Q Notes August 19, 2022

Page 1

LGBTQ Local News, Voices and Community

AUG 19 - SEPT. 01, 2022|VOL 37 NO 09 Printed On Recycled Paper



Grammy Winner Daya performs at Charlotte Pride

– pg 6

Millennials in the Workplace – pg 12

Latest Updates on Monkeypox – pg 16 &17

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022



2301 Freedom Dr. Charlotte, NC 28208 704-373-9124



Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

inside this issue

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022 Vol 37 No 09


qnotescarolinas.com twitter.com/qnotescarolinas facebook.com/qnotescarolinas instagram.com/qnotescarolinas

Writers: Joey Amato, Alex Bollinger, Bil Browning, James Burrell, Sam Carnes, Torie Dominguez, Blake Douglas, L’Monique King, Lorenza Medley, David Aaron Moore, Leslie Oliver, Chris Rudsill, JohnRussell, Greg Shapiro


Pride in Pride: Singer Daya Headlines a Weekend of Fun 12 Millennials in the workplace


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

Printed on recycled paper. Material in Qnotes is copyrighted by Pride Publishing & Typesetting © 2020 and may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent of the editor or publisher. Advertisers assume full responsibility — and therefore, all liability — for securing reprint permission for copyrighted text, photographs and illustrations or trademarks published in their ads. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers, cartoonists we publish is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or photographs does not indicate the subject’s sexual orientation. Qnotes nor its publisher assumes liability for typographical error or omission, beyond offering to run a correction. Official editorial positions are expressed in staff editorials and editorial notations and are determined by editorial staff. The opinions of contributing writers and guest columnists do not necessarily represent the opinions of Qnotes or its staff. Qnotes accepts unsolicited editorial, but cannot take responsibility for its return. Editor reserves the right to accept and reject material as well as edit for clarity, brevity.

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

DeLesslin George-Warren, a queer artist, researcher and community organizer weaves past and present to reclaim and revitalize Catawba Nation culture.


front page

Graphic Design by: Tommie Pressley Photography/Illustration:


14 SNL Comedy Group Chooses Charlotte to Film Movie 14 Trump Reportedly Considers Third Run with Majorie Taylor Green for VP 14 More Details: What Is Monkeypox and How Dangerous Is It? 15 Drinking in Public: Charlotte City Council Could Vote on Social Districts 15 HRC North Carolina Gala 15 Lindsey Graham Says He Won’t Support Respect for Marriage Act 16 Latest Updates on Monkeypox 17 Latest Updates on Monkeypox Continued


A Beautiful Resilience

Equality NC celebrates is forty-third anniversary on August 27 with Beautiful Resilience Gala at Bay 7 in Durham.



22 Better Than Ever: An Interview with Phil Dean Walker

20 23


Pride Pixies Aims to Change the World Through Inclusivity Our People: Riley Murray


18 Spiritual Reflections: Pride’s Power 19 ‘Blind Angels’ Docuseries feat. North Carolinians


4 A Beautiful Resilience Gala For event listings, visit qnotescarolinas.com/eventscalendar.


contributors this issue

DeLesslin GeorgeWarren considers himself a pollinator bee on the Catawba River

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Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022




A Beautiful Resilience

Equality NC Celebrates Its Forty-Third Anniversary With Gala at Bay 7 in Durham by Chris Rudisill Qnotes Contributor Equality NC will hold its annual gala on Saturday, August 27, in downtown Durham. It will be the first time in three years since the organization has held an in-person event of this size due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Johnson, the annual event offers North Carolinians an opportunity to pause and reflect on all that has been accomplished for LGBTQ people, the allies that stand alongside us and the work that lies ahead. With an increase of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation across the country, that road ahead may be more than a bit bumpy. “After almost three long years of a pandemic that has ravaged our community, and attacks that have threatened our democracy and our way of life, the Gala offers our community a moment to be together in celebration and build resources for our fight,” says the organization’s executive director Kendra R. Johnson. Equality NC is the state’s largest LGBTQ rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization. Founded in 1979 as the North Carolina Human Rights Fund, it was originally started to provide legal services to those who were fighting prosecution under the North Carolina Crimes Against Nature Law. Separately, a political action committee called NC Pride PAC formed in 1990 in the wake of the Jesse Helms / Harvey Gantt Senate race. According to Equality NC’s website, the two joined together in 2002 to form what we know today, linking the PAC and foundation to manage the ongoing need for lobbying and advocacy work. It is the oldest statewide LGBTQ equality organization in the United States. The 43rd anniversary gala is titled Beautiful Resilience and includes keynote speaker Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, with special guests Minnesota City Council President Andrea Jenkins and Activist Charlotte Clymer. It is



