Qnotes November 26, 2021

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LGBTQ Local News, Voices and Community

NOV. 26 - DEC. 9, 2021|VOL 37, NO 16

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The focus of QNotes is to serve the LGBTQ and straight ally communities of the Charlotte region, North Carolina and beyond, by featuring arts, entertainment, news and views content in print and online that directly enlightens, informs and engages the readers about LGBTQ life and social justice issues.

Being a person of color going to a HBCU can be a different experience, compaired to a heterosexual person of color.

7 Another Trans Woman Murdered 8 ‘ N.C. Native to Take Over Office of LGBTQ Resources at Yale University 8 Mecklenburg County Finally Passes NDO 8 ‘ Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber Announces Awards

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Writers: Angela Bearner-Ratliff, Chris Rudisill, Connie Vetter, David Aaron Moore, Frank Summers, Gregg Shapiro, Jessica Millicevic, Kendra R. Johnson, L’Monique King, Lucy Hodgman, Terri Schlichenmeyer, Tonya Jameson, Trinity

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life

Expect the Unexpected Up Ed

BY ANGELA BEARNER-RATLIFF, FRANK SUMMERS AND CONNIE VETTER

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ife can change in an instant. Life is great, but sometimes things happen, usually without warning. Some of those things can be good (sometimes very good) and sometimes they are not. Just because something is unexpected doesn’t mean we cannot be prepared. Recently, the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce sponsored a presentation on this topic. Featured speakers were Connie Vetter, Attorney at Law and Angela Beamer-Ratliff, an advance care planner at Novant Health. This article features some of the key points. How Often Does This Happen, Really? It is absolutely natural to believe bad things will not happen to us. There is something called the “availability heuristic,” which means that we estimate the probability based on how many examples come to mind. If we can’t think of many examples, it probably won’t happen, right? Not really. There are days when something major happens: an unexpected announcement, an accident, we hear a diagnosis, or we buy a lucky lottery ticket. We need to ask ourselves what will happen to our hopes, dreams or goals? What if I cannot work anymore? What if I’m no longer there and the dreams that I’ve built with someone else suddenly change? Just because things are unexpected doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be prepared. One reality is that 25% of people aged 20 will experience a disability in their lifetimes. We might think that disability means that we broke an arm or leg. Again, the availability of examples misleads on the truth. 45% of disability claims are due to diseases. In fact, nearly 15% of workers will experience a disability that will last 5 years or longer. Those turning 65 or older have a 70% chance of needing some form of long-term care. For LGBTQ+ people, this increases considerably in complexity, as many of us have experienced discrimination in our own homes by care providers, or in assisted living facilities (usually by other residents), or even our own families, who may have some personal issue with the fact that we are LGBTQ+. Yes, these numbers can be scary. A lot of people don’t want to think about it and don’t want to address it. The truth is, whether we want things to happen or not, they will – and we can make it much better for ourselves if we prepare. You Need a Plan, Not a Product Each person or couple has unique circumstances. Some people have a family that will support them through anything. Others have families that would lock out a gay spouse or partner, or worse. Still others have biological families, whom the state would deem next-of-kin, even though they haven’t spoken in years, or even if they’re not who we would want to make decisions for us. The needs of LGBTQ+ people in particular are unique. Therefore, it’s important to think through each situation and ensure that the right plan is in place.

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(Photo Credit: Adobe Stock) The reality is that we live in a world where the standard expectation is a straight family structure. State laws dictate biological next-of-kin to step in and make decisions for those who have not prepared. Hospitals and emergency room staff might also do the exact same. How would they know otherwise? They cannot make certain decisions on their own. This straight standard also applies to assumptions in legal documents, financial products, you name it….even though it may not be our reality. I mentioned the statistics around longterm care. The reality is that everyone should have a plan for what will happen if they need care for an extended period of time. I also mentioned that financial products are built around the expectations of experiences for the majority of clients (the majority having a straight spouse, and children, etc). For example, a long-term care policy might require services be provided by a qualified care provider in specific circumstances. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, and there are reasons for it. For many LGBTQ+ elders, discrimination in housing and care is a real concern. Going to a qualified care facility may be the last thing they want. It’s important for them to know the options and decide what is right for them. Really, the question comes down to “if this happens to me, what happens next?” You may not require any insurance product at all! Or, you might find that having the insurance meets an important criteria or goal for you. You will only know this if you compare options. This is one area where I strongly recommend working with a professional financial planner. Who’s on Your Team? You deserve to live your life on your terms. You don’t need to deal with being judged or ‘tolerated.’ This is never more important than when you are incapacitated or need care. Working with a

professional who understands the needs and nuances of the LGBTQ+ community is important. That includes developing wills and documents with an attorney who specializes in working with LGBTQ+ people. It’s true, cookie-cutter web-based services for legal document preparation exist, and they may be cheaper than working with a pro—but I don’t know any LGBTQ+ people who fit into a cookie-cutter model. We have unique circumstances and family structures. We are more charitably inclined than our straight counterparts. Many of us do not have children to leave our belongings to. Others leaped over tremendous hurdles to form our families and want those structures protected. When something shocking happens, people sometimes react very differently than what we might expect. Sometimes, even our closest family members can behave in a way that’s unrecognizable. Those who focus on working with LGBTQ+ clients have seen many different situations. Some of us have seen relatives and family members at their absolute worst. This is unfortunate, but it is reality and it’s something that happens, especially in situations when a family member may have issues with LGBTQ+ people or greed or some other personal issue. Your team should include your attorney, financial planner or advisor, CPA or accountant, and even your care providers. It’s as easy as giving them the names and contact information for your other advisors, and explicit permission to discuss your situation with one another. The job of your team is to ensure that they understand your wishes and to ensure that all of your financial, legal and medical paperwork aligns with one another. Strong caution is advised here: This is not the place to take short cuts or to find cheaper options. If you become incapacitated, and your wishes are not clear, or your various legal papers are not in sync, something might happen that is different than what

you actually intend. The Table Stakes: What’s the minimum I need? This is my list of the absolute bare minimum preparation and planning that needs to be done. Again, each person’s situation is unique and that may add some other items to this list. o Health Care directive o HIPAA authorization o Durable Power(s) of Attorney o A will o A trust, for those with family conflicts or concerns, or need funds to be handled in particular way when you are incapacitated or deceased, or if privacy is a concern o Annual reviews of all of your financial matters to ensure beneficiaries and trusted persons are up-to-date, that they align to your plans and goals, and that all of your financial matters are accounted for so someone can address them if necessary Again, this is a bare minimum list. Yes, it may cost some funds to engage with an attorney, financial planner, tax preparer, etc. Those costs pale in comparison with what it might cost in probate and court fees if you are incapacitated or deceased without planning. Note that this is not only for people who die. If you are incapacitated and need a guardian appointed, that also goes to probate court, costing time and legal fees. Make Sure People Know What’s Expected True story: In one situation, a person was incapacitated and their financial and legal papers were in a safe in their home, anchored to the floor—a safe that no one could access. A neighbor went to the house, demolished the flooring to get the safe and bring it to the hospital for the person. LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely to live alone, yet we experience emergencies at the same frequency as anyone else. For many of us, that creates more questions and needs to ensure that our wishes for medical care are respected. For LGBTQ+ people with children, it may also be critically important to travel with adoption or guardianship papers, as well as medical records, etc. This is especially true for anyone who has a child or guardianship for a person with special needs. Luckily, there are options for our most important papers: •In North Carolina, the Secretary of State maintains a registry for health care directives •Many phones include medical information. While this provides emergency notification to Emergency Contacts, it does not include access to medical directives. For iPhone or iOS users, in its next release, Apple will make available a Legacy Contact. Users can name a contact (or several) to have access to their data and iCloud should anything happen to them. A word of caution: this feature is See the continuation on page 19


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One Third of NC’s Population Covered by NDOs- Many Gaps Still Left Political Voices by Kendra R. Johnson

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year ago, North Carolina saw a window of opportunity open. One prong of House Bill 142, the weakened successor to the infamous House Bill 2, expired once again, allowing local governments to pass ordinances to protect marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ community. With its sunset, cities, towns and counties could once again protect queer and trans people from discrimination in the workplace, in public goods and services and, where applicable, housing. The remnants of HB142, however, still ban cities and counties from regulating multistall restrooms and changing facilities, preventing more fully inclusive policies for trans and nonbinary folks. Advocates and some elected officials jumped at the opportunity to advance LGBTQ equality all around the state. And since the beginning of 2021, a whopping 16 cities and counties have passed nondiscrimination ordinances. This progress means that on Jan.1, 2021, North Carolina began a new year with zero local nondiscrimination protections for queer and

trans folks, and will end it with a third of the population covered. Hillsborough was the first out of the gate on Jan. 11, 2021, and others quickly followed suit. Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham and Orange County came within days, and since then momentum has only been growing. All of NC’s five largest cities have passed such ordinances. And the vast majority added protections for natural hair, a first in the state, veteran status and pregnancy, among others. The path hasn’t been without challenges. Four trans women were murdered in this state this year. Charlotte has been named the second most dangerous city for trans women of color. And even with that landscape, we frequently faced a chronic lack of political courage by some elected leaders afraid to challenge the status quo and others who just didn’t know why protections were needed. Some cities passed resolutions which do nothing to battle the discrimination experienced by members of the LGBTQ community. Still others chose to advance protections only

in public accomodations, leaving many marginalized folks without access to the very jobs that would make it possible to enjoy public services and goods. There are still many gaps in the protections on the federal level for LGBTQ people. We only gained marriage equality in 2015 and federal nondiscrimination protections in employment in 2020, with the Supreme Court’s Bostock vs. Clayton County ruling. But, Bostock doesn’t apply to businesses with fewer than 15 people, and the vast majority of employers are small businesses. Neither of those rulings prevent discriminatory evictions, violence or bias in lending. The lack of protections for LGBTQ people makes us so much more vulnerable--and particularly at the intersections of power and privilege. BIPOC, disabled, and poor LGBTQ people are more likely to be pushed out of the systems that should serve us. And these ordinances are the first step to closing these gaps and making life better for all LGBTQ people, especially those existing at these intersections.

