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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. Pride Publishing & Typesetting, Inc., dba Qnotes P.O. Box 221841, Charlotte, NC 28222 ph 704.531.9988 fx 704.531.1361 Publisher: Jim Yarbrough Sales: x201 adsales@qnotescarolinas.com Nat’l Sales: Rivendell Media, ph 212.242.6863 Managing Editor: Jim Yarbrough, x201, editor@qnotescarolinas.com Digital & Audience Engagement Editor: Chris Rudisill chrisrudisill@qnotecarolinas.com Sr. Content Editor: David Aaron Moore, specialassignments@qnotescarolinas Copy Editor: Bailey Sides Production: Tommie Pressley, x205, production@qnotescarolinas.com

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inside this issue


Husbands Heath Knott and Adam Schooler combine forces with friends and husband/wife duo Brian and Brittani Phillips to save the 122-yearold Morrison House in Fourth Ward, home to Poplar, a go-to tapas restaurant and bar.


4 What Does Court Action on Abortion Mean for North Carolina? 5 CDC and WHO Respond to Monkeypox Cases Around the World 8 NC Preschool Teacher Uses LGBTQ Flashcards, Freaks Out Conservatives, Resigns 8 Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella Scarborough Passes at 75 8 N.C. Speaks Out Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, Governor Likely to Veto 9 Uptown Neighbors Worried About Fate of Historic Fourth Ward House


Travel Writer Joey Amato

World traveler and HIV/AIDS activist are just a few of the words that describe Joey Amato. In this article we explore the life of the busy and wellversed Qnotes travel writer.



14 Touring Broadway Company of ‘Frozen’ Comes To Charlotte and a Native Son Returns for a Visit 16 Vase Value: An Interview with Gay Writer and Actor Julio Torres


15 Health and Wellness: Treats to Be Proud Of 19 Our People: Joey Amato

views 12 Legal Eagle: Attacks On Our LGBTQ Community Will Not Cease Until We Rise and Demand Change

events charlotteobserver.com/1166/ a local news partner of The Charlotte Observer

Uptown Neighbors Worried About Fate of Historic Fourth Ward House

6 “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” Targeting LGBTQ Kids, Is Full of Wrongs, 10 They’re Full-Time Gays Opponents Say

For event listings, visit qnotescarolinas.com/eventscalendar.


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June 10 -June 23, 2022




What Does Court Action on Abortion Mean for North Carolina?

The Leaked U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade Has Created Political Waves Across the Country BY KATE MARTIN | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


ithin a matter of weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the nearly 50-year-old legal precedent upholding the legal right to an abortion. If that happens, North Carolina is one of the few southern states where abortion would remain legal after six weeks. Where does the U.S. Supreme Court stand on the issue? According to a draft opinion authored in February that was leaked to Politico, five Supreme Court justices intend to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision that has upheld the right to an abortion for nearly 50 years. In an Opinion of the Court brief written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, the court intends to overrule the precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Alito’s draft opinion says, seemingly leaving it up to each state to decide how or whether to regulate abortions. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft the following day and vowed to open an investigation into the identity of the person who leaked it to Politico. What happens if the court overrules Roe and Casey? If the high court overrules the two precedents upholding the right to an abortion, 26 states are expected to attempt to immediately ban abortion, but North Carolina is not among them, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Many of those states have so-called “trigger bans” tied to the high court overturning Roe. Eleven states have a ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy — before many people know they are pregnant. Four state constitutions specifically say abortion is not allowed. Every southern state except North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia is expected to ban abortion or significantly restrict the procedure as soon as possible, the institute says. Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee — states bordering North Carolina — all have a ban on abortions after six weeks. Tennessee also has a provision in its state constitution banning abortions, which may trigger when the official opinion is released. Some states are attempting to bar travel across state lines to obtain abortions. If so — many states ban abortion or restrict it to a functional ban — “there could be a whole host of implications, most of which have not been carefully thought out,” said Dr. Richard Shannon, chief quality officer for Duke Health. “What does this mean for the concept of individual rights?” Shannon asked. “What does this mean for the growing public health crisis of maternal morbidity and mortality? What does it mean to the child welfare state? What does it mean to foster care? There are broad implications.”



June 10-June 23, 2022

tion, one of What laws the longest will govern in the naabortions tion, said Dr. if Roe and Jonas Swartz, Casey are assistant overturned? professor of If the obstetrics Supreme and gynecolCourt’s ogy at Duke opinion Health. holds close “When to the draft we want to released earperform an Fourteen providers in eight counties across the lier this year, abortion for state of NC provide safe access to abortion. it will be up someone (CREDIT: Adobe Stock) to the states whose health to regulate is highly at risk abortion for before that their citizens, said Ann Webb, senior policy three-day window, we need the certification counsel for the American Civil Liberties of two doctors,” Swartz said. “Those sorts of Union of North Carolina. restrictions make people scared to practice “Ultimately, if Roe v. Wade is overgood medicine.” turned, it puts immense power in the Women “travel long distances and pay hands of the General Assembly, and it for their airfare, gas, lodging and other puts a lot of weight on upcoming elecaccommodations, especially if they have to tions,” Webb said. stay multiple nights,” Rivera said. It is also possible for the U.S. Congress “Not everyone has paid sick time. They to pass a nationwide ban on abortion, if the have to find and pay for child care for the political balance of power shifts, Webb said. family they already have at home.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch Girls under age 18 must also get perMcConnell intimated as much in an intermission from one parent or a judge to get view with USA Today when he said a naan abortion. tional ban “is something worthy of debate.” Who is having abortions in North How many more people will travel to Carolina and how? North Carolina to get an abortion? Most women who get an abortion So far clinics have not seen an influx of already have at least one child, according patients, said Molly Rivera, spokeswoman to statistics from the state Department of for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. Health and Human Services. Data from “That’s because the people we are see2020, the most recent information availing this week already made their appointable, shows that 2-in-3 women who get an ments a while ago,” Rivera said. “They had abortion are already a parent. More than to call to get in on the schedule.” a quarter of abortions are for women ages Dr. Beverly Gray, founder of the Duke 20-24, while less than eight percent are for Reproductive Health Equity and Advocacy women and girls ages 19 and younger. Mobilization team, said abortion bans in Nearly 80 percent of women who got an surrounding states mean more people will abortion in North Carolina were unmarried, travel to North Carolina to get care once (or and nearly 60 percent of women used a if, in fact) the court overturns Roe v. Wade. medical, or medication-assisted, abortion. “We’re already seeing an increase in It’s a series of two pills that halt the pregcases from the spillover effect,” Gray said. nancy and then cause contractions. “Bans in Texas and Oklahoma influence At the beginning of the pandemic, the where those patients can get care, so they’re Food and Drug Administration allowed pagoing to surrounding states. Those folks in tients to meet with a doctor via telehealth surrounding states are getting delays in care to get a prescription for the medica… and they come to other states. tion. North Carolina and 18 other states “We’re seeing this tidal wave effect of require patients to acquire the pill after folks seeking care. The vast majority of an in-person visit with a doctor, while in abortions happen in the first trimester. If neighboring Virginia, patients can have the you have delays in care due to access, that medication mailed to them, Rivera said. is going to shift.” How would overturning Roe affect What do North Carolina’s laws say victims of abuse? about abortion? Many state laws do not make excepState law caps abortions at 20 weeks. tions for victims of rape or incest. In It also bans abortions if the reason for the North Carolina, a minor must get parental abortion is to select the sex of the baby. permission before getting an abortion, There is no trigger ban in North Carolina. although a judge may allow a minor to get North Carolina has mandatory counan abortion if she is a victim of rape or seling and a 72-hour mandatory waiting “felonious incest.” period before a woman can get an aborIn a domestic violence situation, an

abuser may tamper with birth control, remove a condom without permission (called “stealthing”), or coerce someone to not use birth control, said Kathleen Lockwood, policy director for the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Reproductive coercion is a common form of abuse that includes trying to get a person pregnant against their will, tampering with birth control and controlling the outcome of a pregnancy, including forcing or coercing someone to carry a pregnancy to term,” Lockwood said. “Limiting abortion access will prevent many survivors from escaping their abusers and, in some cases, will result in escalated violence and death.” Where can women in North Carolina get an abortion? Any doctor can provide abortion care to their patients as long as their offices meet state requirements for abortion facilities. In addition, there are 14 providers in eight counties throughout North Carolina, all in urban areas from Buncombe County to the coast. Contrast this with Mississippi, which has one abortion clinic in the entire state that will likely close once the court releases its opinion. Which is more dangerous, pregnancy or abortion? Pregnancy can be a joyous occasion, but a woman can also face significant risks while pregnant. “Abortion is an incredibly safe procedure,” Swartz said. “It gives people the right to autonomy over their bodies. … For people who have an unwanted pregnancy, often abortion can be a much safer option.” Swartz said women are 14 times more likely to die during childbirth than during an abortion. That is partly because the United States has a high maternal mortality rate compared with other developed countries. There are about 24 deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When we take away the right to a safe and legal abortion, it means they try to access it in ways that are less safe,” Swartz said. Gray said she cares for patients every week who at times have grave medical issues related to their pregnancy. “We receive referrals, we have patients who are transferred in, and these are hard cases,” she said. “Luckily, we have skilled providers. If you walk in the doors of Duke Hospital and you have an emergency in pregnancy, we are skilled to take care of that. I do worry about the impact over time if people aren’t able to access care when it’s safest.” This story was made available by Carolina Public Press, an independent, in-depth and investigative nonprofit news service for North Carolina. : :