fights that impact our daily lives are happening in state legislatures, especially across the South,” said Smith in a recent phone interview. She pointed out that state organization leaders like herself and Johnson make a point of supporting each other, sharing ideas, learning from successes and mistakes. The close relationship helps them do this important work “better every day.” “Equality North Carolina has always been a generous teammate and we know their success and ours are tied together,” continued Smith. “I’m eager to be part of an evening celebrating the work and encouraging people to lean in and defend progress and build grassroots power.” According to Johnson, the gala promNamed to Time Magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential People list this year, the executive direcises to be equal parts inspiring and fun. tor of Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, will headline the Equality NC Gala. (CREDIT: Courtesy JR Other highlights of the evening include a Davis / Equality Florida) musical performance by local indie-jazz group Tea Cup Gin and a silent auction. black-tie optional, and guests are encourof the first Oval Office meeting between Tickets are $250 each or $450 per couple. aged to “be your fabulous self.” a sitting President and LGBTQ leaders. She recognizes that the event is costWhen asked about the theme, Johnson Following the Pulse Nightclub massacre, prohibitive for many in the community but says that “Beautiful Resilience is a nod to she and Equality Florida gained national notes it is just one of many ways people what we know to be true about our comattention after leading a rapid response can come together to support Equality NC. munity – in the face of all odds, even as we and call-to-action that provided direct “We will have many opportunities are attacked and demonized, we survive, resources to survivors and the families of throughout the remainder of the year to we create, we celebrate, and we do so with those killed. socialize, to gain political education, to get this incredible grace and beauty. We canFlorida has also taken center stage pro-equality candidates elected and to not lose sight of that.” more recently in the attacks on LGBTQ build a North That level of distinction can easily be people that Carolina where seen in the lineup of speakers and honordominate curwe can all ees. “Andrea [Jenkins], Charlotte [Clymer] rent politics, thrive.” and Nadine [Smith] speak truth to especially those For more power,” says Johnson. “All three represent on youth and information more of what we need to see in leaderthe transgenabout the Gala ship in this country.” der community. and to purSmith was named to Time Magazine’s Governor Ron chase tickets, annual list of 100 most influential people DeSantis’ “Don’t visit https:// in the world earlier this year. She comes Say Gay” bill one.bidpal.net/ from a long line of activists and barrier has already Tea Cup Gin will perform at the Beautiful Resilience encgala2022, breakers. Her grandparents helped form shown to Gala on August 27 in downtown Durham. Photo courand follow the Southern Tenant Farmers Union to create trementesy of Tea Cup Gin. Equality NC on fight for the rights of sharecroppers. While dous harm for social media to in college, Smith co-founded IGLYO, the LGBTQ young keep up to date world’s largest LGBTQ youth and student people and has with the organization’s news and events. organization. She was also one of the coencouraged other right-wing politicians to Editor’s note: Chris Rudisill is a former chairs of the 1993 March on Washington try and follow suit. board member of Equality Florida. :: that drew a million marchers and was part “So many of the political and electoral

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

Brian had his HIV under control with medication. But smoking with HIV caused him to have serious health problems, including a stroke, a blood clot in his lungs and surgery on an artery in his neck. Smoking makes living with HIV much worse. You can quit.



HIV alone didn’t cause the clogged artery in my neck. Smoking with HIV did. Brian, age 45, California

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022





sponsored by

Annual LGBTQ Newcomer & Community Resource

Pride in Pride: Singer Daya Headlines a Weekend of Fun After Ugly Politics and A Pandemic Lockdown, It’s Time To Celebrate

by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer


hances are, if you’re reading the print version of this, you’re somewhere in center city Charlotte at the latest incarnation of the annual Pride Festival & Parade. After two years of virtual and limited in-person events, what is believed to be the city’s largest annual parade and one of its largest festivals is expected to bring more than 200,000 visitors to Charlotte. It is one of the largest LGBTQ Pride events in the southeast and, reportedly, second only to Atlanta’s Pride events. Take a look around you. People are excited and happy to be with other people again. Even the city’s Mayor Vi Lyles is enthusiastic about the events. “Charlotte’s annual Pride Week is the principal celebratory event for our LGBTQ+ community and its allies,” Lyles told Pride organizers. “Each year, the Pride Parade is one of the city’s most attended festivities and it serves as a special moment of acceptance and camaraderie for everyone involved. “For two years, I have missed the beautiful, smiling faces, the rainbow-decorated parade floats, and all the joy this event brings to the Queen City,” she continued. “I’m excited for the return of the festival and parade and can’t wait to celebrate with you.” Keep your eyes peeled, because she’s probably somewhere close by. Over the past six years, the world has changed a lot. A former TV show host turned wannabe politician captured the oval office and empowered anti-LGBTQ forces to act out in ways not seen since the late 20th century. Combined with a pandemic that kept us practically locked up for two years, it should come as no surprise that many in the LGBTQ+ community have been mentally and emotionally impacted in ways not unlike PTSD. These days we can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re ready to come out and celebrate. COVID isn’t



completely gone Charlotte Pride main stage presented and now we have by Truist is Grammy winning artist monkeypox looming Daya. She’ll perform Saturday eveon the horizon, as ning at 8:45 p.m. well. In other words, The singer and songwriter is celebrate sensibly. just 22 and has already earned a We’re a smart Grammy for her nine-times-platinum community and we Chainsmokers collaboration “Don’t know how to help Let Me Down,” as well as gold certifiourselves and othcation for her debut album “Sit Still, ers. Regardless of Look Pretty.” what gets thrown Thrust into the musical arena our way, we’re at age 16 with her double-platinum prepared to take a debut single “Hide Away,” the stand. Pennsylvania-bred multi-instruCharlotte’s Pride mentalist has opened for the likes Festival and Parade of Carly Rae Jepsen and MARINA, are representative of and is currently headlining her own the kind of stand this national tour. city’s LGBTQ comAfter a well-earned respite from munity is ready to a fast journey into a big bang career, take. Here’s a look at Daya has recently returned with a some of the exciting new body of work entitled “The activities and presenDifference.” She also had the chance tations waiting for to explore her own personal identity you. and posted on Instagram in celebraThe Queen City’s tion of National Coming Out Day two-day celebration 2018 the following message: includes a vendor’s “One day late, but happy 1st fair with booths that national coming out day to me! What include art exhibits, a crazy thing! All I gotta say is follow information on seryour gut and don’t feel like you owe vices and volunteer any sort of explanation to anyone. opportunities from Your sexuality is yours only, so build local nonprofits, with it at a pace that works for you. retailers selling I’m proud to be a bisexual member goods of interest, of the LGBTQ community.” a food court and The then 19-year-old told readers more. What’s more, that she was in a same-sex relationthere are numership with another woman and that ous entertainers, Grammy winning singer and songwriter Daya will perform on the Pride main the two were very much in love. musicians and stage Saturday, August 20 at 8:45 p.m. (CREDIT: Screen Capture) “The support has been beyond bands, including loand though it wasn’t always easy I cal performers and ing to 4:00 p.m. is the Bank of America also recognise how privileged I am nationally-known and celebrated recordCharlotte Pride Parade returning to to have had so much of it, so I especially ing artists performing live throughout uptown Charlotte after an absence of two most of the celebration. All this fun takes wanna be there for those of u who aren’t years, this year there will be more than place in the PNC Bank Festival zone on surrounded by the most accepting family/ 170 participating entities and more than Saturday August 20, from noon to 10 pm friends/communities. Stay authentic, talk 40 floats. The parade kicks off at 9th Street and continues again on Sunday August thru it with people u trust, know you’re and Tryon and crosses over six city blocks, 21 from noon to 6:00 p.m. loved and that I’m thinking of u. That’s my before making the turn at Third and Tryon Specifically reserved for Sunday August long post of the month love yall be gay be and ending at College Street. 21 beginning at 1:00 p.m. and continuHeadlining the presentation on the free be wild n love lots xo.” : :

