women were mentioned."

The October, 1992 Gay & Lesbian News contained the following from Ed Hinspeter, "The LAHR Annual Meeting this year promises to be the best ever. For the first time, LAHR will present the first Community Service Awards. A notice will be sent to the LAHR membership soon, announcing the Annual Meeting and asking each voting member to assist in making the selection of the award recipients."

The December, 1992 Gay & Lesbian News contained the following from Ed Hinspeter, "The first Lansing area community service awards were presented by LAHR at its Annual Meeting on November 7, 1992, at the Coral Gables. First, LAHR recognized the volunteers of the LAHR Hotline for all their efforts at the Hotline and the excellent service these people provide to the Lesbian and Gay community. Next, LAHR presented the community service awards to two outstanding local people who have contributed greatly to the local Lesbian and Gay community. These two people are Maxine Thome and Chris Carmichael. Each of them received a framed certificate..." "There were 33 present for LAHR’s most successful Annual Meeting, since LAHR began in August, 1979."

The following May 27, 1993, at the LAHR meeting and potluck held at Bill Beachler’s, with 11 members present, Jim Phillips was elected President of LAHR. Dave Miller volunteered to take the lead to organize the LAHR Annual Meeting and Community Service Awards with Jim Phillips and Bob Lundy volunteering to help. In June Cindy Lehmkuhle and Cheryl VanDeKerkhove distributed a brochure announcing the establishment of a "Community Store in ‘94," the Real World Emporium. Included in the brochure was the announcement of the Community Service and the Prism Awards; "As part of The Real World Emporium, we’d like to begin a tradition of recognizing the folks in our community who make Lansing a better place to live for Lesbians, Gay men and our friends...On Saturday, October 9th, the weekend before National Coming Out Day, we will hold a banquet called The Prism Awards to honor our local heros." A nomination form was included in the brochure.

Between June and September, Cheryl, Cindy and Jim had discussions to merge the LAHR Annual Meeting and Community Service Awards and The Prism Awards. In the September, 1993 Gay & Lesbian News, "The Prism Awards, A Community Awards Dinner held at the Coral Gables in East Lansing Michigan, 6:30 p.m., Saturday evening October 9th, 1993 cosponsored by The Lansing Association for Human Rights and The Real World Emporium" was announced. The nomination form and reservation form was included on the flyer.

The Prism Awards have now been presented at 11 events: ’93 and ‘94 at The Coral Gables, ‘95 at the Center for the Arts, ‘96 and ‘97 at The Kellogg Center, ‘98, ‘99, ‘00, and ‘01 at the Boarshead Theater, and ‘02 and ‘04 at the Hannah Community Center. During all these events, 307 awards have been presented to 220 people / organizations. The following people have received Prism Awards:

1993 Terry Grant
Bob Egan
1994 Terri Jewell
Terry Stein
1995 Linda Henderson
John Huebler
1996 mj Perrin
Jim Phillips
1997 Anne Tracy
Bill Beachler
1998 Lorraine Leroux
Robert Lundy
1999 Lisa Hansknecht
William Sawyer
2000 Brenda Stoneburner
Chris Swope
2001 Rachel Crandall
Matt Weingarden
2002 Carrie Rowe
T.J. Jourian
2004 Margy Lesher
Jason Bryans

Subsequently Updated:

2005 Lajoya Johnson - held at the Temple Club. Currently, 312 awards have been presented to 225 people / organizations.

Office, Meetings, & LAHR-PAC - LAHR’s 25th Anniversary year is about to come to a close. During the past months during 2003-04 the newsletter has contained historical articles about LAHR’s beginning, its education and health activities prior to the creation of LAAN, the creation of the Greater Lansing Gay Men’s Chorus, LAHR’s leadership, gender parity policy, the Hotline, the Newsletter, and the Prism Awards.

LAHR began as an organization on August 23, 1979. The first meetings were held at the home of Dr. Mary Hartshorn and Barb Harte, attracted less than 50 people, and were mainly social gatherings, including potlucks and music. The members of LAHR adopted the first official By-Laws on October 21, 1980 and elected the first official set of officers on November 11, 1980. The LAHR meetings during 1981 moved from Barb and Mary’s to Trammpp’s on Michigan Avenue

Andrew Stuart, LAHR’s first Chairperson, wrote in the 1981 Annual Report, “LAHR has been from the time I joined in March, 1980, an emerging and important force in the Lansing Lesbian and Gay community. I have watched it grow from a 25-plus member collective with a minimal structure to a 100-plus member nonprofit corporation.” The Michigan Department of Commerce certified LAHR as a nonprofit corporation on July 16, 1981. LAHR signed its first lease for an office at Lansing’s Plaza Center on September 14, 1981.

