i informativeQ TM
INSIDE THIS EDITION EDITION 01-01 JUNE 2014
Downtown Roanoke VA - Photography by Nerio Gonzalez
Spiritual IQ&A 10 Out of the Closet 16 Adventures with ShanShan 36 PFLAG events 38 IQ Travel - Ireland 40 IQMovies 50 Roanoke Diversity Center 53 IQBooks 56 Social Events 59 Calendar of Events 60
Behind the Drag Meet Crystal Colby
Coming Out Story Anton Black 12 Reopening of The Park 23 On the Water 24 Metro: Night in town 26 “Hate Speech” 43 Mr and Miss Pride of America 48
Ragin’ Love 18 45 Years of the Stonewall Inn Riots in NYC 28 Page 5
Informative Q Staff Dewey W. Goodwin Jr. - Publisher
Informative Q Magazine is a registered trademark of Informative Q. Founded by Dewey Goodwin and Susana Muller. Copyright 2014
Susana Muller - IT Director Nerio Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief Francisco Carrizo Zirit - Editor
Subscriber services for new subscriptions, renewals, bill payments and and address change, email us to subscriptions@ iqmagazine.com
Michael Jordan - Editor Fashionista Roanoke - Fashion segments ShanShan Cooney - Columnist Spacey Shank - Travel Rodger Saunders - RDC Liason
The views and opinions expressed on this magazine are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Informative Q Magazine and their staff, and/ or any/all contributors to this magazine.
The Roanoke Diversity Center is hosting the Roanoke regionâ€™s first Diversity Summer Camp for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Ally individuals of all ages (elementary, middle, high, young adults, adults, seniors, & families). This will be a 4 night camp that will provide educational community building activities that promote acceptance, anti-bullying, and health for LGBTQA individuals. There will also be hiking, swimming, camp fires, miniature golf, stargazing, music, games, and much more! The camp will be from Thursday July 31st until Monday August 4th at Craig Springs Camp & Retreat Center in New Castle, Virginia.
seeking additional funds to assist campers who cannot afford the cost. For camper & volunteer registration forms, brochures, the scholarship form, and more information on the camp please visit the following website: http://www.roanokediversitycenter. com/diversitycamp.html If interested in attending, your registration, and scholarship application (If applying...), is due by July 1st 2014! Please contact Josh Olinger if you should have any questions! Cell: (540)314-1353 RDC office: (540)491-4165 admin@RoanokeDiversityCenter.com
The cost is $175 per camper for the entire camp, and $45/day if you wish to attend for a day or two. We have some camp scholarship funds available, and we are currently Page 7
From the editor’s desk Starting a magazine, as any project, is a challenging time; to create a new material that everybody would like to read, to comment, and to share with their friends and loved ones. Today opportunities come with their share of difficulties, in any aspect of life, so we need to be prepared more than ever to make it happen, to make something real; that’s what our team is creating in this book we call Informative Q. We hope you like it, that you enjoy every page of it, and that you can be entertained, to learn something different on each edition. On this first book we wanted to honor and celebrate the moment in time that led the LGBT communities in America for their rights back, and in reflexion of what happened, the world itself took matters into their own hands. On June 28th, 1969, a small bar (but the “it” bar) in New York City, was the place of regular raids that happened in the city, this time though, the patrons of the bar decided to fight back and to exercise power on something that was wrong. Page 8
Time has shown that without them and what they fought for we would never be who we are today, and for that we celebrate freedom. June is also the start of Summer, and with it, we wanted to pay homage to times in the past that reflect on “having a good time”, so Fashionista Roanoke is giving us “On the water”. Then we take some time night out in town. It is a moment to reflect and to be grateful for the achievements that we have gained, to learn from the failures of the past, and to be the people we are asked to be in society, an ever changing world that is requesting more and more each day, and we need to live up to that challenge. Thank you so much for having this magazine in your hands, of taking your time of to read our magazine; it is the hard work of several people that were given an opportunity to make a difference in the world, with Pride, Nerio Gonzalez Editor-in-Chief
When Parents Love (or Struggle to Love) their LGBT Children by Rev. Joe Cobb
With the launch of Informative Q comes the launch of a new column on LGBT spiritual lives and issues. I’m going to get things started with a couple of topics this quarter. As I prepare for upcoming issues, I’d like to receive your questions, ideas, and topics on your spiritual lives.
out and disowned. I find this unconscionable and unacceptable. When parents make these kinds of decisions they are often based on a number of factors: 1) Your being gay will make our family look bad; 2) Your being gay makes our religion seem wrong; 3) Your being gay makes us question our own security about our sexuality; 4) Your being gay makes us believe we’ve done something wrong.
I want to thank my Mom and Dad for loving me, even after I came out to them as gay.
When it comes to your spiritual self, what are you curious about? Is there something you’ve always wanted to ask about the spiritual life, but were afraid to ask? What feeds your soul? All questions are welcome! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to thank my Mom and Dad for loving me, even after I came out to them as gay. I say this because I was recently visiting with my good friend, Frank House, Director of the Roanoke Diversity Center, who told me about a young man he’d met, who upon telling his parents he was gay, was kicked Page 10
I’m certain there are other factors, but these four came to mind, based on the story of this young man, and on many other stories I’ve heard over the years. When parents disown a child because: It makes our family look bad: This has nothing to do with the child, but with their social status, wealth, and false sense of self based on material things. When parents disown a child because: It makes our religion
seem wrong? Back again, his has nothing to do with the child, but with a religion that has lost its way and taken the parents with it. When parents disown a child because it makes us question our own security in sexuality: This has nothing to do with the child, but with an inner insecurity about sexual and gender identity, expression and orientation. When parents disown a child because: It makes us believe we’ve done something wrong: Still, this has nothing to do with the child, but with a misplaced image that society and religion imposes on parents. Parenting is a daunting and awesome responsibility. Making the decision to create a child, welcome a child into our lives, and then nurture it through childhood to maturity, calls forth our best qualities. My parents welcomed me into their lives with unconditional love. They went through a home study, signed up with the Jackson County Juvenile Court, and awaited news of a child they could adopt. In other words, they didn’t know whom they were getting. Their welcoming me was a complete act of love, risk and vulnerability. This love continued to manifest
itself through three more adoptions of my siblings. When I came out to my parents at age 37, though they didn’t fully understand; they fully loved. They asked me questions; they surrounded me with encouragement, even when they were concerned I was making difficult decisions. They didn’t kick me to the curb or think I’d gone crazy or think I’d lost my religion or think that my being gay would make them or our family “look bad”. They loved me, just as they always have. And, I am eternally grateful.
love, hasn’t changed. Your child is becoming and hopes that you will become with them. Our community is filled with incredible support: Roanoke PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of LGBT people) meets on the third Thursday of each month, 7:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church. The Roanoke Diversity Center and Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge offer community and spiritual support, located at 806 Jamison Ave SE. Roanoke DESTINY, a peer-based LGBT youth and young adult support group, meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 806 Jamison Ave SE, 6-7:30 pm.
My parents welcomed me into their lives with unconditional love.
For youth and young adults out there who have been rejected by your parents, please know there are many of us out here who welcome you in love. We will become your family of choice, offering support and encouragement along the way. For parents out there who are struggling to accept your LGBT child, we are here to listen, grapple WITH you on questions you’re grappling with, and offer support and encouragement along the way. Your child, the one you
Rev. Joe Cobb is pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia. Joe’s family includes his partner, James, and their two children. Joe has co-authored the book, Our Family Outing: A Memoir of Coming Out and Coming Through, with his former spouse, Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor. They have two young adult children. Page 11
IQcoming out stories
My Absolute Truth
My coming out story by Anton Black
The truth is that, twenty years ago, coming out as gay was hard enough. It was a proclamation to a rather intolerant society that you were â€œchoosingâ€? to live an alternative lifestyle; you differed from societal norms. Back then, most of us experienced hostility from family, friends, and strangers. Countless members of our community were shunned, fired by employers, and beaten, and as Matthew Shepardâ€™s death proves, some were even killed, for simply loving another person of the same sex. So, on October 11th, 2013, when I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed and saw National Coming Out Day for lesbians, gay men, transgendered persons, and bi-sexuals, I was pleased at how far our community and our society has come. However, in my short time of actually being in the community, I had witnessed that the Page 12
IQcoming out stories
transgendered community was not as openly accepted in the LGBTQ community. I can understand that in the bitter battle for basic rights, it was easier for John Q. Public to grasp same sex relationships as opposed to the concept of sex-changes or transgendered people, but it did create a visible rift in the community. So on that day, I wasn’t ready to make any announcement, because, not only was I was still embroiled in a tumultuous battle to find myself, but I also didn’t want to become a minority within the community that I loved so much. For twelve years, I was a shut in, stricken with the disorder agoraphobia. I only left my home for doctor’s appointments and nothing more. But then, a horrific incident occurred; one I now view as a gift from God. At 39, I had a heart
attack and then one month later, It was such a wonderful suffered a stroke. One of the experience that we began to go effects of the stroke was that I every Friday night to watch the was no longer constantly afraid of shows. But then, in March a call leaving my home. I saw a change went out to the general public, in my wife and children as we they were looking for performers were able to for a cancer do things as a benefit show. I wasn’t ready to make family outside It was on that of the home. I any announcement... I night, March 8th, was determined 2013 that Anton didn’t want to become Black was born never to fall back into the a minority within the and, little did awful grip of I know, my life community that I agoraphobia would change again. forever. loved so much... So, although I knew that I wasn’t ready go to Pride in the Park that year, I reluctantly agreed to take my wife to The Park that night. The music energized my spirit before I had even made it all the way into the club. That night, the warmth of the community was incredible, and something even more amazing happened; I was in a club with a few hundred other people and I felt comfortable and safe.