These advances couldn’t have happened without the immense effort of advocates, regular everyday people and organizations all around the state who rolled up their sleeves. We’re incredibly thankful to be doing this work with the people we serve, who came together and made this moment possible. We owe you all a tremendous debt of gratitude. These ordinances were hard fought battles. Many of these were the culmination of literal decades of work-and they wouldn’t have happened without champions like you, who made this possible. For all the letters, backdoor conversations, cajoling, hand holding, speaking up at public comment and social media posts--we thank you! Wins like these make it clear what we can do when we are united and work to get pro-equality candidates in office. It changes all our lives. We look forward to a new year of passing more ordinances, getting the representation we need and, of course, working alongside the people we serve to make that happen! : :

A Warm Welcome for Winter

Move to Aldersgate and winter in style with amenities, activities and new acquaintances SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 | 4-8PM

Festival of Lights Celebration

Join us for Aldersgate’s annual Festival of Lights driving tour and see our gorgeous campus lit up with thousands of twinkling lights. Wave to residents, hear caroling and pick up refreshments. READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Take possession of a clevervalue apartment by December 31, 2021, and receive 10% off your entrance fee. Call for details. To RSVP, learn more about events or schedule a tour, call (704) 318-2018 or visit AldersgateLiving.org. 3800 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215

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news N.C. Native to Take Over Office of LGBTQ Resources at Yale University

Former North Carolina resident and native Samuel Byrd will transition into the role of director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources at Yale University during the month of December. Maria Trumpler, founding director of the office, will retire Dec. 1, although she will work closely with Yale newcomer Byrd throughout the month. Trumpler has led the office since it opened in 2005 and will formally leave on Jan. 1, 2022, after helping facilitate the transition. Also a professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Trumpler plans to continue teaching for another year before retiring fully from Yale. Byrd previously worked in LGBTQ campus life at North Carolina State University, the University of California, Berkeley and California Polytechnic State University. While working towards tenure, building awareness of intersectionality and forming partnerships with other campus organizations is at the top of Byrd’s priority list. “At the forefront of my mind is developing ways to continue to support mental health and wellbeing by promoting queer joy, centering the most marginalized members of our community within our work and advocacy and serving as a strategic partner for intersectional justice by building key partnerships with other cultural centers and social justice organizations on and off campus,” Byrd said. According to Elizabeth Conklin, the University’s associate vice president for institutional equity, access and belonging, a committee of seven faculty members began the process of hiring a new director early this June. Conklin added that throughout the search process, those involved hoped to find someone who would serve as a leader in “community building, advocacy, outreach and education.” “It was particularly important for our next director to have in-depth knowledge of and commitment to supporting and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community,” Conklin wrote in an email. “They also needed to demonstrate experience and ability to collaborate effec-

Mecklenburg County Finally Passes NDO

Mecklenburg County commissioners, finally, officially passed a non-discrimination ordinance Nov. 16 which includes protections for LGBTQ people in employment and housing. The ordinance also provides protections for people who wear natural hairstyles. For many in the general public the ordinance seemed like a done deal this past Oct. 5, when headlines declared ‘Mecklenburg County Commission Passes NDO.’ That was not the case. Mecklenberg County Commissioners had actually (but unanimously) voted to support a non-discrimination ordinance on that date. In a move that many found uncomfortably reminiscent of slow moving 20th Century Charlotte-Mecklenburg politics, authorities then gave County attorney Tyrone Wade 100 days from Oct. 5 to get an appropriate draft to Commissioners for a final vote. “[The] NDO provisions that were approved are to be incorporated in the fair housing ordinance,” Wade explained, “[That] requires the document be re-written and reformatted to include the approved provisions.” After more than a month had passed, concerns about the possibility of conservative stalling came to the fore. Said Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham: “I’m confused. I am perplexed as [to] why it’s taking so long.”

Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber Announces Awards

The Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce announced November 10 the winners of its 2020-2021 Business and Community Awards, a program that recognizes the contributions made by businesses and individuals in building a stronger LGBTQ and allied business and professional community. The Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce announced November 10 the winners of its 2020-2021 Business and Community Awards, a program that recognizes the contributions made by businesses and individuals in building a stronger LGBTQ and allied business and professional community. Last year the annual event was cancelled because of the global pandemic, so the chamber will honor both 2020 and 2021 recipients at this year’s presentation “We are excited to recognize [the] award recipients,” says Chamber Vice Chair Tiffany Keaton. ”Each have clearly demonstrated their unrelenting commitment to marketplace and workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Award Recipients for 2020-2021 • Corporate Partner of the Year: TIAA | Novant Health • Excellence in Supplier Diversity: Sonoco | PGA • LGBT+ Business of the Year: Miles Enterprise Solutions | Simmons, Small & Associates • Allied Business of the Year: Precision Chiropractic | Papi’s Puerto Rican Cuisine • Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year: Zaddy Solutions | Evolution Aura

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tively with a broad and diverse range of campus stakeholders.” Conklin described Byrd as an “experienced, thoughtful, highly engaged leader,” and confirmed the North Carolina native is well-equipped to begin leading the office. Byrd has worked for the past 12 years as a gender and sexuality educator, consultant, national-board certified counselor and, during that same time, served as an interfaith chaplain, public school teacher, activist and college lecturer and counselor. “I became involved in this field by learning to navigate rural Appalachian communities with few resources, always feeling like a person who lives in the marginal spaces of identities that always did not fit together neatly,” Byrd said. “In college, I found myself drawn to people in underrepresented communities and to liberation work, discovering my calling for this field and numerous queer and trans mentors who have guided me on this journey. So now, whether in the halls of Vatican City, Moral Marches on state capitals, lobbying congress or in the classroom, I advocate for social transformation and an ethic of radical love.” In the long-term, Byrd hopes to increase queer leadership and visibility on campus, conduct a benchmark assessment to align the office with other peer institutions and connect the office to a broader network of LGBTQ resources through the Consortium of Higher Education LGBTQ Resource Professionals and Centerlink: The Community of LGBTQ Centers. Another significant point for Byrd: the importance of campus spaces dedicated to LGBTQ life. “Queer spaces developed out of a need for safer meeting places for LGBTQ folks to be able to come together, organize and socialize without fear of abuse, ridicule or violence,” Byrd explained. “It is a place to learn about queer history and underrepresented identities, which are often not taught in our communities of origin and a place to resist together those messages from dominant culture that aim to erase, silence or push to the margins the lives and contributions of our people.” This article previously appeared in the Yale Daily News. It has been edited for space limitations and regional clarity. It appears in qnotes with the permission of author Lucy Hodgman. To read the story in its entirety, go here. info: bit.ly/30JrinL — Lucy Hodgman

Concern from local LGBTQ individuals in the Charlotte-Mecklenbug community, along with Cotham, likely prompted Wade to pick up the pace. Following a seemingly defensive statement he released just under two weeks ago proclaiming that “not even 30 days” had passed, he also announced it would be placed on the agenda for a full vote when the rewrite of the pre-existing ordinance was complete and he was given the go-ahead from County officials. While County Commissioners and the attorney did not wait out the full 100 days, they did take 42 days to officially pass the ordinance, with a unanimous vote across party affiliations. With the ordinance now in place, LGBTQ individuals in most of Mecklenburg County can rest safe against discrimination in their employment and housing. “This is the beginning,” Cotham offered, “We have to continue to do this because, I swear, tomorrow there will be someone who is terribly discriminated against, so we have to continue to fight for the dignity of our neighbors.” But what exactly does most of Mecklenburg County mean? Despite all the hard work, the ordinance doesn’t apply to all of Mecklenburg County – only the areas that are unincorporated. That means smaller Mecklenburg County towns – if they don’t already have NDOs in place – like Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews and Mint Hill, will have to pass their own nondiscrimination ordinances to protect LGBTQ individuals in employment and housing, and those with natural hairstyles. info: bit.ly/3nFmYi9 — David Aaron Moore • • • • • • • •

LGBT+ Professional of the Year: Vinnie Morris | Eric Norman Non-Profit of the Year: Hearts Beat as One Foundation | Dudley’s Place Engagement Award (BRG/ERG/DEI): T-Mobile Teresa L. Davis Legacy Award: Tina White | Debbie Warren Donaldson J. King Impact Award: Quin Williams | Jason Boone Advancing Equity Award: Charlotte City Council | Mecklenburg Board of Commissioners Excellence in Intersectional Education: Gantt Center Special Honors: Charlotte Business Resources | Foundation for the Carolinas

“The past two years have been unprecedented for small businesses, corporations, and non-profits,” says Chamber President and CEO Chad Turner. “The resiliency for our members and partners has been amazing and we want to recognize that and celebrate with them as we continue to move into 2022. These award recipients embody the strength of our business and professional community, and each recipient has a role to play as we thrive together.” The awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Luncheon & Holiday Soiree, hosted by the Gantt Center, on Tuesday, December 14. The public is invited to attend. In addition to the awards ceremony, the Chamber will also announce the newly elected board members and officers and lay out their initiatives for the coming year. For more details and ticket purchased info, go here. info: bit.ly/3kXokmE

— Jessica Millicevic


news

Another Trans Woman Murdered Marquiisha Lawrence Lived in Greenville, S.C.