Monkeypox Rises Around the World as CDC and WHO Respond More then 25 Cases Identified in US; 900 Globally, Mostly in Gay Men by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer


cientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to investigate a case of monkeypox in a Massachusetts resident who had recently traveled to Canada by private transportation. Testing in Massachusetts found the orthopox virus infection May 17, and CDC labs confirmed it as monkeypox May 18. Since that time the CDC has identified 24 additional cases in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.“The U.S. has the resources we need to help us respond to monkeypox in this country right now. We’ve been preparing for this type of outbreak for decades,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing. It’s not clear how people in those clusters were exposed to monkeypox, but cases include individuals who self-identify as men who have sex with men. CDC is urging healthcare providers in the U.S. to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have traveled or exhibit specific risk factors for monkeypox. Walensky confirmed there are two FDA approved drugs available for smallpox. The U.S. has 100 million doses of ACAM2000. The second, called Jynneos, is FDA-approved specifically for use against monkeypox and some doses of it have already been distributed. The World Health Organization (WHO) says they have yet to determine whether monkeypox transmission can be linked to sexual activity. “While close physical contact is a wellknown risk factor for transmission, it is unclear at this time if monkeypox can be transmitted specifically through sexual transmission routes,” they said in a mon-

An example of monkepox rash. (Photo Credit: Twitter) keypox fact sheet. An article tweeted out by the UNAIDS deputy executive editor, Matthew Kavanaugh, pointed out the similarities between homophobic coverage of monkeypox and news coverage around the AIDS epidemic. “Monkeypox is not a gay disease and neither are any other infectious diseases,” the article states. “It is unfortunate that this still needs to be said, highlighting how little we have learned from previous outbreaks.” The CDC is also tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox that have been reported within the past two weeks in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox. Monkeypox virus can also spread between people through respiratory droplets typically in a close setting, such as the same household or a healthcare setting. Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus. “Many of these global reports of monkeypox cases are occurring within sexual networks. However, healthcare providers should be alert to any rash that has features typical of monkeypox. We’re asking the public to contact their healthcare provider if they have a new rash and are concerned about monkeypox,” said Inger Damon, MD, PhD, a pox virus expert with more than 20

years experience and Director of the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, where the agency’s poxvirus research is based. What people should do: * People who may have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly men who report sex with other men, and those who have close contact with them, should be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and contact their healthcare provider for a risk assessment. What healthcare providers should do: * If healthcare providers identify patients with a rash that looks like monkeypox, consider monkeypox, regardless of whether the patient has a travel history to central or west African countries. * Do not limit concerns to men who report having sex with other men. Those who have any sort of close personal contact with people with monkeypox could potentially also be at risk for the disease. * Some patients have had genital lesions and the rash may be hard to distinguish from syphilis, herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, chancroid, varicella zoster and other more common infections. * Isolate any patients suspected of having monkeypox in a negative pressure room, and ensure staff understand the importance of wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and that they wear it each time they are near suspected cases. * Consult the state health department or CDC’s monkeypox call center through the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 as soon as monkeypox is suspected. Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a widespread rash on the face and body. Monkeypox reemerged in Nigeria in 2017 after more than 40 years with no reported cases. Since then, there have been more than 450 reported cases in Nigeria and at least eight known exported cases internationally. : :


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‘Parents Bill of Rights,’ Targeting LGBTQ Kids, Is Full of Wrongs, Opponents Say Critics Say HB 755 Would Have the Effect of Outing LGBTQ Students Well Before They’re Ready BY JOE KILLIAN AND LYNN BONNER | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


n the night of June 1, after the state Senate voted to approve House Bill 755, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” State Rep. Cecil Brockman sounded exhausted. “I can’t believe this is what we’re talking about right now in our short session,” said Brockman, a Guilford County Democrat and vice-chair of the house standing committee on K-12 education. “It shows the complete wrong priorities when it comes to education in North Carolina.” “After we just saw 19 children killed in a mass shooting in Texas?” Brockman said. “We should be more concerned about guns in classrooms as kids are learning their ABCs than them learning about sexual orientation.” The bill now heads back to the House. If that chamber approves a Senate amendment, the measure heads to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to veto it. Republicans don’t have the votes to override the Democratic governor’s veto. However, Brockman said bills involving wedge social issues are often not expected to pass, but rather highlight divisive issues for coming elections. Brockman, a Black Democrat and one of only a handful of out LGBTQ state lawmakers, said Republicans see a rare opportunity to score with non-white voters. A Black religious conservative, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is expected to run for governor. He has made headlines condemning gay couples as inferior to straight couples, and LGBTQ people as “filth” that shouldn’t be referenced in public schools. Many of those speeches have been given in churches where that rhetoric resonates, Brockman said. “When you talk to folks in the Black community and you say, ‘Democrats want to teach about homosexuality in our schools and we’re trying to get them not to,’ that, I think, plays with a lot of folks in the Black community,” Brockman said. “I fear us falling into that trap, looking like what we’re fighting for is LGBTQ issues to be taught to kindergarteners. That’s not what this is.” The bill would ban any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Brockman and other Democrats say this doesn’t appear to be a legitimate issue and one that few oppose. But the controversy goes well beyond third grade. The bill requires schools to notify parents if any student under 18 asks to be addressed by a different gender pronoun. It would also prohibit teachers or administrators from withholding “information about his or her mental, emotional or physical health,” which would include LGBTQ students expressing frustration that they can’t come out to families who would not support them. This would have the effect of outing LGBTQ students well before they’re ready, Brockman said. Young people who don’t



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have supportyoung ive families people,” often talk to Rev. Vance their friends Haywood Jr. at school, to of St. John’s teachers or Metropolitan counselors Community they trust, Church in Brockman Raleigh, said said. They join Tuesday. school gayAustin straight alliHorne, an ance groups LGBTQ+ where they specialist can find supat Family port among Services Trans rights protester in 2021. (Photo Credit: Ehimetalor their peers. of the Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash) But HB755 Piedmont, threatens predicted to pull those safe spaces out from under spikes in child abuse and youth homelessLGBTQ youth, Brockman said. ness if the bill becomes law. Brockman only publicly came out as In his work, Horne works with LGBTQ+ bisexual in 2016 after the fight over HB2 youth who have been abused or kicked made national headlines. “I can tell you for out of their homes by their parents or me, I wasn’t personally ready to come out guardians. He often turns to teachers until I was in my 30s,” Brockman said. “I and counselors to help create supportive wasn’t quite sure if I was ready then.” environments for students. Provisions of the bill would require The bill would turn teachers and guidschools to “establish a process for parents ance counselors into mandated reporters to learn about the nature and purpose of who tell parents if students come out at clubs and activities offered at their child’s school or if faculty members overhear stuschool,” which conservative activists have dents using different pronouns, he said. already framed as a method for opposing “The kid is going to completely lose and eliminating LGBTQ groups in public trust in the institution that they work schools altogether, characterizing them as with, lose trust with the people they have “sexual grooming.” at school supporting them,” Horne said. It would also require the school to “When I meet the kid, I can’t rely on the tell parents which books students have parents. Now, often I can rely on supportchecked out from the school library, setive teachers or guidance counselors to be ting up further challenges to materials that there for the kid. But I don’t think that that depict LGBTQ characters or discuss the is going to be the case anymore, because history of LGBTQ people and activism as they are going to be forced to break their inappropriate in public schools. students’ trust.” “It’s the government saying there’s Bill supporters point out that the lansomething wrong, something dangerous guage would excuse teachers and schools about homosexuality and parents need to from reporting to parents “when a reasonbe warned,” Brockman said. “And it’s only ably prudent person would believe that disapplying that to people being LGBTQ.” closure would result in the child becoming Breaking a Trust an abused juvenile or neglected juvenile.” The Trevor Project is a nonprofit But that language, like much of the bill, focused on suicide prevention among is far too vague, said Rep. Marcia Morey LGBTQ youth. Speakers at the Senate (D-Durham). As a former judge, Morey Rules Committee meeting this week cited said she has seen much of the abuse and the group’s estimate that 1.8 million neglect children face at home happens in LGBTQ youth in the United States ages secret. Parents and children alike hide it 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year, out of shame and fear of consequences. and at least one attempts suicide every 45 Asking already overburdened, underseconds. paid teachers to determine whether a The Trevor Project’s 2022 national surfamily may abuse a child if they follow a vey of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ youth found mandate to talk to them about their child’s that fewer than one in three transgender sexuality or gender identity is too much, or nonbinary respondents found their Morey said. homes to be gender-affirming. LGBTQ The provision would also only cover youth who found their schools to be those things that are legally defined as gender-affirming reported lower rates of abuse and neglect in North Carolina, attempted suicide. Concerns about getting Morey said. Despite multiple attempts to parent or guardian permission for mental pass one, there is currently no law prehealth services was one of the top reasons venting parents from subjecting their chilcited by youth who wanted mental health dren to so-called “conversion therapy” if services but didn’t get them. they are outed by a teacher or counselor. The bill “endangers the lives of our The practice – which purports to “cure”

