Q Notes August 5, 2022

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Aug. 5-18 2022





Aug. 5-18 2022


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Writers: Diego Barahona A., Alex Bollinger, Tonya Jameson, L’Monique King, David Aaron Moore, Evan Moore, Gregg Owen, R. Lee Robertson, Jr.,Wade Rouse, John Russell, Gregg Shapiro, Jennifer Shutt, Matthias Walsh

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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 feature

8 Long Term Spouse Deceased Before Marriage Equality? 10 Living & Dying With Grace


5 US House on Bipartisan Vote Passes Bill 6 Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce receives $250k grant from CLT 6 House Democrats Introduce Bill to Fund LGBTQ & Women’s History Lessons 6 Mary Trump Says Uncle’s Mental Health Is Deteriorating 7 Charlotte LGBTQ Elders Regroup After Pandemic 7 Monkeypox Vaccine Slots Are Full in Mecklenburg 12 Publix Heiress Donated $50K to Extreme AntiLGBTQ Group Moms for Liberty’s PAC 12 Twitter Enforces Calling People Groomers as AntiLGBTQ Hate Speech 14 NC Republican Thom Tillis among GOP Senators voting to protect Marriage Equality

At 83, Judy Collins just recently released an album. She hosts a regular podcast and has been touring the country performing her classic hits and her latest music for the past year and a half. Now she’s headed to the Carolinas for performances in Charlotte, Charleston and Durham.


Long Term Spouse Deceased Before Marriage Equality?

If your same-sex significant other passed away before Marriage Equality became law, new government policies now provide spousal benefits that can increase your income and provide a better quality of life. Read our story for more details.



16 Out in Print: Magic Season 17 Midcentury Maven 18 Interview with Judy Collins


19 Our People: Dimitri Triantafillakis


4 Latinx: an Inclusive or Offensive Word? 4 What Do AMAB & AFAB Mean? 15 Legal Eagle: Legal Documents Important for the Stonewall Generation


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Judy Collins to perform at Charlotte’s Knight Theater

For event listings, visit qnotescarolinas.com/eventscalendar.


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Aug. 5-18 2022




Latinx: an Inclusive or Offensive Word?

A Survey Found That Only Two Percent of Latinos Prefer to Identify as Latinx. Why? BY DIEGO BARAHONA A. | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


or many, a language is a kind of living being that is in constant movement, in permanent evolution. With the passage of time, certain words or phrases that are not used often are eliminated, and new terms are also incorporated. Now, there are expressions that try to define us as a community. These existential words can spark controversy, and this is the case with the term “Latinx.” Some people feel this is a word that denotes inclusivity; for others, it is an attempt at linguistic colonialism. Who is right? As of 2019, some 580 million people spoke Spanish across the planet, which is 7.6% of the world population. Of these, 483 million are native Spanish speakers, which makes Spanish the second most common native language in the world by number of speakers, surpassed only by Mandarin. In addition, almost 22 million people in 110 countries study it. Spanish is the third most used language on the internet, according to the Cervantes Institute. More than 60 million Latinos live in the United States. Here, 41.8 million people speak Spanish at home, according to Census estimates. This represents approximately 13.5% of the total population.

Inclusive language? This language has some very peculiar characteristics, and we will highlight two. The first is the random assignment of gender to certain words. For example, for some reason the word ‘puerta’ (door) is feminine, while ‘techo’ (roof) is masculine. ‘Casa’ (house) is a feminine word, while ‘hogar’ (home) is masculine. Likewise, we have articles and words that are neutral in gender, such as: ‘lo fácil’ (the easy part). For a few decades, groups of people who identify as non-binary (neither male nor female) and some members of the LGBT+ community in Latin America have pushed the idea of changing certain words to make them more inclusive. They propose a neutral mode, replacing the vowels “o” and “a” with an “e” in words such as: ‘todes’ (all) and ‘compañeres’ (companions). Although the discussion about inclusive language is ongoing, the truth is that the letter ‘x’ is not used to denote neutrality in Spanish. How do we know that? This is precisely the second characteristic. Unlike other languages, the Castilian language is regulated by an entity: La Real Academia Española (RAE) (in English, the Royal Spanish Academy). This organization

The use of “Latinx” to refer to the Latino community generates controversy. For some it is inclusive, for others it is linguistic colonialism. Who is right?. (Photo Credit: Jihan / Adobe Stock) has already spoken on this subject, assuring on its official Twitter account that: “The letter ‘x’ is not part of the gender morphemes of the Spanish linguistic system.” Is Latinx an offensive term? The word Latinx is believed to have emerged in the early 21st century in the halls of certain universities in the United States. Over time, this term was adopted by some students and then passed on to civil rights groups, until Latinx was added to the Merriam-Webster English dictionary in September 2018.

But what do Latinos say? A Politico poll released in late 2021 found that only 2% of Latinos prefer the term Latinx. In fact, 40% said they find this word offensive and 30% said they are less likely to support a politician or group that uses that term. What is the reason for this rejection? For many, this is a linguistic imposition on Spanish arising from people who speak mainly English. It is a way to rewrite the language while excluding the community that speaks it, a kind of linguistic colonialism. We believe that the inclusion of all communities in our society is very important, but perhaps the efforts of activists should focus on transforming the system and expanding opportunities and services for all, instead of on changing the dictionary. In the words of the philosopher and linguist Jacques Derrida: “No one gets angry at a mathematician or a physicist whom he or she doesn’t understand, or at someone who speaks a foreign language, but rather at someone who tampers with your own language.” This article appears courtesy of La Noticia. : :

What Do AMAB and AFAB Mean?

Terms Being Used More Often in LGBTQ Discussions and What They Mean BY MATTHIAS WALSH | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


he terms “AMAB” and “AFAB” often come up in LGBTQ discussions and spaces. If you’ve just started exploring your own sexuality or are an ally who wants to do right by your LGBTQ friends, learning the proper terminology can help you gain a better understanding of the LGBTQ experience. Here, we break down the meaning and importance of the terms AMAB and AFAB. Sex vs. Gender Sex and gender are two independent components of our identities. Sex is a label that is assigned to you based on your sex characteristics. In contrast, your gender identity is your innermost conception of your maleness or femaleness – it’s how you feel inside. AMAB and AFAB are inclusive descriptors that are meant to emphasize that, as children, we are assigned a sex based solely on external characteristics. However, this label is incomplete. Gender identity and expression are parts of your individual self that only you can determine. Transgender vs. Non-binary Transgender people have a gender identity that does not align with their sex. Many (but not all) transgender people experience gender dysphoria – a kind of extreme discomfort or distress due to that mismatch between their sex and gender. As such, many trans people opt to undergo gender-affirming procedures, from changing their name and pronouns to taking hormone replacement therapy to surgery. People who are non-binary do not strictly identify as either men or women.



Aug. 5-18 2022

They may also undergo AMAB is pronounced as steps to affirm their gender “EY-MAB.” identity, including using It is an acronym that gender-neutral pronouns stands for “assigned female and changing their appearat birth”. Like AMAB, AFAB is ance. While some non-binaa label (not a gender idenry people identify as trans, tity) that can help people not all do. better understand their own Both trans and nonrelationships with gender. binary people may refer Transgender men, intersex, to themselves as AMAB or and non-binary people AFAB when necessary. may label themselves or be As LGBTQ culture AMAB Meaning labeled as AFAB. evolves, so do the words AMAB is an acronym that Who Identifies as AFAB? and terminology we use stands for “assigned male at Anyone who is labeled to affirm our identities. birth.” An AMAB is a person “female” at birth – whether (Photo Credit: Houcine who was designated “male” based on their external Ncib on Unsplash) by their doctor when they anatomy, internal organs, were born. This designaor chromosomes – is AFAB. tion is often based on someone’s external You don’t have to be transgender or nonanatomy – if you were born with a penis binary to be AFAB. and testes, you’re likely to have been Pronouncing AFAB identified as a boy at birth. People who AFAB is pronounced as “EY-FAB.” are assigned male at birth may or may Why Are These Terms Important? not identify with that label later on in life. Up until recently, most people used the Transgender women, intersex people, and acronyms MTF (male to female) and FTM non-binary people may label themselves (female to male) to describe transgender or be labeled as AMAB. people. However, the use of these terms is Who Identifies as AMAB? now being reassessed, as they come with Transgender and non-binary people some problematic connotations. primarily use the term AMAB when necesFor one, the terms imply that transgensary, but it should be noted that AMAB/ der people start as one gender and later AFAB are not gender identities. You don’t transition to another. In other words, trans call another person AMAB (unless they’re people are born “biologically” male or absolutely okay with it) nor do you identify female, and they identify with these labels yourself as AMAB the same way you would once upon a time in their lives. call yourself gay, straight or pansexual. However, recent studies have found Pronouncing AMAB and Meaning that transgender and non-binary children

have a strong conception of their gender identities early on in childhood. Thus, a trans man does not “start as a girl” and transition into a boy – they’ve likely known they are a boy all their lives. The terms MTF and FTM are also contentious because they seem to ignore the existence of non-binary people who identify as neither men nor women. Thus, the terms “male to female” or “female to male” would make no sense for a nonbinary person. AMAB and AFAB, on the other hand, reflect the sex that one was assigned at birth regardless of their gender identity today. The terms MTF and FTM also overlook intersex people or those who are born with “a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” Many intersex people don’t get a say in their sex – there is a long history of medical professionals performing non-consensual procedures to “correct” what are deemed to be anomalous external genitalia. When this happens, doctors and parents decide an intersex person’s sex for themselves and use this to impose upon their gender identity. The Bottom Line As we gain a better understanding of sex and gender, we have to be open to the idea of learning new terms and concepts. AMAB and AFAB are just two of those terms that are becoming more and more normalized as we continue discussions about what it means to be LGBTQ. This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. : :


US House on Bipartisan Vote Passes Bill Protecting Right to Same-Sex Marriage North Carolina Reps Vote Along Party Lines BY JENNIFER SHUTT | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


oth Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House voted July 20 to enshrine the right to same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law, though the bill’s path forward in the Senate is unclear. The 267-157 bipartisan vote stemmed from concerns that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion may not be the only fundamental right the conservative justices could undo. A total of 47 Republicans (though none from North Carolina) voted for the bill. Not surprisingly, Representatives for North Carolina voted straight down party lines. Alma Adams, G.K. Butterfield, Kathy Manning, David Price and Deborah Ross, all Democratic party members, voted in support of H.R. 8404. Republicans Dan Bishop, Ted Bud, Madison Cawthorn, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Patrick McHenry, Greg Murphy and David Rouzer all voted against the bill. The Respect for Marriage Act, sponsored by New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, would require state government to recognize marriages from other states regardless of the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the two people in the marriage. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, urged members to approve the bill, saying during floor debate “it simply says each state will recognize other states’ marriages and not deny a person the right to marry based on race, gender, sexual orientation.” “The only reason to be against it is because you really don’t want to go on record as being in favor of those rights,” Cohen continued. Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan spoke against the legislation, saying that it was “unnecessary and wrong” for the House to take up the bill. The Democrats’ decision to bring the measure to the floor, he said, was designed for political messaging heading into the November midterm elections.

