Jim Toy, one of Spectrum Center's founders, dies at 91

January 3, 2022

Spectrum Center co-founder and U-M alumnus Jim Toy, MSW ‘81, passed away over the weekend at the age of 91. Toy was known as an outspoken activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and worked to establish the Human Sexuality Office in 1971, which later became the Spectrum Center. 

News of his passing has been reported by several media outlets including the Michigan Daily, MLive, Pride Source (Between the Lines), and the Detroit Free Press

Jim Toy at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Jim Toy Library.

“It is rare to be a part of an organization so connected to its roots, purpose, and mission, and that wouldn’t be the case without Jim,” said Spectrum Center Director Will Sherry. “Over the years, I have been the audience to so many stories filled with moments of joy, fear, and loss where Jim has been a constant light helping move us forward.”

“Often I think about Jim’s words, ‘I am committed to making as much trouble as I can to create and maintain justice.’ He fought with every bone in his body to support the LGBTQ community, to fight for marriage equality, to ensure protections for so many,” U.S. Representative Debbie Dingel shared in a tweet.

Friends and community members are encouraged to share their memories on social media, as well as Toy’s digital obituary.

Watch 'The Spectrum Center: Jim Toy - his story, his legacy' on Vimeo