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

Tours of the Queen City

Explore and learn more about charlotte in unique and diverse ways BY TORIE DOMINGUEZ | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


hether you’re new to the city or a native or longtime resident, Charlotte always has something new and exciting to offer. With so many new sights and sounds to experience, catching one of these local tours is among your best bet at exploring a city you’ve already come to love and adore. Newcomers will find awesome spots the locals have known about for years. Locals will be able to get a taste of a side of Charlotte they rarely visit, or perhaps a new restaurant that’s just popped onto the scene. Either way, you’re in for a treasure trove of beautiful Charlotte goodness.

CHARLOTTE SEGWAY TOURS These excursions presented by Charlotte NC Tours offer a novel way to explore uptown, especially appealing to patrons in search of a happy medium between the impersonal experience of viewing the city through a bus window and the tedium of schlepping on foot over pavement hot enough to melt the soles of their sensible shoes. Starting and ending inside the Overstreet Mall, that center city staple featuring a network of skyways extending along College St. on either side of Trade, the standard 90-minute tour includes stops at the Levine Center of the Arts, the Mint Museum, and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Guides specialize in knowledge of local history, architecture and design, and deliver a mandatory crash course (no pun intended) on Segway safety beginning 30 minutes before departure. Rule #1: helmets are a must. Because of the requirements of PT (personal transporter) operation, there are

a few more guidelines here than you’d find in your average walking tour. Participants must be at least 14, and minors need a companion no younger than 21, along with a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. The device is suitable for riders between 100 and 260 pounds. The company also offers holiday and haunted Segway journeys and a bike tour. Call or go online for ticket prices and schedules. 704-962-4548 charlottenctours.com

BEYOND THE GRAVE HAUNTED HISTORY Every night, just as the summer sun sinks below the horizon, or long after dark in the winter, history buffs and connoisseurs of the weird gather in the plaza outside Truist Tower on N. Tryon St. A guide in period garb, lantern clasped in one hand, is there to meet them. This is the Charlotte offering of Carolina History and Haunts, a company whose expertise extends to the creepiest corners of Winston-Salem and Greensboro in addition to the Queen City. Patrons trek through time as they visit the sites of centuries-old battles, haunted houses, cursed theaters and spooky hotels, pubs and cemeteries, all while learning about the birth and growth of the city from the 18th century to the modern day. The wheelchair-accessible 90-minute walking tour is open to all ages, but operators advise that some content may be inappropriate for children, and kids must have an adult along. Tours operate yearround, rain or shine, and depart hourly between 7 and 9 p.m., as well as at 2 p.m. for those who’d prefer to face Charlotte’s demons in the light of day. Ticket prices from $19.00. 888-651-9785

FEAST FOOD TOURS A food-lover’s dream, FEAST offers neighborhood walking tours in addition to custom and private activities and workshops. Regular weekend offerings include Friday evening tours of

historic SouthEnd, and the “Soul of the South” program exploring traditional flavors throughout Uptown. Lunchtime on Saturday sees patrons introduced to the quirky dining and gallery experiences of NoDa. A few hours later, tours wind through Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, and Uptown’s contemporary dining scene. Each option seeks to highlight a variety of venues, incorporating around half a dozen stops including everything from timeless diners and mom-and-pop delis to upscale gastropubs. Groups of 8-16 people can book custom tours for weekday afternoons. The company also works with clients to build private, hands-on culinary experiences to their exact specifications. It cites past programs in which chefs and artisans have guided patrons in cheesemaking, the world of possibilities available at local farmer’s markets, and the intricacies of a great cup of coffee. feastfoodtours.com 980-258-9992

dition, community and corporate groups can arrange for custom private tours. Contact the CBI for program specifications and pricing. 704-943-9763 cbicharlotte.org/programs/bus-tours

CHARLOTTE FUNNY BUS TOUR Somewhere at the corner of school field trip and dive comedy club, you’ll find Comedy City Tours’ Funny Bus. Yes, the 90-minute journey in a brightly painted open-air trolley-like craft departs from a popular city park (First Ward, specifically) just across 7th Street from Imaginon, but this ride is definitely not suitable for children. The closest you’ll get to familyfriendly is their PG-13 program offered as a rolling Sunday matinee; the other 22 shows a week are rated R. Tour guides aim to keep patrons laughing while they learn, poking fun at the Queen City while feeding interest in neighborhoods and sites from quirky to historic. Check out the Funny Bus website for more information, to purchase tickets or, if you fancy yourself a performer, to apply for a job. funnybus.net Choose Charlotte Tours 704-639-3186 funnybus.net

CHARLOTTE LIBERTY WALK CBI BUS TOURS Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Community Building Initiative has two decades of building bridges under its belt. Eleven years ago, the organization launched a pilot program designed to introduce Charlotteans and their neighbors to the region’s history, and deepen their appreciation of its diversity and nuance. The program was soon extended, and the CBI now stages public tours six times a year, on the second Friday of alternating months. Collaboration with the Arts & Science Council, the city’s Historic Districts Commission as well as the Levine Museum of the New South have helped to develop an engaging series of events based on expert knowledge and commitment. In ad-

Included among the dozens of events making up Charlotte’s City Walks series, the Charlotte Liberty Walk is the brainchild of the May 20th Society. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving the memory of the 1775 Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and what the group describes as “Charlotte’s rebellious and visionary spirit.” When the guided version of the Liberty Walk wraps up for the year, it hasn’t taken a break from educating locals and tourists alike. A brochure and interactive map available online let the public guide themselves, with a proposed route through center city and descriptions of sites no longer in existence. info@may20thsociety.com charlottelibertywalk.com

