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Jim Toy
Name at BirthJames W. Toy
BornApril 29, 1930
BirthplaceNew York City
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationUS lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist and educator
Known For:Gay Liberation Front, Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office at the University of Michigan, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan Commission on Homosexuality

James W. "Jim" Toy[1] (born April 29, 1930 in New York City[2]) is a long-time LGBT activist, considered a pioneer among LGBT activists in Michigan.

He holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Michigan and serves as a pro bono counselor and therapist. Toy underwent bureaucratic retirement in 2008 from the University of Michigan as the diversity coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity.

Michigan activism

Jim Toy identified as being gay during his speech at an anti-Vietnam-War rally in Kennedy Square, Detroit, in April 1970. At the rally Toy was representing the Detroit Gay Liberation Movement, of which he was a founding member.

Ann Arbor / University of Michigan

He was as well a founding member of the Ann Arbor Gay Liberation Front. In 1971 he helped establish the Human Sexuality Office (HSO) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (later renamed The Spectrum Center.) The HSO was the first staff office in a United States institution of higher learning, and presumably the first of its kind in the world, to respond to sexual-orientation concerns. Jim served as its Co-Coordinator, and Gay Male advocate, from 1971 until 1994. The HSO, now named the Spectrum Center, has named its library in Jim's honor. The Jim Toy Library (JTL) currently hosts a collection of over 1500 titles and supports LGBTQA student development by exposing students to, and engaging them in, the rich cultural, social, historical, psychological, political, and relational aspects of LGBTQ people, identities, experiences, and communities.

In 1972 he became the co-author of the first official “Lesbian-Gay Pride Week Proclamation" by a governing body in the United States, the Ann Arbor (Michigan) City Council. He was the co-author of the City’s non-discrimination policy regarding sexual orientation (1972). He participated (1973–1993) in the successful efforts to amend the University of Michigan’s non-discrimination bylaw so as to include sexual orientation as a protected category. He engaged in the campaigns to create and retain the City of Ypsilanti’s non-discrimination ordinance (1997–1998). In 1999 Jim and Dr. Sandra Cole, former Director of the University of Michigan Health System's Comprehensive Gender Services Program, wrote the language of Ann Arbor’s non-discrimination policy regarding gender identity. With many others, Jim advocated successfully (1993–2007) for the amendment of the University's non-discrimination bylaw so as to include gender identity and gender expression as protected categories.

In 1972, Toy co-authored the first official "Lesbian-Gay Pride Week Proclamation" by a U.S. governing body, the Ann Arbor City Council. The same year, he co-authored the city's non-discrimination policy on sexual orientation.

He also successfully lobbied the University of Michigan to include sexual orientation in the nondiscrimination clause of its bylaws, a fight that would last until 1993.

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

In 1971 Bishop Richard Emrich of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan appointed Jim a founding member of the Diocesan Commission on Homosexuality. The group published the Report & Recommendations of the Commission on Homosexuality (1973), one of the earliest church documents in this country to support the concerns of lesbigay people.

Since 1975 Jim has served as the Secretary of the Diocesan Church & Society Committee. He is a co-author of the Diocesan Human Sexuality Curriculum and is Secretary of the Diocesan Committee on Transgender/Bisexual/Lesbian/Gay/Concerns.

He is a founding Board member of the Oasis TBLG Outreach Ministry of the Diocese and currently serves as the secretary.

LGBT health and wellness

He co-founded the Ann Arbor Gay Hotline in 1972 and served as its Coordinator and Trainer until 1985.

Jim helped found in 1986 the Wellness Networks/Huron Valley, now the HIV/AIDS Resource Center/Washtenaw County (HARC). He became the first Co-Coordinator of HIV/AIDS Education for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan in 1987. He has served as a certified Pre- & Post-Test HIV/AIDS Counselor and as a support group facilitator and volunteer trainer for HARC. He is a founding member of the City of Ann Arbor HIV/AIDS Task Force and of two four-county HIV/AIDS prevention and resource-provision groups.

Additional organizations

He is a founding member of the Washtenaw County LGBT Retirement Center Task Force, PFLAG/Ann Arbor, GLSEN/Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Area, Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project (WRAP), Transgender Advocacy Project (TAP), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Inclusive Justice Program, Washtenaw Faith Action Network, Ypsilanti Human Rights PAC, Ypsilanti Rainbow Neighbors, and the Out Loud Chorus. He is a former Executive Board member of Guild House (“A Campus Ministry”).

He is a trained mediator and a trainer for the AFSC Inclusive Justice Program’s non-violent-dialogue training (“LARA”). He is a member of the Program Committee of the AFSC Michigan's Inclusive Justice Program. He currently serves on Equality Michigan's Board of Advisors[1] and the WikiQueer Global Advisory Board.[3] He is a founding member of the gay Baroque trio, Rosetta Stoned & The Higheroglyphics.


The Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project (WRAP) is a local Ann Arbor resource center that exists to provide information, education, social events, and advocacy by and for the Queer and Ally community in the Washtenaw County area. The center was renamed the Jim Toy Community Center (JTCC) in 2010 to honor the local gay activist legend.

His archives are housed in the James Toy Collection at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library. He is included in the Gallery of the LGBT Religious Archives Network (LGBT-RAN).[4]

See also


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