When I put on that beard and looked in the mirror, I felt like I was staring at the real me, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone that. As Anton, I went on to become the King of the Trailer Park, then the Roanoke Pride M.I. for 2013-2014. While I thought I could never take the stage as T, Anton gave me the ability to attend small gettogethers and events within the Page 13
IQcoming out stories
the community. Then, on September 21st, when I performed on an unfamiliar stage at Pride in the Park and the audience was incredible and sang with me, I felt something change.
to talk like that again. That was crazy talk and I should be ashamed. Well, at eight years old, I became ashamed of myself and suppressed those feelings for a very long time. It seemed to be a cosmic coalescence of events that led me to find myself.
A week later, I went to my psychologist, I had avoided him for about ten months. After Anton, my wife, my psychologist, sharing the fact that I was a and my male illusionist, wonderful church showing him (MCC of the Blue videos, and The incessant fear Ridge) all led me explaining how about how my to the realization things had of who I truly changed so relationships would was. For a while, dramatically change once this got I shared the for me, he fact that I was asked a very out kept me from transgendered simple question, openly declaring my with close “Are you friends only. transgendered?” personal truth... The incessant I was completely nagging fear unprepared to about how my hear these words. relationships in the community would change once this got out Suddenly, I remembered being kept me from openly declaring eight years old and telling my my personal truth. However, after grandmother, “I feel like a boy many self-evaluations and a lot of trapped in a girl’s body”. She prayer, I had a revelation. became irate and told me never Page 14
For so many years, I lived in fear of one thing or another, with God as my guide, I no longer needed to be afraid. In fact, my spirituality empowered me to go on Facebook on the 26th of March and proclaim that I am transgendered. Publicly the post was receieved well. The negativity remained relegated to private messages and back room conversations. However, the good news was that I no longer cared. For the first time in my life, I could not be bothered with small minds and negativity. I had found myself and I was going to live as free of fear and negativity as possible. I am still on that path. There are so many people who are struggling with the same issues in our community. There were a couple of transmen that helped me and I believe in paying it forward. So I am always available to anyone who is struggling with this issue. I love being me. I am a transman. Page 15
IQout of the closet
A potential Queer Idea:
Coming out Straight and Supportive by Meghan K. Grey Remember being younger and playing Red Rover with a group of other kids? It was that perfect game that came equipped with trash talking, bragging rights, and the occasional broken bone from being flung to the ground a little too hard. Oh, and a little bit of something called unity. It didn’t matter who the kid standing next to you was; the hand whose
fingers were wrapped around your palm could have been black, white, polka-dotted, gay, straight, bi, depressed, happy, sleepy, dopey? it didn’t matter, you held tight onto them anyway because you didn’t want the other team to break through the chain. I’ve never necessarily been ‘in the closet’ as a straight ally of the LGBTQ community. At least, I didn’t think I was. I always thought I was fairly supportive of the LGBTQ community and its members. It just seemed logical and right that everyone, even people that were gay or bisexual or transgendered, etc., were simply people and deserved to be treated like everyone else. I remember being elementary-school aged and playing with my sister. Our uncle was babysitting and some part
of our conversation led to the topic of our younger brother. One of us mentioned that we thought our brother was gay. I may not remember which one of us said it, but I remember my uncle’s response: ‘Don’t say that!’ As though if we said it loud enough we’d cast some sort of spell that would magically transform my brother overnight into a heinous monster. I remember being confused; why not say that? Who cares if he’s gay? Is that bad? Why is that bad? To me, he was my brother: a sweet mixture of cute, stinky, and annoying. If he were gay it would be no different than if he had been born with blond hair instead of brown. He came out when he was 14. I realize now throughout High School and beyond, before my brother’s coming out and after, that my being an ally was more me acting as a protector. If
IQout of the closet
someone used the phrase, ‘That’s gay’, I leapt in with my political correctness. If someone uttered the word ‘fag’ derisively, I piped up with the information that they had used the British slang term for cigarette. There never seemed to be any action on my part, simply reaction to something another person, ‘another straight person’ said. Until this year. So I, Meghan K. Grey, a 28 yearold straight female, am coming out. I am coming out as a straight ally in support of equality, and in support of the LGBTQ community. I am coming out to the LGBTQ community. And it is harder than I thought it would be. I always figured that everyone would simply know that I mean well; that they would know I am an ally and that that would somehow automatically gift me with some membership card into the proverbial cool kids’ club. Everyone would be warm and welcoming and inviting; there would be puppies and sparkles and, of course, lots of rainbows. As it turns out, LGBTQ individuals are simply people, and simply
because I’m a straight girl with a propensity to back-sass the politically incorrect, did not grant me any special privileges. I needed to put my money where my mouth is. I needed to act, not react. And I didn’t see this until I started doing it.
the LGBTQ community; and to do that, I needed to be a part of it. It was slow-going at first (I can be a bit of a social-phobe), and I have felt uncomfortable on more than one occasion. But what is growth without discomfort?
Which brings me back to unity. Since I moved back to Roanoke, Who cares if I’m straight? Who Virginia, I’ve been getting more cares if you were born with a involved with Roanoke Pride penis, but now you look better and other in a little black events within dress than I could the LGBTQ Who cares if he’s gay? ever dream of? I community. I may not know the Is that bad? Why is realized that struggle of coming even though I out as LGBTQ in that bad? may verbally a society where disagree straight is the with someone when they spew a norm, but I have struggled. I’ve hateful slur, I was still living in a been in my own closets of varying world predominantly populated by shapes and sizes for varying straight folk with my gay brother lengths of time; and I am coming and a few other LGBTQ friends out to the LGBTQ community as sprinkled throughout the mix. I an ally. Together we can thrive, was comfortable in my majority. we can have fun, we can advance What kind of support was that? a cause that supersedes gay or straight: equality. I realized that I needed to show, not tell. I needed to show the Please feel free to grasp my hand. LGBTQ community that I was The palms may be a little sweaty, an ally, not just say that I was. I and my nail polish might be needed to come out, myself, to chipped, but I promise to hold on. Page 17
An alternative band with an amazing cast by Dewey Goodwin. Photos by Nerio Gonzalez Three years ago at Virginia Western Community College, three Roanoke natives met and, meshing their shared musically inclined ambitions, decided to start a band. Allen, Gabe, and Faron all met on Western’s campus. Gabe and Faron each had a separate class with Allen. Each, in turn, struck up individual friendships with Allen over their passion for music and their similar tastes. Gabe and Faron had always wanted to start a band. They told each other that they had met someone in their class that would help them start a band. They didn?t realize till later that they were talking about the same person. They began practicing and doing shows in Faron’s garage in September of 2011.
as it fit with the older sound that has become their trademark. When asked about the genre of music they play, they replied with, “This is always one of the hardest questions that we get as a band because we are directly and indirectly influenced by so many different types of music. In our opinion we are a new take on garage rock from the 60s”. Their musical influences range anywhere from The Beatles and The Kinks to bands like Green Day and Blink 182.
Currently they are finding a huge deal of influence from bands like Southern Culture on Their musical the Skids, The influences range Cry!, and The Exploding anywhere from The Hearts. Their Beatles and The Kinks songs, thus far, are about to bands like Green Love, Sex, and Day and Blink 182. Nostalgia.
Originally known as Rage and Love; the rich southern accents of their friends and themselves, quickly changed it to Ragin’ Love. They liked it better
They claim that their writing process is equally complex and strange but that they have Page 19
IQmusic it worked down to a science. Faron will write about sex and Allen writes about love and nostalgia. Faron crafts the chord progessions/lyrics and Allen writes the lyrics for the hooks and chorus. We sat with them to know a little bit more about them.
not just play songs at them that they may or may not give a damn about. Too many bands and artists take themselves way too seriously. We want to be as far away from that change as possible.
If we could one thing about the music industry, we would probably get rid of the fact that it is a singles-driven industry
IQ: So what can you expect at a Ragin’ Love Concert? Ragin’ Love: People can expect lots of energy. We focus on giving the best live performance we can, but in our opinion, we go about doing it a lot differently than most of the local bands we’ve seen in Roanoke. We like to think that the performance is a little less about the songs we’re playing and more about using the songs as a way to create an event; to help make a splash for our audience and perhaps turn that show into something they’ll never forget.
IQ: Where have you all performed before? Ragin’ Love: We haven’t played too many gigs thus far. We have played small venues at Virginia Western Community College and The Roanoke Diversity Center.