Continued on page 10

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022



Charlotte LGBTQ Resources Advocacy


ACLU of North Carolina acluofnorthcarolina.org Campaign for Southern Equality southernequality.org Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce clgbtcc.org

Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics charlotteatheists.com

Elder Law Clinic at Wake Forest University news.law.wfu.edu/tag/elder-law-clinic/

Charlotte Buddhist Vihara 3423 Stonehaven Dr. Charlotte, NC 28215 charlottebuddhistvihara.org

Equality North Carolina equalitync.org Freedom Center for Social Justice fcsj.org Human Rights Campaign North Carolina hrc.org/in-your-area/north-carolina LGBTQ Democrats of Mecklenburg County facebook.com/ LGBTQMeckDems Mecklenburg LGBTQ Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) mecpac.org facebook.com/meckpac North Carolina AIDS Action Network ncaan.org Safe Schools NC safeschoolsnc.org


Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte charlotte.org Charlotte Pride Band charlotteprideband.org Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte gmccharlotte.org One Voice Chorus onevoicechorus.com Reel Out Charlotte reelout.org Charlotte Magazine charlottemagazine.com Charlotte Observer charlotteobserver.com


Caldwell Presbyterian Church 1609 E. Fifth St. Charlotte, NC 28204 704-334-0825 caldwellpresby.org


Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

First Christian Church 1200 East Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28203 704-334-3771 fcc-charlotte.org First United Methodist Church 501 N. Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202 704-333-9081 charlottefirst.org Havurat Tikvah 2821 Park Rd. Charlotte, NC 28209 980-225-5330 havurattikvah.org Holy Covenant United Church of Christ 3501 W. WT Harris Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28269 704-599-9810 holycovenantucc.org Holy Trinity Lutheran Church 1900 The Plaza Charlotte, NC 28205 704-377-5439 htlccharlotte.org MeckMin 3900 Park Rd. Charlotte, NC 28209 704-565-5455 meckmin.org Missiongathering Charlotte 420 E. 15th St. Charlotte, NC 28206 704-412-4028 mgclt.com Myers Park Baptist Church 1900 Queens Rd. Charlotte, NC 28207 mpbconline.org

New Life Metropolitan Community Church 1201 S. New Hope Rd. Gastonia, NC 28054 704-334-0350 newlifemccnc.org Park Road Baptist Church 3900 Park Rd. Charlotte, NC 28209 704-523-5717 parkroadbaptist.org Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church 9704 Mallard Creek Rd. Charlotte, NC 28262 704-510-0008 puuc.org ReBirth Cathedral 2229 Village Lake Dr. Charlotte, NC 28212 980-819-2636 rebirthcathedral.org St. John’s Baptist Church 300 Hawthorne Ln. Charlotte, NC 28204 704-333-5428 stjohnsbaptistchurch.org St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church 1600 Norris Ave. Charlotte, NC 28206 704-375-9650 stlukembc.org St. Martin’s Episcopal Church 1510 E. 7th St. Charlotte, NC 28204 704-376-8441 stmartins-charlotte.org St. Peter’s Catholic Church 507 S. Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202 704-332-2901 stpeterscatholic.org/commu nity-outreach/gaylesbian-ministry St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 115 W. 7th St. Charlotte, NC 28202 704-332-7746 st-peters.org South Park Christian Church 6650 Park South Dr. Charlotte, NC 28210 704-554-1066 southparkchristian.net

Temple Beth El 5101 Providence Rd. Charlotte, NC 28226 704-366-1948 templebethel.org The Avenue Presbyterian Church 100 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 980-201-8955 theavenueclt.org Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte 234 N. Sharon Amity Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211 704-366-8623 uuccharlotte.org Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lake Norman 484 Presbyterian Rd. Mooresville, NC 28115 704-765-6088 uulakenorman.org Unity Fellowship Church 4800 Wedgewood Dr. (Fellowship Hall) Charlotte, NC 28210 704-567-5007 ufccharlotte.org Watershed Charlotte 2101 Shenandoah Ave. Charlotte, NC 28205 704-644-0919 watershedcharlotte.com

Health & HIV

Affinity Health Center Locations in Rock Hill, Clover,and York 877-647-6363 affinityhealthcenter.org Amity Medical Group amitymed.org Four locations: 6010 E. W.T. Harris Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28215 704-208-4134 10508 Park Rd - Suite 130 Charlotte, NC 28210 704-208-41349 835 Monroe Rd - Suite B Charlotte, NC 28270 704-208-1434 824 Lower Dallas Hwy Dallas, NC 28034 704-874-0200

Anuvia Prevention & Recovery Center 100 Billingsley Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211 704-376-7447 anuvia.org

Planned Parenthood Charlotte Health Center 700 S. Torrence St. Charlotte, NC 28204

Carolinas Care Partnership 5855 Executive Center Dr. Suite 102 Charlotte, NC 28212 704-531-2467 carolinascare.org


Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group cthcg.org Dudley’s Place 103 Commerce Centre Dr., Suite 107 Huntersville, NC 28078 704-977-2972 myrosedalehealth.com/dudley The House of Mercy 100 McAuley Cir. Belmont, NC 28012 704-825-4711 thehouseofmercy.org Infectious Disease (ID) Consultants & Infusion Care Specialists 1225 Harding Place Suite 2100 Charlotte, NC 28204 704-331-9669 atriumhealth.org/locations/ detail/atrium-health-infec tious-disease-kenilworth Lake Norman Community Health Clinic 14230 Hunters Rd. Huntersville, NC 28078 704-316-6611 lnchc.org Mecklenburg County Health Department Northwest Campus 2845 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 704-336-6500


