July 18, 2016, marked the day we lost our brother, friend, a leader, activist, and steadfast warrior for social justice and LGBTQ equality. In his life, he touched countless souls with his fierce intellect, and abundant sense of humor,
Jeffrey's story, the focus of the upcoming documentary “America You Kill Me” , in 2022, was a man of many facets.
Although his awareness as a gay person began when he was very young it was a pivotal moment that changed him into a fierce warrior for LGBTQ civil rights and protections in America.
In 1984 his partner, Michael, was shot to death outside a Detroit gay bar, prompting Montgomery to engage in LGBTQ advocacy. He started work on LGBTQ anti-violence issues upon learning that the police were not spending many resources on solving the murder, "just another gay killing".
In 1991 Montgomery became the founding executive director of the Triangle Foundation and served until September 2007. Initially engaging in victim advocacy around LGBTQ violence and to improve the handling of LGBTQ-related cases, the foundation's work expanded to LGBTQ civil rights and advocacy, with projects for anti-violence, media activism, and legislative education on LGBTQ civil rights.
Within the movement, he was a staunch advocate for inclusiveness knowing that to create progress for LGBTQ civil rights the fight would need to include all sexually discriminated groups such as transgender people as well as black and brown members of the LGBTQ community.
Montgomery was widely quoted in media outlets on LGBTQ issues and high-profile LGBTQ-related crimes, such as the murder of Scott Amedure in 1995, and the murder of Matthew Shepard. Montgomery to attend the trials of Shepard's killers. In 2001, Montgomery was a featured participant in an A&E Network documentary about the Matthew Shepard case.
According to Cathy Renna, a friend of Jeffrey’s and communication director of the National LGBTQ Task Force in an ADVOCATE July 25th, 2016 article about Jeffrey’s passing:
“Without His (Jeffrey’s) involvement helping to unravel the “gay panic defense” I do not think we would have seen the important progress we did in the years that followed if not for Jeffrey’s hard work and dedication to the truth”.
“Jeffrey knew that our movement was one based on freedom and love, not fear and hate. He was a role model in his confidence and pride in who he was, in every way. He was fearless and honest about his own struggles with loss and addiction and quietly helped so many others deal with their struggles”.
Jeffrey Montgomery’s activities and honors over the years always were intertwined in his unceasing effort for LGBTQ civil rights right up to his untimely passing from a heart attack on July 18th, 2016. He was 63. Here, in part, are a few key moments.
Honors for Montgomery include:
Included the following venues:
Film Screening and Gallery Exhibit at affirmations Ferndale, Mi.
Toyota Lecture Series @ College For Creative Studies: Wendell W. Anderson Auditorium
Soo Film Festival in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Cinema Detroit- Metro Detroit's only truly independent cinema
Presented by WEGP and Macomb County Pride
Presented by MIGHTY REAL QUEER DETROIT
Presented by WEGP & PFLAG Grosse Pointe
Presented by Great Lakes Bay Pride
This original 5-minute short film screened at the 2014 Cinetopia Film Festival.
Listen to the WDET interview with Producer John Montgomery and Director Daniel Land about Jeffrey's documentary.
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