people of being LGBTQ – has been completely or partially banned for minors in 25 states and Washington, D.C. It has been condemned by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics as harmful. Decades of research has shown it increases the likelihood of depression, self-harm and suicide but has no impact on sexuality or gender identity. Some of the largest and most prominent such “conversion” programs have fallen apart amid abuse allegations, lawsuits, criminal charges and their leaders coming out as still LGBTQ and repenting for their involvement in them. “Unfortunately, in North Carolina, it is still perfectly legal to send children to one of these ‘conversion therapy’ camps,” Morey said. “We have tried to pass bills banning it and we can’t even get a vote. So I do think that would be one of the outcomes of this law, among other abuses, for families that don’t accept their children when they come out or they are outed.” Morey said she left her hometown because it was not a safe place to be an out lesbian. Republican lawmakers should not be trying to expand the number of places LGBTQ young people have to fear being outed and ostracized, she said. Young people come out first where they feel safest, said Craig White, supportive schools director with the Campaign for Southern Equality, and often that’s at home. If students are coming out first at school, it means that they are looking for an adult ally to figure out how to talk to their parents, he said, or they don’t feel safe going to their parents. With a mandatory disclosure law, students won’t confide in adults at school, or could be kicked out of their homes by parents. “One of the prime sources of youth homelessness is kids coming out to their parents as LGBTQ+,” he said. “We’re cutting off the little support that’s available at a time when they’re already in crisis.” A Chilling Effect Teachers, administrators and counselors say they are already reporting a chilling effect from debate over the bill, White said. Conservative activists are predicting the bill, should it become law, will give them more ammunition to force public schools to align with their religious values. White said it’s already having that effect, even before passage. He’s already hearing of principals who’ve told teachers to remove all LGBTQ content from all grades to preempt any trouble. He said he has received calls from educators in two North Carolina school districts where parents are complaining about teachers being out at school. “If a teacher mentions that they have a partner, just a general neutral partner, not even a woman saying ‘I have a wife,’ the parents are considering that promotion of

homosexuality and an attempt to convert children into being LGBTQ,” he said. “I don’t think I can overstate the level of hostility in the environment towards LGBTQ people in schools right now,” he said. “After the Virginia governor’s race, there was a realization that going after trans kids is a winning midterm election issue. There’s no doubt that a lot of these politicians have mobilized their base and raised millions of dollars off of this hate speech, off of this fear mongering. The problem is the fallout really lands on some of our most vulnerable young people.” White said that the wording of the bill is so vague that teachers are already concerned about simple assignments such as having young students draw pictures of their families, for fear that it might lead to questions about same-sex parents. “Those assignments would be off the table,” White said. The language is so vague and general, he said, parents could make a complaint about anything. That, said Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake), is the point. “There are teachers and there are administrators and school systems where any mention of LGBTQ people is going to be a problem,” Dahle said. “And there are places where parents are going to make it a problem even if it’s not a problem. But it’s not going to be consistent. And in some of the places where these students are most vulnerable, they’re going to be targeted.” Treating anything related to LGBTQ people or issues as de facto dangerous will only teach students they aren’t safe anywhere, Dahle said.

Rampant Misinformation Transgender students are particularly vulnerable, Dahle said. The bill conflates students wishing to change their gender pronouns with having a mental health problem that must be disclosed to their parents, whether or not their family is supportive. Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness. The American Psychiatric Association defines it as “a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.” More than 40 years’ of research into and treatment of transgender people experiencing dysphoria has led psychiatric and medical professionals to conclude the most effective course of treatment is support and acceptance. Gender transition – aligning one’s life socially and sometimes physically to better match their gender identity – is not something everyone experiencing dysphoria chooses, just as not all transgender people choose to medically transition. For those whom it is judged necessary, medical experts agree that it can be life-saving. But misinformation about gender dysphoria and the process of transition – including when and how young people may choose that path – is rampant, according to doctors who work with transgender youth. Dr. Deanna Adkins is a pediatric endocrinologist who helped establish Duke Child and Adolescent Gender Care at Duke University Hospital. Having treated hundreds of transgender patients at her clinic, Adkins is one of the most widely sought medical experts on the issue in the state. In an interview with Policy Watch this week, she said she is distressed at the

characterizations of transgender people and their treatment she has heard in the debate of this bill. “There are comparisons that are being made that are inappropriate and descriptions of what we do in terms of treatment that do not reflect reality,” Adkins said. In a committee meeting this week, Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) told the story of how his son had to have a doctor’s signature and parental permission form to bring over-the-counter antacids and Lactaid to school. “I understand the procedures that require that,” Hise said. “I understand that I had to be involved, my doctor had to be involved, in deciding for an antacid. Because there’s risk. If it were mixed with something, whatever else, the school doesn’t want it distributed. But compare that to a context where we would have a system in our school system whereby a teacher or a school employee, a child could be diagnosed and receive physical treatment or mental health treatment without ever notifying a parent.” Hise was vague in his description, but referred to “dealing with a severe, in this case, issue that requires mental health treatment or requires medical care.” Parents must be involved in that process, Hise said, “regardless of how you feel about all these issues.” Neither being LGBTQ or being transgender necessarily requires mental health treatment or medical care, Adkins said. But if care is needed, she said, parents would already – by law and codes of ethical conduct – have to consent to it. “We don’t do any treatment of minors without parental consent and we never

have,” Adkins said. “That type of treatment isn’t being done in public schools and it isn’t being done by medical professionals without parental consent and involvement.” Hise’s comparison of his son’s medication and LGBTQ students being able to talk openly to supportive teachers and school staff is inappropriate, Adkins said, but far too common in political discussions of LGBTQ issues today. Last month Hise was a guest at the conservative “Make Education Great Again” conference. During a panel discussion, he told the story of taking his family to Walt Disney World and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Hise said he was “done with Disney” when he saw rainbow-colored Mickey Mouse ears on offer at the parks. Now he takes his children to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood amusement park in Tennessee, he said. Parton is a high profile supporter of LGBTQ issues who has released a number of songs and television shows with messages supporting that community. She spoke out against HB2 was nominated for an Oscar for her song from the film Transamerica, a narrative about a transgender woman struggling for acceptance. Dahle said she was not surprised Hise would make such comments. “That is the mentality that is driving these ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills around the country,” Dahle said. “It’s not a coincidence it’s happening now, with elections coming, and it’s not a coincidence you’re seeing this kind of people with these kinds of views.” This story appears courtesy of our media partner NC Policy Watch. : :

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NC Preschool Teacher Uses LGBTQ Flashcards, Freaks Out Conservatives, Resigns A teacher, who has since resigned, set off a firestorm of controversy at Ballentine Elementary School in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., late last month when she used a set of LGBTQ themed flashcards to teach her students about colors. According to state representative Erin Paré, a Republican from Wake County, a parent contacted her via email alerting her to the use of the LGBTQ themed flashcards, which she apparently felt were inappropriate. Paré says she contacted the principal of the elementary school to determine if the use of the cards in the classroom did in fact occur. According to the school’s website, the principal is identified as Lutashia Dove. She confirmed the cards were being used

in a preschool classroom by a teacher who said they were utilized to display and discuss the various spectrum of colors that exist. The identity of the teacher remains unknown and she has since resigned. While the school principal says that the cards were not part of approved curriculum, it is unknown whether or not the teacher was using them to convey any message other than what the school principal referenced. The collection of cards includes an illustration of two individuals who appear to be a cisgender female and a transgender male couple. The transgender male is pregnant. It is this particular image that has captured worldwide attention, once again thrusting North Carolina into an unappealing spotlight of controversy as Republicans

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella Scarborough Passes at 75 Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella Scarborough passed away Tuesday, May 24. She was 75. Scarborough was a legendary Queen City figure for many reasons. In 1987 she was the first Black woman to be elected to the Charlotte City Council, where she served until 1997. She later became the first Black woman to run for the U.S. Senate and Charlotte Mayor. In 2014 she captured a seat on the Mecklenburg County commission. Her time on the commission included service as the chairperson from 2016 to 2018 and as an at-large commissioner until her passing. During her work with both the city and county, Scarborough, the mother of an openly gay son, remained a steadfast ally to the LGBTQ community. Her friend and peer Pat Cotham told the Charlotte Observer Scarborough often liked to recall stories her father had shared

about her childhood and premature birth. Born June 3, 1946, in Sumter, S.C., she was premature, and the nearest hospital was segregated. Regardless, her father, Cotham said, “made a big ruckus with the hospital and said he wasn’t going to let his daughter die.” As a result of her father’s insistence, the hospital allowed Scarborough’s mother to give birth, and provided the family and their newborn with the needed care. That she “ended up integrating as a newborn,” said Cotham, “set a tone for who she was and showed her father fought for what was right.” In her life that followed,

she would protest and be arrested in 1963, along with several other teens, who were attempting to draw attention to a segregated theater in Sumter. In 1972, she gave birth to her son Troy and her daughter Tori in 1979. The widow of Pete Scarborough, she was a graduate of South Carolina State University. Additionally, she was the president of the Black Women’s Caucus of Charlotte Mecklenburg and listed in Who’s Who in the World of Women of 1980. Mecklenburg County released the following statement late in the day on May 25: Mecklenburg County Mecklenburg County Commissioner Ella is celebrating the life of Scarborough’s service County Commissioner Ella touched five decades. Scarborough and paying (Photo Credit: Facebook) tribute to her many decades of public service…during her time on the Board,