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arquiisha Lawrence, a 28-yearold Black transgender woman, was found by family members fatally shot in her home on Loop Street in Greenville, S. C., on Nov. 4. Her death marks the 46th violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2021. Crime reports and obituaries often list individuals who identify as trans as their gender assigned at birth, so the numbers are likely much higher. According to her Facebook page, she listed her current profession as “exotic dancer.” She had previously resided in Spartanburg, where she posted that she studied at a local beauty college to become a stylist. Other posts on her profile indicated she worked as a cook at the Copper River Grill in the nearby town of Greer and had lived in Baton Rouge, La. at some point. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has now officially recorded more violent deaths of transgender and gender nonconforming people in 2021 than any year prior. Previously, the highest number of fatal deaths of trans or gender nonconforming individuals reported over a 12-month period was last year in 2020, when 44 deaths were officially reported. “Marquiisha, like so many who have gone before her, fell victim to a senseless

by David Aaron Moore murder,” said Eboni life as Marquiisha. A fuSinclaire, Lawrence’s neral service was held friend, who also for Lawrence by her identified as her trans family in Greer, S. C. on mother. “Quii was a Sunday, Nov. 14, with young trans woman, at interment following at the beginning of this Brown Eternal Gardens game called life, as we in Greer. know it in the trans “With 45 recommunity. She was corded deaths, we’ve a very humbled free– reached yet another thinker who was loved tragic milestone this by many. She will foryear. Marquiisha ever be remembered was clearly loved by Marquiisha Lawrence, found by her infectious smile so many,” said Tori dead in her home by family and her heart of gold. Cooper, HRC Director members, was just 28. Her favorite thing to do of Community was to cook because Engagement for the she felt it filled the belly and fed the heart. Transgender Justice Initiative. One of our last conversations she said to “She deserved to live, but her life was me, ‘I’ve not always been the best I could stolen from us far too soon. We must combe, but thank you for caring enough to still mit to honoring trans lives and ending the be here for me.’” horrific epidemic of violence that plagues From all indications, Lawrence was our community. Marquiisha deserved largely accepted and supported by her nothing less than our full commitment to immediate family. A post on her older building a better future for trans people.” brother Jeffery Martin’s Facebook page Although additional specific details are confirmed the two were close: “I love scant, the Coroner’s Office of Greenville you to the moon and back,” he wrote on County has confirmed Lawrence was Facebook, with a picture of the two of found dead in her home after an “altercathem together, his arm around her clearly tion with one or more individuals” and that after she had made the decision to live her she died as a result of multiple gunshot

wounds. The case has been labeled as a homicide and the investigation is continuing. Lawrence’s death follows recent reports of the slaughter of three other trans people. Jenny De Leon, 25, was found dead outside of a home in Tampa, Fla. on November 2. De Leon’s sister said she was “a wonderful person with a beautiful soul who touched the lives of those around her.” De Leon attended PFLAG Tampa meetings and sought their help when she began transitioning. Rikkey Outumuro, a 39-year-old Latina transgender woman, was shot to death in Centralia, Wash., on Oct. 30. Her boyfriend, Cristopher Allen Gaudreau, has been charged with murder and is being held without bail. The body of Jessi Hart, a 42-yearold trans woman, was found dead near Portland, Ore on Oct. 27. Investigators reported she had been dead for two weeks at the time her body was recovered. She is survived by a 13-year-old son, Caleb. The two had reportedly been living in a nearby motel. As we go to press with this print issue, we learned of yet another trans woman murdered. Read the tragic story of Danyale Johnson, 35, of Memphis Tennessee in “When Does the Slaughter Stop?” on QNotesCarolinas.com.

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Black and LGBTQ at an HBCU

Safe Havens in Higher Education Can Forge a Path for Success by Tonya Jameson

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xodus Moon will never forget the time he walked into a career fair at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU). He wore a fresh polo shirt and khakis. Moon thought he looked good, and he probably did, but he didn’t look professional. A college advisor pulled him into a room called “the closet.” Moon walked out of that room wearing a tie and blazer dressed for the career fair. Moon, now 26, says his attire could have been the difference between getting a job or being overlooked. He’s a graduate student at UNC-Greensboro (UNCG) these days, but he says his experience at JCSU taught him so much more than what’s represented by his bachelor’s degree. As someone who doesn’t categorize his sexual identity, Moon says attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) was critical in preparing him for the next phase of his life outside his hometown of Atlanta. While Moon says JCSU wasn’t unwelcoming to LGBTQ students, he feels it also didn’t openly make a space for them, either. As a Black man, he knows he could face a similar experience in the workforce and the larger community. At UNCG, there are signs and public displays of support for the school’s LGBTQ students. JCSU wasn’t like that. “Historically, there has been some uncertainty within the two communities,” Moon said. “When you have that intersection of being a person of color [and LGBTQ], it’s just different.” Safe Havens for Black Students Such an intersection is even more complicated at an HBCU. These schools have been safe havens for Black people in search of a higher education since the late 1800s. Yet, as a collective they aren’t the most welcoming campuses for LGBTQ students. That’s unfortunate considering that HBCUs are pivotal to helping hundreds of thousands of Black individuals accelerate economic mobility every year. HBCUs represent just three percent of all higher-education institutions in the United States, with more than 100 institutions nationally. The average annual attendance at HBCUs is about 300,000 students nationally. While HBCUs make up a tiny percentage of colleges in the United States, about 10% of all Black students attending colleges in this country go to HBCUs, according to a 2019 United Negro College Fund report. 17% of all bachelor’s degrees and 24% of all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related bachelor’s degrees earned by Black students nationally were conferred by HBCUs, according to the 2019 report. It is impossible to talk about improving Black economic mobility without acknowledging the importance of HBCUs. These schools also supply more Black applicants to medical schools than non-HBCU institutions, have graduated 40% of all Black engineers; 40% of all Black Congress members; 50% of all Black lawyers; and 80% of all Black judges, according to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

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Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina HBCUs are the little engines that power economic mobility for so many Black families. That is why the inclusion of JCSU in Mayor Vi Lyle’s Racial Equity Initiative (MREI) announcement Nov. 1, was monumental for the college and the entire Charlotte community. At that announcement corporations such as Atrium Health and Bank of America pledge about $80 million to invest in the college. Atrium will help design a pre-med curriculum for the school, said Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods during the press conference. Atrium is slated to open a medical school here in 2022. In applauding the MREI announcement, Rep. Alma Adams, who sponsored the federal IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, said in a

press release, “For over 150 years, Johnson C. Smith University has been an engine of equity for the Charlotte region.” Adams, D-NC, has been a champion for HBCUs. She is founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU caucus and fought to pass the act which invests in HBCUs’ infrastructure. Adams said in a separate statement to qnotes that HBCUs are a critical source of diversity in the workforce. These institutions also provide emotional support for students, especially LGBTQ students. Frank Dorsey, former JCSU associate director for student engagement, said many are first generation college students.

They attend school facing the challenge of navigating the rigors of college, which can be much harder than their grade school experience. Those who are openly gay or come out in college face family exile. This could mean difficulty applying for financial aid if their parents still claim them on their taxes. Dorsey, now associate dean of students at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said his mother used to drive nine hours from Arkansas to JCSU every Thanksgiving to cook dinner for students who couldn’t go home for the holiday because their families didn’t accept them. “Our duty is to serve as parents in the absence of parents,” he said. “We have to love on them. It’s important for us to wrap our arms around you inside the classroom and outside the classroom.” Making Progress Dorsey said HBCUs in North Carolina have been leading the way in making welcoming places for LGBTQ students. While Moon and Dorsey attest to JCSU as being a college that was accepting, other HBCUs aren’t. A June 2018 article in The Nation detailed homophobia and transphobia incidents at HBCUs and the necessity of making the schools more supportive. Jerry St. Louis, 35, knows first-hand. He attended Florida A&M in the 2000s and remembers being called a f---- while walking on campus. When he reported it to school administrators, he was ignored, St. Louis said. A few years after St. Louis graduated, a student died after being beaten during a fraternity hazing incident. The student’s lawyer told The Nation that his sexual identity played a role in his death. St. Louis said he didn’t feel safe on campus and found his community among other gay students at other universities. “We were ostracized from the main campus,” he said. “If you came out as gay you forfeited the right to be in a fraternity. We created our own world so that made it a little easier to come out. That made it a safe space.” St. Louis, who lives in Washington, D.C., works as a consultant with Charlotte-based Campus Pride to help make HBCUs become more welcoming to LGBTQ students. According to The Nation article, only three HBCUs have LGBTQ student centers. And two of them are in North Carolina – The Safe Zone Office at Fayetteville State University, and LGBTA Resource Center at North Carolina Central University. St. Louis said schools need to show LGBTQ students they are welcome and safe. There has been an increased national effort to make HBCUs more welcoming to LGBTQ students. Along with Campus Pride’s efforts, the National Black Justice Coalition, a national LGBT civil-rights organization, has conducted cultural competency training with HBCU administrators on policies and practices to promote equity and inclusivity on campuses. The


Jerry St. Louis works as a consultant with Charlotte-based Campus Pride to help make HBCUs become more welcoming to LGBTQ students. Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s HBCU Program trains LGBTQ students to be leaders on campus. “Traditionally HBCUs do well at nurturing the black identity,” Brent Lewis, Safe Zone Office and Resource Center director, told The Nation. “Where we don’t always do a great job as HBCUs is also nurturing and supporting and showing compassion and understanding the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, however you identify – that part of your identity.” “For students, that becomes difficult. As we think through intersectionality, our identities don’t move separately. Those identities impact each other,” he continued. That intersection is top of mind for Mikiko Thelwell, 28. She’s a med student at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science at UCLA. It’s the only HBCU medical school on the west coast. Thelwell grew up in Atlanta surrounded by Black people in high school, but she didn’t explore her sexual identity. In undergrad at Columbia University’s Barnard College she explored her sexual identity, but she wasn’t around any Black students there. Now she’s at Drew, which is part of UCLA, and has a better balance of Black and LGBTQ culture, but she is still creating her own community.