Quality Comprehensive Health Center Medical Clinic /PowerHouse Project 3627 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 704-394-8968 qchealth.net facebook.com/ThePowerhouseProject RAIN 601 E. 5th St., Suite 470 Charlotte, NC 28202 704-372-7246 carolinarain.org RAO Community Health 321 W. 11th St. Charlotte, NC 28202 704-237-8793 raoassist.org Rosedale Health and Wellness 103 Commerce Centre Dr., Suite 103 Huntersville, NC 28078 704-948-8582 myrosedalehealth.com


The Plus Collective℅ The Foundation For The Carolinas 220 N Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28202 704-973-4500 thepluscollective.org

charlotteblackpride.org Charlotte Gaymers Network charlottegaymersnetwork.com Charlotte LGBTQ Elders charlottelgbtqelders.org Charlotte Pride charlottepride.org Charlotte Tradesmen

Mecklenburg County Health Department Southeast Campus 249 Billingsley Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211

Carolina Bear Lodge carolinabearlodge.club Carolina Transgender Society carolinatransgendersociety.com Carolina’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce clgbtcc.org

Charlotte Royals Rugby charlotteroyalsrugby.com

Stonewall Sports

Crisis Assistance Ministry crisisassistance.org Genderlines genderlines.org Feed The Movement facebook.com/feedthemovementclt


Youth Campus Pride campuspride.org Central Piedmont Pride Alliance facebook.com/groups/ CPCCPrideAlliance


Center for Diversity & Inclusion Davidson College bit.ly/2Yz08z2

Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association lgbtqbarnc.com

Gender Education Network gendereducationnetwork.org

PFLAG Charlotte pflagcharlotte.org

GLoBAL Winthrop University winthrop.edu/studentorgs/ global.aspx

Hearts Beat as One Foundation

The Plus Collective thepluscollective.org Poor No More Free Store facebook.com/PoorNoMoreCharlotte Prime Timers of Charlotte bit.ly/3AvclBF



Charlotte Roller Girls charlotterollergirls.com

Charlotte Uprising charlotteuprising.com


Alpha Psi Kappa Fraternity


Charlotte Rainbowlers charlotterainbowlers.com

Queen City Tennis Club bit.ly/2YupBcm

Queen City Connects

Social & Support

Roof Above roofabove.org


Hearts Beat as One Foundation

mecknc.gov/ HealthDepartment/ ClinicServices

704-336-6500 mecknc.gov/ HealthDepartment/ClinicServices

Charlotte Black Pride

Rainbow Foster Network facebook.com/RainbowFosterNetwork Southern Country Charlotte southerncountrycharlotte.com There’s Still Hope! tshcharlotte3.org Transcend Charlotte transcendcharlotte.org Twirl to the World Foundation twirltotheworld.org

Pride Alliance ClubCentral Piedmont Community College facebook.com/groups/ CPCCPrideAlliance/ Queers & Allies Davidson College davidsonqanda.weebly.com Time Out Youth Center 3800 Monroe Rd. Charlotte, NC 28205 704-344-8335 timeoutyouth.org UNC Charlotte Office of Identity, Equity and Engagement Popp Martin Student Union 210 & King 210 704-687-7121 identity.uncc.edu

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022



CHARLOTTE AREA NIGHT LIFE The Bar at 316 • Entertainment. Drag. DJ/Dance. 316 Rensselaer Ave. • 704.910.1478 • facebook.com/thebarat316

Sidelines • Pool. Sports. 4544-C South Blvd. • 704.525.2608 • thesidelinesbar.com

Chasers • Entertainment. Drag. Pool. DJ/Dance. Dancers. 3217 The Plaza • 704.339.0500 • chaserscharlotte.club

The Woodshed • Entertainment. Drag. Pool. DJ/Dance. 3935 Queen City Dr. • 704.394.1712 • woodshedlounge.com

Snug Harbor • Entertainment. Drag. DJ/Dance. 1228 Gordon St. • 704.561.1781 • snugrock.com/

Bar Argon • Entertainment. VJ & DJ/Dance. Video Lounge. 4544-H South Blvd. • 704.525.7787 • barargon.com

Petra’s Bar • Entertainment. Drag. DJ/Dance. 1919 Commonwealth Ave. • 704.332.6608 • petraspianobar.com

Hattie’s Tap & Tavern • Entertainment. DJ/Dance. Pool. Games. 2918 The Plaza • 980.938.6228 • hattiescharlotte.com

The Scorpio • Entertainment. Drag. DJ/Dance. 2301 Freedom Dr. • 704.373.9124 • thescorpio.com

Hide-A-Way • Entertainment. Drag. Pool. DJ/Dance. 405 E. Baskins Rd., Rock Hill, SC • 803.328.6630 • thehideawaysc. com

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OPERATION CITY QUEST This creative scavenger hunt should be seriously considered by anyone who’d prefer a tour with as much to do as there is to see. Finding a middle ground between trailing a droning docent and wandering alone through the city just hoping to stumble, by some miracle, on your hotel, you’ll be able to set your own pace and make any detour you’d like if your interest should be piqued by some attraction not on the official agenda, while you take comfort in the knowledge that a remote guide is only a text away. There are more than 130 objects to track down, no chance of a sold-out event or a bus leaving without you, and, best of all, bonus points for whimsy. 843-212-6609 operationcityquest.com

CHARLOTTE CITY WALKS Each year when Spring rolls around, partners including the UNC-Charlotte



Urban Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight foundation celebrate the arrival of more reliably lovely weather with an unparalleled display of community engagement. Charlotte City Walks’ most remarkable feature is the open invitation for anyone to propose to organize and guide a walk of their own design. Some offerings have included a bike tour of Brooklyn, Third Ward, and the West End, with riders meeting with former residents and discussing the link between architectural barriers and extant racial divides; a walking tour of Hebrew Cemetery and the nearby mixed-income community Brightwalk; and an exploration of natural spaces in urban planning at Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary. Stay tuned for updates on the season. chi.charlotte.edu eventvibe.com plancharlotte.org

FOURTH WARD TOURS In the vein of the May 20th Society and its Charlotte Liberty Tour, the Friends of Fourth Ward neighborhood association