The U.S. Supreme Court, Jordan contended, will not overturn any other precedents the way it overturned two cases that kept abortion legal for nearly half a century. Jordan then read from the majority opinion by Associate Justice Samuel Alito that said: “To ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, The Respect for Marriage Act passed the House vote we emphasize with substantial bipartisan support. that our deci(Photo Credit: Facebook) sion concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Democrats who took to the floor during debate said the bill is necessary given Associate Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion in the abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Thomas wrote that the court should reconsider three cases that stem from the same due process clause under the 14th Amendment that previously included the right to an abortion. Those cases — Griswold v. Connecticut, Obergefell v. Hodges and Lawrence v. Texas — allowed people to determine if and when to use contraceptives, legalized same-sex marriages and prevented the government from criminalizing adult pri-

vate consensual sexual relationships. LGBTQ advocates have pushed for Congress to enshrine the right to marry and reproductive rights supporters have encouraged lawmakers to guarantee that women can continue deciding whether to use birth control without government interference. All are concerned the conserva-

tive Supreme Court may overturn those fundamental rights in the future based on the Thomas opinion. The U.S. House is expected to vote on a bill Thursday that would ensure women have the ability to choose if and how they use contraception. That legislation, from North Carolina Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning, has 139 co-sponsors in the House, none of whom are Republicans. It’s unclear if the marriage bill the House passed Tuesday can garner the GOP support needed to clear the U.S. Senate’s 60-vote legislative filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, declined to say Tuesday afternoon during a press conference if he’d vote for the marriage equality bill or whip up his members against supporting it. “I’m going to delay announcing anything on that issue until we see what the majority leader wants to put on the floor,” McConnell said. This article appears courtesy of our media partner NC Policy Watch. : :

Aug. 5-18 2022




Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce receives $250k grant from CLT In late July the City of Charlotte announced they had awarded $2.5 million dollars in grant funding to various organizations that offer help for small businesses. Part of the Open for Business Initiative, the funding will be shared across 11 organizations. Among those is the Carolinas LGBT Chamber, which received a grant of a quarter of a million dollars. That’s definitely nothing to sneeze at. To find out exactly what the Carolinas LGBT Chamber plans to do with that funding, we spoke with their president Chad Turner. The organization has received smaller grants as a small business ecosystem part-

ner in the past, Turner confirms, but this is the first time they have received such a sizeable amount of funding from the city of Charlotte. Qualifying for it was no easy task, either. “Grants were submitted as prescribed by the city and each went through a rigorous scoring system,” Turner explains. “Subsequently, we were chosen alongside other amazing organizations that provide support to small businesses.” Turner explains the funds cannot be specifically granted by the Chamber, but they will be available to assist with specialized

House Democrats Introduce Bill to Fund LGBTQ & Women’s History Lessons Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) have introduced the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act, which would allow the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to develop educational resources around LGBTQ and women’s history that are “accurate, relevant and accessible.” The bill would also appropriate $2 million to fund the creation of the educational resources. Maloney and Torres cited Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law as part of the reason they introduced their bill. The Don’t Say Gay law bans teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in younger grades and restricts those

discussions in older grades. The law has already led to schools ending anti-bullying programs and telling gay teachers to hide pictures of their same-sex spouses. “Make no mistake – LGBTQI+ youth are under attack by Republican legislators across the country,” Maloney said in a statement. “Earlier



Aug. 5-18 2022

Carolinas Chamber President Chad Turner says he hopes the grant will help local small businesses impacted by COVID thrive. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

this month, 10 anti-LGBTQI laws went into effect that target students, including Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill. This is unacceptable and will be detrimental to the mental health of LGBTQI+ youth, which is why I introduced the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act.” “Children in classrooms across the US should not be deprived of the opportunity to learn about the heroism displayed by many in the LGBTQ and womOver 50 Democratic members of en’s movements,” the House of Representatives have Torres, who is gay, introduced a bill that would help said. “As Republican legislatures across with education about LGBTQ and the country attempt women’s history in schools. to silence the history (CREDIT: Photo by Kenny Eliason on and stories of LGBTQ Unsplash) families, we must act

Trump’s Out Niece & Clinical Psychologist Mary Trump Says Uncle’s Mental Health Is Deteriorating Mary Trump, author of the bestselling family exposés “Too Much and Never Enough” and “The Reckoning,” spoke with media outlet The Daily Beast a day after the latest Jan. 6 Committee hearing. “In the last hearing, Liz Cheney very explicitly said Donald himself called a witness. Now, we don’t know if he left a message. We can only hope. What is important to me about that is it’s an enormous misstep.” “He’s terrified and desperate, and he’s completely overestimating his power to manipulate people.” “Do we really think Donald wasn’t behaving like this every step along the way for all of those four years? Do we really think he took the first impeachment calmly? Or took any thwarting of his desire

programming, marketing and other projects geared towards small businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. “[The money will cover] expenses for programming and projects related to this grant along with expansion to small businesses directly,” he says. Turner and others at the Chamber are excited about the grant, what they hope to achieve with the funding and grateful to

for power, or whatever, do we think he was calm, cool and collected then, and it’s only after the election that he started losing it? Of course not.” Trump says her uncle’s mental state reflects his increasing isolation, even from family. “We knew, or should have known, that this is what would happen when it got to the point where Donald was in serious enough trouble that even he may not be able to get out of.” “Ivanka clearly has come down on the side of protecting herself, and her way to do that is quietly. She’ll tell as little of the truth as she can.” “And then she’ll just slink away and pretend that she was never involved.” With Donald Trump, Jr., “it’s the other

the city of Charlotte. “We will directly impact small businesses under 50 employees with training, workforce development and programming as we enter the other side of this pandemic,” Turner offers. “I believe, along with their other programs, [this grant] says that the city of Charlotte and the Open for Business Initiative are focused on not only assisting small businesses directly, but also empowering organizations that are doing the work on the ground.” info: bit.ly/3SjkrHr — David Aaron Moore

to proactively educate American youth.” The bill has 54 Democratic co-sponsors already, including several of the out members of Congress. “Education is the cornerstone of a multi-racial democracy, and learning about LGBTQIA+ and women’s history is necessary to understanding U.S. history,” Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, the executive director of GLSEN, said in a statement. “Through our research, we know inclusive curriculum cultivates safer and more supportive school environments where students hear fewer racial, transphobic and homophobic slurs and other denigrating language; experience fewer incidents of bullying and harassment; and have a greater sense of belonging and wellbeing that allows them to thrive and reach their full potential.” This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. info: bit.ly/3ONSPHt — Alex Bollinger

way around. He feel that the has always been focus is shiftthe least favored, ing away from right? Clearly him or that he’s this upsets him. losing power And he knows will make things the only way even worse he gets some because he won’t semblance of atconfront that tention, or dare and process it I say affection and deal with from Donald, is it. He will bury to become his it and therefore Out psychologist Mary Trump says her number one worsen his situuncle is losing his marbles (CREDIT: Simon surrogate, which ation.” now, as we know, “I can only & Schuster promotional image) requires being as imagine what mendacious, as it’s like to be violent and as cruel as he can possibly be. anywhere near him right now. I’m sure I think that’s the cost of admission. Think the temper, the out-of-control narcissism, of how horrifying that is just on a human/ must be just unspeakably difficult for familial level.” people around him to deal with. Not that Mary Trump says the former presiI have any compassion for any of them dent “is addicted to being at the center at this point, but yeah, it’s only gonna get of attention. I’m sure he’s as riveted by worse from here.” these hearings as we are, but in cominfo: bit.ly/3OK5aMY pletely different ways. And for him to — Gregg Owen


Charlotte LGBTQ Elders Regroup After Pandemic Organization Boasts New Board With Expanding Future Plans

by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer The late Dan Kirsch founded Charlotte’s LGBTQ Elders group in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regrettably, Kirsch passed away unexpectedly in early 2020, leaving the organization with an overwhelming sense of loss and a profound lack of direction. As the pandemic worsened and infection rates skyrocketed, continued growth and attendance for the group and its members simply wasn’t possible. Now the LGBTQ Elders group is back, with some of the original board members,

and a handful of new ones, plus some big plans for the near future. Co-chairs for the board are Roxanne Stanard, a former Social Security Administration executive, and Stan Schneider, a professor of biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. “The organization had really just started up when Dan passed away and the pandemic shut things down,” Stanard explains. “So we’re actually just getting started again, but we’ll have a booth at Pride and we’re excited about

Monkeypox Vaccine Slots Are Full in Mecklenburg County Demand for the monkeypox vaccine is rising, but there aren’t any more appointments available to get the shot in Mecklenburg County. On July 7, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced vaccines from the federal government would be available in some county health departments, including Mecklenburg. A week later, all of the appointments

to get the vaccine in Mecklenburg County were filled, a spokesperson for the health department confirmed in an email to The Charlotte Observer. Only 120 vaccines were available to administer. Mecklenburg County confirmed the first case of monkeypox just days after first North Carolina case. “We are working with NCDHHS to get additional vaccines and anticipate some

attracting new members. We’ll have information about services we offer and upcoming events.” An upcoming celebration of life is planned for Kirsch in late August, although no specific date or time has been chosen as of yet. “Moving forward, we’ll have two gatherings a month,” Stanard continues. “One is a social event that will include dinner, and the other will be an educational event with a guest speaker covering topics of interest and concern for the senior LGBTQ community.”