Formerly with JCSU in Charlotte, Frank D. Dorsey II is Associate Dean of Students at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. (Photo credit: Jonathan Keith)

Thelwell is a Point Foundation scholarship recipient. The 20-year-old organization is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students. Since its founding, about 40% of their full-time students are students of color, said deputy executive director Ted Farley. Along with scholarships, Point offers mentorship, leadership development, and community service training. The scholarship recipients are under tremendous pressure to perform well for themselves, as well as to prove their greatness to family members who have abandoned them, said Jennifer Gutierrez, Point Foundation program manager. For some students, their sexual identity takes a backseat to navigating the rigors of college, from term papers to living independently. Student needs vary widely. Some need the support of simply being with other LGBTQ people and feeling affirmed, but others need career mentors, Farley said. That’s where Thelwell is trying to find her sweet spot between her sexual

Mikiko Thelwell is a medical student at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science at UCLA, the only HBCU medical school on the west coast. orientation and her ethnicity. At Drew she says she has mentors for her career in psychiatry as a Black woman, but she looks to Point for mentors involving her sexual identity. She’s been able to work with both to help her develop a curriculum for youth experiencing trauma who are Black and identify as queer, she said. She is creating a sex education curriculum that de-genders scenarios that were stereotypical and adding nuances to scenarios that cover power dynamics and identities and orientation, she said. “I’ve had to split up this mentorship like ‘Here’s my queer mentor and here’s my Black woman mentor’,” she said. “You learn to build a big community and coalition by grabbing whoever you can, recognizing that life doesn’t work like that anyway.” Life may not work that way now, but it’s coming as the Black LGBTQ community becomes more vocal in demanding spaces on campuses. If HBCUs hope to attract and retain students, they will have to make their schools not only welcoming, but safe. Black economic mobility, especially for first generation students, is depending on them. : :

Nov.26 -Dec. 9, 2021

qnotes

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life

Merry Markets

qnotes’ 2021 Holiday Gift Guide by Chris Rudisill

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mid the worry of national supply chain issues, U.S. retail sales surged in October as people started their holiday shopping early. According to Reuters, retail sales jumped 1.7% last month, the largest gain since March, after rising 0.8% in September. Several of the top U.S. retailers hope that it’s a sign of a promising shopping season, one of the best in a while. Fueling the local economy by shopping with locally-owned small businesses and artists is just as important. More money is kept in the community helping grow these businesses and the local tax base. Nonprofits also get more money. Local businesses are more likely to donate to charities in the local community, spreading the wealth well beyond your purchase. Plus, you get something unique, often one-of-a-kind, and there’s nothing like the personal experience of buying direct – without the fear of shipping delays. As organizers at Starving Artist Market CLT recently posted on Facebook, “The work of local artists is not sitting on cargo ships.” Also, consider a gift to one of the many LGBTQ nonprofits this year on Giving Tuesday. You can find a list of nonprofit organizations serving the LGBTQ community here in the Carolinas at qnotescarolinas.com/community-resources/, and Share Charlotte hosts the annual #GivingTuesdayCLT on Nov. 30. For more information, visit sharecharlotte.org. For the 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, qnotes decided to highlight local artists and small business owners and the local community markets that support them this year. Instead of roaming around Target for that last gay nutcracker or scouring the web for that not-so-special gift that might not make it this year anyway, enjoy some open-air shopping with Fido, a local craft brew in one hand and live music in the background, while you mark those names off your gift list.

STARVING ARTIST MARKET CLT

Starving Artist Market CLT at the Metropolitan in Charlotte on December 6, 2020 / Instagram

The popular year round market brings together local, handmade artists and small businesses at pop-ups across the Charlotte area. The group has several events coming up, including three “Small Business Saturday” pop-ups this weekend. Individual events feature from 20 to 70-plus vendors, a variety of food and drink options and local music.

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Photo credit: Polymer Clay Earrings by Kiki Earrings / Facebook

Shopping at a Christmas Fair (Photo by BearFotos, Shutterstock) Locations, dates and times are all listed here. Get more details at starvingartistmarketclt.com. According to organizers, some LGBTQ options include the following local businesses. Prickly Pear Aromas is a vegan plantbased, non-toxic, cruelty-free and ecofriendly fragrance company based in Charlotte. Tess Siler started the company with her wife in May. Realizing the market was flooded with candle companies, Siler took a different approach – making soy-based lotion candles. “My lotion candles are an amazing alternative to other candles that are heavily scented with chemicals,” says Siler, mentioning the benefits of using the warm wax as lotion as it melts. They specialize in candles and body scrubs. Siler announced several new labels in November including Citrus Sunshine (citron and pomegranate), Red Oak Springs (oak and hidden springs), Café Mocha (coffee), Cashmere Woods (cashmere and oak), Warm Vanilla (vanilla), Bouqet (lilac), White Jasmine (white tea and jasmine), and Hippie (patchouli and tea tree). You can find Prickly Pair Aromas on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo credit: Prickly Pair Aromas set up in Myrtle Beach on May 22, 2021 / Facebook Kiki Earrings is owned by Kristopher Cox. The brand is based in NoDa and provides clay and gold boho jewelry to individual clients and boutiques across the United States. Originally from Asheville, Cox says he started the brand “to give women confidence and joy.” Find more at kikiearrings.com.

Bonitos Hats offers hand-painted hats for that special gift with any number of customizations. Their motto is “Why blend in, when you can stand out?” The company was launched in July by Jorge González after speaking with his cousin who was struggling economically due to the pandemic. “I remember vividly having a phone conversation with her and brainstorming on ideas to help her out,” says González. From that moment on, the two, González here in Charlotte and his cousin still in Mexico, started painting and crafting hats. Hand painted hats are very popular in Mexico where they have been crafted for generations. Bonitos Hats represent traditional folklore with big bright colors, birds, butterflies and flowers, but with a modern twist. The company has already sold 230 hats since launching, and González hopes to be a gateway for Latinx artists as they grow. You can find Bonitos Hats on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo credit: @treyklingensmith / Facebook Black Friday Popup Nov. 26, 12-5 p.m. D9 Brewing Uptown Charlotte 650 E. Stonewall St., Charlotte, N.C. Small Business Saturday at the Cow November 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Armored Cow Brewing Co. 8821 W Clay Blvd., Charlotte, N.C.


Small Business Saturday at Summit Seltzer Nov. 27, 12-6 p.m. Summit Seltzer 2215 Thrift Road, Charlotte, N.C. Small Business Saturday in Huntersville Nov. 27, 1-6 p.m. Primal Brewery 16432 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, N.C.

According to organizers, some LGBTQ options include the following local businesses. Twistd Moon Crafts was started by Taryn Pratt as a way to relieve anxiety during the start of the pandemic. Pratt- is local to Charlotte and sees her work as a way to find intersections between the LGBTQ and spiritual community with “witchy home décor and accessories.” You can find Twistd Moon Crafts on Instagram.

Metropolitan Market Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Metropolitan 1111 Metropolitan Ave., Charlotte, N.C. Over 70 local artists and small businesses.

Christmas at Summit Dec. 18, 12-5 p.m. Summit Seltzer 2215 Thrift Road, Charlotte, N.C. Christmas at D9 LKN Dec. 18, 2-6 p.m. D9 Brewing Co. 11138 Treynorth, Cornelius, N.C. Maker’s Market CLT Maker’s Market CLT is another group that focuses on local crafters, bakers and artists in pop-ups around the city. They hold events every weekend. Over the past two months, Maker’s Market CLT donated a portion of vendor fees to Transcend Charlotte, a local service and advocacy organization for transgender and gender expansive people. According to organizers, one vendor dropped out when they heard about the fundraiser. “Instead of getting mad, we just donated an additional 25%,” said Lidia Werntz, who started Maker’s Market CLT. Locations, dates and times for Maker’s Market CLT are listed here. Get more details at makersmarketclt.com.

Santa makes a stop at Maker’s Market CLT at Hattie’s Tap & Tavern on December 14, 2019 / Instagram)

Black Friday Pop Up Shop Nov. 26, 12-6 p.m. Royal Bliss Brewing 7532 Royal Bliss Court, Denver, N.C.

Holiday Maker’s Market Dec. 5, 1-6 p.m. Lake Normal Brewery 1753 Triangle Circle, Denver, N.C.

A Very Merry 26 Makers Market Dec. 11, 1-6 p.m. Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company 7285 Westwind Blvd, Concord, N.C.

Huntersville Market Days Dec. 11 and 18, 1-6 p.m. Primary Brewery 16432 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, N.C.

Dec. 4, 12-6 p.m. Blackberry Ridge Farm 14820 Beatties Ford Rd., Huntersville, N.C.

Maker’s Market CLT Nov. 26, 1-5 p.m. Blue Blaze Brewing 528 S. Turner Ave., Charlotte, N.C.

Christmas at High Branch Dec. 10, 4-9 p.m. Gibson Mill Market 305 McGill Ave. NW, Concord, N.C.

Christmas at Belmont Market Dec. 11, 1-6 p.m. Primal Brewery Belmont 52 Ervin St., Belmont, N.C.

Winter Market Local vendors, snacks, hot chocolate, cider, bonfire, pony rides, mini photo sessions with Simply Sweet Stills ($40). For more information blackberryridgefarmnc. com.

Sunday Fun Days Dec. 5 and 19, 1-5 p.m. D9 Brewing Upton 650 E. Stonewall St., Charlotte, N.C. Yule wreath by Twistd Moon Crafts / Instag

Oddball Critters as created by Anneliese Schaefer. A college student at UNC Greensboro, Schaefer started crocheting with her signature crocheted octopus. She launched her store in 2017 and makes a variety of handmade crochet sea critters, including the Pride Jellyfish. You can find Oddball Critters on Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram.