We want to draw the audience into the performance as well,
IQ: If you could change one thing in the music industry what would it be? Ragin’ Love: If we could change one thing about the music industry we would probably get rid of the fact that it is a singlesdriven industry. Sure, Itunes is great, but it only helps boost an artist’s singles and often the artist’s greatest works are little known tracks tucked away in the album. The modern music
Gabe - Drums/percussion
Allan - Vocals and Guitar
industry just sucks in general. IQ: In four words describe your band. Ragin’ Love: The four words we would describe ourselves with would have to be Fun, Energetic, Weird, and Slightly Provocative. Provocative indeed! So after seeing these guys perform and practice, I can tell you, it’s a real treat seeing them on stage. Their sound, energy, and talents are far beyond what you would expect. They will be performing at the launch party for Informative Q Magazine and there has been talk of them performing at Pride. Keep an eye out for them at other venues. You can keep up with them by checking the music calendar or look them up on facebook or twitter, Raginlove. com will be up shortly. Not pictured from the band is Zane, who didn’t come along until after the photo shoot. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll all be feeling a ragin’ love for this fantastic four!
Faron - Bass
Life is restored to Roanoke’s The Park by Bobby Hash The Park has a long storied history in the Roanoke Valley. Opening in the late 1970’s it provided a place of shelter, a beacon of hope, and a home to a community that was forced to be hidden. Over the years The Park has been a staple in the night-life scene in the city of Roanoke, VA. Originally opening as a private club, it has long set the standard in alternative night-life in the Star City of the South. After many years of success, the club
unfortunately saw some hardships which caused it to close for a while in September 2013. The Park has since been brought back to life, reopening its doors on December 28th, 2013, showcasing “Phase 1” of changes and planned upgrades. Since then they have launched The Tavern restaurant, produced weekly Friday drag shows, a Saturday Club Night, and a relaxed Sunday night vibe.
home” for the LGBTQ community in southwestern Virginia, The Park is continually working to improve and to be involved in the community. The Park operating hours are: Tavern at The Park, Thursday to Saturday, 6pm to 9pm Club: Friday, from 9pm to 2am Saturday, from 9pm to 3am Sunday, 6pm to 12am
Returning to its place as “the
IQfashion They say everything old becomes new again. While that saying may not--and probably should not-apply to “everything” in fashion (swishy red parachute pants, anyone?), some stylish throwbacks are welcome wardrobe additions. This summer, retro 1940s and 50s style swimsuits are having a well-deserved moment in the sun. With their unique blend of nostalgia and sultriness, these suits recall both innocent wideby By Sandee McGlaun for Fashionista Roanoke eyed beach movie starlets and Photography by Ric Wade the curvaceous pin-up girls of yesteryear. Practical and playful, the suits offer more coverage than the standard string bikini, so they stay This summer, retro put while you’re 1940s and 50s style surfing the waves, swimsuits are having yet they also look fresh and fun for a well-deserved a shoreline picnic moment in the sun. or sing-along with friends. Carnevale.
On the Water
The “classic sexy” style appeals to women of all ages. Nineteenyear-old college student Natasha McGlaun loves the look because it’s “flattering on a range of body types.” Autism activist, mom, and model (here wearing the blackand-white swimsuit) Marcella Smith, in her late twenties, finds the suits “cute and flirty.” Fortysomething Melissa Bernys, a lifetime Roanoke resident, likes that the suits “show a woman can still look sexy while being covered up,” and her friend, sales professional Ninette Carnevale, appreciates them for their distinctiveness. Other two-piece suits lack the style punch the retro-look packs; vintage-style suits highlight both “the suit and the body of the woman,” notes Page 24
Models Marcella Smith and Amanda Tarter, sporting pink and blue, wear vintage-look suits from Doll Me Up (dollmeupdarling. com), a website that specializes in modernmade retro styles. They are joined by Chwanda Burch, whose bright polka-dot dress reflects another old-is-new trend, and Allen Carter, in a preppy American Eagle button-down and H&M swim shorts, a classic look modernized by the au courant color combo of green and coral.
Metro: Night in Town
by Sandee McGlaun for Fashionista Roanoke Photography by Louis Alvarez
Roanoke’s downtown gets more enticing every year, and now that the market renovations are complete, what better place to spend an evening with friends, or a laid-back summer date night? Choose a table in the beautiful bricked pedestrian area, share a simple sunset picnic from local take-out, then hit a dance floor once the Mill Mountain Star is glowing bright against the night sky. What to wear for a casual midsummer’s eve on the town? For women, a simple dress in a tropical print or flowy palazzo pants and a bright tee walk the line between sweet and sexy. Comfortable on a warm night, these looks carry the wearer seamlessly from dinner to dancing. Here, Felicia Freeman models a classic black-and-white + color-pop look, while model Casse Willard wears a strapless dress by Body Central; her spot-on advice for choosing great nighton-the-town clothes is to “be yourself and wear what makes you feel beautiful.” For guys, stylish ease is the goal: model Morgan Page 26
reporter last year. Matt concurs Freeman sports a button-down in that the best night-out clothes a kicky plaid, khaki cargo shorts, express your personality: “great and a snappy white fedora, while date clothes are Louis Gomes usually neat, shows off a smart, and Lacoste polo, Shoes matter; they’re portray one’s paired with own style. A lot blue pinstripe “the first thing is made of first Hollister shorts someone looks at” impressions, and Toms shoes. so you want to make a good Shoes matter; one.” After that, Matt notes they’re “the first thing someone mischievously, it’s up to you: “It’s looks at,” according to local model the conversation and chemistry and banking professional Matt that will determine your ability to Nulf, whose sharp-dressing style get out of the great date clothes.” got him noticed by a fashion Page 27
45 Years of the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York City Evolution of the LGBT rights in America, and the world. by Frank House
45 years ago this month, at approximately 1:30 AM on June 28th, 1969, Greenwich Village police from the Charles Street station a few blocks away, raided a Gay bar at 53 Christopher Street called the Stonewall Inn.
bottles, stones and even their own nightsticks. Police cruisers had their windshields smashed and were overturned, fires were started in trashcans, and the police retreated before the flood of outrage.
Outraged by the perceived persecution, the patrons resisted arrest and when nightsticks flew, injuring those who dared challenge New York City’s finest, the crowd quickly erupted into an ugly riot.
A little over an hour later, Tactical Police Units from the East Village were dispatched to quell the activity. The crowd initially retreated, but reformed behind the police lines as soon as they passed. The police were eventually withdrawn around 4AM.
The Stonewall riot rapidly spread throughout the bohemian neighborhood. Patrons from other establishments joined in as word spread like wildfire. Police were attacked with empty beer Page 28
For three days the rioting and unrest continued. Police stationed in the area were advised to ‘observe’ but not to become further involved.
The riot became a cathartic for a persecuted group of marginalized citizens. After Stonewall, nothing would ever be the same. A few days later, a small group of protesters staged the first unofficial march down Christopher Street. A group of Queer youth who’d been active in the riots posed for a picture outside the boarded up facade of the Stonewall Inn... That event was the catalyst for the Gay Liberation Front and the first Pride March. That was over four decades ago, and we continue to fight for full equality, our civil rights, by stopping for a moment and remembering back, and being inspired and motivated by the people there by their unbelievable Photo by Diane Davis - 1969
Photo by http://www.edwardalwood.com
courage and resiliency. Their energy lives on in us, as a fearless voice and catalyst for justice. We will continue relentlessly, and they will be at our side, until our battle is won. We remember and honor those courageous drag queens and others who stood up strongly for all of us against LGBT oppression from the â€œauthoritiesâ€?. Let there be no doubt whatsoever, the repeal of DOMA, and the recent rulings and amendment reversals in numerous states regarding marriage equality have propelled us forward as nothing has since Stonewall.
I am not alone in predicting marriage equality all across America in the near future.
adoption non-discrimination laws will follow soon after marriage equality is attained.
We have overwhelming reasons to not just remember, honor and be inspired by Stonewall, but to truly celebrate with hope and renewed optimism and courage going forward. The dominoes of inequality have begun to fall, and will continue to do so. It is my belief and the belief of many others that our progress towards attaining job, housing, and
Other important issues including bullying, homelessness and suicide among our LGBT youth could eventually become no more than bad memories from the past. That certainly has been the dream of many, that our youth be safe, and that they be able to live honestly and authentically without fear! Likewise, discrimination
Many activists all over America have worked very hard, in many different ways, to slowly win larger and larger battles. These victories have empowered equality forces in many remaining states to rise up and legally challenge their discriminatory state constitutional marriage amendments. Page 30
Photo by Monty Ashley 2011
IQcover story towards our LGBT seniors within retirement and nursing homes could become nonexistent as well. More persecution will end with continued activism and perseverance from all of us. YES WE CAN, and yes, those remaining opponents will fall!
after Stonewall in 1970, to bring attention to the need for justice. The effort to fight prejudice and publicly show LGBT pride led to the start of a political movement that is still calling for justice today. Stonewall was the shot heard around the world for LGBT equality. Stonewall said in essence: We’ve had enough!