With new members expected to join as word gets out through growing media attention, the upcoming Pride event and a recently acquired 501C3 non-profit status, the organization hopes to expand programming and services currently available at the Time Out Youth Center and beyond. Other members of the board include Cindy Hostetler, John Hunter, Lee Robertson Dimitri Triantafillakis and David Webb. In addition to the monthly events, an LGBTQ prom is slated for February. The organization’s next meeting takes place Aug. 9. For more details visit their Facebook page, which is regularly updated and also links to their website. : :

within the next week,” the spokesperson said. “We will notify residents of additional appointment availability as soon as more vaccines are available.” Due to a limited supply, the vaccine is only being offered to people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox and people who are considered to be exposed because of frequent sexual activity with multiple anonymous partners in geographical areas where monkeypox is spreading. NCDHHS says 13 total cases have been reported in North Carolina as of July 15. According to the CDC there are currently

no plans to make the vaccine available to people who are not at the highest risk of contracting monkeypox in Mecklenburg County, a spokesperson said. Currently, NPR reports there are just over 200 cases in the United States. Those who want to make an appointment can sign up on the county’s wait list by visiting mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment to receive priority for the next open slots. This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer. info: bit.ly/3OOfT9i — Evan Moore

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Long Term Spouse Deceased Before Marriage Equality? You’re Entitled to SSA Benefits Changes in Social Security Policy Offer a Better Life for LGBTQ Surviving Spouses



ging is just one more thing in the intersectional lives of LGBTQ individuals that creates challenges. If it’s not housing or affirming medical care, it’s accessing benefits when we lose our partners. If you have doubts, just speak with LGBTQ community members who are seniors and partnered. You’re most likely to hear a plethora of stories about discriminatory practices dished out by everyone from hospital staff to estate executors. Until recently, that list would have included Social Security benefits as well. While we’re making strides in equity for the LGBTQ community, it wasn’t until 2015 that same-sex marriage become legal in the United States. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively stymied the patchwork quilt of bans that existed on same-sex marriage in most states. When it was all said and done, Marriage Equality became the law of the land in all 50 states. Even states that had bans in their state’s constitution were required to honor out of state marriage. With all that pride and celebration over marriage, no one seemed to think about the longevity of our relationships and how our surviving partners would survive without us and the assistance or support the government offered to heterosexual married couples. That said, it took the Social Security Administration (SSA) another five years to catch up. As you might imagine, it seemingly wasn’t out of the goodness of anyone’s heart, as much as it was because of a few lawsuits, either. Prior to the lawsuits, Social Security benefits did not exist for same-sex couples. The change in legislation and policy was due greatly in part to Lambda Legal. Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that does not charge clients for advocacy or legal representation. They receive zero government funding and remain the largest and oldest

national legal tional. to be one of them and stated, “…after organization Referencing a simple telephone interview with the “whose mission these cases enSSA, and my submitting the documents is to achieve full ables previously required, my claim was accepted and I recognition of discriminated was given six months benefits retroacthe civil rights against LGBTQ tive. My total benefit from the survivors of lesbians, gay folks seeking claim has more than doubled my current men, bisexuals, Social Security SS payment. I was at first astonished and transgender Survivor Benefits joyful about the amount of extra benefits people and to identify the I would receive, but once the money everyone livcategory of aspect wore off I realized that is so much ing with HIV amended policy more of a victory. After having felt disenSocial Security Survivor benefits are now available through impact they may fit into franchised during my late partner’s battle for survivors of same-sex relationships that existed litigation, educaand how they with AIDS, and unable to share my grievbefore Marriage Equality. (Photo Credit: Adobe tion and public may now qualify ing with so many people, as I watched Stock) policy work.” for benefits. him die, this court ruling has felt like a The Lambda Lambda wonderful vindication and validation of Legal webLegal’s simplified our 15 year marriage.” site is the place to find information on explanation of how to figure out which catCloser to home, Charlotte LGBTQ advoand for “Surviving Same-Sex Partners egory (class) you may be in is as follows: cate and attorney Connie Vetter has been and Spouses previously excluded from If you would have been married to your deeply committed to utilizing the law and Social Security Survivor benefits besame-sex partner for at least nine months legal pathways to seek and exact justice cause of Unconstitutional State Marriage before their death but were never able to for the queer community for many years. Laws.” The two class action lawsuits that marry because of discriminatory marriage “This is one of the most important prompted the change in Social Security laws where you lived, you may be a memthings that has happened for the LGBT Administration policy can be referenced ber of the Thornton class, or, if you marcommunity,” Vetter explains. “It isn’t difon Lambda Legal’s site also – but here’s a ried your same-sex spouse but were unficult to understand there’s a generation condensed version. able to be married for a least nine months of us who – for good reason – have a fear In Ely v. Saul, Michael Ely was a 65-yearbefore your spouse’s death because of of governmental entities. Social Security old gay man seeking spousal survivor’s discriminatory marriage laws where you is a government benefits based on his 43-year relationship lived, you may benefit that with his husband, who died seven months be a member people have after Arizona began allowing same-sex of Ely class. earned. We are couples to marry. The lawsuit filed on Not only entitled to benbehalf of Ely argued that the SSA’s policy has an extra efits and should of a nine month marriage requirement dose of equity take advantage for Social Security survivor’s benefits was been poured of them.” unconstitutional when same-sex couples into the As Vetter were not able to be married for nine half-full glass confirms, staying months because of discriminatory marof inclusion in the loop is riage laws. most LGBTQ important and an The other landmark case, Thornton v. folks aim to integral part of Commissioner of Social Security involves a sip from, but securing equity 63-year-old lesbian seeking benefits based many sameConfused about how to apply for benefits? Visit and financial staon her relationship with her partner of 27 sex surviving Lambda Legal’s website for info.(Photo Credit: bility. For details years, who died in 2006 before samepartners will Adobe Stock) on Social Security sex couples in the State of Washington receive benbenefits visit were able to marry. This lawsuit was filed efits that are https://www.ssa. arguing that SSA’s exclusion of same-sex retroactive. gov/ frequently, as the fine print has been couples from survivor’s benefits based on Christian Murphy, who posted a gratiknown to change routinely. : : their inability to marry was unconstitutude comment on Lambda’s site claimed

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Living & Dying With Grace

How planning early supports better balance for caregivers BY TONYA JAMESON | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR


hen Roxanne Stanard was eight years old, her grandmother suffered an aneurysm. Stanard stepped in to help. It was the beginning of a lifetime of caregiving that Stanard embraced for the next five decades until her beloved wife Chris died in 2013. Stanard, who lives in Charlotte, has been a caregiver for her grandmother, mother, father and wife - all of whom have since died. “I was a caregiver by nature. I was told I was going to be the one to take care of the family and take care of the land,” she said. Stanard, 62, is one of the approximately 2.7 million LGBT older adults living in the United States. That number is expected to double by 2030. Despite advances in LGBTQ rights such as marriage equality and non-discrimination ordinances, LGBTQ individuals still fear and often face discrimination from care providers. According to a 2015 study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are at least 34.2 million Americans providing unpaid care to another adult over age 50. Caregiving impacts an individual’s ability to work full-time and be a productive worker when on the job. Caregivers interviewed for this story retired or sold businesses once they transitioned from spouse to caregiver. Ginger Walker, former president of the LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina, takes care of her wife Concetta Caliendo, former president of the Democratic Women of North Carolina, who has dementia. The two have been a force in LGBTQ advocacy on a state and local level. Walker says the signs of dementia were subtle such as Caliendo forgot information that was given to her. Eventually it worsened, and Caliendo, 71, began having difficulty consistently communicating coherently. Walker is her primary caregiver with help from close friends. Caliendo walks in the neighborhood and their neighbors keep an eye on her. She enjoys the pool, but “she’s lost all interest in politics,” Walker said. Caliendo received the Order of the Longleaf Pine in 2020. “We still find joy,” Walker says. “She’s still happy.” Walker is thankful that she can still take care of Caliendo, but others face the heart wrenching decision of putting their loved one into a facility. Many LGBTQ individuals go back into the closet for fear of being mistreated at a facility. A 2010 survey co-authored by SAGE, a national advocacy and service organization for LGBTQ+ elders, and other LGBTQ organizations found that discrimination ranged from bullying by other residents, refusal of admission or abrupt discharge and other forms of harassment. Pride in Care North Carolina is a free cultural competency training initiative for skilled nursing facilities. Training addresses: LGBT Affirmative Language, LGBT History & Experiences, Residents’ Rights and Best Practices for Creating an Inclusive Skilled Nursing Facility. It’s a train the trainer model so attendees can educate additional facility staff. Katie Kutcher, Assistant Aging



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Roxanne Stanard (right), who lives in Charlotte, has been a caregiver for family members including her wife, Chris, pictured here with her, who died in 2013. (Photo Credit: Roxanne Stanard) Programs Director, Centralina Agency on Aging, says any staff members who interact with patients should be trained not just nurses. She says providers should ensure that anti-discrimination policies include gender identity and there are anti-bullying policies to prevent patients from bullying other patients. For now, Pride in Care is only offered to skilled nursing facilities because of the stipulation of the funding grant, but eventually it may be offered to other types of providers. Austin Caton, Centralina’s Family Caregiving Aging Specialist, plans to start an LGBTQ support group for caregivers. Despite working in the healthcare industry, Caton has experienced discrimination. When he set up homecare for his mother, an employee quoted a Bible verse when he mentioned his husband. The religious challenge is big, he said. “We’re not trying to contradict your religious teachings,” he said. “We’re asking you to provide compassionate care to people, they’re human beings. Make A Plan Advocates emphasize the importance of asking questions of potential providers. SAGE’s website offers multiple resource guides. Cindy Hostetler and wife Elizabeth Pruett own Careweavers, a healthcare advocacy company in Charlotte. They are registered nurses. They go to doctor’s visits, help plan hospital discharge, healthcare crisis management and assist families with death plans. During the pandemic they helped clients set up mini-rehab facilities in their homes. Hostetler, 58, said people tend to reach out when there is a crisis, but families should create a plan before a crisis occurs. “Nobody wants to talk about their own mortality,” she said. She added, “A lot of men are aging alone. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to reach out for help.”