The meetings moved from Trammpp’s to the Plaza Center in October, 1981. The new year in 1982 was eventful with Meridian Township’s first gay bar, Apple’s, and with Mayor Larry Owen of East Lansing signing the first proclamation for “Lesbian/Gay Pride and Awareness Week.” In August of 1982 LAHR moved again to the Unitarian Universalist Church in East Lansing.

The LAHR Office for the Hotline and the LAHR meetings was at the Unitarian Church until January 1, 1986. During LAHR’s stay at the church, LAHR’s application for tax exemption from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code was approved by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) on December 20 , 1984. On May 16, 1985, President William Sawyer signed Michigan’s first letters to Lansing’s legislative delegation requesting state funding to fight AIDS ultimately resulting in state support. In June, 1985, Lansing experienced its first AIDS death with the passing of Rick Rapaport.

Beginning in January, 1986, LAHR moved back to downtown Lansing in the Hollister Bldg. During LAHR’s stay at the Hollister Bldg. another significant event occurred that impacted LAHR’s history. On Tuesday, March 18, 1986, there were 42 men named in sexual charge warrants that police used in a highly publicized mass roundup related to activities at the Holt Rest Area. During a six month period, 65 people were arrested in Ingham county and sexual orientation was an underlying issue. The majority of these people were charged with a felony.

Beginning in 1987, LAHR began having meetings in people’s homes and meeting attendance significantly increased. During 1988 were the successful Provincetown West and Key West North potlucks. On June 25, 1989, the Michigan March for Lesbian and Gay Rights for Michigan Pride was moved from Detroit to Lansing with LAHR members assisting in the move and the theme was Stonewall20. In June 1989, LAHR began having its meetings in the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR) Development Fund Office on Louisa St. in Lansing. LAHR moved from the Hollister Bldg. on April 30, 1990, and began an agreement with MOHR for the LAHR Hotline and meetings effective April 1, 1990.

Unfortunately, LAHR’s stay with MOHR was a short one. MOHR was having significant financial difficulty, which ultimately resulted in the organization going out of business. LAHR signed a lease with Jacobson’s in downtown East Lansing effective December 1, 1990. The Hotline had a new telephone number, which it still has today, and LAHR had a new address and P.O. Box 6565, which it still has today. On December 1, 2004, LAHR will have been in its current location for 14 years.

During those 14 years, the most significant event was the Lansing Civil Rights Ordinance. Our history began, as was stated, with LAHR first asking the Lansing City Council for a civil rights ordinance during their meetings in 1980. In the mid-1980’s LAHR again had asked for a fair housing ordinance, which the Council approved, but the Mayor vetoed. Then in 1996, LAHR supported the Lansing Equal Rights Task Force in an effort to achieve a comprehensive civil rights ordinance, which was passed by the City Council and approved by Mayor Hollister. However, our enemies gathered signatures and placed the ordinance on the ballot. On election night November 5, 1996, the news media announced that the ordinance had passed based upon exit poll results showing 64% in support and 36% opposed. Late in the night, however, the actual result for Proposal 1 was 19,882 yes, 48%, and 21,715 no, 52%. Unfortunately, LAHR and LAHR-PAC continue the work to achieve civil rights in Lansing.

LAHR-PAC, a separate and independent organization from LAHR, was provided its Statement of Organization, Receipt and Committee Identification Number Assignment (43930) from the Ingham County Clerk’s Office on July 31, 1981. This action made LAHR-PAC the first official Lesbian/Gay political action committee in the State of Michigan. One significant activity throughout the history of LAHR-PAC was the annual Mardi Gras held at Trammpp's, which raised hundreds of dollars. The 7th annual and last costume party on March 3, 1987, was one of the most successful with 150 people in attendance and with assistance from Craig Covey, Michigan AIDS Prevention Project.

In the November, 1981 LAHR Newsletter LAHR-PAC published its first ratings for the November local elections, beginning a practice of rating candidates in all elections which continues today. Those first ratings supported George Lokken for Mayor, Richard Lilly for 2nd Ward, Charles Creamer and Marvin Ray for 4th Ward, Lucile Belen, James Blair and Richard Zimmerman for Council At-Large and Laura Hess, Joan Burton Hunault, and Elizabeth Schweitzer for East Lansing. LAHR and LAHR-PAC continue their cooperation and successful working relationship.

Updated 11/1/05

 
     
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