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

has created opportunities to explore the dynamic center city locale without a guide and at visitors’ convenience. For its primary free walking tour FoFW provides a map and written material pertaining to nearly 50 area homes and other sites of historic or architectural significance. In May the group host a Secret Gardens of Fourth Ward program showcasing extraordinary private gardens and outdoor spaces. Also self-guided, with the exception of special tours of Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery and Fourth Ward Park, the garden event required a $20 admission fee which included access to the B-Cycle bike share service as well as free tastings at local restaurants and stops along the route. The preceding winter FoFW organized the Holiday Home Tour similarly paying homage to the neighborhood’s unique character. fourthwardclt.org fofw.org


Coinciding with the Secret Gardens of Fourth Ward event and Charlotte City Walks is the Plaza Midwood Home & Garden Tour. For the same ticket price attendees are treated to B-Cycle access over the course of the route, which runs, just over 5 miles. The 10 private homes on display were selected to represent the diversity of architectural styles and periods to be found in what’s often cited as one of Charlotte’s premier gayborhoods. Truffle chocolates in a bungalow on a hill on Tippah Ave., a renovated two-story cottage with a manicured lawn and impressive shade trees on Midwood Pl., a white picket fence around a former fixer-upper on Mecklenburg Ave. – those visitors seeking inspiration for a remodel of their own will find plenty to offer in this ever-evolving part of town. plazamidwood.org Editor’s note: Information on the above tours, like ticket prices, schedules or tour routs, could change at any time. Please contact the tour organizer for details.

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022




How Millennials Are Reshaping the Workplace A Generation of LGBTQ Workers Are Changing What It Means to Have Gainful Employment



f you are alive right now you have no doubt heard some discussion or read something about a particular generation in the workforce: those folks born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Known as millennials, these often-misunderstood people (in 2022) range in age from 26 to 41 years old. According to the U.S. Census Bureau poll taken in 2020, the United States’ population [50 states and the District of Columbia] is more than 331 million. Of those residents who were employed, thirty-five percent are millennials with over ten percent of all millennials (employed or not) self-identifying as LGBTQ. It is a fact that the millennial generation is growing influential and shaking things up in the world and workforce. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are often defined by some specific characteristics that dominate social media, stereotyping generational conversations. A quick and shallow internet search of the word will generally yield results with bullet points about how they are staying home (living with parents) longer than other generations, slower to marry, tech savvy and even the persona of being entitled-behaving brats. Or so it would seem. If you search a bit more specifically around “Millennials in the Workplace,” you are most likely to read about a workforce generation that is defined as disloyal, cavalier, and once again, entitled. The propensity to up and quit jobs by this generation is estimated to cost employers over $30 billion each year. A common perception is that these employees expect to have as much say as their CEO or supervisor, without the years of experience. To be fair, many of those articles and essays have been written with bias and lack of insight by Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who haven’t had the greatest

time understanding and navigating the complexities of working with a generation they have literally given birth to. Though it is true that millennials have grown up in an era where instant gratification has often thwarted their ability to hone certain social or interpersonal skills like being able to engage in a ten-minute conversation without checking or scrolling through their phones, they aren’t necessarily hopeless. Considering how large and influential their generation is, it would certainly behoove the generations that came before them to at least listen to their points of view in an attempt to find some common ground while nurturing our gatekeepers to the future. In the workplace, could their new ideas around employment and labor actually be better at finding a work-life balance? Can work-from-home and “gig work” remove the often-harmful power dynamics and discrimination that have plagued our workplaces for generations? Jessica Inlaw is a remote employee who provides road-side assistance to motorists in need. Uncharacteristic of many in her generation she has found satisfaction in a job that she’s kept for more than three years. She has previously held jobs as a customer service representative and multiple manager positions for food outlets like Jamba Juice and Which Wich and seems to have found her happy place in remote work. Inlaw shared how her choice to go fully remote was about “the convenience of it and not having to deal with many people” was a big draw. She added, “I’m also a bit of a germaphobe and it just so happens that I landed a remote job right before COVID, so I was definitely happy that I’d made the transition beforehand.” She concludes with a point of personal satisfaction: Remote work affords her a flexibility in work-life balance that leaving her home for an office or food service management position just can’t compete with. “I can take a break when I need to or feed my dog. There’s still stress, but I’m

able to have that balance of being at home in my comfort zone.” For LGBTQ workers in particular, traditional workplaces can also involve uncomfortable situations for someone who isn’t open about their sexuality or gender identity. According to the Human Rights Campaign’s “A Workplace Divided” report, 25 percent of LGBTQ workers feel distracted from work because of unwelcoming environments and 28 percent lie about their personal lives. “The workplace, where we spend most of our daily lives, is full of seemingly innocuous chit chat,” states the report. These types of conversations may go unnoticed by non-LGBTQ counterparts but consider the amount of workplace chatter that revolves around children, social life and relationships. Another millennial, Nikki Redman is a loan officer assistant, musician and staunch LGBTQ ally with a seven-year-old son she proudly supports when he chooses to use “they” pronouns or go to school with glitter in his hair. While pondering the state of millennials and how her generation is received in the workplace and in general, Redman offered some keen and candid insight. “We’re fed up and tired of being treated like children. I’m pushing 40 and still have people speaking to me in an infantilized way. We’ve had a huge broken promise being told, if you do ABC, you get XYZ. We did our part. We went to college, did the extracurriculars and got thrown under a bus. We were told college would make a difference, and it didn’t. Instead, we were/are sacked with huge student loan debt. “So, when it comes to anything we have any type of agency over, we’re gonna do everything we can to do that. And occasionally you’re gonna get a little attitude. “Millennials are not one size fits all,” Redman continues. “There’s a wide range of experience between elder millennials who grew up without technology (adapting to technology later) and young adults who grew up with it.”