Identify a caregiving team whether its family, friends, neighbors or church members. For example, who can take the patient to a doctor’s appointment, who can help prepare meals or help with pets? “Once you become a caregiver, you lose the essence of the previous role – spouse or daughter – you become the caregiver,” she said. “It’s important not to lose those things.” Often the primary caregiver doesn’t want to reach out for help, but one individual can’t do it alone. Experts say typically caregivers don’t take care of themselves, get enough rest, or find healthy ways to cope. Walker cleans the pool for her personal downtime. Kutcher said Centralina provides vouchers so caregivers can get a break for a couple of hours to run errands or just do something that provides selfcare. The other key to preparation is legal planning. Attorney Connie Vetter says straight or gay, people should at least have a durable power of attorney, a will, a healthcare power of attorney and an advanced directive for a natural death if desired. Documents should be signed by two neutral witnesses and notarized, and they can be registered. “I encourage people to go ahead and plan their final arrangements and pay for them,” she added. She says if an LGBTQ person is estranged from their family, it is critical to document preferences such as name, pronoun and attire. Make a plan for your pets. If possible, plan and pay for the funeral arrangements in advance, she said. A lot of people assume that being legally married alleviates the need for legal documents such as durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney, but that isn’t the case. You Never Know Joy, who asked that her last name not be used, and Elaine were high school

sweethearts. This year was supposed to be their 50/70 year. They’ve been married for 50 years and each turned 70 this year, but this year didn’t turn out as expected. Elaine suffered a cardiac arrest last September. She flatlined but was resuscitated. She was in the hospital until last December. Joy stayed with her. She made sure that the staff treated her with dignity and that she was only attended to by female nurses. She is a transgender woman and wouldn’t be comfortable with male nurses. Joy also made sure Elaine had a private room. After Elaine was released, she went home with Joy, a retired nurse. Elaine can’t do anything for herself. Joy tried taking care of her alone in their Chapel Hill home. Elaine was well known in the LGBTQ community in Chapel Hill where they lived. Elaine served on boards, helped trans individuals obtain driver’s licenses and assisted people with transitioning at work. A few friends reached out. “People, just kind of went away,” Joy said. “That was kind of hurtful at how they let her down. They were my acquaintances too.” She eventually hired a home health aide that she immediately bonded with earlier this year. She moved to Virginia last month to be closer to one of their two sons. Joy and others say have conversations with your partner now. What will you do if you can’t advocate for yourself? Elaine was riding her bike when she had the cardiac arrest. “You never know when that moment happens, and then they’re not in your life the way they used to be,” she said. Stanard’s wife Chris, then 64, died two years before same-sex marriage became legal, but they wore wedding bands anyway. They did financial paperwork such as power of attorney, car loans and rites of survivorship, but Chris didn’t want to discuss living wills and healthcare documents. Over the years when they battled various health issues, such as Chris’ stroke and Stanard’s surgeries, medical staff assumed they were sisters. They answered questions without using pronouns. “It was just easier to let people think what they wanted to think,” said Stanard, 62. “We didn’t want that kind of problem. It would be tiring having to deal with people’s reaction when they realized that I wasn’t married to a man.” “Truthfully, I wish she were alive today. I would love for us to have that time when we could just be authentic.” In a country obsessed with youth and vitality, embracing aging and planning for end of life is overlooked and often discouraged. Yet, death is inevitable. Too often members of the LGBTQ community, especially men, die alone. It shouldn’t be and doesn’t have to be that way. This story is part of Qnotes’ special project “OUTlook: Finding Solutions for LGBTQ Labor and Workplace Equality.” It is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network. : :







Aug. 5-18 2022




Publix Heiress Donated $50K to Extreme Anti-LGBTQ Group Moms for Liberty’s PAC Moms for Liberty opposes LGBTQ Rights and History in Public School Curriculums BY JOHN RUSSELL | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


ublix heiress Julie Fancelli donated $50,000 to an emerging political action committee in Florida operated by conservative group Moms for Liberty. Fancelli’s June contribution to the PAC, which is funding campaigns for seats on local school boards, is its first major donation and constitutes the bulk of its cash. Moms for Liberty has become a driving force in the far-right’s efforts to reshape public education in the United States, advocating for what it calls “parental rights” in schools, which it defines as opposing the inclusion of LGBTQ rights and history in school curriculums. Politico reports that the group’s Florida PAC, established last December, contributed a total of $8,750 to 35 candidates in Florida school board races in July. Several of those candidates have been endorsed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who recently signed the state’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, into law. The law bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through

grade three fish holding and restricts tails, which is a instruction mating ritual; on those complained topics that about a book are not “age about the Civil appropriate or War because it developmenportrays “white tally appropripeople as ‘bad’ Publix has 22 stores in the Charlotte area and a total ate” in other or ‘evil’”; and of 106 across the Carolinas, which have been historigrades. protested a cally popular with the LGBTQ community. (Photo Local school board Credit: Screen Capture, Facebook) school boards member’s have been home because the focus of she supported conservative energy recently, with parents the district’s LGBTQ-inclusive anti-discrimiand right-wing activists storming school nation policy, with signs that read “straight board meetings to protest everything from & proud” and “Adam and Eve, not Adam school mask and vaccine mandates to the and Steve.” The group also offered a $500 inclusion of topics related to LGBTQ rights bounty to anyone who reported New and race in education. Hampshire public school teachers discussIn 2021, Moms for Liberty organized a ing “divisive topics” such as racism, sexism protest after two girls kissed at a school’s and diversity. homecoming festivities; demanded a Fancelli, the daughter of Publix Super school remove a book about seahorses Markets founder George Jenkins and a from its library because it showed the top Republican donor, reportedly wired

$650,000 to several organizations that helped stage the rally that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the United States Capitol. Those close to the 72-year-old, who had planned to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally, chalk her involvement up to her interest in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. “Fancelli was a regular listener to Jones’ show and had an assistant make contact with him at his office in Austin to find out how she could support Trump’s attempt to undermine Biden’s victory,” The Washington Post reported in December. “She and Jones talked by phone at least once between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1.” Described as “low-profile” and even “reclusive,” Fancelli has reportedly given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and organizations over the past two decades, increasing her donations after Donald Trump’s 2016 election. This story appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. : :

Twitter Enforces Calling People Groomers as Anti-LGBTQ Hate Speech Rightwing Commentator Suspended for Tweeting ‘Ok, groomer’ at Trans Woman BY JOHN RUSSELL | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


s of July 22, Twitter has confirmed the term “groomer” has been banned as hate speech on the social media platform and unacceptable according to the company’s Hateful Conduct policy. Facing calls for Twitter to follow the lead of other platforms like Reddit, Facebook and TikTok, which ban the term when used to imply a link between the LGBTQ community and pedophilia, a Twitter spokesperson sent the following statement to The Daily Dot. “We are committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized. For this reason, we prohibit behavior that targets individuals or groups with abuse based on their perceived membership in a protected category,” Lauren Alexander, Twitter’s health product communications lead, said in an email, “Use of this term is prohibited under our Hateful Conduct policy when it is used as a descriptor, in context of discussion of gender identity.” Twitter also addressed accusations that it was not actually enforcing the policy. “We recognize we have more work to do to ensure this content is addressed in a timely and consistent manner and we



Aug. 5-18 2022

continue to has nothing invest in our to do with the automated LGBTQ comtools and munity. people teams Christina to identify Pushaw, Florida and address Gov. Ron gaps in our DeSantis’s (R) enforcement.” press secretary, Earlier tweeted that in the week, “‘Groomer’ isn’t Conservative and anti-LGBTQ activist Chaya Raichick The Daily Dot an anti LGBTQ lost her Twitter account for textually assaulting othreported a slur. It’s a deers with the term ‘groomer.’ (Photo Credit: Screen tweet in which scription of an Capture) rightwing evil behavior commentator that sick adults James Lindsay of all sexual called a transgender woman a “groomer.” and gender identities engage in. Why do Twitter declined to remove the tweet at you conflate this behavior with LGBTQ?” the time, claiming it was not in violation of Lindsay claims he uses the term to the platform’s safety policies. refer to both sexually predatory groomTwitter later suspended Lindsay’s ing and indoctrination into what he calls account for tweeting “Ok, groomer” in “queer Marxist ideology.” response to a tweet from Media Matters “I call people who engage in either of LGBTQ Program Director Ari Drennen. these grooming behaviors ‘groomers’ beLindsay was locked out of his account for cause it’s wrong to do and because that’s 12 hours and required to delete the tweet what they’re doing: grooming,” he told the in question. He is now back on Twitter. far-right website The Daily Caller. In the wake of Twitter’s decision to Except that is not the definition of enforce the policy, far-right commentators the term as it has been used for years by are now insisting that the term “groomer” those who work to end child sex abuse.