Commissioner Scarborough advocated for youth literacy and for solutions to homelessness. She also chaired the Board of County Commissioners’ Economic Development Committee. In 2008, Commissioner Scarborough served as a North Carolina delegate at the Democratic National Convention. “Commissioner Scarborough was a trailblazer throughout her life, serving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community in so many capacities, and fighting for racial justice and integration from an early age,” said George Dunlap, Chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. “Her passion was limitless and her loss is immeasurable. Our prayers go out to her family, friends and the entire Mecklenburg County community that is a better place today due to her dedication.” Services for Commissioner Scarborough are being handled by Chris King Memorial Chapel in Chester, S.C. info: bit.ly/3x7GcAl — David Aaron Moore

political ploy like the bathroom bill, which hurt our people and cost us jobs, so let’s keep the “Don’t Say Gay” culture wars out of North Carolina classrooms.” Organizers and activists in progressive groups and the LGBTQ community statewide have also been quick to respond to the bill. “We oppose this bill because it is antithetical to everything we believe as people of faith.” explained Cameron Pruett from the Charlotte-based national organization The Freedom Center for Social Justice. “This bill targets specific children for being different, and makes them a target.” “This legislation puts children’s lives at risk,” says Reverend Vance Haywood, a senior pastor at St. John’s MCC in Raleigh. “To do this while the nation is still reeling from the Uvalde school shooting is unconscionable.” “Even more concerning than the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ aspect of the bill is the forced outing of trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming youth,” adds Haywood. “If a child has not felt comfortable telling their parents [about] their pronouns and preferred name,

it is most likely because they fear physical, psychological and emotional abuse at home. Forcing teachers to out the child to the parents is the equivalent of state-sponsored child abuse.” In Charlotte, the city’s Pride organizational board also offered their thoughts on the discriminatory legislation. “[We] condemn any efforts which make our schools or communities unsafe for LGBTQ young people, parents, teachers and school staff,” said Clark Simon, the president of Pride’s board of directors. “This legislation, if passed, would drastically and negatively impact the ability of young people to realize their full potential in a safe and welcoming learning environment. Legislators should focus their attention on making schools safer and fostering environments where the most vulnerable of our youth can thrive and succeed. “Legislation like this harkens back to Raleigh’s last anti-LGBTQ discrimination bill, HB2, in 2016,” Simon added. “It will backfire.” info: bit.ly/3x6iVyI — David Aaron Moore

N.C. Speaks Out Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, Governor Likely to Veto It comes as no surprise that North Carolina Republicans are adamant their new House Bill 755: Parents’ Bill of Rights has nothing to do with homophobia or being anti-gay. It’s all about being but pro-parent, they say. It’s unlikely anyone in the LGBTQ or allied communities are buying that weak denial. If the bill is passed, it will come at a steep price for children and teens that live in homophobic environments: The bill will require teachers to spill the beans to parents of students in any grade who tell teachers or counselors about anything related to their gender identity or sexual orientation. The bill reportedly won’t punish school staff for discussing gender or sexuality when such topics come up organically, but discussion in the curriculum is not permitted in grades K-3. Like bills in other states, the subject



June 10-June 23, 2022

feign predictchose to leave able outrage his at-birth and multiple reproductive media outlets organs intact, report the which allowed image “shows the couple to a pregnant have additional man,” without children and offering any raise a family. additional In an NBC This illustration of a pregnant transgender man explanation report last (left) from the Rainbow Pride Families Flash Card referencing year updating set. Thomas Beaty (right, who bears an interesting transgender Beattie’s life as resemblance to the illustration) is a transgender pregnancy. a now 48-yearman who gave birth to multiple children. (Photo Perhaps old father of Credit: Facebook) not without four and a coincidence, stockbroker, the the illustration of the pregnant transgenstory opened with the words, “Today, the der man does bear a striking resemblance concept of a transgender man giving birth to Thomas Beatie, a transgender man who is hardly novel…” captured international attention in 2008 In the more rural parts of North when he wrote an article for The Advocate Carolina, however, that apparently reabout his decision to have a child with his mains in question. wife, who was unable to carry or give birth. info: bit.ly/3NSXiJ8 Although Beatie had undergone top sur— David Aaron Moore gery and was living his life as Thomas, he

would be limited for open discussion in all grades as deemed appropriate, which is, no doubt, deliberately vague. HB755 will give parents the opportunity to have access to school textbooks and subjects under consideration for classroom discussion and teaching. If schools don’t comply with such a parental request, legal action may be an option, though it remains unclear how this could potentially stand up in a courtroom. North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper has the option of vetoing HB755 should it make it to his desk. He went on the record opposing the bill in a statement to WCNC News on May 25. “Schools are grateful for involved parents and we need even more of them working together with teachers to educate our children,” Cooper said. “However, the last thing our state needs is another Republican


Uptown Neighbors Worried About Fate of Historic Fourth Ward House Two Charlotte Couples Pool Resources and Buy It for $2M


hen two couples who live in uptown’s Fourth Ward saw a historic house in their neighborhood listed for sale, they started worrying about its fate. Not only was the house over a century old, it also is home to the popular tapas restaurant and bar Poplar. “We wanted that kind of property to be in the hands of people that value the neighborhood and won’t tear it down,” Heath Knott told The Charlotte Observer. So the couples wound up buying the site, a 122-year-old, two-story white commercial house at 224 W. 10th Street, known as the Morrison House, for $2.2 million. And, Poplar, which opened in 2016, will remain there, Knott said. “For now, it stays just like it is,” he said. Knott and husband Adam Schooler, along with Brian and Brittani Phillips, formed 701 North Poplar Street LLC. All four also are part of Friends of Fourth Ward neighborhood association, a nonprofit dedicated to community development. And together, they have combined experience in real estate, development, construction, and renovation and restoration. “We share a passion for protecting and enhancing Fourth Ward,” Knott said. In fact, Knott and Schooler have restored other Victorian homes, including another nearby home at 428 N. Poplar Street. About the Historic House Built in 1900, the over 3,300-squarefoot Queen Ann-style house was owned by descendants of Dr. Robert Hall Morrison, the founder and first president of Davidson College. In 1983, James and Rosemary Latimore purchased the property and opened Poplar Street Books, a used bookstore, according to a news release from Knott’s company, York Venture. In 1999, Lucia Zapata Griffith purchased the house for $415,000, Mecklenburg County property records show. Griffith is owner of Charlotte architectural and construction firm Metro Landmarks. In 2016, Poplar restaurant opened, owned by Griffith and executive chef Bruno Macchiavello. On May 3, the

BY CATHERINE MUCCIGROSSO | CONTRIBUTING WRITER More About the New Owners The four new owners are part of Friends of Fourth Ward neighborhood association. The two couples, who are friends, decided to join forces on the venture to purchase the Morrison House, Knott said. The Phillips founded the medical technology company MedShift. Brittani Phillips has been in real estate for 22 years. The couple also owns East Boulevard Development, which is the developer of a 300-plus luxury rental project in Dilworth at East Boulevard and Lombardy Circle. Schooler and Knott have renovated and restored several homes in the Fourth Ward, Plaza Midwood, Myers Park and Eastover neighborhoods. Knott is founder and managing partner of the 22-year-old commercial real estate firm York Ventures. Schooler is a residential general contractor, specializing in luxury home building. They plan to make enhancements to the garden where the patio is an integral part of the property. “It’s been pretty wellmaintained,” Knott said.

Located in Fourth Ward, the Morrison House is home to the busy Poplar tapas restaurant and bar. (Photo Credit: Facebook) property was listed for sale for $2 million with the Charlotte office of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. About Poplar Tapas and Bar Poplar, known for its Peruvianinspired tapas and patio with views of Charlotte’s skyline, has several options for event space on the first floor and second floor board room, as well as front and back patios, according to the restaurant’s website. Owner Griffith has two partners, according to the restaurant’s website:

executive chef Bruno Macchiavello and historic preservation advocate Yolanda Johnson. The restaurant will continue to be a part of neighborhood activities, such as garden and Christmas tours. Griffith will keep an office upstairs and will remain part of the restaurant. “Everything is the same for the restaurant,” she said. “We will continue our international events such as the popular Italian Night, Noche de Tango and Paella at the Porch,” Macchiavello is also creating new menu items, too.