To those of you who may oppose us, you have no reason to fear Since the first us despite what Pride march The dominoes of some churches in 1970, we’ve and political come a long inequality have figures may way -- creating begun to fall, and will a grassroots tell you. We are your neighbors, movement that continue to do so. your merchants, is bringing your doctors, us closer and nurses, and the closer to being teachers for your full and equal children. Our participants commonalities are many. We even in America. And over the past have to mow grass and pay bills 44 years, Pride festivals have just like you. Our only difference shifted from primarily political is in who we are inherently, to primarily social - creating a undeniably attracted to. We much-needed space for folks to cannot, we will not deny this. We celebrate the full diversity of will no longer deny our very souls, the LGBT community. From loud as some of us so painfully have protest, to quieter protest and done in the past. loud party. We have evolved as an annual event, as a movement. But, I ask you to join us as our allies is this all good? in our celebration of community, of how far we have come towards That social celebration is realizing full civil equality for important -- but we still need LGBT individuals, and for all the political protest if we’re truly Americans. Reflect back with us going to get to full legal and to the courage of a few patrons social equality. While we make in a gay bar in New York City one significant gains on a national hot summer night in late June level, and within many states, 1969. Join us and say thank you, there is much work yet to do and live proudly, authentically as in other states and on a local you are, as we all move forward level. We must collaborate as together! one community, united to attain As mentioned earlier, Pride solutions to local problems such festivals originally started as fair and equal treatment some 44 years ago, the year within hospitals and other care
facilities, homeless shelters, all schools public and private, at our jobs and within our churches to. Transgender individuals must receive no less than full equality as well. Couples must be able to adopt children as a couple! Bullying within all of our schools must stop, period. New educational efforts such as providing cultural competency and diversity-sensitivity training must begin in earnest with local LGBT... speaker bureaus etc. The list is long. On a global level, we need to act in solidarity with the millions of people in other countries such as Africa and Russia who are facing an increase in LGBT oppression and outright violence. Could we, as a united community, petition local, state, and national leaders to place increased pressure on countries which continue human rights abuse? Can we request our elected officials to demand visible- accountability from those U.S. based anti-gay groups and organizations which help fund human rights abuse in other countries? I say yes we can, and we should! Celebrate our progress? yes, yet bring back a renewed awareness of local and even global work that has yet to be done. Celebrate for all of our progress, and for all those who’ve fought before us. Remember their courage and move forward with pride and a renewed awareness and energy for all that must still be fought for. Envision a day when diversity is not just tolerated or even respected, but when it is truly celebrated as the wondrous gift that it is, to everyone. Page 31
Behind the Drag
Meet Crystal Colby
Our cover artist is Entertainer of the Year 2014 - 2015! By Nerio Gonzalez. Photography by Nerio Gonzalez. We had the opportunity to sit with one of our friends that introduces herself as Crystal Colby. She has been honored as the Entertainer of the Year here in Roanoke Va. for the years of 2014 - 2015, and we are very glad to have this opportunity to share her ideas and a little bit of her ups and downs of her endeavors. IQ: We are sitting here a year from now, celebrating what a great year it has been as entertainer of the Year. What did you achieve, or plan to achieve? Crystal Colby (CC): There are several things that I want to accomplish as Entertainer of the Year; one of them is to plan an event with the local high schools gay alliance groups and have an activity (show or get together), where they can experience to share that it is okay to be who you are, it’s okay to be gay or straight or whatever the young person prefers, that no one can be you, but you. So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I want the young ones to see that you can truly be whatever you want to be. Did I have any idea while in high school that I would be what I am now? No, I never thought I would be getting up on
stage half naked dressed like a woman as a career. My favorite quote that I have always lived by Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind”. IQ: In a personal level, are you single or in a relationship?
when they told me thinking “Wow, you have actually made it”, Doing a performance and knowing that people know and respect you. In an opportunity, during my number I heard some familiar voices screaming my name. I couldn’t quiet figure out who was calling me due to the spotlight and the music, it wasn’t until I was accepting a tip, and the next three people walked up to tip me all at once, they were my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother. They young had all come to see me perform for the that first time!
CC: I have been blessed “I want the having amazing relationships ones to see and incredible you can truly be friends, but nowadays I am whatever you want” IQ: About yourself, single, of course Who is your role my time is very model and why? occupied with my career and work, but I keep my eyes open for CC: I have several role models that Mr. right. have shaped who I am. So rather than modeling myself after one IQ. When have you been most person, I looked for inspiration in satisfied in your life? multiple people. The first one is my birth mother. She has always CC: The most satisfying time allowed me to be myself and of my life was being told I had follow any dreams I may have won entertainer of the year. I had. She has carried me through remember taking a moment bad times and kept me humble and watching old videos and through the good times. old pictures and remembering those moments when I would There are only a select few people perform and wish that I would be whom I allow into my personal someone, be known. I remember life, those that have known that
IQinterview my mother is my rock. She has intervene as my mother and my father. She accepted me when I came out with open arms and was always there to defend me when I was bashed. It is because of my mother that when I see someone being bullied, I stand up for him or her (the bullied one). She is my biggest inspiration and my biggest motivator. The second person I consider a role model is my drag mother Jayda Colby, without her, I would just be another boy going to the bar and dancing, I wouldn’t know half of what I know now about drag. She helped me grow so much and taught me so much in the five years I have been doing female impersonation.
compete, come close to win, and go home empty handed. He felt defeated but yet, every year he would dust himself off and go at it. He has an amazing quote that is something everyone should admire “Always wear your invisible crown”.
The third person that is an inspiration to me is Jessica Jade. He is your current reigning Miss Gay America. He fought and competed eight times. He gave up on so much so that he could achieve his dream. He would go,
IQ: What things do you like to do?
There are other people who have been strong in my life and in my career, like Enya Salad. While performing together, she has always taught me or helped me to perfect the art of drag. Tim Clark. He is a huge role model to me; he has given a start on the career of so many queens. Finally, Kristina Kelly, who showed me that you can do anything and be whatever you want.
IQ: Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted.
when I went and ran for North Carolina Entertainer of the Year. It was final night and I had just done three previous nights of competition. Prelim nights ended on Friday and there was a star show of formers on Saturday; then Sunday, was final night. I had driven back home on Friday night after prelim because of work, and to drive back up on Sunday to compete in finals. On my way home, I had a serious accident in my car. I flipped in five times. Thankfully, I was able to get someone to take me to final night, even though I was still in pain. So, as I stand there on stage, having poured my heart into my talent, gown, and presentation prelim nights, plus the accident, they begun announcing the top ten that would be competing that night. I stood with a smile as they announced one after another after another, until they got to the last spot in the top ten I was shaking.
CC: Well there have been a few but one that I can think of is
They announced the tenth girl and it wasn’t me. I had poured
CC: In my free time, which I don’t have much of, I love to relax and enjoy with my friends and just be me. I love performing and I love being Crystal Colby but it’s nice sometimes to just wind down with my good friends, throw in a Disney movie and be Chris. IQ: If you had a superpower, what would be? CC: If I had a superpower I would have to say that it would be telekinesis. I have always thought it would be incredible to be able to control things with my mind.
everything I had at wasn’t in the top. I felt defeated. I stayed and celebrated the pageant! Even helped one of the queens that was in the top. This was a lesson for me and thankfully I moved on and have made myself better. IQ: How do you measure success? CC: I measure success in how many people come to see your show and are touched when they leave with your performance. Anyone can lip sync but you want the audience to actually be entertained and leave wanting to come back to the next show. IQ: What do you see when you look in the mirror? CC: When I look in the mirror I see Chris. It’s funny even when I have all that makeup on I still see Chris. I see a boy standing on the side of the stage at Pride in the Park, watching India Ferrah dance and being amazed. I see someone who struggled in high school to be accepted and dropping out due to being bashed by school teachers but rising above and getting my degree. I see change and hope to be better. IQ: What are you biggest strengths? CC: One of my biggest strengths is being able to change. Being able to rise above and better myself when I am knocked down and bashed. IQ: What motivates you to do your best? CC: Someone that motivates me to
do my best is my best friend and drag sister Katrina Colby. We have been so close, even before we started drag. We are always talking to each other and talking about ways to improve. We are always competing to be the best so the competition helps us both to grow. Something else that motivates me is thinking that there might be other new drag queens out there that look up to me and aspire to be where I am. I like to give my all to any project or show where I’m in because I don’t know who I may be influencing. I don’t want to not come out with nails on for a show and have someone start doing it thinking “well Crystal Colby does it and she is entertainer or the year”. People who I believe have achieved the level of professionalism where I want to be have helped me because I have something to aspire. After finishing the interview with this fascinating person, we want to wish the best in her endeavors and success in her career! Page 35
In this column you can follow my little life adventures as they happen. Just take a step into my world for a short read. It involves everything from food, fun, and just general life ponderings by ShanShan Cooney Nerio asked me to write my column for the magazine. I was so super excited! That was until I started to actually put my fingers to the keyboard. My brain went blank, my thoughts about how I’ve neglect to update my blog was staring me in the face (you can read it at http:// adventureswithshanshan. blogspot.com). The fact that I should probably be in bed by now and not typing. That being said, let’s start! My name is Shannon. I like to go on adventures. I define adventure as daily life but more epic. It is more epic because I put the word adventure in front of it. This column takes ordinary events and makes them extraordinary. Okay, probably not, but you’re going to be amused. One of my most recent adventures was Geocaching. If you have Page 36
never done it, I suggest you try it. It is super easy to start, just go to their website, http://www. geocaching.com, open a free account, read the directions and get out there! I know, I know, it sounds easy, but in theory it really is. You put some coordinates in to a GPS, on your phone, or the free app they have, you go towards the treasure. Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small, and sometimes they have been stolen. I started out this adventure with my boyfriend, we’ll call him New Dude. He had to go to work in
about 3 hours so we figured we would have enough time to try a few places. One of the best things about Geocaching is that are cashes everywhere. They also call the people not looking for a cache muggles. For all you Harry Potter fans out there like me you probably also giggle and geeked out a little bit. (Map of GeoCaches) We picked a few spots close to the house, wrote down the name, the coordinates, any hints, tips, and headed out. This particular Geocache was in a park. Even though it was close to my house I had no idea that it even existed. We got out of the car, turned on my very out of date Garmen GPS, turned the GPS on
IQcolumns for my phone and started going towards the dot. The thing about GPS of any kind, is that they can get you close to the mark but not right on it. There is always about a 30 feet radius that is where the cache is hiding. So, again, the treasure hunt part of it. The other problem is that it was hot, and I was wearing shorts,and because of all the recent rain, all the weeds, and brush along the sides of the park, and that was where the caches were hiding. New Dude just charged in not worried about spiders, ticks, snakes, or any other crawly ciders. I on the other hand, was definitely more timid. I kept poking and prodding, and slowly moving in and around the plants and trees. It was like my own personal game of limbo where I could only lose. New Dude kept stopping and shaking his head. He asked me a few times how I went hiking. I told him I went on paths and the branches an bushes usually didn’t cross the path. I was happy to be outside but there was too much nature touching me. All the branches, and grasses, and unknown plants,trying to reach out and tough my exposed legs. If you want to take any confidence about being a wordily person, go stand in the middle of the woods and try and identify any of the plants. It will bring your ego down a few notches. I know poison ivy is going to cause me to break out in a rash, however, besides being
a vine I have no idea what it looks like.