Could millennial ideas about employment result in a better work-life balance? (Photo Credit: Adobe Stock)



Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

In Redman’s current work environment, her manager is also a millennial. He is a year younger than her, and she describes him as “a very unique soul who gives back a lot.” For Redman, it is a situation that has worked out wonderfully. She admits that she is thrilled to have a manager like the one she does and enthusiastically shares a few experiences she hopes more employers will take note of, while emphasizing that the company CEO is a Baby Boomer. “My manager wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t have the atmosphere we did. Our company is run by Boomers, and our CEO walks around every day asking employees, ‘Are you ok, do you need anything, anything I can help with?’ It’s a very supportive working environment that is atypical.” In case you’re wondering what is so atypical, know that it is more than the congeniality of the CEO. Redman works for a company that actually encourages employees to take time off. There is a company policy that pretty much states, employees don’t have to request time off. “Unless you are M.I.A. for more than half a day, we don’t care – as long as the work is getting done. I request from everyone on a regular basis to tell me what their time off is going to be so I can put it on our shared calendar.” Wrapping up her thoughts on the topic, Redman asks a question and offers some advice to managers who are Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. “Why is it like that? If you can’t come up with a really good reason for why something is done a particular way and it can’t be done any other way, then you need to be ready to have a discussion about it and be open to change.” So, there you have it: Millennials, like all generations, are not a monolith. They are changing the workforce in numerous ways with independent short-term gigs, working remotely and working at jobs that allow them more freedom and autonomy. Either way, these jobs and workstyles are likely here to stay. : :


Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 | 2PM This seminar is open to anyone beginning the process of estate planning, but with a special emphasis on LGBTQ, immigrant and underserved populations. Enjoy refreshments and light appetizers while Connie Vetter, Attorney at Law, explains the legal ins and outs of estate planning for everyone and what marginalized groups need to know.

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

3800 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022




SNL Comedy Group Chooses Charlotte to Film New Movie Do you remember when Please Don’t Destroy creators Ben Marshall, John Higgins and Martin Herlihy were spotted filming in NoDa and we lost our collective minds? We have news, Charlotte: the movie producers are looking for local extras. During the last week of July, the Observer’s CharlotteFive reported seeing Marshall, Higgens and a stunt double roller skating down North Davidson and 36th streets to the beat of “Boys” by Lizzo for a scene in their upcoming Universal Studios film. The buddy comedy will feature the trio as three best friends who live and work together in a small town, according to an article by Vulture. They decide they don’t like the trajectory of their lives and then visit a nearby mountain to find a gold treasure rumored to be buried there, a representative recently confirmed.

Why Charlotte? Good news, fam: The entire movie will be filmed in Charlotte. “The movie is set in a place where we need to have access to mountains and towns,” executive producer for Apatow Productions Josh Church said. Filming in Charlotte allowed the crew to have a small town feel with access to South Mountain, Crowders Mountain and the city itself, Church said. He enjoys working in the city because everyone has been so welcoming to the film crews. “They were opening their businesses,” he said. “You just feel it when people are genuinely excited for you to be there.” During his time here, Church told us he has enjoyed eating at Haberdish in NoDa and at Optimist Hall. “When I want to just get a bite by myself, that is my go to — Optimist Hall,” he said.

Trump Reportedly Considers Third Run with Marjorie Taylor Greene for VP

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) has never shied away from her political ambitions. Now her ego is being boosted by supporters who would like former President Donald Trump to consider her as a running mate if he decides to run again in 2024. And Trump is reportedly seriously considering it. The self-described “Christian nationalist” congresswoman from Georgia has worshiped Trump throughout her political career, and she has served as the former president’s head cheerleader while he was in office. With a history of offensive and nonsensical comments, wild and obviously false claims, self-promotion and downright meanness, she is truly Trump’s political equal. So when she was greeted with shouts of “MTG for VP” when she arrived at Trump’s Bedminster golf course for a tour-



Please Don’t Destroy. “It’s

Filming in Charlotte allows the crew access to Crowders Mountain, South Mountain and the city. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

been refreshing to be working with them. They are so fun to work with,” Church added. “Their excitement and passion for this project is infectious.”

Looking for Extras Kimmie Stewart Casting recently put out a call for movie extras. If you are interested in being in movies, here’s your chance. Here is the information you’ll need to provide: a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination card, your name, age, phone

obsessions. “I’m not shy or hesitant about saying I believe he won the election in 2020. I totally believed it was rigged. I believe it was stolen. I objected on Jan. 6, and I would nament, she graciously aw-shucked her have objected again today and tomorrow way through conif I could. And I think servative reporters’ I can confidently questions. say he’ll win a third “I was amazed,” presidential election she told the in 2024,” she said. Washington “He is the leader Examiner. She did of the Republican not say that she was Party, no matter surprised; the DC what anyone says, rumor mill claims he flat-out is.” that the supporters Today Greene If Trump decides to run for office again, were planted by her hyped the speculacould Marjorie Taylor Greene be his VP campaign. tion, tweeting a phocandidate? (Photo Credit: Facebook) She added that to of herself with she’s “confident” FOX host Tucker that Trump will run Carlson and Trump after spending the weekend schmoozing with lyrics to a Drake song intended to with the former president and his sons. stoke further speculation. She made sure And she’d be happy to get the nod despite to retweet two other accounts cheering on grumblings within the party that it’s time her vague tweet. to move beyond Trump and his petty

More Details: What Is Monkeypox and How Dangerous Is It? Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. As of Aug. 3, there have been no deaths reported from the disease, though recovering individuals have confirmed the recovery process can be painful and unpleasant. Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. It was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. What are the symptoms of monkeypox? Symptoms of monkeypox can include: • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle back ache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. • A painful rash develops and goes through several stages including fluid and pus-filled blisters that eventually get crusty, scab over and fall off. The rash can appear on or around the genitals or on