Makers Market CLT Dec. 11, 1-5 p.m. Traust Brewing Company 128 S. Main Street, Mount Holly, N.C. Maker’s Market CLT Holiday Market Dec. 12, 12-4 p.m. Middle James Brewing Company 400 N. Polk St., Pineville, N.C. Maker’s Market CLT Holiday Shop Dec. 19, 1-5 p.m. Birdsong Brewing Co. 1016 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, N.C. Other markets around the region include: OMB Weihnachstmarkt The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery & Biergarten transforms into a Germanstyle Christmas village with over 40 local vendors each weekend, traditional spiced wine or gluhwein, hot cocoa, food, fire pits and plenty of beer, including seasonal favorites. Events take place over four weekends from Nov. 26 – Dec. 19.

Dreamy Octopi by Oddball Critters / Instagram

Tony Castro has been painting for about 20 years. After suffering from a concussion while in his freshman year at Tiffin University in Ohio, Castro’s style of painting changed from realism to abstract, with additional influences of the pop art movement. Original paintings from Photoburn Acrylics, Castro’s company, are manageable for any size home, and prints are available in three sizes. He plans to introduce original stickers and magnets into his range of goods for the holidays, and accepts commissions. You can find Photoburn Acrylics on Facebook and Instagram.

Weekends through Dec. 19, 11 a.m.10 p.m. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery & Biergarten 4150 Yancy Rd, Charlotte, N.C. Cramerton Christmas Village In addition to the city’s Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 4, Cramerton Parks & Recreation is partnering with local Crowned Sparrow Craft Co. to create a market of local goods and handmade items from local artisans. The event takes place on the day of the town’s annual holiday parade and tree lighting, and promises a front row seat to the festivities along the downtown’s riverfront. Dec. 2, 3-7 p.m. Cramerton Town Center 100 Center St., Cramerton, N.C.

Homemade Christmas Gift Extravaganza Every year the Gastonia Farmers Market hosts a craft fair focusing on local artisans and crafters’ wares. Dec. 4-5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Gastonia Farmers Market 410 E. Long Ave., Gastonia, N.C. Camp North End Camp North End is hosting a Mistletoe Market on Saturdays in December leading up to Christmas. The expansive venue will transform into a winter wonderland with an outdoor market curated by VTGCLT. According to its website, guests can “fawn over a parade of dogs in sweaters, roast marshmallows by the fire, experience plenty of holiday photo moments, enjoy acoustic sets by local musicians, nom on some seasonal food and sip on a hot drink in a limited-edition enamel mug.” The event will feature 25 regional vintage and handmade vendors. For more information visit camp.nc/events/mistletoe-market/. Dec. 4, 11 and 18, 4-8 p.m. Camp North End 300 Camp Rd, Charlotte, N.C. Christmas Market Hosted by the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, this new event in “Christmas Town USA” will feature over 30 local artisans and crafters and food trucks. Dec. 11, 12-5 p.m. The Boathouse, 115 Willow Dr., McAdenville, N.C. Mount Holly & The Makers Hosted by Catalyst Mercantile, the event will feature over 20 local makers and small business, food trucks and holiday tunes. Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mount Holly Farmers Market 226 S. Main St., Mt. Holly, N.C. Riverbend Creamery Christmas Market The event will host 20+ craft vendors, food trucks and photos with Santa. Dec. 11, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Riverbend Creamery & Dairy Farm 4391 Ritchie Rd., Lincolnton, N.C. South Fork Christmas Market Hosted by The Wandering Cup, South Fork Brew Project, A Little Bit of Art and District 8 Beer Company, this event features local small businesses in nearby Belmont. For more information, southforkmarketnc.com. Dec. 11, 12-5 p.m. South Fork Village Apartments 900 South Fork Village Dr., Belmont, N.C.

Nov.26 -Dec. 9, 2021

qnotes

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life

Celebrating the Season

Exploring the Traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa from an LGBTQ Perspective BY L’MONIQUE KING QNOTES STAFF WRITER

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or the LGBTQ community, the annual end-of-the-year holiday season traditionally kicks off with costumed Halloween parties at clubs and homes. Following are the usual mix of dinners and house parties with friends and family for Thanksgiving and general seasonal merriment as we wing our way into Hanukkah (Nov. 28 - Dec. 6), Christmas (Dec. 25) and Kwanzaa (Dec. 26 - Jan. 1). Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, has been celebrated in the western world on Dec. 25 since A.D. 354, replacing the earlier date of Jan. 6. By then, the Christians had appropriated many pagan festivals and traditions of the season that were practiced in parts of the Middle East and Europe. Today Christmas is celebrated in several countries around the globe. For many, Christmas is a time of easier smiles, family gatherings, gift exchange and good food. For others, and particularly those of the Jewish faith, Hanukkah (traditionally spelled Chanukah), is an eight-day wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. Based on the Greco-

(Photo Credit: Adobe Stock) Roman model of celebrating a military triumph, Hanukkah was instituted in 164 B.C. to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees, army of Jews, against the much more pow-

(Photo Credit: Adobe Stock)

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erful army of King Antiochus IV of Syria. Today the appearance of Hanukkah can be found more readily than in decades past, with displays and mentions of the holiday found in retail outlets, offices and greeting cards. Kwanzaa, the newest of the three holidays, is just 55 years old. It’s also the only one of the three that is purely a cultural holiday. Those who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah are welcomed to celebrate it too, in addition to the other holidays. Kwanzaa was

created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a Black nationalist and professor of Pan-African studies at California State University at Long Beach. The holiday is defined by Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles. Each day of the festival is dedicated to a specific principle, marked by lighting a new candle on the kinara, a seven-branched candelabra. This non-religious holiday is meant to honor the roots of AfricanAmericans, while presenting and promoting empowering and sustaining principles to live by. What do all the holidays have in common? They are all celebrated around the same time with family, friends, food, gifts, gratitude and resilience being paramount. They all come at a time where togetherness and goodwill are championed. But what does that mean for LGBTQ community? Our experiences with the holidays are as diversified as we are. For some, these holidays hold little relevance or social value. For others, and many who are unable to escape the overwhelming presence of the days, the holidays can be a bit daunting. Unique Lee, a former Charlotte resident and out lesbian loves this time of year. Her family lives all over the country. “I’ve always gone to holiday gatherings with my partner, and my family has been welcoming and cordial to my partner(s) and myself.


“I came out to my family in November, about three weeks prior to Thanksgiving,” she continues. “That was years ago, and at that time, my mother wasn’t comfortable with my lesbianism or me bringing a partner. My father, though, was supportive from the very beginning. When I told him I was [a] lesbian he said, ‘And…?’ He went on to say [about the upcoming Thanksgiving], ‘This has always been your home, and you’re welcome to bring whoever you want [to dinner].’” For those who feel disconnected from their biological family, the holidays can be a difficult time. Disconnection can happen for a myriad of reasons and sometimes, being a part of the LGBTQ community is one of those reasons. Although major strides towards social acceptance of LGBTQ people and culture have been made in the past decade, in some instances it remains the elephant in the room for less enlightened families. Simply stated, you might be encouraged to attend a Christmas dinner, Hanukkah menorah lighting or a Kwanzaa Karamu (the ending feast and celebration) – as long as you don’t bring your LGBTQ self along. So how does the LGBTQ community celebrate the winter holidays in an inclu-

(Photo Credit: Adobe Stock) sive and affirming way? Here are a few things you might want to consider: Does your family or the people you plan to be with generally affirm you? Do you feel good when you’re in their presence? Do you feel welcome to be you? If the answers are yes, then by all means, get ready to eat, drink and be merry. If any of your answers are no, you might want to consider other options. While you’re pondering those, also consider this: Family is about much

more than genetics. Many of us already know and practice this. This ideology, this need for connection was the foundation of Ballroom culture – a drag performance-based culture where the members are often linked by associations emulating traditional family structures, i.e., House Mothers, siblings and extended family members. There are many “Houses” from the Ballroom and Kiki Ballroom Scene that are continuing the tradition of offering

holiday events and celebration to their members and friends. In the Carolinas, the House of West, the House of Blahnik and the House of Ebony are among those planning for 2021/2022 holiday celebrations. Rev. Sonja Lee, founder of the Lionel Lee Jr. Center for Wellness, is currently in the process of organizing an inclusive Kwanzaa celebration that will welcome and affirm Charlotte’s LGBTQ community of color and friends. “We are intentionally inclusive of our LGBT+ community,” Lee explains. “To be welcoming is one thing, but to be affirming is another. That’s what sets this event apart from others.” No matter what holiday you celebrate this winter, know that you have community. qnotes would like to extend cheer and community to all those who might be grappling with disconnection, anxiety, depression and/ or loneliness. We care about you and hope you’ll be able to find loving and affirming spaces that celebrate you, your resilience and this joyous season. For more information about LGBTQ and allied groups around town that are planning special events for the holidays, visit https://qnotescarolinas.com/. : :

Nov.26 -Dec. 9, 2021

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a&e

Single Sensation

an interview with actor Michael Urie by Gregg Shapiro Some of us first fell in love with Michael Urie when he played the lead character in Brian Sloan’s movie adaptation of his play WTC View, about a gay man’s search for a roommate in the wake of 9/11. Many others first laid eyes on him in the popular ABC sitcom Ugly Betty in which he played Marc, the put-upon assistant to fashion magazine creative director Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams). More recently, Urie could be seen on Broadway in the Torch Song Trilogy revival as well as alongside Udo Kier in gay filmmaker Todd Stephens’ acclaimed 2021 movie Swan Song. In December, Urie stars as Peter, the romantic lead in Netflix’s entry in the LGBTQ+ holiday movie scene, Single All the Way. Michael was gracious enough to answer a few questions about movie before its premiere. Gregg Shapiro: I’d like to begin by apologizing for asking the most obvious question first, but what was it about Peter that made you want to play him in Single All the Way? Michael Urie: As soon as I read the script, I was completely charmed and delighted by it. I’m a big fan of Christmas movies, and I actually knew the writer, Chad Hodge, a little bit. I’d seen his TV shows and we knew each other socially.