time mother nature was going to have a lot less flesh to caress.
Anyway, the first Cache was found kind of quickly. We signed the little log book and exchanges one item for a “cozey” we had brought with us. We headed out into the open space put in the new coordinates and headed back to the new dot.
The park we went to this time was one I did know existed. However, the path that we followed was new to me. It was very cool to walk along the water and just enjoy being outside. We passed a few people who were fishing, but having no luck. Then we took a turn and started to wander up and down a hill looking over and under all all around these trees for our next cache. Finally, we found the correct spot, however, the cache was gone. We were poking and prodding this unknown hole just to confirm it was missing.I sent a message to the person in charge of the cache and it should be back up and running like it should.
We looked and looked and looked some more and could not figure out where this second cache was so we moved to the third cache that was in the same park. Twenty minutes later after the GPS died and I had waded through the tall grasses and crawled under trees branches and been stuck by a picker bush one too many times, we called it a day. 1/3 isn’t horrible but it isn’t good either. Since I choose to wear shorts my legs were on fire from small scratches from all the plants grabbing at my legs. It was nature in full force invading my in grading my personal space. The fear of bugs crawling on me made me itch everywhere. It was one of those you’re itchy but not really it’s all your head.
Our results for the weekend were one successful find, two never found, and one missing cache. I think this is like my 4th found cache. I knout not like most caches not actually found by me. Anyway, if you have not tried geocaching, you should try it. Wear pants, bring water, and charge your battery for both your GPS device and your phone! Get out there and make your own adventure!
The next day again, we had just a little bit of time so we headed out with new locations new coordinates and a new hope to find everything. I was smarter today and wore long pants. This Page 37
Transgender Progress in the US
Ms. Jessica Xavier visited Roanoke and talked about what is happening for the transgender groups in America by Carolyn Edelstein and Will Rye.
PFLAG Roanoke, Roanoke Diversity Center, Roanoke Destiny and Ladies and Gents of the Blue Ridge sponsored a Transgender Progress in the US presentation 5/31/14. The presentation was given by Jessica Xavier; a Transwoman. She became friends with Mary Boenke more than 20 years ago. Ms. Xavier previously worked with Mary Boenke to make PFLAG Trans inclusive and she and Mary worked on the booklet “Our Trans Children”. This was first published in 1995 by Jessica and PFLAG Transgender Network (TNET). Jessica’s publication is what inspired PFLAG’s current Transgender booklet: “Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends”. The original edition sold more than 54,000 copies! Jessica works with the Page 38
Ryan White HIV/ AIDS Program in Washington, D.C. Jessica also worked on the Virginia Transgender Project from 2003-2007. During her presentation, Ms. Xavier shared a poem she wrote about Stonewall which will be shared at the Stonewall Event in Roanoke on June 28, 2014. The poem was quite moving. Ms. Xavier also pointed out other LGBT advances especially for the Transgender community, including the most recent Federal employee protections under the law and Medicare’s Transgender inclusion. She also went into HIV among Transgender women of color
and how the CDC is changing reporting guidelines so that the HIV studies will be more clearly defined and help to identify specific groups so they can get the assistance they need. Ms. Xavier also discussed how Transgender people embody the two spirit of both masculine and feminine and how our cultural norms often define what is masculine or feminine. Those norms however are not always accurate ways because each of us falls in a different spectrum on the gender scale. Other acronyms were also discussed as the term LGBT has grown over the years to include queer, questioning, and
Transgender people embody the two spirit of both masculine and feminine other ways that people in our community might identify. We appreciated Ms. Xavierâ€™s presentation and it was well received by the 30 people attending the event including many poignant questions on how we might fight for transgender equality here and across the Commonwealth. Page 39
Emerald Isle or Virginia by default Crossing the ocean to go to the land of the Leprechaun by Spacey Shanks. Photography by Spacey Shanks. It has been rumored that Mr. Frank L. Baum loosely based the Emerald City from the movie the Wizard of OZ on the lush, beautiful, greenness that is Ireland! Since the Man himself isn’t alive to ask, I’m just going to go with it anyway. Ireland is a beautiful country that is home to many a poet, artist, writer and everyday hardworking folk, who take pride in any job as long as it’s well done. I had the opportunity to visit Ireland last summer, and will take you along for the journey. It was with much trepidation that I boarded the plane. I almost bailed on the trip twice! I have to take meds to fly because of inner ear issues. I was dreading it, but must say that scheduling a red-eye flight made it a great deal more bearable. I wanted to see the sights badly enough to just tough it out and go for it. I am glad I did. We did the Group Heritage Tour the 1st with a rented car and B&Bs through the southern part of Ireland for just the 2 of us. I have never seen so many castles in my life, which brings to mind the old saying; A Man’s (or Woman’s) home is his/her Castle! Cliffs of Moher. Photo by Spacey Shanks
Our 1st opportunity while waiting from the very famous musical to visit the Gardens nearby and school in the States, “What was the inevitable Tourist trap...The the name again? I can never Souvenir shop! remember.” It was very convenient to start the shopping but I refrained even When I said,”Do you mean though there Julliard?” He was an ATM replied, “Yes, that would that’s it exactly!” Ireland is a beautiful dispense the Now I ask you, my country that is home magic Euros. readers don’t you I was saving to many a poet, artist, remember the myself to get a college you went writer and everyday real authentic to, especially if you Irish Sweater, hardworking folk, who graduated from it? in my size (I’m the food take pride in any job as Anyway, hot natured, so was delicious as long as it’s well done... there was Parsnip it’s hysterical that I want a Soup, BBQ Ribs, sweater!!). When and melon for we went to dinner later that dessert. The melon looked on the evening my sweetie discovered outside like a Cantaloupe, inside that he was in love with Mead, it looked like a Honeydew, and which is a tasted fermented like a Honey beverage. Cucumber. The rest of the The melon evening he kept was quite hollering,”MORE different MEAD” which from any I’m sure he melon I thought was had tasted funny! We were stateside. serenaded by The next the wandering day the minstrels who were cleverly bus trip began in earnest and disguised as wait staff. We met while I was enjoying myself, my Mr. Shamus, who was the Violin Compadre in mischief (we’ll call player, who must have briefly him Charlie), was starting some of kissed the Blarney stone as he the best naps he ever had! told me that he had graduated Page 41
IQtravel We went the Waterford Crystal Museum and toured the plant, their symbol is of the Sea Monster, but looks like a Sea Horse with a Four-leaf Clover in its tail. It was beautiful, and I learned that the reason there are no seconds is because they recycle all inferior product , and reuse it. I also learned that they practice the theory of threes, making three of any special order product, one for the order, one in case it gets broken and one for them to keep to make a mold from. Their Craft masters must apprentice for 5 years and during the last three, they must make a demo piece each year using all the cuts to the crystal that they have learned. If none of the three pass muster then they must go back and re-apprentice again, repeating the process until they get it right, or give up. The tribute that they designed for the September 11, 2011 tragedy actually brought tears to my eyes. So, so beautiful. Waterford county is home to King John’s Castle. I thoroughly enjoyed the Walking Viking week. The second week was to be a leisurely ramble excursion. After arriving, it was to be a medieval banquet at the Bunratty Castle. We had a tour in which we learned that Waterford is the oldest Page 42
city, settled as it were by the Vikings in 853. We then went on to the Blarney Castle, most famous for its Blarney Stone, or as I kept calling it a germy Rock! (They do wipe it down with disinfectant after each smooch!) I wasn’t going to kiss that stone, but when two older ladies starting ribbing me about how if they can climb up there and kiss the stone, then I could too! I wondered out loud that if you already had the gift of gab and kiss that stone, does it take it away from you and make you tongue-tied? We’ll find out, as I did go ahead and kiss the stone. They also had a lovely Poison Garden there with all manner of things poisonous... Yew tree, deadly Nightshade, wolf’s bane, so imagine my surprise to see in a cage dome, heavily protected - the Cannabis
Plant! Yes, apparently not only does it make you get the munchies, it is considered a poison! Who knew? I have to say it appeared to be the most carefully tended plant in the garden! We also went to the Cliffs of Moher, and I joked they were so beautiful as to leave you wanting Moher! (I know, I know, but I couldn’t resist.) At one point along the base the water had eroded the rock enough to vaguely remind you of Greek Mythology, Jason and the Argonauts, you could almost picture the rock closing in on them. We also visited the Dunaloe Gap, which was very green, rustic and beautiful and as the Tour guide and bus driver were talking about how it was the last area to get electricity (I believe they said in 1978!) I couldn’t help but notice that those mountains, the rocks, and streams resembled some of our Virginia Countryside. It may be why our area was so heavily settled with the Irish and Scottish peoples. It was green and reminded them of their homes they left behind. (If you don’t believe me check out the scenery on I-81 from say, Troutville to Staunton/Stuarts Draft area and a little beyond.) There are plenty more stories to tell about the adventures in Ireland but you’ll have to read about them in future issues!
