Kavanaugh, John L. Papers 1970-2011

Span Dates: 1970-2011
Bulk Dates: 1990s-2011
Volume: 4 linear feet & 718 MB


The collection, spanning 40 years of John Kavanaugh's activism, documents both the history and challenges faced by the Michigan and national GLBT community, as well issues facing the area's racial and ethnic minorities. Of most value, the collection provides documentation regarding the position of various denominations on questions of homosexuality and gay and interracial marriage; racial and ethnic discrimination, and voters' suppression based on race and ethnicity. Kavanaugh's correspondence includes letters and hard copies of e-mails, many of them sent to individual clergy and to groups of citizens. His writings are sometimes represented in form of a self-published newsletter or e-newsletter (e.g., The bead reader and The missing lines). The collection contains a great number of non-mainstream publications, as well as articles and clippings from obscure and rare periodicals. The collection also includes a significant amount of material on the subject of public transit in Michigan, specifically, in the city of Detroit. The collection is organized into five series: Issues; Black and White Men Together; Religion; Public Transit; and Digital materials.

Hist/Bio Note

John L. Kavanaugh, a Detroit, Mich. resident and a life-long social activist, was a one-time member of the Brothers of Holy Cross within the Roman Catholic Church. Since 1968, he has been active in the GLBT movement. He served as a member of ONE, Detroit's Gay Liberation Front (serving as coordinator from 1970 to 1972); a founding member and the first lay head of Metropolitan Community Church in Detroit; a member of Integrity, the GLBT caucus within the Episcopal Church; a member of the Detroit chapter of Black and White Men Together (BWMT); and a member of the Triangle Foundation in Detroit. Throughout his activist career, John Kavanaugh has corresponded with numerous GLBT and religious leaders, organizations, and publications on various religious, social and political subjects. Public transit development is another area of interest for Kavanaugh. He has been a participant in community meetings and corresponded on the subject with members of Detroit metropolitan community, local and state government and organizations. In 2004 Kavanaugh published a book Welcome to the gay age (Tucson, Ariz. :Iceni Books, 2004).

Finding Aid

The finding aid can be found at the link below.


This collection is at the Bentley Historical Library of the University of Michigan.


Episcopal Church | MCC | Catholic (Roman) | Integrity | Marriage Equality | Detroit | Michigan