Another Historic House Sold Another historic house in Fourth Ward that’s home to Alexander Michael’s Restaurant was listed for sale in February. The 2 1/2-story blue and cream red-shuttered building at 401 W. 9th St. sold for nearly $1.6 million on March 16 to 24th Street Partners, Mecklenburg County property records show. Stephen Good Hood and Srinivas Mannava are listed as managers, state records show. Knott said having missed out on the purchase of that property, the four friends didn’t want to risk the opportunity at 224 W. 10th St. with the Morrison House. “To have a commercial property like that, it really is a keystone to the neighborhood,” Knott said. This article has been edited for space limitations. It appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer. : :

June 10 -June 23, 2022




They’re Full-Time Gays

RVing Couple Make North Carolina Home After Years of Touring Gay Campgrounds by Chris Rudisill Qnotes Contributor

2. Grizzly Pines in Navasota, Texas is just a short drive from Houston and with year-round outdoor weather, it is a popular spot. It opened in 2015, replacing the Rockin R Campground, and has two tent areas with electrical service, cabins and RVs. Like many gay campgrounds, Grizzly Pines offers day passes for $15. For more information, visit grizzplypines.com.


magine living in an 8-foot by 44-foot space. Since 2019, David Matthews and Eddie Vandermark, better known online as the “Full-Time Gays” have called an RV their home as they traverse the country in search of LGBTQ campgrounds. “Big Blanche,” as they call the RV, isn’t lacking in any of the modern conveniences of a traditional home, however. It has a queen size bed, full bathroom with walk-in shower, kitchen, separate living room and washer/dryer. The two have amassed over 2,700 subscribers on YouTube, and joined the trend of online content creators, or influencers, with the added benefit of seeing beautiful places across the country. Online video blogs and influencers have soared over the past few years, especially as COVID-19 increased our time spent online. Another similar gay RV’ing couple, “Tyler and Todd” have over 188,000 subscribers. The two lived in a $7,000 RV for over a year before recently building a Geodesic Dome in the woods of Nova Scotia with the goal of living entirely debt free. For David and Eddie, they have been big travelers for as long as they can remember. David had visited his 49th state by the time he was 27 years old, and Eddie got there a few years before he turned 40. They visited Alaska, the 50th state for both, in 2020. In case you are wondering, just driving through a state doesn’t qualify – they had to stay overnight. During their first summer traveling around in an RV, they traveled to visit their families and stopped at gay campgrounds along the way. The first stop – Wildwoods Hideaway in Eutaw, Ala. is a male-only clothing optional campground located about 90 miles southwest of Birmingham. During this first trip, they purchased a go-pro camera, and, with their drone, they were ready to launch their new venture. Bill Williams and Juan Alvarado of the former StayWithFamily.com international gay campground directory, were the inspiration, and according to Matthews, seeded the idea for the video blog. That first video posted in September 2020 has currently had over 5,700 views. After the initial popularity, the two got more ambitious and planned longer trips with the goal of visiting more gay campgrounds. Their 2021 summer tour included stops at 15 additional sites, and they have now reviewed and rated gay campgrounds across the country.

David Matthews and Eddie Vandermark launched the FullTime Gays video blog in 2019, touring gay campgrounds in the U.S. in “Big Blanche,” a 44-foot fifth wheel RV. CREDIT: Matthews and Vandermark How the ratings work Matthews starts the reviews with some initial planning and navigation. “There are many campgrounds that are not designed for rigs our size or they don’t have a safe way to get to them,” he says. “Big Blanche” is a 2018 North Point fifth wheel RV. It measures 43.5-foot long and 13-foot 5.5-inches tall, with a raised real living space that allows for three full pass-through storage bays. When parked, it has five slides and is designed to sleep up to four. Another key question for Matthews is about the strength of the Verizon cell signal at a campground location, allowing the couple to stay connected for work. They both have full-time jobs. Remote work has allowed for a lot of possibilities for people looking to escape the traditional living environments and tour the country. The couple say that a few campgrounds had unreliable WiFi or limited cell service though, like Starlite Trailer Lodge in North Carolina or Timberfell Lodge and Campground in Tennessee. All of these factors play a part in planning their tours. Finally, camping for the Full-Time Gays requires a 50amp site with sewer access. “We can use 30 amp, but can only run one AC,” says Matthews. “That’d be tough in the deep south in the middle of summer.” The top five LGBTQ campgrounds, according to Matthews and Vandermark: 1. SIRenity Farms in Sullivan, Mo. is an all-male, clothing optional campground on 32 lush, wooded acres. The property features a large lake, pool, two hot tubs, shower house, cabins and sites for RVs or tent camping. Don’t have an RV? The campground also has four RVs that you can rent. Nearby attractions include the Riverside Wildlife Center, the Jesse James Wax Museum, Missouri’s Canoehenge, Cathedral Cave and Meramec State Park. For more information, visit sirenityfarmscampground.com.

David Matthews and Eddie Vandermark



June 10-June 23, 2022

“SIRenity Farms” - Aerial view of the pool deck at SIRenity Farms Campground, voted one of the top five campgrounds by the Full-Time Gays. Photo, SIRenity Farms Campground

“Grizzly Pines” – Bears enjoying the pool at Grizzly Pines in Texas. Photo, Facebook

3. Camp Mars in Venus, Fla. offers over 40 acres of some of Florida’s most beautiful forest, natural streams and grassy fields. Fondly referred to as “Sonoma South,” this area of Florida is home to three wineries and nearby Lake Placid (Florida) has local distilleries and craft breweries. The campground includes tent and RV sites in addition to a variety of rentals including cabins, larger cottages and even yurts. For more information, visit campmars.com.

“Camp Mars” – Friendships are built at many gay campgrounds through potlucks and communal grilling, like the community Thanksgiving dinner at Camp Mars in Florida. Photo, Facebook 4. The Hideaway in Collins, Ga. is located in the Magnolia Midlands, approximately 65 miles west of Savannah. It is predominantly an all-male campground but does have select weekends that are open to any gender. Grounds include a pool and spa area, café, a 4,000 square foot entertainment space with dance floor and includes RV or tent sites and cabins for rent. With six freshwater lakes, the area provides plenty of opportunities for fishing and trails wind through the tree-covered grounds. For more information, visit royshideaway.com.

plan to sell “Big Blanche” soon, along with “Big Daddy,” the Ford F350 that pulls it, in the next couple of months. Then, they hope to buy a smaller size motorhome and start traveling again, although not “full-time” any longer. There are still a couple gay campgrounds they have yet to visit, including The River’s Edge in Dewey Rose, Ga. and the popular Sawmill Camping Resort in Dade City, Fla. They also have five more videos to post from last year’s trip. While missing the social interaction of gay camping, they

Chicago for the inaugural Golden Con, a Golden Girls fan convention. Matthews launched the infamous Facebook campaign that got Betty White to host “Saturday Night Live” in 2010. They were attracted to the area of North Carolina and have hopes of building their own gay campground in the next five years. With Lexington’s proximity to Charlotte, Raleigh and the Triad, the two believe it is a great area for the endeavor. The moderate climate was also appealing. They plan to buy some additional land and possibly bring on other investors. With their ambition, it looks like the Carolinas will be home to a new gay campground soon – perhaps with a Golden Girls weekend and plenty of friends they’ve met along the way. : :

“Hideaway Campground” – Some residents live yearround at the Hideaway Campground in Collins, Georgia. Photo, Facebook 5. Vermont Freedom in Greensboro Bend, Vt. is open from the beginning of May through the end of October. Just south of the Canadian border, the campground hosts several weekend events including “Illumination Weekend” every August. Guests are encouraged to decorate their campsites and festivities include a fire and toga/kilt party. Both tent and RV sites are available. For more information, visit vermontfreedomcampground.com. Finding a Home in North Carolina Matthews and Vandermark recently parked their RV and established a permanent home in Lexington, N.C. The couple have been together for 18 years and are adjusting to not being on the road most of the year. “The RV is at the end of our 800-foot long driveway,” says Vandermark. They

“Vermont Freedom Campground” – Fall in Vermont brings RVs and guests to the Vermont Freedom Campground. Photo, Facebook were also starting to miss having some privacy. Notoriety brought with it a lot of added attention, and the two found that they were always “on” with the need for more time to just be David and Eddie, not the “Full-Time Gays.” Matthews has been focused on finishing his master’s degree which he did in April, and Vandermark’s mother moved into the house next door. After graduation, they headed to

David Matthews and Betty White – Though she had been asked before, it took David Matthews’ Facebook campaign to finally get Betty White to host ‘SNL’. Photo by Eddie Vandermark

June 10 -June 23, 2022




Attacks On Our LGBTQ Community Will Not Cease Until We Rise and Demand Change Legal Eagle

by CANDELARIO SALDANA Qnotes Contributor


ride month is once more upon us, and although we should celebrate our accomplishments and our identities louder than ever, we must also step up and fight for our rights and demand that our allies do the same—we must show up and vote at the polls, we must write and call our elected officials, to the extent we can be our true authentic selves in all walks of life—we must be out, and we must support the organizations (i.e., the National LGBTQ Task Force, Equality North Carolina, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and many others) that are fighting every single day to make sure that the rights we fought so hard for are not stripped away. This year alone, over 280 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across 36 state legislatures—in less than six months of the year—with the majority targeting trans individuals. According to an NBC News analysis conducted earlier this year in March, which looked at data from the American Civil Liberties Union and Freedom for All Americans, in 2018, we saw 41 anti-LGBTQ bills filed. At the time of the NBC News report, about 238 bills were filed in the three months of 2022; since then, we have seen dozens of other bills introduced in state legislatures. We also saw a leaked SCOTUS decision, which, if the opinion becomes the official opinion of the Supreme Court, will overturn the right to an abortion established in Roe v. Wade—and reproductive rights are queer rights. And I am not even analyzing Alito’s criticism of Lawrence v. Texas (the decision that legalized sodomy) and Obergefell v. Hodges (the decision that legalized same-sex marriage), which we should take as a warning that our rights could also be stripped away. The number of anti-LGBTQ legislation has increased every year since 2018, and this year we have already seen an unprecedented number of legislative attacks on our community making it the worst in recent history and we still have another seven full months left in the year. On March 28, 2022, Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, also known as a “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which reads, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Florida became the first state in 21 years to pass such legislation, which takes effect