the inclusive church
Worship Sundays at 11am & 1st Wednesdays at 7pm
Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge 806 Jamison Ave. SE, Roanoke, VA 24013 | 540.344.4444 w w w. m c c b l u e r i d g e . o r g
‘Hate speech’ The Uninteded legacy by Suzana Muller March 21 marked our Spring Equinox, when the dark of winter gives way to the life and light of the spring. Just a couple of days before, but still within the grasp of darkness, Rev. Fred Phelps left this plane of life as we know it.
famous as well as infamous people did not really amount to much. Rachel Maddow’s coverage on her show last Friday summed what I read from the printed press. All summations ended in catharsis.
He lived as person who showed how hateful and hurtful humans can be to other humans, already in pain due to the loss of a loved one. So, as if by divine command, the man was finally silenced in the last days of winter, reminding us that the light was coming.
Rachel’s piece in particular, brought forth a memory from childhood of a conversation I had with my father about judging people. He explained that our experience on Earth is limited to our 5 senses, our beliefs and our limited brain capacity. As long as we are in life we will never know the full truth, nor the other person’s truth and purpose. And this purpose might have taken a generation to reveal itself.
I had expected greater buzz from the news of Rev. Phelps’ death; a show of solidarity from the conservatives, tributes to him as religious leader, or his life story in review. All those tributes we braced ourselves to hear from
For those who do not know him, Phelps was a person with conservative views that would Page 43
not hesitate to take the spotlight while inflicting gruesome hurt and fanfare. His ultra conservative views started already in his ministerial training. In 1954 Fred Phelps became pastor of the Westborough Baptist Church (WBC) and quickly severed all ties with the mother congregation, the East Side Baptist Church. He believed that you could not preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God. So Rev. Phelps pinned on himself the badge of God’s minion on Earth. Armed with uncompromising and self-righteous ideology Fred Phelps was not out to make people repent. He really didn’t care what we thought of the message. His job as minion, was to remind us we are all doomed from the day of our births. At a glance, Rev. Phelps had a challenged childhood, His mother died when he was young, and he was raised by relatives. He was recognized as having West Point potential but turned down the opportunity, choosing the path of the ministry instead. He became pastor and took over the WBC, making it the headquarters for his Uber-Calvinistic views of doom. His trademark, also supported by WBC members, was to demonstrate during the funerals of Gay people- or AIDS
victims who were not necessarily Gay. Initially they would get as close as they could, holding a multitude of colored signs and using shocking language like, ‘God hates Fags.’ Later, he targeted funerals of political figures, the military (with signs of, ‘Thank God for IED’s that kill soldiers’) rock concerts, 9/11 victims, and all those who happened to live in the same world as Gays. In these protests you would always find young children carrying signs with vile language, as a part of their brainwashing and early initiation into the cult.
What is probably less known is that Mr. Phelps was once a lawyer and an aspiring politician. He was a candidate of the Democratic Party in Kansas. He was probably the only white lawyer in the 70s to take on anti-discrimination causes in favor of African
American clients. The notoriety for his work came as an award in 1980 given by a branch of the NAACP. Something started going wrong with him in the late 70s though. In 1977 he took to court Carolene Brady, a court reporter who failed to produce a supporting, but not essential, affidavit for one of Phelps’ cases. The woman sued and while on the stand, was verbally ‘stoned’ by Phelps for an entire week, with all sorts of name calling. Adding this to a string of other cases against his work ethics, caused Mr. Phelps to be disbarred by the State of Kansas in 1979. But this did not hinder him from working in the Federal Court system. In 1986 he gained notoriety when he tried to sue Ronald Regan for violating the separation of church and state as a response to the president’s appointment of a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. But after fellow judges filed disciplinary complaints against him, he settled out of court with the understanding that he would stop practicing Federal Law in Page 45
IQopinion 1989. During this process, two of his sons were also disciplined and suspended for 6-12 months.
has increased over the years, bringing larger and larger numbers against hate. It seems as if God was trying to tell Phelps and his church supporters: How much more opposition do I have to send you until you get the message that this is not working!? This was the message of a 2010 Portland counterdemonstrator dressed as god and carrying a sign ‘No I Don’t’. And again in 2012 by a 9-year old at the time who sketched on his notebook and proudly displayed his sign ‘God hates no one’.
The future of the WBC is not clear. Fortunately his flock comprises less than 100 members, most of whom are direct family members. He had 13 children, and 54 grandchildren. Eleven of his children are lawyers working for the family’s law firm! However, in the last couple of years a couple of his lawyer sons ‘defected’. One of them is a gay-rights activist. One of these sons, Nate, put the word out, that since last year, his Since all WBS father had been ‘God hates ??’ excommunicated And for the first time sign has a Bible from the quotation, congregation. I heard from gay a humorous Apparently old people the soulful counterage and cancer made him go meaning of marriage protestor added the sign ‘God softer on the ‘the feeling of endless hates Figs’ rhetoric. And Mark’s 11:12:14. like any other respect for one religious cult, another’. Going back to there is no room my father’s for different words, we really do not know Rev. opinions. So the old patriarch was Phelps’ truth. There may be a summarily shut out. cosmic reason for his existence. Even a reason for the existence of Reading the coverage from his little cult, preaching hate in mainstream papers and networks the name of God. Many reporters was interesting, although these agree that Fred Phelps’ in-yourarticles seemed to lack much of face, hurtful and mean actions the righteous, vile and judgmental brought a lot of sympathizers to name calling of the earlier years the LGBT cause and to the fight of Phelps’ ministry of hate. Since for equality. It evoked the most Matthew Sheppard’s funeral in creative and witty responses in 1998, WBS funeral protests have America. The quote ‘God moves in been increasingly met by loving, mysterious ways’ came up when caring, playful, stylish, or just I saw the 6 ft tall angels with plain logical tactics. wide white sheet wings and ear plugs at images from Matthew There has been a surge of Sheppard’s funeral. The wings legislation creating buffer zones completely blocked the mourners’ between mourners and protestors. view of the hate signs. The ear The counter-protest movement Page 46
plugs kept angelic ears immune to the virulent speech. At one rally after another, people kept coming out in support of the mourners in different ways. Young gay couples would embrace and kiss and look absolutely loving in front of all those hideous signs. As soldiers’ funerals became their target and as the ‘Thank God for those IEDs’ signs and upsidedown American flags came out of the vans, the Freedom Guard, a group of veteran motorcycle riders, came to the rescue bringing large numbers of tall right-side up American flags. Their sheer numbers and the roar of their engines drowned every word and all view from the WBC signs. And they should know they are on the losing side, when everyone else is against you... including the KKK Imperial Wizard. Today, spring is here, and with it the celebration of life and love. Today I had the opportunity to witness something I thought I would never see in my lifetime here in Virginia. I went to celebrate the wedding of a dear lesbian couple who have been together for 38 years. In their words, they were celebrating boundless opportunities. They said that their ceremony should be the celebration of all those who have been with them along the way. And for the first time I heard from gay people the soulful meaning of marriage ‘the feeling of endless respect for one another’. And I know God would love that!