So, I was excited to read it, and then I found it so charming, really funny, and also very romantic. Every time I read it, I would get choked up and laugh out loud. But I think specifically the role of Peter was really enticing to me because his problem was not being gay. It wasn’t about coming out. It wasn’t about any kind of shame or any kind of trauma or any kind of homophobia. His problem was the same kind of problem that straight people have in Christmas movies. And I really liked that, I really appreciated that, because it’s still extremely gay and [laughs] as somebody who plays a lot of gay characters and is in a lot of gay projects, it was really meaningful to me to be in a project where the joy and the love and the comedy came not out of overcoming anything or hiding from anything, but from other normal ways. His conflicts are not unlike the conflicts of any old straight person. GS: As far as his family was concerned, their issue with him was that he was single, not that he was gay. MU: Exactly! He’s not single because he’s gay, he’s single because he’s single. He’s lousy at that dating and that is a completely normal thing for a gay person to be. I was really charmed by the fact that this was going to be the first time Netflix went out with a story like this.

GS: As winter holidays go, where does Christmas fall on your list of favorites? MU: Oh, I love Christmas! Of that season, I would much rather make a to-do for Christmas than, say, Thanksgiving or even Valentine’s Day. I mean I love Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving, but Christmas is also very romantic. I loved Christmas when I was a kid. I loved the presents, I loved not having to go to school. Then when I left home and was single, I lost interest in Christmas. It seemed like a chore to me to have to get presents and tell people what I wanted. Then I met my partner, Ryan, and he comes from a family that loves Christmas. My family does, too, but his family really loves Christmas. And he loves Christmas. So, suddenly experiencing Christmas through his eyes and the eyes of his family was so delightful. I fell in love with it again as a grown-up, and I think that’s partially because of how romantic it is. It’s so much nicer to do the Christmas stuff with someone to cuddle up with. GS: Speaking of romance, in Single All the Way you are playing a romantic leading man. What are the rewards, aside from having Philemon Chambers and Luke Macfarlane as your love interests, and challenges of such a part? MU: Playing the romantic leading man

is great because you have most of the lines [laughs], and you’re the guy with the problem. What’s also great about doing it in a movie is that when you’re prepping a movie, at least in my experience…I haven’t done that many movies that I’m in all the way through. I’ve done a few movies that I was a lead of, and I had lots of scenes. But you don’t shoot in order, and if you’re a supporting character you only come in and out. But when you’re the lead, when it’s your story, as you’re preparing it, you can really get a sense of the whole thing. So, I read the whole script. I wouldn’t just jump around to my scenes, because I was in almost every scene. So, I got a real sense of the arc and it made shooting it so much easier, actually. Because I was able to really know my lines from reading it so many times all the way through, and studying, but also because I always knew where he was. We could jump around in the schedule, and I would know where Peter was in the story because I was so familiar with the whole thing. I would know what happened before and what was happening after. It really helped, as an actor, to know where I was. GS: Single All the Way is the second 2021 movie, along with Swan Song, in which both you and Jennifer Coolidge apSee the continuation on page 19

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a&e

‘Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much’ Out in Print

BY TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Greedy: Notes from a Bisexual Who Wants Too Much Jen Winston ©2021, Atria $18.00

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hare, and share alike. Which may, in retrospect, be the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard. You’re not asking for the stars and the moon; you just want what you want, and why pass it around? As in the new book “Greedy” by Jen Winston, who’d ever think that getting what you deserved to have was wrong? Back in the “aughts,” when Jen Winston was rocking her AIM handle and pretending to be boy-crazy, she had no word for liking boys and girls – though she knew she did. Had she questioned anyone, she would have been told that it was a phase, an experiment or a matter of confusion, but she never asked. She instinctively knew that doing the “gay stuff” was hard.

As she grew up and learned the word for what she felt, the idea of being with a woman became more appealing but not quite comfortable. Yes, Winston quietly told herself she was bisexual, but bisexuality “never felt queer enough.” Besides, dating straight men was like the equivalent of “comfort food,” though it never worked and was really not much fun. Various roommates through the years indulged in her search for love, though, by crowdsourcing answers to questions posed by online dates. They also looked the other way as Winston learned that self-pleasure could be ugly, and she didn’t want to be “U-G-L-Y.” She tried threesomes, but they were loaded with potential rejection; she tried chat rooms, but they were scary. She learned that “we” is a painful word when you’re not part of it. Bisexuality comes with a lot of frustrating myths, and bisexual people, says Winston, are sometimes not included in the LGBTQ+ community. Bi people aren’t especially promiscuous – they’re not trying to steal your partner from you – and they’re not all just white or female. What they are is: well aware that dating sucks, fairy tales are hard to believe in and that there are lots of different ways to be gay...

You want it all: You want heartsand-romance, but you also want down-and-dirty. You want to be heard, but you don’t want to talk about it. You want to be enough but not so much that it’s weird. And you want it with laughs, though that’s not the main thing about this book. While its cover indicates lightheartedness and author Jen Winston seems perfectly happy to tell funny, tongue-in-cheek tales about herself, “Greedy” sports a serious vein that almost feels like a shout. Winston writes of universal experiences – rejection, falling in love, vulnerability and wanting so much to be adored – and she makes light of them in a way that clearly isn’t meant to be all that humorous. We can chuckle, yes, but she also lets us pretend that we don’t care about those hurts – even though, like Winston, we all know that we do. Be aware that there are chapters here that are very graphic and are very much not appropriate for just anyone. If Winston’s journey is your journey too, though, “Greedy” is something to share. : :

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Ophelia and Shingles

Part 2 of 2: Self Care During Physical Trauma by Tonya Jameson

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xodus Moon will never forget the time he In Part 1 of this two-part entry, I explained the significance of the death of my cat, Miss Ophelia. It discusses modalities of self care during emotional trauma. If you have not read it, I suggest you do, as it provides the context for why I was needing to treat an outbreak of shingles in October 2021. In the first case, you do not ever want to have shingles. Ever. If you had chicken pox, you have the virus in your body forever. At any point the virus — which hides inside nerves once you fight off the initial infection — can be reactivated by subsequent stressors. The enormous stress that triggered my outbreak was Miss Ophelia’s passing and all the associated memories connected to my family while dealing with my late grandmother’s estate. Whether you have had chicken pox or not, I cannot stress enough that you should get the vaccine as early in life as your doctor will allow — do not wait until you’re 50, unless you absolutely cannot get a medical professional to administer the shot. For those of you who have had cold sores, that is what shingles feels like initially. That curious buzzing you feel around your mouth just before a sore erupts? Yes, imagine that somewhere else on your

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body. Most commonly, shingles will appear on the face, leg, or torso. I experienced what felt like a tiny surge of electricity on my back that was causing muscle tremors and a quasi itching that I couldn’t quite improve with rubbing or scratching. In its earliest phase there was a patch of bumps the size of a quarter on my back. It was so localized that I thought a spider had gotten under my shirt and bitten me two dozen times all over the same spot. For the first 18 hours or so, the rash was not yet red. Because I knew I was about to euthanize Miss Ophelia — and that I wouldn’t have the emotional or physical wherewithal to take care of this strange rash after she was gone — I delayed her passing long enough to go to urgent care. In retrospect, this was a very wise choice. I was nearly catatonic after her death, and I would not have gotten treated until it was too late. As it turns out, you must start the antiviral medication within 48-72 hours of the initial breakout. I took the first dose at approximately the 36-hour mark. By then the rash had turned red, had spread around my torso, into my armpit, and onto my chest and nipple. Once the initial buzzing and twitching passes, you enter the phase that is notoriously terrible. Given the antiviral helped

(Photo Credit: Adobe stock) lessen or shorten the outbreak, I cannot even imagine how bad this could have gotten had I waited longer for treatment. It was nearly the worst pain I have ever felt so far in my life. The only instance that was worse was when I nearly lost my leg at the knee because of a MRSA infection. That felt like someone hitting me in the knee with a hammer every five seconds for two weeks. Shingles feels like someone has broken a glass bottle, heated the shards in fire, and then ground it into your skin. It is a constant burning and cutting sensation that radiates out from the rash itself. As if that isn’t horrible enough, there are moments of sudden, excruciating pain that feels like being slammed with a nail gun from the inside out. You do not want this. To compound it, I was trying to grieve for my cat and grandmother. My insides were as tormented as my outsides. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I am just glad I was able to contain it two weeks, as opposed to a month. In part 1, you can read about my emotional self care. This is what I did to sooth the physical symptoms:

