Michael David Duffy

June 18, 1957 - October 29, 2022

pic Have you ever met one of those people who just stands out in a crowd? Mikey is just one of those individuals. When I first met him I was asked to throw him out for being a nuisance, I was not comfortable with that decision and instead I took him aside and explained to him that he should try not to annoy people. Although he has a muscular disorder and a problem with speech, he is far from being unintelligent. As I was explaining to him about his situation, his eyes went puppy-dog and I started feeling like that little bit still stuck on the side of the toilet bowl. As time went on Mikey became a part of this community of misfits that I now called home. I discovered that in later years Mikey could speak very plain English when push came to shove. There are many stories and innuendoes that have been leveled upon him, I am quite sure some are true and others are legend.1

Mikey lived and thrived with cerebral palsy.

Reg has fond anecdotes about him in Peanut Butter And Jam Sandwich Chapter 2, Chapter 5 and Chapter 13.


RandyKennedy: It saddens me to announce the passing of Mikey , he was always a stable and constant in our community.

The first time I went to the Turret I was 17. but since I had been getting into all the bars I thought I would give it a try. I was refused entry because I was not a member so I went and sat on the stairs by the front door. SharonGezner? arrived and asked me why I was sitting outside and I told her. She said, "Come with me, honey, I'll sign you in." Half way up the stairs she turned and said, "BUT if you start any trouble I'll knock the shit out of you." LOL As she signed me in Reg looked me up and down and because of my outfit he said, "We should hang you up and use you for a mirror ball." LOL I got upstairs by the women's bathroom and was greeted by Kitty who did a deep curtsey and said "Enchanté Darling," then I entered the club . I was amazed by what I was seeing and then a little man walked over and I heard "Baby , shay shay shay?" It was Mikey. I went to the dance floor and danced maybe 3 songs before I finally bought a drink. He was the only guy who had approached me so I had a couple more dances with him before I left the club. Every time I went to club after that night Mikey would always be the first one to approach until I became known but even then I would always reserve a dance for Mikey.

One time at Rumors Gloria put on a show and got Mikey to perform with me , we did a duet of Patti Labelle and Joe Cocker . It turned out to be a total mess because once Mikey hit the stage and heard the applause he made it his number . I still laugh because we should have known better . So Fun . LOL

JeffreyRound? writes: A very brave and cool guy. I have hundreds of memories of Mikey at the Turret and later, at the waterfront, where he sang and played guitar to the amazement of all. A million thanks for the post.

NormanMoulton? writes: Dear Mikey was a blessing to us all. My heart goes out to his family in their grief and loss. sincerely, Norman

MertonMattice?: once at the gay bar on Hollis I heard the older guy who owned it abusing Mikey so I peeled a few strips off the offender. Later I heard him say “That Mert is abrupt.” Imagine!

JeffreyRound?: I came out as a teenager in Halifax in the late 1970s, not long before I discovered TheTurret, Halifax’s LGBT club. Until then, I’d had no gay friends. Suddenly, I discovered a world of people who thought and felt like me. There were activists and drag queens and all sorts of colourful people, but the one who stood out the most was a guy I knew only as Mikie. Mikie introduced himself to me early on, coming up to me in the washroom and elbowing me in the ribs. “Pa!” he said and winked. Along with “baby” it was his trademark word. It meant, “Pay attention to me.” Mikie had cerebral palsy and his ability to speak was limited, but his ability to make himself understood was not. An index and middle finger held in a V formation to his lips meant, “Give me a cigarette.” (I wasn’t a smoker, so he never got one from me, this being back in the days when smoking was still allowed indoors.) I didn’t know it then, but he was a regular at the club. It was rare to show up on a Friday or Saturday and not see him there. He often stood off to one side of the dance floor, but one day I went up to him and pulled him onto the floor where we gyrated for a quarter of an hour. It became a regular thing. He loved it when I took him by the hand and twirled him around. Once or twice he did the same to me.

I left Halifax in the 1980s, but I never forgot Mikie. I would ask about him whenever I came to visit. Everyone knew him, so the answer was invariably, “He’s still here!” I happened to see him again in September 2016. I was back in town for a couple of days and wandered down to the waterfront, which had been turned into a tourist spot. From a distance, I saw a small crowd gathered around someone playing a guitar. As I got closer, I was astounded to see it was Mikie, playing and vocalizing while people tossed coins into a hat. I had no idea he was a performer. His bravery to put himself out there and not let anything limit him was nothing short of astonishing. I was in Halifax again last month at the end of October. I had been down to the waterfront, but I hadn’t seen him this time. While out with an old friend, Reg Giles, I asked about Mikie. The answer was, “He’s still around.” We took turns recalling our encounters with him over the years. Clearly, he left an indelible impression on everyone he met. It was only when I returned home, however, that I saw the notice that Mikie had died the day I left. I was saddened, but grateful for the memories and the inspiration he gave me. His soul was a bright light I will never forget.