Roanoke Pride Letter to our readers
An new pageant system is born
Mr and Miss Pride of America by Michael Bell More than eighteen years ago, the dream began, though at that time, it was not even a vision in the mind of a shy twenty-something year old gay man who took to the stage for the first time as a female impersonator. He simply wanted to look beautiful and get through his performance without letting his nerves get the best of him. As he stood behind the curtain awaiting his introduction, his hands, holding the stage curtains together at his chest, shook uncontrollably from nerves and excitement. But as his stage name was announced and the curtains parted, his silhouette was highlighted by the brilliant strobe of the stage spotlight and the rest is history. Throughout the next two decades, this entertainer performed across the country and competed in numerous pageant systems, garnering titles on both state and national levels. First hand, he experienced contrasting Page 48
Raye, Directors Contestants) the concept of Mr. and Miss Pride of America became a reality on June 1, 2014, which coincided with the start of national pride month. The mission statement for Mr. and Miss Pride of America is: “We are an entertainment outlet where Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered, Queer and But deep in this entertainer’s Ally individuals are allowed to heart, he knew that there was showcase their one concept of innate pageantry that We are an talents and was not prevalent outwardly in the community; entertainment express their one that would outlet where LGBTQA Pride offer only two individuals are allowed inner while working divisions, yet to showcase their alongside include everyone charities in the community, innate and social while giving back talents and outwardly services for the to the community betterment of that supported express their inner the community the art form. After Pride as a whole.” In assembling an keeping with ambitious team the mission statement to “work of directors (Michael Bell, CEO/ alongside charities and social Owner; Tim Bolin, Director of services for the betterment of Sales/Promotions; Sean-Krystofer the community as a whole”, the Colby, Director of Social Media; Owner and national office of Jackson Russo and Adam-Cole concepts of pageantry, which further evolved into, what he felt, was a segmented community, as pageantry began to divide itself into divisions for the young, the old, the plus-sized and even fragmenting further based on gender.
Mr. and Miss Pride of America selected an organization as the focus of their national platform: The American Cancer Society. This organization was selected for personal reasons close to the heart of the National Promoter. Friends and family members have lost their battles with this struggle over the past few years. So, the entire organization of Mr. and Miss Pride of America is honored and privileged to assist this organization in achieving its ultimate goal of finding a cure for this deadly disease. Mr. Pride of America is for born male entertainers who entertain as males and for born female entertainers who entertain as male impersonators or live as male. Miss Pride of America is for born female entertainers who entertain as females and for born male entertainers who entertain as female impersonators or live as female. Yes, that is correct. No matter one’s age, body size or level of
experience, male entertainers and male impersonators (aka “drag kings”) will compete against one another while female (femme) entertainers and female impersonators (aka “drag queens”) will compete against one another. As conceptualized, this pageantry system is for everyone and leaves no one on the outside, trying to figure out where to fit in. Contestants will compete in three core preliminary categories: (1) Panel Discussion/Group Interview, (2) Pride Wear and (3) Talent. Question and Answer (Q&A) will be added for the finalists at the national pageant. Each of these categories is designed to give the contestants the ability to show who they are, both on-stage and off-stage and to showcase their most diverse and eclectic forms of talent and individualism while representing their favorite charity or social service. The goal of Mr. and Miss Pride of America is to have 51 official state preliminary pageants for each
division, with each state sending the state preliminary pageant winner(s) to the official national pageant. Each state promoter will ask his/her state preliminary winner(s), during the reign, to assemble a benefit show with all the proceeds from the show being donated to the state promoter’s charity or social service of choice. This is how Mr. and Miss Pride of America will give back to the community that has embraced our entertainment art form But the dream of Mr. and Miss Pride of America will not be successful without the patronage and participation of supporters within the community. If you believe in the mission of this pageant system, please show your support by liking the pageant’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ MrandMissPrideOfAmerica and visiting the pageant’s website at www.prideofamerica.net . Only a unified effort by the entire community will elevate this pageant system to success!!! Page 49
Azul y no tan Rosa (My Straight Son)
An international film winner of the 2014 Goya Awards by Francisco Carrizo Zirit In a time when a rainbow of colors dominates the current LGBT cinema, we havethis precious jewel from the northern country of South America. That land once discovered by Spanish conquistadors and christened as “little Venice”, blessed with wondrous landscapes, beaches, deserts, mountains and jungles, is now at its summit of heartwarming moviemaking. As those painters we have always admired, comes Venezuelan director and writer Miguel Ferrari with his debut film. “Azul y no tan rosa” (Blue and not so pink, 2012) namely “My straight son” in America, is yet another moving story of love and loss, of discrimination and vindication. A thriving, young-at-heart gay photographer, Diego (Guillermo García), faces the hardships of life when his glamorous world is turned upside down by a devastating event. To make matters worse, and without his consent, his former girlfriend leaves him with the “burden” of taking care of their son Armando (Ignacio Montes), the outcome of a night of drinks many years back. Diego has to divide his time, and heart, between his partner in the
hospital and his son, with whom he has had no contact for almost all his life. However, Diego is not alone. His assistant, Perla Marina (Carolina Torres), accompanies him with her share of pain while she has to put up with the constant abuses of her drunken husband. Delirio del Rio (Hilda Abrahamz), his transsexual best friend, who found her true self by seeking true love, completes the picture. This “Almodovarian” trio embark on a journey of self-discovery and reconciliation while, together, try to give young Armando the courage to find his purpose of life. Every character tells their own story. The true heart of this film is not only within the souls of Diego and Armando, but also in the powerful performances of an excellent cast. We become eye witnesses of how their paths unfold and get to the climax of it all, reminding us of the old proverb “there is strength in numbers”. We are left off with the moral that life can be as hard as you want it to be. Diego, Armando, Perla and Delirio chose to fight for their happiness and achieve their dreams. Likewise, Miguel Ferrari’s greatest
achievement was yet to come. The movie was selected as the official entry for Venezuela in the 2014 Goya Awards, the Spaniard “Academy Awards”, under the category of Best Iberoamerican Film. Not only was he victorious but his debut film was praised by critics and supporters alike. “My straight son” is not an ordinary gay themed film. It is a compelling story that finds courage in the saddest moments. It is a film about tolerance, acceptance and reconciliation. Diego had to find the father in him; Armando needed to discover the son in him, and both found each other to become a family. Furthermore, this movie came when it was most needed; it is a wake up call to the real situation of the LGBT community in Venezuela. It gives people the hope to dream of a more tolerant society worth fighting for. As a Venezuelan myself, I cannot feel more proud to say that we also make great cinema — the kind of cinema that reaches people’s hearts and takes us to unexplored territories. A new dawn for Venezuelan cinema has come, filling the sky with those shades of blue but not so pink. Page 51
by Cloudburtsmovie.com Edit by Nerio Gonzalez Cloudburst is a romantic road movie written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald (3 Needles, The Hanging Garden) originally staged Cloudburst as a play in April 2010, at Plutonium Playhouse in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It won the 2011 Merritt Award, Nova Scotia’s theatre award, for Best New Play.
It stars Oscar®-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as Stella and Dot, an aging couple who escape from a nursing home in Maine and drive to Nova Scotia on a quest to be legally married. Stella and Dot have been together for 31 years and have faithfully accompanied one another through life’s ups and downs, after three decades, can they keep their family together?
The Kids are all right
With equal parts humour and grace, Cloudburst explores the important themes of life, death and love through the eyes of this oddball trio.
The son of a same-sex couple seeks out the sperm donor who made his birth possible in this comedy from writer/director
It is available to watch streaming via Netflix
by Jason Buchanan.
Lisa Cholodenko. The committed parents of two teenage children, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), are about to send their daughter, Joni (Mia Wasikowska), off to college when her younger brother, Laser (Josh Hutcherson), asks for her help in tracking down his biological father. Reluctantly inquiring with the sperm bank, Joni leaves her number so the office can pass it along to Laser’s father. Enthusiastic at the thought of meeting his long lost offspring, Paul (Mark Ruffalo) musters the courage to reach out, and the family tree grows a new branch. It is available to watch streaming via Netflix
Roanoke Diversity Center Your LGBT Community Center! by Rodger Saunders
I joined the board of the RDC in December of last year and was honored with being elected the LGBT Liaison, in February. Since that time, things have been hopping at the RDC as well as in the Liaison area--if there even is, such an ‘area’. Since being elected, one of the two most common questions I’m asked, is: “What the heck is a ‘liaison’?”
that in with the specific question, “What does the Roanoke Diversity Center actually DO?”
One reason I had difficulty, was that the Center had only been ‘open’ for about 10 months. Another was, that I had just joined them. But the main reason I believe, is that The RDC hosts had barely even several events aimed Iheard the name, much less been at educating and there.
stimulating the mind, while also letting you have fun...
