Monday, February 25, 2019

Michigan publishers awarded for their activism

by Fred Kuhr

Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz, wives and co-publishers of Detroit area publication Between The Lines, were awarded last month for their decades of activism in Michigan and nationally.

They were presented with the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement on January 25, 2019, at the Creating Change Conference in Detroit. The award and conference are presented by the National LGBTQ Task Force, based in Washington, D.C.

The award is named for Sue Hyde, the former director of the Creating Change Conference. Hyde was on hand to present the couple with the award.

“As I talked with Susan and Jan about their well-lived lives, we reveled in their very long and complicated herstories of work in this community and in this movement," Hyde said from the podium, as reported in Between The Lines. “I reminded them both that participation in oral history projects and written memoirs would yet be another wonderful gift to all of us and we laughingly renamed the award to be ‘the too stubborn to quit award.’ So thank you … for blessing us with the assurance that whoever we are, and no matter how forsaken we may feel, that we all have a place in the family of LGBTQ people.”
Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz (l-r)

Stevenson took the podium first, welcoming Creating Change attendees to Detroit, expressing her gratitude for the recognition and emphasizing what the Task Force has meant to her in both her life and career.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award from the Task Force, an organization that I have served and loved for decades and that the award is named after one of my personal heroine’s Sue Hyde,” Stevenson said, as reported by Between The Lines. “The theme of this conference … resonates so strongly because that’s what the Task Force is to me. As a board member and volunteer, I learned about organizing, working in diverse groups, struggling with complex issues and learning to accept that the good is not the enemy of the perfect. The Task Force, and especially Sue Hyde, have embodied to me that in organizing kindness, empathy and compassion are as important as being right; that empowering others raises us all.”

Horowitz then spoke on the progress the movement has made since she first came out.

“Next month marks 47 years ago at the age of 19 that I came out in 1972,” said Horowitz. “That world defined me as a criminal and mentally ill — not great for a job hunt. It was disturbing and shame-based language that too often succeeded in isolating and killing too many of us. I was lucky and I soon found a radically different message on a button with just three words … ‘Gay is good. … It filled my heart with hope. I knew then and I believe today … that who has the power to define us in life is an essential key to our liberation. It’s why I was attracted to printing presses, why I started a film festival and why I am committed to our community newspaper here in Michigan, Between The Lines.”

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