“Grooming” is a set of manipulative behaviors sexual predators use to gain access to potential victims, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of getting caught, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). The process usually involves training the victims to keep secrets from adults they trust and desensitizing them to sexual discussions and touching. The victims of child sex abuse have spoken out against conservative commentators’ attempts to expand its meaning to include the act of presenting new ideas to a child, saying it makes it harder to speak about child sex abuse. Critics say conservative users and anti-LGBTQ activists like Chaya Raichik (who operates the account Libs of TikTok) have been using accusations of “grooming” to spread hateful rhetoric targeting the LGBTQ community on Twitter. The rampant misinformation has led to proposed laws in multiple states banning drag shows and numerous protests at Pride celebrations, drag queen story time events and drag performances this summer. This story appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation : :


Charlotte Pride: Keeping you Safe and Healthy BY CLARK SIMON (HE/HIM), CHARLOTTE PRIDE PRESIDENT

The days are counting down and the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade is just around the corner. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, we’re committed now more than ever to keeping you and our entire community safe, healthy, and well. Here’s how Charlotte Pride is planning on keeping you safe and how we can all pitch in together to ensure a safe, celebratory event for all on Aug. 20-21: Keeping Yourself and Your Friends Safe and Well Ensuring a safe event is a responsibility we all share! Here are some simple tips and reminders. • Stay Hydrated: The single-most common calls we have for medical assistance each year are people who are experiencing dehydration or heat exhaustion. When you visit our event, be sure to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, and take breaks in the shade. • Use the Buddy System: When you visit our event, be sure to bring your friends or family. The event is best experienced in a group, and when you have friends or family with you they can keep watch over you and you them! • “See Something, Say Something”: If you see something suspicious or out of place, immediately say something to the nearest law enforcement officer or event staffer. • Know Your Surroundings: As with any large-scale event, be aware of your surroundings. Keep track of your friends and family. Identify exit areas. Be mindful.

Charlotte Pride’s Public Safety Preparations

Charlotte Pride’s board, staff, and event volunteers have your safety and wellness as our top priority. • Our Team is Trained: Charlotte Pride event staff undergo intensive first-aid and emergency preparedness training. • We Have a Plan: The Charlotte Pride Board of Directors, staff, and event staff have a plan for crisis and emergency preparedness. • Charlotte Pride Coordinates with Public Safety Agencies: Charlotte Pride has met with and coordinated our crisis and emergency plans with all local public safety agencies. • Local Public Safety Agencies are Prepared: Charlotte Pride is confident in our trust of local public safety agencies and their plans to keep our event safe and celebratory. COVID Precautions • We are following CDC and local health guidelines: At this time, masks are

not required for outdoor events. We will have masks and hand sanitizer available in the festival zone for those who need these precautions. • We will change our plans if necessary: If CDC or local health guidelines change, we immediately change our precautions to come into line with those guidelines.

Monkeypox Precautions

Charlotte Pride is in regular communication with Mecklenburg Public Health, which will be present at the festival and parade to provide prevention and awareness materials regarding monkeypox. • We are following CDC and local health guidelines: Attending the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade will not put you at an increased risk of contracting monkeypox. • Monkeypox is NOT a “gay disease”: Monkeypox is spread by close skinto-skin contact. Though it is true that most documented transmissions have occurred in the LGBTQ community, this viral infection can be spread to any person. Like all viruses, monkeypox knows no race, color, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. • Monkeypox is spread by close, personal, and skin-to-skin contact: Including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or bodily fluids, as well as touching objects, including fabrics (clothing, bedding, towels, etc.) that have been used by someone with monkeypox. • Contact with monkeypox can occur during: o Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals of a person with monkeypox o Hugging, massage, and kissing o Prolonged face-to-face contact o Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys • The symptoms of monkeypox: o Rash, flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion o You may experience all or only a few of these symptoms o Most people with monkeypox will get a rash o The rash may be located on or near the genital area, the face or other parts of your body exposed to skin-to-skin contact or any parts of your body exposed to contact with other people’s bodily fluids Stay up to date on our latest safety and health precautions at charlottepride.org/safety.

Aug. 5-18 2022




NC Republican Thom Tillis among GOP Senators voting to protect Marriage Equality List of Senate Republicans supporting ‘Respect for Marriage’ Act growing BY JOHN RUSSELL | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


he U.S. Senate was expected to vote on the Respect for Marriage Act this week. The bill, which was passed in the House last week with the support of 47 Republicans, is intended to enshrine the right to same-sex as well as interracial marriage into law, following the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade and Justice Clarence Thomas’s call for the court to reconsider Obergefell v. Hodges. The Respect for Marriage Act would officially repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that forbade the federal government from legally recognizing same-sex marriages. In its place, the act would require the federal and state governments to recognize same-sex marriages as long as they occurred in states that offer them. If any state refuses to recognize such marriages, the act says, the spouses can sue. Senate Democrats need to pick up 10 Republican votes to overcome the filibuster, and several key GOP lawmakers have signaled their support for the bill. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have said they will vote for it, while Lisa Murkowski (R-



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AK), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have signaled they will likely vote for the bill, too. “I’m prepared to support it,” North Carolina Senator Tillis told McClatchy media July 26 when questioned outside the Senate chamber. “I said that last week and some people had me down as a maybe, and I said, ‘What part of, ‘I’m going to support it,’ did they not get?’” Others, like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have declined to flat out oppose the bill. McConnell is in an interracial marriage. With 10 Republican votes potentially within reach—something that seems almost unimaginable given the political climate in recent years—LGBTQ advocacy organizations are doing everything they can to get the Respect for Marriage Act passed. With only a few GOP votes left to secure, activists have made a concerted push to get the bill to the finish line. Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was expected to call for a cloture vote this week, but with three Democrats along with Murkowski testing positive for COVID-19, that’s less certain. So which Republican senators NC Senator Thom Tillis: ‘I’m going to support it.’ are being targeted as potential (Photo Credit: Facebook) yes votes? “There’s obviously a unique To that end, the organization recently importance to passing this law launched its new Meeting the Moment in the South where I think every single initiative, in part to help codify existing state has either a statutory or a constiSupreme Court decisions like those in tutional amendment on the books that if Obergefell, Windsor, and Lawrence v. Obergefell were to be overturned, they Texas into law. They’ve set up an action would all take effect right away,” Campaign page on Campaign for Southern Equality’s for Southern Equality communications website where people can quickly and easdirector Adam Polaski told LGBTQ Nation. ily contact their Senators. “We’re encouraging people to really speak “We have a few supporters who are that story to their federal officials and meeting with their senators directly,” explain that this is their responsibility to Polaski says. “We have a supporter today protect the freedom to marry.”

who is a Republican, he’s the father of a gay daughter, who is really fired up about this and was excited to meet with Tom Tillis, and he just met with [North Carolina Senator] Richard Burr, and show them that they have Republican support behind this and this won’t be a controversial vote for them.” Polaski says he’s optimistic about the Respect for Marriage Act’s chances, pointing to polling that indicates strong support for marriage equality even among Republican voters. “I think we stand as good of a shot as ever of getting this through.” Along with Tillis, Polaski thinks Burr could be another potential yes vote. “Senator Burr voted with us to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in 2011. So, he’s a retiring senator, we hope that he would be excited to leave his legacy of doing the right thing before he leaves office. We hope to see him join Tillis in voting yes.” West Virginia Senator Shelly Moore Capito is another Republican Polaski thinks needs to hear from LGBTQ constituents and allies. “She’s taken meetings about the Equality Act and has been engaged on this. I think she’s spoken about the LGBT people in her life. I hope she goes the way of Rob Portman and is able to see that the LGBT people in her life want her to vote for this and she’ll do the right thing.” Polaski also hopes that the Respect for Marriage Act will get more voters energized about other LGBTQ issues. “We should use it as a tool to bring folks in and remind them of the passion that they felt about the freedom to marry, and also remind them that the work is not over and people are facing discrimination all the time outside of their marriages,” he explains. “We hope that folks who are newly activated around this…can also dig in and get behind the Equality Act and the Trans Bill of Rights. All the other things that we need to codify. There’s more to do than protect what we’ve already won.” This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. : :