July 1, 2022, and Alabama immediately followed. Currently, at least 20 states have introduced their own “Don’t Say Gay” bills. In South Carolina, H.4605 was pre-filed on Nov. 17, 2021, in the South Carolina House by three House Republicans, Lin Bennett, Mike Burns and Cal Forrest, and was introduced in the House on Jan. 11, 2022. The bill seeks to “amend the code of laws of South Carolina, to protect the dignity and rights of all individuals to be free from ideological coercion and indoctrination in places of learning, childcare, and employment that receive, or benefit from, state funds or accommodations, directly or indirectly.” H.4605 further establishes a hotline that allows citizens to report violations of the bill to the Attorney General, and entities found in violation of the bill will lose funding, tax exemption status and other state-provided accommodations or privileges until the entity can demonstrate that it complies with the law. Most harmful to LGBTQ youth is that the law strips away access to counseling regarding gender identity and sexual orientation unless there is parental consent. On June 1, 2022, on the first day of Pride Month, North Carolina’s Republicanled Senate also passed its own “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” House Bill 755, along party lines, 28-18, sending the bill to the state House of Representatives, which is also controlled by the Republican party—making it almost certain that the bill will be sent to Governor Cooper’s desk later this month. The bill states that “instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity shall not be included in the curriculum

provided in grades kindergarten through third grade”. Further, the bill requires notice to parents “[p]rior to any changes in the name or pronoun used for a student in school records or by school personnel.” The bill also attaches disciplinary action and a fine of up to $5,000 for health care practitioners or other persons that violate the section of the bill on parental consent for treatment. Although the bill is likely to be vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper, and Republicans don’t have the numbers to override his veto, this is still an attack on LGBTQ students and LGBTQ teachers and the LGBTQ+ community at large. However, we should not be surprised that this bill was introduced, in October 2021, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson stated, “I’m saying this now, and I’ve been saying it, and I don’t care who likes it: Those issues have no place in school. There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality—any of that filth.” He further stated, “And yes, I called it filth. And if you don’t like it that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you. It’s time for us to stop letting these children be abused in schools, and it’s not going to happen till the people of God stand up and demand different, same ones that established those schools to begin with.” It is clear that what these bills are seeking to do, is to eliminate LGBTQ voices and history, because they’re not genuinely aiming at removing instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity—heterosexuality (which is also a

sexual orientation) is imbedded in books about a princess following in love with a prince. Heteronormativity is okay, but any mention of LGBTQ individuals is not. Furthermore, it also was not long ago that North Carolina passed HB2, which required individuals to use public restrooms that match their gender at birth and excluded LGBT people from discrimination protections. These attacks on our LGBTQ community will not cease until we rise and demand change from our politicians and until we and our allies vote for politicians that care about LGBTQ individuals. However, in order to achieve this we must turn out and vote, and I’m not talking about the 20 percent that showed up to vote during the 2022 North Carolina statewide primary, but ALL eligible voters. These attacks on our LGBTQ youth are concerning. According to studies done by The Trevor Project, about 60 percent of queer youth live in a home that is not affirming. These laws require school personnel to basically out students to unsupportive family members, which subjects our queer students to physical harm, abuse and homelessness. Further, The Trevor Project has found that over the last two years, 51 percent of LGBTQ+ students have considered suicide in the last two academic years. These laws do not only seek to erase LGBTQ history, voices and safe spaces but they have the potential of eliminating the only help that can save a youth’s life—a supportive teacher. So this Pride month, let’s be LOUD. Let’s allow all the corporations that change their logos and plaster rainbows all over their windows to also be LOUD and visible because visibility can send a message to an individual that it is okay to be who they are and that there are people that will accept and love them for who they are. However, at the same time, let’s demand that they do more than be visible during Pride; let’s demand that they be there for their LGBTQ+ employees 365 days of the year; let’s demand that they stop donating to politicians that are voting in favor of laws that harm LGBTQ+ individuals; and let’s demand that they call on Congress to pass the Equality Act; and most importantly let’s demand that they not stay SILENT the other 335 days of the year. To do this, we too must speak up and not stay SILENT. Candelario is an associate in Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s Capital Markets Group in Charlotte and is one of their Black & Latino Association Immigration Clinic leaders. He is a member of the National LGBTQ Task Force Board of Directors and the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association Board of Directors. : :




June 10-June 23, 2022


June 10 -June 23, 2022




Touring Broadway Company of ‘Frozen’ Comes To Charlotte and a Native Son Returns for a Visit

Tyler Jimenez, Charlotte born and bred, currently touring with ‘Frozen’ will appear in Blumenthal Series presentation by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer


rom the producer of “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” comes “Frozen,” the Tony-nominated for Best Musical show, now on tour across North America and headed for Charlotte June 15-26. Heralded by The New Yorker as “thrilling” and “genuinely moving,” “Frozen” features the songs many know and love from the original Oscar-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez. Oscar winner Jennifer Lee (book), Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage (director), and Tony winner Rob Ashford (choreographer) round out the creative team that has won a cumulative 16 Tony Awards. An unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets, costumes, and powerhouse performances, “Frozen” is everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacThe cast of ‘Frozen.’ (Photo Credit: Courtesy Blumenthal Performing Arts) ular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy. The storyline in the stage production is much the same as it was in the awardknow: his name is Tyler Jimenez, he’s a came to love it.” winning movie. Set in the kingdom of 29-year-old native Charlottean and he Eventually his parents decided it was Arendelle, a young princess named Elsa appears in multiple ensemble parts, as time to help their son explore his budding prepares for her coronation as queen well as a substantial supporting role as talents by enrolling him in an environment while harboring an icy secret: she has Pabbie, the adoptive father of the characthat would allow him to blossom: the exceptional powers. ter Kristoff. Northwest School of the Performing Arts. While Elsa tries to withdraw from As a young student, Jimenez attended “I loved it there,” he recalls. “It was society, her sister, Anna, teems with one of Charlotte’s public magnet schools. such a wonderful experience to be able to excitement and romance over the thought He confirms that he came from a musiimmerse yourself in the creative arts and of exploring and experiencing the world cally inclined family and frequently spent focus on your particular interest.” around her. time with his During those years and in some that After the father singing. followed, Jimenez appeared in plays coronation His interest produced by Theater Charlotte, CPCC, ceremony goes in perforDavidson Community Theater, Children’s awry, Anna sets mance and Theater, and the UNC School of the Arts, out on a jourtheater began among others. He later went on to attend ney to reunite there and Syracuse University in New York, but not with her sister, continued in before he had the opportunity to experiaccompanied public school. ence life as a young member of the LGBTQ by ice har“I gravicommunity here in Charlotte. vester Kristoff tated towards “It definitely molded who I am today,” (who’s a bit of the kids in the he explains. “I was fortunate. I always had a fixer-upper), drama club very supportive parents, so I was involved his reindeer and theater with Time Out Youth and I attended Pride Sven, and Olaf, because there a number of times.” a hilarious and wasn’t a music Jimenez’s career, like most theater heartwarming program, and actors, would take him to New York City, snowman. the other where he continues to live today. Over Among kids in that the years, the connections he gleaned the members group were through the Northwest School of the Arts of the cast the only ones and Syracuse University led to multiple are Caroline that didn’t auditions and parts in regional theater Innerbichler bully me,” he and a role in “Joseph and the Amazing (Anna), Caroline remembers. “I Technicolor Dream Coat.” Bowman (Elsa), felt safe. And “That was a national tour, too,” he Mason Reeves people didn’t explains. “It was great. I got to work (Kristoff) , Collin care who you with Andy Blankenbuehler [choreograBaja (Sven) were or how pher for the original Broadway show of and F. Michael you acted. “Hamilton”]. He is such a wonderful man Haynie (Olaf). They just wantand so creative. Tyler Jimenez, who appears in the role of Pabbie, is There’s ed to explore “We also had the opportunity to take a Charlotte native and a graduate of the Northwest also someone creativity. So I the show out of the country. We went to School of the Performing Arts. (Photo Credit: Couryou just might stayed. And I Japan. That was certainly eye-opening. I tesy T. Jimenez)