Simply put: it’s the contact with, and connection maintained by communication, between organizations in order to ensure smooth cooperation. The second question, which I’ve been asked even more frequently, is: ?What does the Roanoke Diversity Center DO?? At first, I stumbled around for an answer for that one. Of course I knew the definition of ‘diversity’. I just had trouble tying
I think the latter is the case with most folks. However, during these last several months, it’s become apparent to me that it’s not so much what the Diversity Center DOES, but rather what YOU can DO at the Diversity Center! Each month, the RDC hosts several events aimed at educating and stimulating the mind, while also letting you have fun by getting involved with your local LGBT community. You’ll likely see some of your friends or have lots of opportunities to make new ones!!! Page 53
We always have things going on! Each summer, there is also a Take for instance our Rainbow Stonewall Remembrance Rally Chats--where the subject is and Film Festival. decided upon, by the attendees. Or there’s Rainbow 101--a more On site, we have several structured event, with a theme computers available, as well as and speaker. We also have Game an extensive book and VHS/DVD Nights--where you can play many library for you to check out! different card or board Every Monday Each summer, there games of there’s Food and your choice. fun while getting is also a Stonewall Then, of things done!?. Our Remembrance Rally course, weekly volunteer there is Drag and Film Festival. night, complete with Bingo, held yummy food, to get at the RDC you motivated! every other month--this funfilled event benefits the Drop-In We even have a fundraising Center, by way of nonperishable campaign on www.fundrazr. donations brought in by the com for our upcoming summer players. Another exciting time Diversity Camp (which runs this is had each month, at Open Mic year from July 31- August 4th, at Night -- which consists of music, Craig Springs Camp and Retreat poetry readings, or just about any Center in New Castle, VA.)--but presentation you’d care to do. more about that elsewhere in this issue! The RDC also participates in the annual Roanoke St. Patrick’s To get more information on these Day Parade, the Vinton Dogwood events and other info (along with Festival and has several fundeverything else LGBT related) raising events throughout the check out our web site at www. year such as car washes and bake roanokediversitycenter.com. sales! Page 54
Right there on our home page, you’ll find an interactive calendar containing the dates, times and other information about all of the events going on in our area! As you can see, there are lots of things to do at the RDC! Now, the next time someone asks, What is the RDC? You’ll be able to let them know! If you like these events, but want some other things to do, we’re always open to your suggestions! After all, it’s YOUR Diversity Center--make it MORE yours by participating and letting US know what events, YOU want to attend!! Without your support and participation, we’d be just an empty room. Let’s be sure to fill it up with fun people, always having exciting things to do!! Rodger Saunders is on the Board of Directors of the Roanoke Diversity Center and serves as the Center’s LGBT Liaison.
Forcing the Spring reviewed by Gary Crawford
Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, is a riveting behind the scenes account of the successful fiveyear long legal battle waged by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) to overturn Proposition 8. Written by New York Times investigative journalist Jo Becker, the meticulously researched account is based upon her extraordinary confidential access to the strategy and deliberation of the victorious legal team. Kirkus Reviews lauds the author for “first-rate reporting that informs this thrilling narrative of hope.” Becker is a professor of journalism at Princeton University. Her previous work earned the Pulitzer Prize for a Washington Post series she co-authored on Vice President Dick Cheney. Page 56
Publisher’s Weekly praised the book as a “testament to good political writing and a wealth of information made alive through prose.” Becker navigates the vast legal background of the case, backroom conversations, and media controversy with skill that “makes what could otherwise be a demanding or partisan story into learned political journalism.” The book begins by describing behind-the-scene discussions involving film director Rob Reiner and his wife, Michele, and other Hollywood giants to form a bipartisan legal team to challenge Proposition 8 in federal court. The hope was to sooner-not-later compel the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage. As Becker notes, “No group in America had been targeted by ballot initiatives more than gays and lesbians.” (Of 200 ballot contests, beginning in the 1970s, 140 had been lost.) Reiner
believed the state-by-state legislative strategy assured only more state-by-state defeat. Jo Becker makes a bold assertion about the Hollywood initiative: “This is how a revolution begins.” Although “Forcing the Spring” was not intended as the comprehensive history of the fight for marriage equality, as the Washington Post observed, Jo Becker soon “braced for accusations of omission” particularly from longtime-gay activists, who resented being “marginalized” by the reporter’s narrow rendition of an elite ‘revolution.’ “Forcing the Spring” is superior investigative journalism. But as Washington Post critics opined, it only reports a ”snapshot in time” when the gay rights movement altered its legal course, and “public opinion shifted with the speed of a bullet train.”
The Heavens Rise reviewed by Gary Crawford
The Heavens Rise, by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, is a “masterful coming-of-age novel” (Publishers Weekly review) in which three friends confront a deadly ancient evil -- literally rising to the surface in the Louisiana bayou. It has been that long since the Delongpre family, the characters in his first supernatural thriller, vanished with no explanation about that “dark and sweltering night.” Niquette Delongpre’s father dreamed of transforming the dense swamp into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave it. Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” But construction workers excavated a long-hidden well that snaked down into the black waters of the Louisiana bayou disturbing something hidden for
centuries: microscopic parasites that pervert the human mind and corrupt the body. “This is Rice’s best book to date, with evocative language, recurring themes and rich storytelling that will raise the hairs on the back of the neck. It rivals the best of Stephen King at times and sets a standard for psychological horror.” (Louisville Courier-Journal). Christopher Rice, the son of Anne Rice, creator of the vampirethrilling masterpieces, has established himself as a gifted and talented writer. His five previous novels were New York Times bestsellers. Loyal readers and admiring colleagues praise his captivating storytelling. Peter Straub, bestselling author
of Mrs. God, declares “Christopher Rice is a magician. This brilliant, subtly destabilizing novel inhales wickedness and corruption and exhales delight and enchantment. Rice executes his turns, reversals, and surprises with the pace and timing of a master. The Heavens Rise would not let me stop reading it—that’s how compelling it is.” Patricia Cornwell, bestselling author of The Bone Bed, assures readers that “Christopher Rice never disappoints with his vivid people and places and masterful prose. He will hold you captive under his spell as his images and emotions become your own.” Charlaine Harris, bestselling author Dead Ever After, warns that “Christopher Rice has written an amazing horror novel with more twists and turns than a mountain road. You’ll think you know your destination. But you’ll be wrong.” Page 57
Roanoke Pride 25th Anniversary Starlight Gala by Michael T. Jordan
Gathering clouds and a brisk breeze did not prevent nearly one hundred people from enjoying the Starlight Gala held on the stunning new rooftop aerie at Center in the Square. The threat of rain never materialized and the evening proceeded, cool and beautiful. President of Roanoke Pride, Jason Gilmore, tapped his party list to provide an impressive bevy of adorable bar and waitstaff who, attired correctly in black and white, swivelled professionally through the crowd offering trays of delectable hors d’oeuvres, joking personably with the guests and inspiring an appetite in the most jaded of palates. The crowd was attired in everything from glitter to jeans, yet everyone looked as if they’d turned out for a New York City social function. After a brief introductory speech, Gilmore introduced the evening’s entertainer; the amazing Debby Holiday. Miss Holiday did a half hour performance of pop and R&B that, at times had the audience singing along with her. She
performed a rendition of the song, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”, a song which was co-written by her late father, Jimmy Holiday and made famous by Jackie DeShannon in 1969. The Silent Auction was minimal this year, missing many of the kitsch contributions that in prior years would inspire guests to murmur, “What WERE they THINKING?” in soto voce tones. DJ Marvy Marv did a truly excellent job spinning numbers that would have had the dance floor packed. Unfortunately, it was quickly discovered that the parquet decking of the Center’s rooftop was uneven and not conducive to cutting a rug without fear of catching a heel and being precipitated over the edge of the parapet. All in all, it was a delightful evening, not to be missed, leaving everyone happy and satisfied. Page 59
June 27th - 29th (Fri-Sun) Annual RDC Film Fest Roanoke Diversity Center June 28th Floyd Annual Pride March Saturday, at 3:00pm Floyd Post Office June 28th Annual Stonewall Rally 11am- 1pm Century Plaza Downtown Roanoke August 3rd Roanoke Pride Pageant 8pm at The Park August 10th Hampton Roads Pride Town Point Park September 6th and 7th 25th Annual Pride in the Park Elmwood Park 11am September 13 Charlottesville Pride Festival 2014 September 27 VA Pride Richmond Va Page 60
Monthly Events: 1st Sunday Roanoke Drag Brunch 202 Market 11am 1st and 3rd Sunday: Divas and Drinks 202 Market 1st and 3rd Wednesday Rainbow Chat at the RDC 7pm-9pm 1st Friday of the month Rainbow 101 RDC 1st Saturday of the month RDC BoardMetting Open to all 3rd Friday RDC Open Mic Night
4th Friday Ladies and Gents of the Blue Ridge TG Support Group 7pm RDC 3rd Friday PFLAG Roanoke Meeting Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke Weekly: Monday: 5:30-8 Volunteer night RDC/ Manic Mondays Top Shelf Sports Bar Show at 9pm Thursday: Earth Spirit Meditation Group 7pm RDC
2nd Wednesday Pride Committee meeting at Large 7pm 3rd Saturday RDC Game Night 4th Tuesday HIV+ Support Group Drop in Center
If you want your event to be listed in this calendar, please send us a note to calendar@informativeq. com and we gladly will add it.
Informative Q is a western Virginia based magazine that offers variety of interesting themed articles about LGBT, being very inclusive in al...
Published on Jun 14, 2014
Informative Q is a western Virginia based magazine that offers variety of interesting themed articles about LGBT, being very inclusive in al...