Legal Documents Important for the Stonewall Generation Legal Eagles



s we age, our needs change. Whether social, mental, physical, financial—what we needed when we were in our twenties and thirties are often not the same things we need in our forties and fifties, or sixties and seventies, or if we are especially lucky, in our eighties or nineties. This is especially true with our legal needs. This article outlines some of the more common legal concerns facing America’s “Stonewall Generation.” The Stonewall Generation describes those baby boomers who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, as Americans, for perhaps the first time, began to understand and recognize the fight for gay liberation. Unlike their straight counterparts, though, LGBTQ+ elders often still find themselves fighting for inclusion and visibility. This is true in 2022, even though SAGE (an LGBTQ+-elder advocacy group) estimates that by 2030, there will be more than 7 million LGBTQ+ people over the age of 50 in the United States. Many of the Stonewall Generation, disenfranchised from the legal protections that straight Americans enjoyed for so many years, created ways to protect themselves in their later years. As legal rights have expanded, though, LGBTQ+ people should ensure that they are positioned to take advantage of all the protections and privileges afford to them under the law. This article outlines four of the most important legal considerations LGBTQ+ elders (and, for that matter, any LGBTQ+ person) should consider. Draft a Will Any good lawyer will tell you that in North Carolina, every person has a will—it is either the will that you draft, or the will that the state drafts for you. For most of us, it is important to control how our assets, including our homes, our cars, our heirlooms,

and our money, are distributed to those that we love, and those that we do not. A will is the legal instrument under which you can direct what happens to your assets at your death. Despite its importance, and wide-ranging unintended consequences that may result from failing to do so, most of us dread the notion of writing a will. In fact, most Americans—more than 68%, according to one survey—do not have a will at all. There are a variety of reasons for this; financial, social, but most prevalently, the fact that people are just afraid to think about death. But ignoring the inevitable (yes, inevitable), will not change anything— it will just frustrate your loved ones and complicate an already sad time. As an example, in North Carolina, if you are legally married when you die, and have living children, then your property will be split equally between your spouse and your children; whether or not you intend that your children (or your spouse) inherit from you. Or, if you die with a living parent and a spouse, then your estate will be split equally between your living parent and your spouse. Which, again, may not be exactly what you intended. Not only does the state decide how your assets are distributed, without a will, North Carolina law will also decide who has the right to serve as the executor of your estate, the right to wind up your personal affairs, and the right to distribute your assets. A well-drafted will, on the other hand, will include language necessary to ensure that your wishes are properly fulfilled through the selection of an executor that you trust to perform the duties required of them under the law. Obviously, because this person has significant power to direct the disposition of your assets and to act on your behalf after you die, this person should be able to handle both the emotional stress of your passing and fulfill

your wishes, even if that person does not necessarily agree with them. Draft a Power of Attorney Along with a will that reflects your wishes, every person also needs a durable power of attorney (“DPOA”). As the name suggests, a DPOA permits you to designate someone (again, who you trust) to handle your financial affairs, especially if you are in an accident, have a serious illness, or are otherwise incapacitated. Unlike a healthcare power of attorney (which is discussed later), a DPOA permits someone to make decisions about your finances, your real property, and your assets, and to transact them on your behalf. There are various types of POAs, and a skilled lawyer can help you understand the differences and which kind you need. Importantly, a DPOA will ensure that, in the event of your death or incapacitation, someone can attend to your affairs on your behalf. Because of the serious nature of the PDOA, it goes without saying that this should be a person who you implicitly trust. But, it is equally important that you take the time to prepare your DPOA. Because often, by the time you need it, it will be too late. Draft Healthcare Power of Attorney A special type of Power of Attorney is called a Healthcare Power of Attorney (“HCPOA”) or a “Living Will.” If you do not have a DPOA, chances are you also do not have a HCPOA. An HCPOA specifically outlines what your medical desires; for example, whether or not you want lifesaving measures if you are in a sudden accident or if you desire to die a natural death. These are especially important, because in North Carolina, unless you have specifically directed that the physician or doctor should not take life-saving measures to

prolong your life, then they will. An HCPOA also protects your loved ones from having to make difficult decision. None of us wants to be the one to “pull the plug” for someone that we love. A well-drafted HCPOA prevents anyone from having to be the one to make that terrible decision. By outlining your wishes in the HCPOA, you have already made that decision for them. As you age, you should talk with your family about your changing health and your wishes for your care. A skilled lawyer will help you memorialize these decisions. Insurance Equally important is to ensure that your insurance policies, whatever they may be, are up to date. Historically, LGBTQ people, especially gay men, have been unable to obtain life insurance. While that is changing, the insurance industry has not quite caught up to modern medicine. In any event, if you have insurance, make sure you have organized your documentation so that your beneficiaries know that they are entitled to receive funds. Insurance proceeds are distributed outside of the will, and very often, our beneficiaries need to be updated. If you are unsure if your legal needs are met as you age, you should consult with a skilled attorney who has experience especially in representing LGBTQ people and their families. The Paulie Murray Bar Association has an excellent list of qualified attorneys who are prepared to assist with virtually any legal concern you have. Of course, there are none more skilled in this area that Connie Vetter of Connie J. Vetter, Attorney At Law, PLLC. Ms. Vetter has almost thirty years’ experience representing LGBTQ+ people and is regarded as an expert in these areas. : :

Aug. 5-18 2022




“Magic Season: A Son’s Story” Out in Print

BY TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER CONTRIBUTING WRITER “Magic Season: A Son’s Story” Wade Rouse ©2022, Hanover Square Press $27.99


ou’ve always looked up to your dad. Sometimes it happened literally, like when you were a child and “up” was the only way to see his face hovering over yours. You’ve looked up at him in anger, embarrassment, dismissal and yeah, you’ve looked up to him in the best ways, too – never forgetting, as in the memoir “Magic Season” by Wade Rouse, that sometimes, the hardest thing is seeing eye-to-eye. Wade Rouse threw like a girl. He couldn’t catch a baseball, either, and he wasn’t much of a runner as a young boy. He tried, because his father insisted on it, but Rouse was better with words and books and thoughts.. He was nothing like his elder brother, Todd, who was a natural hunter, a good sportsman and an athlete, and their father never let Rouse forget it. And yet, curiously, Rouse and his dad bonded over baseball.



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Specifically, their love of Cardinals baseball became the one passion they shared. The stats, the players, the idea that “Anything can happen,” the hope that there’d be a World Series at the end of every season was the glue they needed. It was what saved them when Todd was killed in a motorcycle accident. When Rouse came out to his father, Cards baseball was what brought them back together after two years of estrangement. In between games, though, and between seasons, there was yelling, cruelty and all the times when father and son didn’t communicate. Rouse accepted, but didn’t like, his father’s alcoholism or his harsh

life lessons. His father didn’t like Rouse’s plans for his own future. Rouse admits that he cried a lot, and he was surprised at the rare times when his father displayed emotion – especially since an Ozarks man like Ted Rouse didn’t do things like that. Until the time was right. Love, Wade Rouse says, is “shaped like a baseball.” You catch it, throw it or hit it out of the park, but “You don’t know where it’s going.” Just be sure you never take “your eye off it, from beginning to end.” Oh, my. Oh, my, but “Magic Season” is a tenhankie book. First, though, you’re going to laugh because author Wade Rouse is a natural-born humorist and his family is a great launching-pad for him, despite the splinters and near-clawing

despair of the overall theme of this book. That sense of humor can’t seem to let a good story go, even when it’s obvious that there’s something heartbreaking waiting in the bullpen. Which brings us to the father-sonbaseball triple-play. It may seem to some readers that such a book has been done and done again, but this one feels different. Rouse excels at filling in the blanks on the other, essential teammates in this tale and, like any big skirmish, readers are left breathless, now knowing the final score until the last out. If you like your memoirs sweet, but with a dash of spice and some tears, right here you go. For you, “Magic Season” is a book to look up. : :


Midcentury Maven

An Interview With Duane Scott Cerny by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer


uane Scott Cerny knows enough about buying and selling vintage artifacts to fill a book. Actually, a couple of books. His first, “Selling Dead People’s Things: Inexplicably True Tales of Objectionable Estates” was published in 2018. His latest, “Vintage Confidential – Retro Rattled, Tales Tattled: Confessions of the World’s Third Oldest Profession” (Thunderground Press, 2022) was recently released. In “Vintage Confidential,” Cerny touches on the professional (a buying visit to the home of two brothers with an impressive board game collection) and the personal (his own family matters), all the while keeping readers engrossed, and often in stitches. On a side note, music lovers will appreciate the details about Cerny’s career in house music (side note, get it?). Always a good sort, Duane was generous enough to answer a few questions about the book. Gregg Shapiro: How did you get blurbs from Gretchen (Jon’s mom) Cryer, gay historian Boze Hadleigh and songwriter Julie (“From A Distance”) Gold? Duane Scott Cerny: Back in 2017 I had a very aggressive LA agent who insisted “Selling Dead People’s Thing” be a television show of some sort and I had zero interest in that idea. I wrote a book and I wanted her to find a publisher. Seventy-five rejections later, my agent says: “What this book needs are celebrity book blurbs.” With that, we parted ways and I took a deep dive into that idea. It took some time, but today I am blessed to say I have all these wonderful people in my network, and I’m honored to call each of them a friend. Gretchen (Jon) Cryer’s mother is a writing coach, playwright and actor. In 2011, I was invited to take her six-week writing class via a referral from an actress/neighbor in NYC. The work was to be done live, in person, no laptops, nothing composed in advance, no fiction, and the writing had to be “to the bone” intensive. Unfortunately, I was unable to reschedule a series of vintage commitments I made earlier, and I had to decline the invitation. A year later, I called Ms. Cryer, and started to remind her of our prior correspondence when she stopped me cold, saying: “I know who you are. You’re the person who turned me down. No one turns me down.” Long story, literary shortbus, I took her life-changing class and incubated what would become “Selling Dead People’s Things.” Boze Hadleigh. Shivers, right? Boze is legendary. Our friendship began with Boze and his partner Ron sending me postcards from their extensive travels; most often from Ron with him reporting on what Boze thought of “Selling Dead…” what adventures they were having, recommending books, and writing chit chat. Again, I did not know them at all. The postcard medium evolved into a delightful email correspondence between the three of us with Boze offering to provide a blush-worthy blurb. I guess I have a fan! Julie Gold is as genuine, gracious and wonderful a person as she appears. We