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got to climb Mount Fuji and experiencing the cultural differences between Japanese people and Americans was quite an experience. Not in a bad way, but Americans are so loud and proud. The Japanese, who are a proud people, are quiet, polite and reserved. I respected that. It was refreshing.” Jimenez says that he auditioned for “Frozen” multiple times before he was finally cast. The show was set to open in 2019 and was slated for the Blumenthal in October 2020, however, live theatrical presentations ground to a halt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everything just came to a standstill,” Jimenez reflects. “We couldn’t go to work because there was no work.” For multiple actors in New York City and around the country who rely on their careers to maintain their livelihood, this was nothing short of disastrous. “But, again, I am very fortunate. I have a very supportive family and they allowed me to move back in during that time. I know it was challenging for them. By this time they had their own lives, and I’m an adult, but they were very accommodating and happy to help me out. So I got to come back home for a while. It might have been better under different circumstances, but spending time with my family again was nice.” He describes the experience of returning to New York City and preparing to begin a re-production of “Frozen” as exceptionally moving. “Coming back was such an emotional time,” he explains. “Being back with the cast again was like returning to my second family. We had an opportunity to perform for healthcare workers, the people who were there and were so needed and sacrificed so much. It was rewarding to be able to give something back to them after everything they had been through.” Now once again on the road with the touring company of “Frozen,” Jimenez is a happy man and excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. As they have in other cities they have performed in, the cast and crew of “Frozen” will offer a special Q&A session for the LGBTQ community in Charlotte. “It’s been great so far,” says Jimenez. “To connect to with so many young people in the community – those that identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming. Working with Disney we want them to know that we’re here for them and to help make their lives better.” When asked why he believes so many individuals in the LGBTQ community feel a connection to “Frozen,” he is quick to respond. “Oh, I just think there is so much there. Having to hide, being afraid of your inner self, the turmoil of not being able to reveal who you are. There’s a lot for our community to identify with. And the show is about love. It’s about loving others and loving and accepting yourself .” A “Frozen” Q&A for the LGBTQ community will follow the presentation June 23. : :



Treats to Be Proud Of Health & Wellness



appy Pride Month! It’s that time of year to celebrate being you — although you should be doing that all year, now is the time to do it in droves at an epic scale. It’s especially true this year, given that Pride events have been curtailed since the beginning of the pandemic. And although I don’t want to be a Mopey Myrtle, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to keep your nutrition priorities straight (even if nothing else about you is). Here are some other wellness reminders: Wear sunscreen. Drink lots of water. Keep a healthy snack in your pocket. Look both ways before you cross the street. Ignore the homophobic trolls who bring megaphones. Etc. Back to the food. The colors in fruits and vegetables are an important part of what makes them beneficial to your nutrition strategy. As with everything else at Pride, keep your food colorful, too. Get as much variety as you can. I have been telling clients for years to eat what I call a Rainbow Diet. It’s easy. Be sure to include one serving each day of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. You can combine them however you like, and the choices of fruits and veggies can change as often as you wish. Ideally you would have four or five colors as vegetables, and two or three as fruit. Mix and match to your heart’s content. Here are some colorful ideas for your Pride banquets. Fruit Smoothie (You are what you eat!) You will want to blend each of these into a purée, and then half freeze them separately: Strawberry, Orange, Pineapple, Kiwi, Blueberry, and Blackberry. Once they are relatively solid, they can be slowly poured into layers into mugs and then set to harden. Pour each layer without stirring them. The separate colors will sit in a stack, and will be a refreshing way to eat

healthy while it’s so hot. Let this thaw for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh mint. Spectrum Salad Your food should be beautiful. When you look at it, it should be pretty as a picture. One way to make salads beautiful is to treat them like a painting. Once you have your base layer, add colors throughout. Use a spring salad base, as this will include several shades of green and perhaps even some purple, depending on the mix. Include sun dried tomatoes, shredded carrot, diced yellow pepper, fresh berries, shredded purple cabbage, and whatever nuts or seeds you and your guests can tolerate. Flavor it with a handmade dressing, using a base of avocado oil. To this, add fresh minced basil, garlic, salt, black pepper and a hint of clove. Charcuterie Platter Fresh finger foods arranged tastefully on a serving tray or platter can add lots of color to what might otherwise be a nutritional desert on your table. In place of crackers, offer celery, radishes, carrots, and sliced cucumber. In place of heavily processed condiments, offer hummus. A variety of cheeses is great for those who aren’t vegetarian. In place of processed meats (especially those preserved with sodium nitrate), offer cold cuts that have been cured only in salt. Prosciutto is an excellent example, and it pairs fantastically with cantaloupe. There will likely be an overabundance of junk food at many of the events you will attend over the course of Pride. Consider ways in which you can participate in the festive atmosphere while also creating a reprieve from unhealthy snacks. These naturally colorful types of foods are not only good for you in general, they also help you recover from celebrating in the heat. This is especially true when the heat is mixed with alcohol. Having healthy snacks available will also promote hydration, and the phytonutrients in these treats will help you and your cohorts detox. : :

What Pride Means to Me by Clark Simon (he/him) Charlotte Pride President

I can still feel the excitement. The newness of it all. The sheer overwhelming positivity I felt inside. It was a joyous and enthralling day. One I’ll never forget — the day I saw with my own two eyes just how large, how diverse, how powerful my community was. If your first Pride experience was anything like mine, then at least some of those emotions ring a bell. I’ve been involved in LGBTQ community organizing since I was a teen, and I’ve been actively involved in Pride organizing since 2008. In all that time, at least once each year, I hear the story of a newly out person who got to experience what I experienced more than two decades ago. There’s nothing quite like your very first Pride. Mine was in the fall of 2004. I was a college freshman and our LGBTQ student group took a trip to Durham to march in what was then the state’s only Pride parade. I’d return to the NC Pride festival and parade for several years, even after I moved to Charlotte. It will always have a special place in my heart. The world two decades ago was a different place. Same-sex sexual activity had just been legalized by the Supreme Court. Massachusetts had just legalized samesex marriage, but the prospects of legal marriage nationwide was, in many minds, still a very long way off. A growing, but still very small, community conversation on the need to fully include and protect transgender people was just bubbling up. It would reach a fever pitch when trans folks were excluded from a draft of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act just a few years later. It’s no coincidence that I’m reminded of laws and court cases when I think back to my first Pride. Our movement for equality is inextricably bound up in what Pride has meant from the very beginning. Today’s Pride events can trace their origin to the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day March in New York City. That event — the one-year commemoration of the historic

Stonewall Riots in June 1969 — is exactly what made Stonewall so very different. Unlike other LGBTQ uprisings elsewhere in the 1950s and 1960s, Stonewall was remembered. It was celebrated. It served as the catalyst for what would eventually become a sustained, national movement for liberation. That movement — guided by young people, poor people, people of color, transgender people, and more — immediately saw a clear vision for what they wanted their future to look like. Sure, they wanted parties, fun, and celebration. Who doesn’t? That first march in 1970, after all, was immediately followed by a celebratory day in the park. But what was top of mind for our Liberation Movement’s founders was exactly that: Liberation. For me, Pride means liberation, yes. But

it’s so very much more than that. It means service to others and to your wider community. It means standing in solidarity with the most marginalized among us. It means taking time to pause, reflect on, and remember the sacrifices of all the people who came before us — people who, quite very literally, put their lives on the line to secure our freedoms. Pride is more than a single weekend event each year. Without Pride, our community would be a shell of what it is today. Pride to me? It’s us. All of us. Community. Our big, beautiful, diverse, and strong community — and all of the ways each of us, in our own unique ways, fight for liberation every day. I ask you: What does Pride mean to you? How will you make a difference? How will you contribute to our Liberation Movement? SPEAK OUT: Will you be attending your first Pride this year? Charlotte Pride wants to hear from you! Tell us why your excited about your first Pride on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #MyFirstCLTPride.

June 10 -June 23, 2022




Vase Value: An Interview with Gay Writer and Actor Julio Torres Gay Actor and Television Writer Releases New Book ‘I Want to Be a Vase’

by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer


ay writer and actor Julio Torres seems to be everywhere these days. In movies, effortlessly drawing focus as he did in Nikole Beckwith’s 2021 comedy “Together Together” (co-starring trans actor Patti Harrison). On TV, Torres’ comedy writing for “SNL” earned him an Emmy nomination, while a current project such as HBO’s “Los Espookys” continues to gain him a growing following. Now, when you walk into your favorite bookseller (independent, preferably), you will find Torres on the bookshelf with his colorful new picture book “I Want to Be a Vase” (Atheneum, 2022), featuring illustrations by Julian Glander. Gregg Shapiro: Congratulations on the publication of your first picture book I Want to Be a Vase. How long did it take to complete the project from its inception? Julio Torres: Thank you! It took about a year. What took the longest was shaping it and the marinating of the idea. Once it was clear what it was going to be, it was a fairly quick and easy process. When I say it was a year, that also includes finding and working with an illustrator, collaborating with Julian (Glander), the illustrator. GS: I’m glad you mentioned Julian. What made him the perfect choice to provide the images and illustrations for I Want to Be a Vase? JT: I was looking for the book to have a sort of uncanny feeling to it. At first, I thought, “What if it’s photographs? What if we take interesting photographs from telling angles of everyday objects?” I was



Gay and very funny: writer and actor Julio Torres delivering a comedic monologue on the set of Saturday Night Live. (Photo Credit: Screen Capture) resistant to the idea of traditional children’s illustrations because, as beautiful as so many of them are, it didn’t feel like they were right for the story. Then we found Julian who really split the difference between an illustrator and a photographer. When you look at the plunger, you should see a plunger, not so much a beautiful drawing of a plunger. Because it’s in the mundane that the humor and the story really comes alive. I like that his work looks like pictures of a dollhouse or something. Also, I wanted it to feel like the kinds of images that kids are attracted to now, which are not tender watercolors. They’re computerized images. I thought instead of

