Join us for a panel discussion looking back at the history and importance of LGBTQ+ spaces in Ann Arbor. Speakers include historian Tim Retzloff, the former owners of the Aut Bar, Keith Orr and Martin Contreras, and one of the original owners of Common Language bookstore, Lynden Kelly.

Tim Retzloff teaches history and LGBTQ studies at Michigan State University.  He earned a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in history in from Yale University.  His scholarship has appeared in the anthology Creating a Place for Ourselves, the journal GLQ, and the collection Making Suburbia.  He is finishing his first book, Metro Gay, about gay and lesbian life and politics in Metro Detroit from 1945 to 1985.

Keith Orr was the owner/operator of \aut\ BAR and Common Language with his husband of 9 years and partner of 37 years, Martin Contreras. During that time he was known as an activist and leader of the LGBT movement in Ann Arbor and Michigan. He was a Howard Dean delegate to the 2004 Democratic Convention and granted honorary membership in the Transgender Caucus.  

Martin Contreras was the owner/operator of Ann Arbor’s \aut\ BAR and Common Language Bookstore with his husband of 9 years and partner of 37 years, Keith Orr. Much to his surprise Martin is recognized as a LGBT community leader and activist. As a fundraiser and awareness-raiser Martin takes challenges head-on, dislikes bullies, and tries to find room at the table for everyone. Martin served on the board of directors of HARC (the HIV/AIDS Resource Center) for 12 years and through philanthropy he and husband Keith continue to support many local non-profits. 

Lynden Kelly: In addition to co-owning Common Language, Kelly was co-founder of A2QUA, a queer swim group that swam together weekly for 30 years until last summer.

This event is part of the 2023 Big Gay Read, featuring Last Night at the Telegraph Club. For all Big Gay Read events, see

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