met in the same within such a short Gretchen Cryer period—my sister writing class and and mother six befriended one months apart, I was another. Honestly, a mess. Everyone I was unaware was gone and I that she was that inherited my sister’s Julie Gold until I poodle, forcing had walked her me to move as my home the second condo didn’t permit or third time—I animals; more have a small place drama I didn’t need. in the West Village, I’ve often described and we’d commute this time as a very together weekly long, very messy, and talk about slow-motion car our writing, gossip accident. After all about the class, the of this, I learned writings of others, to embrace what the eccentric range has become one of of our classmate my favorite words: characters, hiresilience. larious girl talk. The This book reDuane Scott Cerny’s latest book is ‘Vintage two of us commutveals confidences, Confidential – Retro Rattled, Tales Tattled: ing home together things I’ve told to Confessions of the World’s Third Oldest was probably my very few people. I Profession.’ (Photo Credit: Facebook) favorite memory of felt the final session the class. with my therapist In life, I have deserved an airing learned: Ask. Be polite, kind and empathic out... somewhere. Sorry if I’m stinking up to whomever you may encounter, but ask. the place with sorrow—but this story, to Artists help artists. me at least, says so much. Our life’s path is GS: Did you have a chance to see our history, our vintage life. I dealt with my Gretchen when she did “I’m Getting My exit from my therapist better than most Act Together and Taking It on the Road” exits in my life. Maybe I enjoy my own at the Drury Lane Water Tower Place in dramatic endings, I don’t know. Chicago in 1980? GS: In chapter 12, you mention DSC: I love this question [laughs]! Yes, I ivermectin, which I read as a COVID went with my parents and sister to see “I’m reference, and COVID makes appearGetting My Act Together and Taking It on ances in later chapters, as well. How the Road” at Drury Lane Theater. I rememmuch of the book was written during ber thinking what a woman-oriented show the lockdown? it was for the time, truly groundbreaking. DSC: As of late, I prefer referring to I could never have imagined years later I’d our present variant state as “Mid Covid” be sitting in Gretchen Cryer’s NYC apartas I don’t believe we are anywhere near ment, reading aloud my stories and making getting out of these viral woods. We’re her “laugh and cry, sometimes in the same 40 years into AIDS, have many effective sentence” (her quote, not mine!). treatments, but we still have no cure, and GS: Personal stories are woven into people around the world still die of this the fabric of the book. From middle and scourge every day. What’s the latest COVID high school situations to Aunt Bernice count now? The Sixth Wave? Sounds like at CVS to interactions with your theraan M. Night Shyamalan movie with an pist. Did you include these “confidenaquatic theme, revealing itself to be filmed tial” aspects of your life as a person in a goldfish bowl. So yes, a bit more than who qualifies as MCM, or “vintage,” if half of the book was written during lockyou will? down, and it reflects our times. It also gave DSC: These are my personal vintage me the chance to create an audiobook stories, some confessions, if you will. for “Selling Dead People’s Things” which The example of my aunt: Those are my was great safe fun. It was professionally vintage experiences as caregiver, an area recorded in an actual spice closet. It’s an that many of us are thrown into with Instagram thing. Check it out! little experience. I thought it important to GS: Chapter 3 is full of revelations write about something that so many of us about your life as both a poet as well as experience, the love, frustration, and yes, a house music pioneer. Have you ever occasional humor. My history of caregiving come across any of your vinyl records, was for three family members in a cancerrecorded under your pseudonym Danny ous row, the last being my Aunt Bernice Alias, at an estate sale? who truly deserves a book of her own. But DSC: I haven’t found my recordings at her story is an important one. And yes, estate sales but rather in vintage record together we were tossed out of CVS. stores and for some pricey resale. I’m all Regarding the therapist: I must fill in over Discogs (eBay for vinyl) and again, the details of those six years of caregivsome crazy prices. I think the top price I ing. The final illness and subsequent once saw was $400 for a 12-inch. On that death of my aunt broke me. Truly. I had same note, readers have found my book survived the plague of AIDS while most of in resale stores and dealers love resellmy friends, including my boyfriend, had ing it online, which is both wonderful and not. Miraculously, all of that did not break weird. Reselling a book about resale—I me. But this, losing all my family members should have seen that coming.

GS: How did you come up with the Danny Alias pseudonym? DSC: I was Danny Alias for some 30 years. Everyone in Chicago knew me as Danny; heck, he even had his own credit cards! Danny Alias was (and still is) a band though the members have changed throughout the years. When I creakily moved into my fifties, I decided to break from the persona in what I considered an efficient way: Danny Alias Duane. Danny Alias was always about the concept that this guy could be anyone. My French music label, Le Disc De La Mort, still releases me as “Alias.” How ironic to be released on that particular label, right? Now I feel like I’m the guy who could sell the Angel of Death a vintage scythe. GS: Chapter 5 is simply star-studded with Phyllis Diller, hatmaker to the stars Raymond Hudd and, I’m guessing, Oprah Winfrey. Am I on the right track? DSC: That’s one of my favorite chapters. I loved Raymond Hudd both as a friend and as a living, breathing piece of vintage haberdashery history. The stories regarding Phyllis Diller and the unnamed television host are true, but I prefer he/ she/they remain unnamed. Again, this book is a collection of confidences… and not all confidences should be confirmed or denied, especially when the confidence is particularly unflattering. One recalls poor Truman Capote going way too far with gossip as literature. GS: The chapter about George and Evelyn and A Vintage Thrift: Buy and Sell was especially touching. Would it be fair to say that it’s something of a cautionary tale for those thinking about getting into the market? DSC: Yes, absolutely a cautionary tale, and not just for dealers or would-be dealers, but also for those who define volume in terms of sound and not a measurement of the growing enormity of “all your stuff.” However, I also feel it’s a thoughtful story about dreams and how they can be chased over time into very different realities. GS: Divine is also mentioned a couple of times. Would you care to say anything about her divineness? DSC: I was lucky to see her many times, my favorite being her appearance in “The Neon Woman” at Park West [in Chicago]. It is a brilliant show if you get a chance to see it or read it. Big Tom Eyen fan here! I saw Divine perform her nightclub act at The Bird Cage on Oak Street and she was often the disco-personification of Don Rickles. No one could heckle back funnier than Divine. GS: Have you started working on or thinking about your next book? DSC: I always have something in the works. I don’t have a title for the next book, yet stories seem to find me as well as moments of visual inspiration. Readers certainly seem to enjoy my book covers. I may stumble upon a single disturbing image and suddenly I know what a book will be about. It may sound odd, but the stories within me encourage my inner image hunter. Only then can they spill out in memoirs, essays, and story mediums that challenge me. “Vintage Confidential” was very much birthed in this fashion. : :

Aug. 5-18 2022




Judy Collins to perform at Charlotte’s Knight Theater Long a favorite in the LGBTQ community, Collins will also perform in Charleston and Durham

by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer


udy Collins chuckles when she hears the word legend used to describe her. Despite her obviously well-tempered ego, many fans wouldn’t call the word inaccurate. Her career began in 1959 when she first started making appearances around the country as a folk music artist. Her debut album, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” was released in 1961, although she didn’t see her first charting single until the release of the song “Hard Lovin’ Loser” from her 1966 album “In My Life.” Her 1967 album “Wildflowers, which included the song “Both Sides Now” – an ol’ skool favorite among many in the LGBTQ senior community that once identified with hippie culture – shot her to international prominence. But we’ll talk about that and her other musical successes, including the iconic “Send in the Clowns” a little bit later. At the time of our conversation, Collins, now 83, is peering out the window of her upper West side Manhattan apartment. It’s the same one she’s lived in since 1970. It’s raining outside and she’s looking forward to the rest of the day and what she has planned for the evening. “We’ve only been back for a few days and it’s good to be home,” she explains. ‘We were in DC for a few days last week. My husband Louis [Nelson, an industrial designer and graphic artist] designed the Korean War Veterans Memorial in DC and they were adding a new wing to include the names of the many other people that were lost during that war.” While Collins says she’s happy to be home, it’s no secret in the music industry that she tends to feel most at home when she’s on the road performing. “I’m touring all the time,’ she confesses. “We had 14 months of lockdown here in the city, and of course everybody was locked down, so we weren’t any exception. But by May of ‘21, I was back on the road, so I have been touring again for well over a year. “I absolutely feel at home on the road. I’ve been doing this for a living forever. Let’s see...since 1959, so how many would that be? It’s 63 years actually. With few exceptions a month here, a year there, but pretty much all of my adult life.” In addition to the music, Collins has written two books and is busy with a podcast. “In September we have five or six new podcasts coming out. They include interviews with Clive Davis, Christiane Amanpour, Jeff Daniels and another with Jack Halson, who used to be with Elektra, but now is with Warner Brothers.” An Academy award nominee, the recipient of six nominations for a Grammy and winner of a Grammy for her rendition of “Both Sides Now,” Collins describes how the experience has made her feel. “It’s a very gratifying thing for me, personally, especially when I think about the particular song that I won the award for.” Despite the recognition for the song, Collins doesn’t believe “Both Sides Now”



