Jerry DeGrieck

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Jerry DeGrieck
Ann Arbor City Council, First Ward
In office
Preceded by John P. Kirscht (D)
Succeeded by Colleen S. McGee (D)
Personal details
Political party Human Rights Party
Residence Seattle, Washington
Alma mater University of Michigan
Profession Public health and public policy

Gerald (Jerry) C. DeGrieck is a public health manager, policy advisor, and former member of the Ann Arbor City Council. During his term on the city council, he came out as a gay man.[1] He and Nancy Wechsler, a fellow member of the Ann Arbor City Council and Human Rights Party elected alongside Wechsler who came out as a lesbian while serving, are typically cited as the first openly LGBT elected officials in the United States.[2]

Ann Arbor City Council[edit]

DeGrieck and Nancy Wechsler were elected to the Ann Arbor City Council as members of the Human Rights Party on April 3, 1972. Political observers did not believe the third party had much chance of winning any seats, but the party's liberal platform appealed to young voters and beat university professors running as Democrats in the 1st and 2nd wards.[3] At the time of the election, Wechsler was a 22-year-old history student at University of Michigan, the first student member of the city council. In 1973, while serving on the council, DeGrieck came out as a gay man and Wechsler as a lesbian in response to an anti-LGBT incident at a local restaurant.[4][5] In 1974, rather than seek re-election, DeGrieck moved to Seattle, Washington went on to work for Seattle's Gay Pride Week and eventually became a public health manager and policy advisor to the City of Seattle.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

DeGrieck had a daughter, born in 1981, with a lesbian friend. He has not been as engaged in politics since the birth of his daughter.[6]


  1. ^ Clendinen, Dudley and Nagourney, Adam (2013). Out For Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in Ame. Simon and Schuster. 
  2. ^ Stein, Marc (2012). Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Routledge. p. 107. 
  3. ^ "Ann Arbor Human Rights Party, 1972". 2007-09-18. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ Marcus, Eric (2009). Out in All Directions: A Treasury of Gay and Lesbian America. Hachette Digital, Inc. 
  5. ^ a b DeGrieck, Jerry (2009-01-21). Think Harvey Milk Was the First Openly-Gay Politician? Think Again Full story here: (Interview). Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Eshenroder, Owen (February 5, 1985). "HRP's light burned briefly but brightly in city politics". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved December 8, 2013.