• Begin an antiviral regimen immediately — do not skip doses, and finish the entire prescription. • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are orange — they contain vitamins very particular to immunity and healing. I kept oranges, carrots, orange bell peppers, and sweet potatoes on hand. • Take frequent soak baths with colloidal oatmeal. The water should be tepid, not warm at all. As close to body temperature as you can get. Make sure the pulverized oatmeal is dissolved and spread evenly throughout the water. Do this two or three times per day for 20 minutes. • Avoid scratching. • Sit still. Taking gentle walks is good, but nothing more rigorous than that. • Be quiet. • Be calm. • Drink water. • Avoid added sugar. • Sleep as much as possible. : :


a&e

Should Gay Men Be Allowed To Use “She” To Describe “He”? Tell Trinity

BY TRINITY | CONTRIBUTING WRITER Hey Trinity, Why do so many gay men use the pronouns she and he so interchangeably, for example, “I love Mike. She decorates fabulously. He also cooks well. I just love her bubble butt too.” Why, why, why? Profoundly,Lincoln, NE Hey Pronouned, Long ago when gay men were camping it up in secret underground gathering spots, they needed a secret language that concealed their closeted/subversive lives, thus, they started using ‘she’ to disguise the ‘he’ that lived in their hearts. And it has stuck ever since. This is less used in languages that use male/female genders like French and Spanish. So, Sweetie, as for sister, girlfriend and/or Mary, learn to love it. Oh, and if any of my readers have a more historical answer send it to me and I’ll send you a present. Girl kisses, Trinity Dearest Trinity, I recently entered a talent/pageant contest but quickly found out that it had its own underlying rules and games that dictated who

had a chance to win or not. Don’t you think pageants are outdated and meaningless? Yours, Pageant Proclamations, Savannah, GA Dearest P.P., Pageants have been around since the mid 1800s serving some sort of ancient sexually frustrated/male domination soiree. Today it just continues to make some feel great, while leaving the rest of us wondering, “Am I enough?” In the end one person feels really great about themselves and everyone else who didn’t win just ends up needing years of therapy. But, Honey, we all know, including yourself, that life’s full of ups and downs, yet true self-acceptance is the greatest pageant prize you could ever win. DATING DILEMMA #570 Hello Trinity, My roommate (also friend) wants to date my

ex. I’m OK with it, but is this going to cause trouble for me and my roommate? Roommate Drama, New Hope, PA Hello Roommate Drama, Will having your ex dating, running around naked and/or fighting with your roommate cause trouble for you? Ah... give me a second while I... scream, “YES, of course, absolutely!” But, Babe, if your roommate has the nerve to do it anyway, then tell your roommate to keep the dog OUTSIDE! Good luck, Trin. Dear Trinity, I want to ask the love of my life to marry me. Any special ideas? Impractical Proposals, San Francisco, CA Dear Impractical, In my life I’ve had some wonderful proposals, one day maybe one will stick long enough to pay the rent. So with that, Pumpkin, here are:

TRINITY’S IMPRACTICAL TIPS FOR ROMANTIC PROPOSALS

1. A horse and buggy ride in the park at sunset ending at a small quartet playing your favorite song. 2. A helicopter ride over the beach where in the sand you have had someone write, “Will you marry me, Shawn?” 3. On a white horse in a knight’s uniform, go to his/her workplace and present a scroll that says, “The King (or Queen) orders you to marry me.” 4. Have a TV or radio station make you a proposal ‘jingle’ and have it run as a commercial several times on his/her favorite station. 5. While sitting in a romantic place, hire a group of costumed characters to present your proposal. 6. Kidnap (kindly) him/her with pre–packed luggage and drive upstate to a quaint resort village to propose. 7. Rent a billboard located on his/her way to work that says, “Jean, marry me or else! Tracey.” 8. While tied up in their favorite S&M position, a band of fetish slaves enters the dungeon to make the proposal! Just kidding... sort of! 9. You’re supposedly going to a big party on the fiftieth floor, but when the elevator opens it’s just a waiter, wine, musicians and a table for two. 10. Lastly, try going to a very romantic cruise ship, air balloon ride and/or hiring some people to make it impractical and memorable. : : With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity hosted “Spiritually Speaking,” a weekly radio drama performed globally, and is now minister of sponsor, WIG: Wild Inspirational Gatherings, wigministries.org, Gay Spirituality for the Next Generation! Learn more at telltrinity.com. Send emails to: trinity@telltrinity.com.

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Rockin’ Robin

An Interview With Actor Robin De Jesús BY GREGG SHAPIRO | GUEST WRITER

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here are few things more thrilling than watching a young actor coming into his own. Not that Robin de Jesús hadn’t already grabbed our complete attention in his debut film performance as sensitive Michael in Todd Graff’s cult-favorite indie Camp. After that, de Jesús went on to acclaim in high-profile Broadway musicals including “Rent” and “In the Heights.” But the last few years may, in fact, be the point of de Jesús’ ascension. In 2018, he returned to Broadway as Emory in “The Boys in the Band” (for which he earned a Tony Award nomination) and recreated the role for the 2020 Netflix movie version. Now, de Jesús is playing another Michael, in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s movie version of Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick… BOOM!” also for Netflix. Co-starring with Andrew Garfield, de Jesús is nothing less than riveting. Robin was gracious enough to make time for an interview in advance of the November 2021 premiere of “tick, tick…BOOM!” Gregg Shapiro: Robin, moviegoers, including many folks in the LGBTQ+ community, had their first chance to see you act in your memorable film debut as Michael in Camp. Can you please share a couple of memories from your Camp experience? Robin de Jesús: I love talking about the Camp memory lane. [There are] a couple memories that stick out to me. The first thing that came to me when you said that was the paralyzing fear that I experienced [laughs]. We were all non-union actors. Most of us had just done stuff in high school. Some people, like Anna Kendrick, Sasha Allen, had been out there, sort of doing the thing and auditioning and being on Broadway. But I remember hearing everyone sing for the first time and realizing, “Oh, man! This is not high school where you think and know that you’re the fiercest person in the room.” For the first time, I was like, “Woah, the talent is absurd.” It was intimidating, but then it was also great to have that energy. I’ll never forget hearing Sasha Allen sing for the first time. I’ll never forget hearing Sasha Allen mark what she sings because her marking is just as good as her being full out. She’s just so musically smart that she finds alternate melodies. It was so much fun. I’ll also never forget the feeling of shooting that scene on the lake at the end. During that movie, I had always considered myself a singer who acted. That movie really affirmed that I was an actor. For me, I needed to have that for myself. It happened several times on set, but specifically with that scene, it was the first time in my professional career where I experienced preparation meeting divinity. We rehearsed that scene and everything so much, and then the schedule got off, and it wasn’t ideal. We’re young, this is most of our first movie, so we’re going with the flow, and we’re excited. There’s that vibration. We get to that scene, and we’re so prepared that this sort of

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would really have a currency for me. When I saw Michael, I instantly thought, “Yo, this is it!” This is the perfect showcase that I’ve been looking [for] and the perfect transition into me being like, “Yo, I’m a grownass man [laughs] now.” GS: You’ve reached actor maturity. RdJ: Thank you, I really do appreciate that.

surrender happened as an actor that allowed the scene to vibrate differently. I think divinity entered the room. There’s a reason why that scene, in the movie, is so grounded and so real and beautiful. I’m so proud of it. GS: Your latest movie project is the film adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick…BOOM!” Your connection to Larson precedes this by a few years when you were a cast member of Rent” on Broadway. What is it about Larson’s work that speaks to you and appeals to you as a performer? RdJ: Hands down, the humanity. It’s the humanity because Jonathan, even in “Rent,” there’s no real bad person. Yes, Benny’s annoying. But it’s society, it’s the system. It’s crack and the AIDS epidemic. It’s like going back to “are you being present? What are you focusing on? Fear? Love?” They’re all themes that are universal and that we all know. But, to me, he writes them in a way that is so vulnerable and so unabashed; it’s almost borderline cheesy. But it’s not because you can’t run away from the truth that he’s spilling. He was such an honest artist. He was a true artist and his work, to me, pulled at the heartstrings in the simplest ways, because it’s about basic wants and needs. Jonathan wasn’t only responsible for my Broadway debut, but he’s responsible for the second show, as well, because without “Rent,” Lin wouldn’t have given himself permission to write “In the Heights.” He’s always said that. Jonathan’s responsible for my Broadway shows, one and two [laughs], and now this. GS: I’m glad you mentioned him because the movie adaptation of “tick, tick…BOOM!” was directed by Lin, someone else with whom you have a connection as you played Sonny in the off-Broadway and Broadway productions of “In the Heights.” Please say something about the experience of working with Lin.

RdJ: What I love about working with Lin is the shorthand and the trust. Sometimes when you’re learning a new director, it’s like you’re learning a new dictionary. You both obviously want to do great work, but you’re learning [about] each other. With Lin, we have shorthand, it’s established. What that allows me to do is just do my work. Lin can trust me and knows that I know what I’m doing, and I’m going to handle it and do what I’ve got to do. It allows me to do the work and give the best performance possible because we discussed the scenes beforehand, we discussed what we’re going for, and I marinate on that and then I get to set, and he comes in here and there and gives me a couple of notes. His gift with me is that he lets me do my thing. GS: Your multi-layered portrayal of Michael in “tick, tick…BOOM!,” a character who brings both humor and heartbreak to the story, is one of the movie’s highlights. What was it about Michael that made you want to play him? RdJ: I didn’t know that it was going to be Michael. It is funny that it’s the same name as the character from “Camp.” GS: Yes, that’s true. RdJ: That is kind of funny. Puerto Ricans with the name Michael. That does happen, as opposed to Miguel. I know I summoned this Michael. I brought him to me. I knew after “The Boys in the Band” that there’s an accumulation of really large roles in my resume, and I love that. All the characters that I played, I feel like they have meat on the bone, they’re great, dense characters with so much to play with. But I was very intentional about the next film I made, that it be a quieter performance, something more subtle. I knew that by being showcased in a role that was subtle, and perhaps at times is the “straight man” in terms of the jokes, that that would allow me to showcase maturity. As a man who’s navigating this career, I’m always trying to showcase myself differently. I knew that

