Room for Improvement

Letter From the Editor


Published:

Our story about the unsolved murder of Wayne State University professor Philip Traci in 1984 reminded me how much has changed over the last three decades. As Monica Mercer reports, many close friends and fans of Traci’s believe the crime remained unsolved because of police indifference. Who cared about a gay man’s murder? 

At first, I was surprised. I didn’t recall that much discrimination against gays in 1984. Then I reconsidered. 

Even though there was a full-blown crisis, President Ronald Reagan could barely utter the word “AIDS.” He finally mentioned it at a press conference in September 1985. A few years later, a very close friend came out to us, but only after we were well lubricated at a wedding. 

Today’s environment is more tolerant — for the most part. There are “out” movie stars, politicians, and even a few athletes. 

But have we come far enough? Michigan legislators recently couldn’t pass a bipartisan bill to add protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender residents in the state’s anti-discrimination law. And LGBT teens and young adults have high rates of suicide attempts. Bullying is a contributing factor. And don’t forget the Westboro Baptist Church’s protests at military funerals. 

So we’re not there yet. But there’s hope. When Hollywood leading man Rock Hudson’s AIDS diagnosis was announced in 1985, it changed some stereotypes — and sparked donations for research. 

Today there are countless fundraisers. One favorite: In late September, Hour Detroit sponsored a table at DIFFA — Dining by Design. Since 1984, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) has granted some $40 million to AIDS service organizations. Locally, the event has raised more than $500,000 over the past five years for the Michigan AIDS Coalition. Talented designers create dynamic dining installations that are functional works of art. The weekend culminates in a gala dinner with seating at the installations.

You don’t have to go that far for your party needs. Dorothy Hernandez asks area chefs and event planners for recipes and advice on how to pull off your own full-fledged soirée

What we drink before dinner has also changed since I tended bar in the ’80s. I made a very dry martini (a civilized way of asking for a glass of gin or vodka), but a Long Island Iced Tea was about as complicated as I got. Check out new methods of mixology from some of the area’s hottest new distilleries and restaurants.

This issue also highlights organizations and individuals that make a difference — from the Kiwanis and a nonprofit that is keeping the Native American “ghost supper” tradition alive to a look at the amazing life of local activist Grace Lee Boggs

As the “giving” season approaches, let’s remember those who have taught or influenced us — and realize we can all be agents for change.

 

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Style and the City

Letter from the Editor, November 2018

Doctor's Orders

“Detroit’s Got Soul”

Letter from the Editor, September 2018

This Time, I Really Mean It

Letter from the Editor, August 2018

(Not So) Great Expectations?

Letter from the Editor, July 2018
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best Dressed 2018
    Pulling back the curtain on this year’s selection of the region’s most stylish denizens
  2. Cocktail Recipe: Casa del Cider
  3. Keeping Up with Sheefy McFly
    The multitalented visual artist and musician is ubiquitous in the Motor City
  4. Designer Taste
    A quaint Ferndale shop sells exotic cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie
  5. Excellence in Care: Beaumont Health
    Hour Detroit presented Beaumont Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  6. Gathering Spot
    Eastern Market restaurant finds its groove after a rocky beginning
  7. The Way It Was
    Better Made Snack Foods, 1971
  8. Food Recipe: Barbecue Mac & Cheese
    Vast Kitchen and Bar executive chef, Jordan Gillis, upgrades the comfort staple
  9. Sanctuary for the Senses
    Castalia in Midtown offers a cocktail experience unlike any other
  10. Excellence in Care: St. Joseph Mercy Health
    Hour Detroit presented St. Joseph Mercy Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this...