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is what she will be best remembered for. In a recent interview she pointed to “Amazing Grace” as the song she believed many people associate her with, but she’s not entirely sold on the idea of that being the particular tune musical history will recognize her for the most. “It depends on where you were, where you grew up and what you heard,” she explains. “In England and many parts of the United States Legendary recording artist Judy Collins will make multiple appearances in the they cerCarolinas in early August. (Photo Credit: Facebook) tainly know ‘Amazing Grace,’ but I “I have to say, it’s always finding somethink they would say ‘Send in the Clowns’ thing new and exciting. I found a song is what I am best remembered for. that was sent to me by a friend, again. So “I just knew I had to record ‘Send in the I think I’m going to have to record it. It’s Clowns’ and when I heard it for the first always about something new I’ve got to time, it was given to me by a friend, Nancy keep my hands busy, whether it’s poetry Birkhall, who was introduced to me by or music or whether it’s about trying to Leonard Cohen – they grew up together learn something new. I think that’s very in Montreal. Anyway we were very close much a part of my process and my jourfriends and still are. She was living on ney as a singer, a journalist, songwriter, the upper west side, where I live and she pianist, performer, etc.” called me one day in 1973 and said, ‘I’ve As for her continuing good health and just heard the song that will make you longevity, she points to her parents for still famous.’ (laughs heartily) being around and doing quite well. “She sent it over to me and I put the “DNA, she laughs.”I was lucky enough needle on the record and that was it, I had to get the right parents and I have had to sing the song. lots of relatives that have lived into their Over the years, critics have often hundreds so I’m afraid I have that to look chided Collins’ style of music as “ethereal forward to (laughs). melancholia.” Not surprisingly, she lets “I’ve also been an advocate of good out a sudden burst of laughter upon being health. I eat right, I exercise and I’ve reminded about that bit of information. been doing that since I was in my twen“I sent a song that I love, to this friend ties. I haven’t had a drink in 44 years, so of mine and she listened to it and she that all helps.” said ‘it’s beautiful, but it’s sad.’ I said, Another quality that Collins has ‘Aren’t they all?! And of course they are. maintained, despite her age, is her vocal Most of the things that I choose are beaucapabilities. While other singers that were tiful but they’re also sad. It’s a pill, this popular around the same time and are part of my career, but it’s also beautiful, still with us today have lost some of their wildly beautiful. range, Collins voice hasn’t gone through “I think that’s what attractive to people. any detectable changes. They want to be told the truth but they “I studied with a great teacher for 32 also want to know their lives are suryears. He got a hold of me when I was 26 rounded with beauty, amidst the sadness, and he told me what to do. I guess that as well. was around 1965. And I was very care“We have to live and deal with that fully taught.” contrast and I think life is about acceptFor many fans of Collins, that song ing that.” she captured a Grammy for – “Both Sides At 83, Collins is still going strong and Now” – has raised a few questions about shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. her own sexual orientation. Though she It begs the question, what keeps her going has been married twice and is currently and motivated?

married to Nelson, she spent most of the last half of the 20th century as a purportedly single woman and stories about bisexual romances aren’t uncommon when it comes to conversation about Collins among the elder lesbian community. She doesn’t delve into that aspect of her personal life, but it doesn’t stop her from confirming her support and love for the LGBTQ community. “I certainly have been grateful and supportive and certainly always will be,” she says, before pausing momentarily and reflecting on the recent backlash against LGBTQ communities around the country. “I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, Gloria Steinem, about this insane period now where we are having to go back and fight for things that we were already able to do. I don’t think either of us understand why it’s happening, but we’re going to have to continue the fight. That’s just what we’re going to have to do. “It makes me worry about the future of our country, it does,” she says. “The countries that have done what we have now done, there are about 17 or 18 countries that have done some of the worst things when it comes to issues related to control of our bodies and sexuality. It’s dangerous and disgusting. We are becoming dangerous and disgusting.” Collins isn’t hesitant about expressing her opinions on other political issues, either, especially when it comes to a certain former president and his followers. “You mean when he got into office?” She asks. “Horror. I felt horror. I live in New York and we all know him here. We knew what he was like. People would not speak to this man or want to wind up in any close proximity to him. We all lived here and we were constantly near this slimy production that he has and his very presence was toxic. We all knew who he was, and now everybody knows who he is. Thank God for the committee hearings.” Collins has always been part activist and part musician. Both are passions for her. Even in what many refer to as her golden years, she proves that people can still be active and involved at any age. Earlier this year she released a new album, entitled “Spellbound.” “It’s been a great pleasure to get this out there,” she says. “This is my first album of all my own songs and that was quite a thrill.” In her trademark vocal style, such tunes as “Spellbound,” “So Alive, “When I was a Girl in Colorado” and “Wild with Mist,” a listener can travel back to a time when Collins was much younger, but realize even mow she’s still just as capable of extolling the virtues and beauty of ethereal melancholia. Judy Collins performs live across the Carolinas beginning in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Charleston Music Hall on August 5. Her next appearance takes place in Durham at the Carolina Theater on August 6. The following evening she’ll take a grand bow for the southeastern leg of her performance tour on the stage of the Knight Theater in Charlotte on August 7. For more information contact ticketmaster or visit Collins’ website at http://www.judycollins.com. : :


Our People: Dimitri Triantafillakis Advocacy and Introspection From Around the World and Back Again



bout three years ago, a tall and handsome gentleman moved from Boston to a home in the South Park area of Charlotte. After a lifetime spent traveling the world and living in many places (from New York to Thailand), Dimitri Triantafillakis (Tree-on-da-fi-la-kis) has lived a full life with many rich experiences. He looks forward to what is yet to come. So, who is Dimitri? I think Dimitri is passionate and opinionated and very direct. When I worked as a supervisor, the thing I heard most from my staff is that I was very direct and very good at communicating exactly what’s needed. I’m not good at playing my cards close to the vest. What brought you here to Charlotte? I visited several times over the last few years. The Boston winters were starting to get to me, so I found a friend of 20 or 30 years in Charlotte to move in with for a couple of months while I found my own place to live. Are you enjoying living in the Carolinas? I like being here, it’s been a good experience. It sometimes feels like another country. Culturally, it’s very different than the northeast. Politically, the climate is different than living in Boston and New York. It requires a more open mind to be able to talk to people who have different politics, a different world view than I do. Personally, I feel when I can have conversations with someone who supports a different political party, it helps us to be less polarized and not see “the other” as an enemy. We otherize people a lot. It’s part of the problem of our culture right now. Are you here as an eligible bachelor or with a partner? No [partner], not now. I was married to a Canadian man; we were together nine years. We lived mostly in America but also in Canada. We separated and divorced seven years ago and he’s since passed away. Interesting thing related to being gay. I couldn’t bring him to America because at that time, the laws [in the United States] prevented an LGBT American from marry-

ing an LGBT Canadian. decided to move to But Canada accepted New York and make our marriage as a gay my volunteer work my couple – and would alfull-time job. I ultilow me as an American mately worked at Gay to live there and apply Men’s Health Crisis for citizenship, where(GMHC) in Manhattan. as the reverse was not I was in New York for true. The irony is, after nine years and worked we divorced the laws for GMHC for seven of [in the U.S.] actually those years. My next changed federally. job took me to Boston Speaking of gayness, for three years and how are you spending then to Connecticut Pride season? working on behalf of In June I got a notice folks with disabilities about a board meeting and challenges like about the Charlotte that. Circling back to Dimitri Triantafillakis is a board LGBTQ Elders Group. New York, I served as member of the Charlotte LGBTQ [That same month] I an Executive Director of Elders group. (Photo Credit: Tamar went to a meeting and an agency that assisted Axelrad) have joined the Board people who were on of Directors. They welfare. We were try[the Charlotte LGBTQ ing to get people who Elders] were in existence for a few years hadn’t been participating in the work culand then the COVID epidemic came about, ture jobs. Those that weren’t able, we got and things were stagnant for a bit. But help with SSI (Social Security Insurance) now, we’re back, with approximately eight and other programs. board members and we’re having events. Seems like you’ve spent and continue At the Charlotte Pride Parade next month, to spend time addressing troublesome we’ll have a booth. issues. What bugs you about the world? We’ve done some stuff historically with Ummm, I can’t stand the lack of social nursing homes and retirement communijustice. And then there’s the fact that five ties. During the pandemic, that work didn’t percent of the people in America own get carried on. We need to reactivate – so eighty plus percent of the wealth. I just we’re exploring all those things, recharging feel like there’s something amiss in society as needed, making sure we’re serving the and democracy; people cannot survive elder gay community properly. It’s interwith that type of disparity. You see it in esting to me that we don’t have an LGBT other countries, too, but it’s a problem. center in Charlotte, and I want to know Capitalism needs to be contained in a why and the history of what happened. way that it takes into account the strucHow do we come together, all the differture. [Not] just making money and the ent LGBT groups of Charlotte – supporting more I have, the more I want – which is each other. all tied to consumerism. That makes me What do you do for a living? crazy. That we’re not thinking about each I am now retired and doing volunteer other or our civic responsibility to each work. Though I’ve always volunteered – other – but what we can get out of society even while I was working. [how we can profit]. What did you do for work? When you’re not thinking about or I worked for not-for-profits that primarworking towards righting social justice ily helped folks struggling with different wrongs, what makes you smile? issues. I worked in Boston, New York and The human connection. When I conNew Haven, Conn. nect with someone through conversation Early in the AIDS epidemic, I had done – in a very pedestrian way. The people in some volunteer work in Boston and then everyday life, the baker, the people at the

supermarket, having good conversations. I love having conversations with those who are thinking about and talking about their connections to the world. It’s kind of a Buddhist thing. A Buddhist thing? When I served in the Peace Corps in Thailand, after I finished my first degree, I took a year and studied with an abbot in a monastery. The Peace Corps gave me permission and allowed me to leave my teaching duties [during that time]. It had such an effect on me, living in Thailand and studying Buddhism. I lived in a village where I was the only Caucasian. Not that there was any prejudice, but being of a different race among people [of color] also made me know what it feels like to be othered. It’s moments of connection with [those who are] “othered” – that’s what makes me smile. That’s why I’m on the planet, really. This was 50 years ago and some things have changed, but living there as a 22-year-old on his way to grad school impacted me in a wonderful way. It’s very wonderful and a struggle to resist the urge to rely on the way we do things in America being the right way. Living in Thailand was the first time I was in a place where white wasn’t the majority and it was very, very good for me to be a racial minority. Connecting with people and making changes within myself, when it happens, that kind of connectivity makes me smile. So, the Buddhist thing in terms of my world view is that we need to develop our consciousness and keep on learning about how we are and behave in the universe. Looking back on your life, and having learned so many valuable lessons, what advice would you offer to 15-year-old Dimitri? If you feel that you don’t fit in, and you’re different than many of those around you, don’t give up. You have strength that will get you through those moments of “what am I doing and where do I belong.” To the LGBT youth of today I’d add, don’t take for granted what you have, the rights that you have as a younger gay person. Be conscious, there are people that would like to take those rights away from you, but just keep on keeping on. : :

Connie J. Vetter, Esq. Attorney at Law, PLLC

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