GS: Some people who work in advertising can find it to be one of those outlets where you can be more creative than, say, if you worked in a bank. RdJ: One hundred percent! The story is about three people in the arts who are dreamers. There’s Jonathan, there’s my character Michael, and there’s Susan, Jonathan’s girlfriend. Jonathan’s thing is, “I’ve got to stay in this, I’ve got to have the Broadway show.” But the other two, I think our plots and conflicts are also interesting in terms of the navigation. Our characters don’t necessarily say that they’re no longer artists. They just no longer center their creativity around their jobs. GS: They don’t need to suffer for their art anymore. RdJ: Exactly! The navigation is [that] it is different for everyone. GS: Maybe a role in a movie version of “Follies?” RdJ: Actually, Buddy in “Follies” would be really great! GS: Two of your recent film credits, “tick, tick…Boom!” and “Boys in the Band,” which you also did on Broadway, are movie versions of plays. Is there another movie version of a play in which you would like to perform? RdJ: Yeah! There’s a play I did years ago off-Broadway at the Labyrinth Theater Company. It was me and Michael Urie and Stacey Sargeant and Aaron Costa Ganis; the four of us. It was this play called “Homos, Or Everyone in America.” It’s this beautiful story of a young gay couple in grad school, two men. You see them from their first date through the breakup, through the years, being friends, again. A certain violent act happens, but it’s actually a comedy about two people who fall in love via socio-political debates. There’s a screenplay version that we’re going to start shopping around now. I really would like that to be the next film adaptation I do. GS: Are there any other projects you’d like to mention? RdJ: I’m working on “Santiago of the Seas,” the cartoon for Nickelodeon. I was supposed to do a couple of plays in the new year, but those ended up being scrapped. Now I’m on the hunt for a play, but also just doing my workshops, readings, TV shows here and there. Moviewise, there hasn’t been the right thing that stimulates me, that I feel like, “Yep, that’s what I want to do next.”: :


life

From Chicken to Brussel Sprouts In The Kitchen with Chef Adam Dietrich

BY L’MONIQUE KING QNOTES STAFF WRITER

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dam Dietrich is passionate about food. He calls North Carolina home, but he’s a native Floridian. He’s also a chef and food safety instructor. While at home in his kitchen (his favorite room of the house) in Newell he spoke to us about the joy of cooking, dangerous food myths and living his best life with his partner and three dogs (May, June and August) on their farm in the University City Neighborhood he lives in. Even at home, Adam is clothed in a pair of chef pants and kitchen Crocs with bananas on them. He said his pants are “black and white stripes; they make me look taller, and my black shirt makes me look skinnier – that’s what I’m going for, taller and skinnier.” Having met Adam Dietrich, two things are certain – he has an awesome sense of humor and he looks like he’s living his dream, at peace, doing what he loves. Adam’s passion for cooking began at a young age. “I started working in a hotel in St. Pete beach when I was 15 years old,” Dietrich recalls. “I was cooking and making salads at the Sea Porch Café in the Don Cesar Beach Resort and Spa.” He points to his family as the impetus behind his career in food and cooking. “I like to eat and my parents are both notoriously terrible cooks,” he laughs. “The only reason they had a kitchen is because it was built into the house.” Dietrich has resided in Charlotte for

17 years. It’s been almost two decades since the witty and candid culinary artist moved to Charlotte from Charleston, S. C., by way of St. Petersburg, Fla. And it’s a good thing too, because Charlotte has plenty of QT Gas stations – Dietrich’s first stop for the one food he could eat continuously and forever if there weren’t anything else. His guilty pleasure? “Egg rolls from the QT Gas station. They’re so damn good! I put on a disguise when I go in there. I’m so embarrassed about it, but I love those damn things. I had four yesterday. It is what it is. I’m living my truth.” Adam Dietrich attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, S. C. When the campus closed in 2005 and shortly after reopened in Charlotte, Adam moved to the Queen City, where he shares his life with his partner, Tim. The two have been partnered for nine years. “Tim is wonderful – so supportive of all the things I want to do [and] my ideas. I’m an idea guy and he is the sounding board and the support. He grounds me. When you’re a personality like me, you need someone to ground you and tell you when you’re just being ridiculous.” Currently, Dietrich owns his own company, Expo – where he trains restaurant professionals in food safety and sanitation. “In particular, a program called ServSafe, which is required for restaurant managers and chefs. It’s required by the NC Health Department for them to have this certification. I also teach [at] Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in their Corporate and Continuing Education Program. It’s a passion project. I created a class along with my boss at the college. It’s

Chef and food prep expert Adam Dietrich, owner of Expo, trains restaurant professionals about food safety and sanitation (Photo: Timothy Ray) Unwashed chicken aside, we wanted to know what Dietrich’s favorite holiday dish is. When it comes to what he enjoys eating, without hesitation and right in line with the season he said, “Pumpkin Pie.” When it comes to cooking though, it might surprise you to learn it’s brussel sprouts. “My in-laws have always requested my bacon braised brussel sprouts.” His secret ingredient, which apparently makes his dish so popular, is a simple but unexpected one: vanilla extract. In the spirit of the season, Dietrich shared some words of advice for culinary entrepreneurs: “Set small goals that lead to larger goals. Dream big dreams and pursue them with intensity.” That’s great advice for us all, no matter what the chosen field or profession. : :

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continuation from page 4 not for current documents or health care forms. The designated legacy contact needs to provide Apple with a copy of the original user’s death certificate in order to access files. •Health networks will ask for your health directives and other forms. Bring them with you on your next doctor visit, so they can scan and store them. •Vial of Life, a public charity, is a widely used service. Participants place a sticker near their front door and in the event a paramedic or other emergency professional enters the home, they know where to look for documents. •There are online services that provide an online “safe” where documents can be stored. As they are specifically designed for these scenarios, they provide checklists, security, etc. to ensure that everything that might be needed is stored and accessed from one place. This may be important to those who live alone, are single, and are relying on friends or chosen family to act as power of attorney or executor of our estate. Make sure your designated people know where to find your documents. Even though it may be a difficult conversation, talk with them about your wishes, should something happen. There are many good reasons to be prepared to expect the unexpected. Instead of worrying about the what ifs,

a 10-week class for adults looking to get into the food service industry but have no skills that the industry is looking for. I give students entry–level jobs skills for food service, then we find them employment and then mentor them for two years.” For qnotes readers with a devotion to culinary art, Dietrich shares his best holiday cooking tip, something his students and budding chefs in his CPCC program know well. “Reheat your leftovers to 165 degrees,” he explains. “Typically around the holidays, we eat, have a big family gathering and the food sits out. If there’s a small amount of bacteria present and food sits out [unrefrigerated], the bacteria can grow to an unsafe level. “You can get very sick from consuming just a small amount of bacteria,” cautions Dietrich. “Most folks can accept that. [But] no one wants to end the holidays in the hospital from consuming unsafe food.” That’s a fact, though everything you might think you know about food and food safety isn’t. That considered, Dietrich offers to put to rest a myth that seems to leave him vexed. The myth: You should wash your chicken. “You should not wash your chicken,” he says matter-of-factly. “What are you doing with water that heat is not going to do for you? Washing your chicken will only spread the bacteria around your kitchen. Water splashes. “However,” he laughs, “if you wanna’ wash chicken, have at it. I’m not coming in and telling anyone’s mama or grandma that they’re doing things the wrong way. But don’t walk into a professional kitchen and wash some chicken. They’ll laugh you right out of there.”

we would know how things would be handled, and who is expected to do what activity. Most importantly, it relieves the burden off of the people who would have to make decisions for us when we cannot make them ourselves. It’s a previous gift to the people we love, and to ourselves. For more information, Connie J. Vetter, Attorney at Law, PLLC, or 704-333-4000 (talk/text) www.CJVLaw.com; Angela Beamer-Ratliff is a Regional Coordinator for Advance Care Planning with Choices and Champions at Novant Health. Her services are complimentary and can be reached at 844-677-5134 or choicesandchampions@novanthealth.org. OR Frank Summers, financial planner who specializes in the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, at www.franksummers.ceterainvestors. com or 704-717-8900, ext. 115. He works with clients across the country, though his office is based in Charlotte, N.C. 5200 77 Center Dr #330, Charlotte, N.C. 28217. Cetera Investors is a marketing name of Cetera Investment Services. Securities and Insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. : :

pear. In Single All the Way you get to have considerable screen time with Jennifer. What was that experience like for you? MU: It was a lot more fun than my experience with her on Swan Song since we never crossed paths. I loved making Swan Song, and my part of the movie was shot after her part of the movie, so it was really fun to show up and hear all of the stories about how fun it was to have her in a small town in Ohio. I will say working with her is as fun as you would imagine, as surprising as you would imagine. On the one hand, everybody knows her thing, everybody sort of knows what she does. In fact, Chad Hodge, our writer, wrote the role in hopes that she would play it. In the script, when it says, “Enter Aunt Sandy,” in parentheses it says, “Think Jennifer Coolidge.” That was always the hope and the plan. And yet still, knowing that it was written for her, knowing her body of work, she still surprises me. I still don’t know how she’s going to spin a line. And when she goes off-script, you have no idea what she’s going to say, and it’s always something amazing. I knew she’d be funny; I knew she’d be cool. I knew we’d have a good time and she’d be terrific in the role, but I didn’t know how surprised I would be. Luckily, in the movie, all the characters are just as delighted by Aunt Sandy as all of us are of Jennifer Coolidge. There’s not a lot of acting going on in those scenes.

GS: You mentioned the fact that Netflix is joining the fray of gay-themed holiday movies. What do you think of this trend of streaming networks creating queer holiday movies such as Single All the Way and 2020’s Happiest Season? MU: I think it’s good and it’s important. I think romance is not isolated to heterosexual relationships and neither is Christmas. The gays love Christmas, and the gays love Christmas movies. So, throwing them some, I think, is going to be really good. Because they’re so popular, I think providing a movie like this or Happiest Season to the cross-section of people who will watch any Christmas movie is only going to broaden people’s ideas and give people a real sense of how we’re ultimately the same. The movie is not about how we’re different. It’s about the ways in which we are alike. Christmas, romance; we can meet on a lot of things, queer people and straight people. I think it’s exciting and inspiring to be part of that. GS: Finally, Michael, are there any upcoming projects you’d like to mention? MU: I’m in the movie of Jersey Boys, the musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons which played Broadway forever. We put the show up this summer and filmed it for a streaming service. Nick Jonas played Frankie Valli and he was so good. It was a lot of fun. That’s going to be out sometime; but I don’t know when.

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