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fighting that, embracing it. GS: How did you know that a book was the right shape for I Want to Be a Vase instead of a video representation, an area in which you’ve worked before? JT: I wanted the book itself to be a beautiful object. I grew up as a kid who loved coffee-table books. Taking in the images on every page and enjoying them. I was excited to create an artifact that was like that. That felt almost like a kid was opening a coffee-table book, and that they were taking away something, rather than being talked down to. GS: The main character in I Want to Be a Vase is Plunger. It’s Plunger whose

want is expressed in the title of the book. Is there particular significance to the character being a plunger as opposed to say, a measuring tape or an ice cube tray? JT: I think that a plunger felt right because no one is happy using a plunger. When someone is using a plunger, they wish that they weren’t [laughs]. Thinking about objects and their purpose or their jobs, that is one that would be like “I really don’t want to do this.” GS: Plunger’s most vocal opponent is a vacuum cleaner who spends most of the book trying to put the kibosh on Plunger’s wish to change. Why did you choose a vacuum cleaner to be the naysayer? JT: If you’re a vacuum cleaner, as an object, you work in one of the most cut-throat industries that you can. I feel like vacuum cleaners are constantly on the verge of being replaced by a better vacuum cleaner. Efficiency is such a part of being a vacuum cleaner, and a vacuum cleaner is all efficiency. You’re only as good as the job you do as a vacuum cleaner. Every advertisement is like. “This one’s better. This one’s lighter. This one’s faster.” It’s a very competitive world. To me, someone whose whole identity is tied to succeeding in their industry and maximum efficiency is very quick to judge those who are not happy where they are. If you are doing well and you feel like you’re doing well because you work extremely hard, hearing someone going through an existential crisis can be annoying to people like that. That’s why I felt like a vacuum cleaner was appropriate. GS: The vacuum cleaner has a turning point when they say, “I was worried

Dust jacket for “I Want To Be a Vase” something bad would happen if you got to be whatever you wanted.” Was this line of thinking, reminiscent of that espoused by the more conservative element in our country, part of the inspiration for the book? JT: Yeah, absolutely. I was interested in doing a few things with this story. I think that the entry point to the story is your more traditional hero’s journey/power-ofthe-individual kind of storytelling, which most stories for kids are. Predicated on this notion that you, the reader, are special and different and you will succeed against all odds. I think that way of storytelling is so intertwined with the American dream and the idea that you, the individual, will work hard and you will succeed. But then I wanted to take it a step further and be like, “What about the other people around you? They have their own hopes and dreams.” I would love to motivate kids to search for their own happiness and, along that journey, motivate others and help them to find their own happiness. Because I think that the “you, kid, are special” story is wonderful. But I think that it should have a comma, “and so is everyone else [laughs].” You have your own wishes and hopes and desires, those around you have their own wishes and hopes and desires that are just as valuable as yours. The vacuum cleaner is an important voice because, in your search to being yourself and finding your true self and expressing who you are and feeling safe doing so, there will be naysayers along the way and these naysayers are every bit as complex as everyone else. Rather than making a book that was punishing to the antagonist, I wanted one that was inclusive, and asks the questions, “You’re saying no, but why? What’s beneath that?” Which is why I felt like the vacuum cleaner didn’t have to be defeated, it had to learn and grow. GS: Unfortunately, book-banning is becoming increasingly popular as a weapon used by the far-right. Are you at all concerned that I Want to Be a Plunger has the potential to be banned? JT: Oh my God! I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s very disconcerting because [laughs] a right-wing child has every right to be their happiest, truest self as any other child. GS: But the right-wing parents might

disagree. JT: [Laughs] Right, because the kids are not the ones buying the books. I think that there is this hysteria around the idea that entertainment and media want to destroy or permanently change a world that is otherwise good and perfect. Just like the vacuum cleaner, I think that if they step back and realize that just because it works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Also, does it work for you [laughs]? I think it’s an important question. Vacuum is overworked. Vacuum didn’t realize that vacuum could use some help. GS: If I Want to Be a Plunger was adapted for TV or a movie, who would you like to hear voicing Plunger? JT: That’s a very interesting question. I never thought about that. Maybe someone who, when you hear the voice, you hear plumber. Something a little gruff so that the character has to overcome that other part of the expectation. “You don’t sound elegant and refined like a vase, so you couldn’t possibly be a vase.” John Goodman or something. GS: Speaking of movies, I loved your scene-stealing performance as Jules in Together Together. Do you have any upcoming film roles you’d like to mention? JT: Thank you! I wrote and directed a movie that I am editing now. God knows when that will come out. Other than the new season of the HBO show “Los Espookys,” that’s what’s on the horizon film-wise. We had to stop “Los Espookys” in 2020 like everyone else because we shoot in Chile. In addition to COVID, there were all these international restrictions around it that became an immigration/ bureaucratic nightmare that our fantastic producers had to navigate. There were so many false starts to the second season, but we finally finished it earlier this year and we’re editing it now. GS: Finally, we’re speaking a few days after Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, and Aidy Bryant departed SNL. Do you have any thoughts about that that you’d like to share as an Emmynominated SNL writer? JT: I was there. I went to see the show. It was really beautiful. I got to work with all of them. Kate, in particular, was a very early champion of my work. I always felt so welcome and appreciated by all of them. I’m very happy for them. : :

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Travel Writer Joey Amato Our People



oey Amato is a regularly contributing qnotes Travel Writer. A New Yorker who makes his home in Indianapolis, Ind., Amato is busy traveling at the time of this interview, seemingly doing what he loves best. He’s en route to “P-Town” – Provincetown, Mass. – an internationally known and long time gay friendly town, boasting one of the largest LGBTQ communities in all of the continental United States. Prior to becoming involved with tourism, Amato published a gay magazine in Nashville, Tenn. He later expanded it to Indianapolis. Having tired of Nashville, he decided to relocate to Indianapolis where he had colleagues. He has yet to regret that decision and enthusiastically expressed as much. “I loved it! We have a very fun culture there. The LGBTQ scene there is very supportive of each other and there are a lot of nonprofits there as well. There’s not a lot of night clubs and stuff, there’s a few bars. We’re more about nonprofits, grassroots organizations and events outside of the bar scene.” One of those nonprofits is also the home of Amato’s day job, where he’s an

events manager for The Damien Center, Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization. “We help people who are affected by HIV/AIDS, people who are living with HIV or the family and friends that support them. We also offer comprehensive HIV health care,” Amato explained. According to the organization’s website, “Though founded as an inter-faith collaboration, the Damien Center is now a fully independent, non-sectarian, notfor-profit public corporation” continuing to find innovative ways to fight against HIV/AIDS. Let’s rewind to about four years ago when Amato’s then business partner, a graphic designer, decided he wanted to stop publishing their print magazine and you’ll have the inspiration behind the birth of PrideJourney.com, Amato’s syndicated LGBTQ travel directory. The directory is complete with a bird’s eye view of all the places and events Amato reports on. How did it all begin? When I first started the column, I wasn’t making any money, it was purely for pleasure, a hobby. Then a few years ago, I started the directory within the Pride Journeys website and destinations started to reach out to be added to the directory. They wanted to be considered an LGBT friendly destination. [Like] that, it

became [a] revenue source.” Where has your life in writing about tourism taken you? I’ve been everywhere from Stockholm to Iceland, to everywhere in the U.S. and Sao Paulo Brazil [which is known as the largest city in the Western Hemisphere]. When you travel, what do you prefer, a glamorous hotel room or a scenic destination? I actually prefer a nice combination of the two. I don’t need a glamorous room when I travel as I tend to not spend a lot of time in the room. However, sometimes having a nice room is a welcomed perk. It’s wedding season. What are your top three suggestions for LGBTQ destination weddings? I am definitely not an expert on wedding destinations although I have noticed many LGBTQ people traveling to parts of Mexico and the Caribbean for weddings. If I were to get married, I would probably choose somewhere like Iceland or Thailand just because I like adventure. In all your traveling to date, what would you say is your favorite destination? It’s hard to name just one. I have a few favorite destinations: Cape Town, South Africa – Chiang Mai, Thailand and Reykjavik, Iceland. Do you have a bucket list travel spot?

QNotes’ travel writer Amato stands in front of Chicago’s famed Bean Sculpture. A place you’ve never been that you feel you must visit. The Galapagos Islands are at the top of my list for now. Please give qnotes readers your number one tip for LGBTQ travelers. I always tell people to be vigilant wherever they travel. There are LGBTQ people living in every corner of the world, but you need to be mindful of the local customs. In some places, we are more welcomed than in others. People need to understand that not everywhere is as LGBTQ welcoming as Palm Springs or Wilton Manors. So, people should be aware of that. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? I’m trying to save up to buy a second home in Costa Rica or somewhere tropical. I still see myself involved in LGBTQ media in some way. : :

Tapas & Trivia THURSDAY, JULY 7 |6PM

Savor the flavor of summer! YOU’RE INVITED: Join us for tasty and educational events to make your summer bright.

Join us as we celebrate the grand opening of al fresco dining at The Rose & The Ivy Pub! Jump into a round of trivia while sipping on refreshing summer cocktails and snacking on delicious tapas. Compete for fun prizes and feel free to bring a friend. Sit back and truly unwind! Ask us about worry-free transportation to and from our on-campus events. RSVP today!

To RSVP, learn about more events or schedule a tour, call (704) 318-2018 or visit AldersgateSpring.org.

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