What it’s Like to Work with Please Don’t Destroy? Church has been to the Queen City before. He was also producer of “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” a film also shot in Charlotte. And he’s got nothing but nice things to say about working with

other areas of your body like your hands, feet, chest, face or inside the mouth. • Monkeypox can spread to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. • The illness usually lasts two to four weeks. The images below show how the lesions may look as they develop, crust over and form scabs. How does someone “catch” monkeypox? Monkeypox spreads through different ways by close, physical contact. • Person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious sores or rash, scabs or body fluids. • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex. • Touching items (such as clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

number, height and weight, the city and state you live in, availability between now and August 30, a list of visible tattoos and piercings and the color, year, make and model of your vehicle. Send the information to pddextras@gmail.com and have a good time filming with Please Don’t Destroy if you’re chosen. This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer. Info: bit.ly/3JSUXgt — Lorenza Medley Greene spawned her weekly outrage last week when she claimed that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that gay men are spreading to children. She also said that since it only affects “some people,” Americans should mock the victims. Monkeypox is not an STI. Monkeypox spreads through close contact with someone infected with the MPXV virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the infection spreads through direct contact with MPXV rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with MPXV; indirect contact, i.e., by touching objects or surfaces that have been used previously by another individual with MPXV and through respiratory droplets and secretions. Although MPXV is not as infectious as COVID-19, more than 16,000 cases have been recorded worldwide, and the numbers continue to grow. This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. Info: bit.ly/3SOsEUq — Bil Browning

someone with monkeypox. • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta. How can I protect myself? • Ask your sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox. • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has The monkeypox virus as seen under a microscope. (Photo a rash or other monkeypoxCredit: Courtesy usage allowed by Air Force Medical Service related symptoms. • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with last exposure. If symptoms develop, monkeypox has used; do not share eating immediately self-isolate and call your utensils or cups and do not handle/touch healthcare provider for advice, testing and the bedding, towels or clothing of a person medical care. with monkeypox. Latest Monkeypox case count in the What do I do if I think I have monkeypox United States: or may have been exposed? • As of Aug. 2, 2022, there were 6,326 con• Isolate yourself away from others and firmed cases in the United States. contact your healthcare provider. This information was made available cour• If you were in close contact with sometesy of Pawnee Indian Health Services. one who has monkeypox, monitor Info: bit.ly/3PtWXwG yourself for symptoms and check your — Pawnee Indian Health temperature twice daily for 21 days after


Drinking in Public: Charlotte City Council Could Vote on Social Districts The Charlotte City Council is expected to decide this month whether to implement social districts, which would allow people in certain areas to drink alcohol socially in outdoor spaces. Council members have named Plaza Midwood, NoDa, South End and Ballantyne as areas that have shown interest in social districts. The city will hold a public forum during its council meeting Aug. 15 to hear from residents before voting on the districts the following week. Those interested in speaking during next week’s public hearing can sign up at charlottenc.gov on the city clerk’s page. Social districts are possible due to

House Bill 890, a measure allowing cities and counties to define outdoor spaces where people can legally drink alcoholic beverages bought from a state-permitted business. Social district supporters expect them to drive economic prosperity for the service, retail and tourism industries. It’s unclear whether most council members support creating social districts, as some are waiting to hear from the public before taking a public stance. Some council members said they want to add more rules for Charlotte’s social districts, including noise restrictions and proximity to residential areas.

HRC North Carolina Gala On hand for the 2022 HRC North Carolina Dinner and Silent Auction, held July 30, was long-term HRC member Joni Madison, who is currently serving as the HRC interim president. Guest performers for the evening’s presentation included the legendary Thelma Houston, a Grammy winning recording artist responsible for such hits as “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “”Saturday Night, Sunday Morning;” and Shea Diamond, a singer-songwriter and transgender rights activist who has received accolades for her Asylum Records EP “Seen It All,” and the single “I Am Her.” On the list of honorees: Michael R. Jackson, an American playwright, composer and lyricist best known for his musical “A Strange Loop,” which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2022 Tony award for Best Musical. Originally from Detroit, he was honored with the Visibility Award for his work with “A Strange Loop,” a stage production

that follows a young black queer writer known as Usher, who is writing a musical about a black queer writer writing a musical about a black queer writer. North Carolina’s state honoree, Shelly Schoenfeld, is a Charlotte based LGBTQ+ activist and credit review executive at Bank of America. A graduate of Miami University, she holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and has remained actively involved with Charlotte’s LGBTQ+ Community for the past 20 years. Currently she serves as the lead chair of the Plus Collective board of directors and previously served in a leadership role with the former artistic festival known as Out Charlotte. At BOA, she is an executive sponsor of the Carolinas chapter of the LGBTQ+ pride employee network and a member of the company’s LGBTQ+ executive leadership council. The recipient of the Dan Mauney Equality Award is the organization Hearts

Neighborhoods popular with the LGBTQ community like NODA may allow outdoor drinking regions. (Photo Credit: Facebook) If the council approves social districts later this month, it would not immediately create certain areas in the city where drinking outdoors is allowed. Local groups

United for Good, previously known as the Hearts Beat As One Foundation. Despite some financial and management challenges the organization has faced recently, Hearts United for Good was chosen for the many acts of service and positive accomplishments it has provided to the Charlotte Metro region’s LGBTQ+ community and others in need, which includes NC Activist Shelly Schoenfeld providing resources, was among those honored and assistance, items and Grammy winner Thelma Houston supplies. performed. (Photo Credit: This year’s presenFacebook) tation was held at the Le Méridien Hotel in center city Charlotte on McDowell Street. The theme for the event was “Join Us!” and presenting sponsor for the dinner was

Lindsey Graham Says He Won’t Support Respect for Marriage Act Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union recently, host Dana Bash asked South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham about Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who is one of the cosponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act. “I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion,” Graham said. “I have respect for South Carolina. South Carolina voters here I trust to define marriage and to deal with the issue of abortion and not nine people on the Court. That’s my view.” The Respect for Marriage Act would require states to recognize marriages performed in other states and the federal government to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed by states. The bill would not require states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or interracial couples.

Proponents of the bill say that it’s necessary now that the Supreme Court has started rolling back rights based on substantive due process, like the federal right to an abortion. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the Court should “reconsider” its ruling in favor of marriage equality in 2015. Bash asked Graham if he thought the Supreme Court should overturn Loving v. Virginia, the decision that legalized interracial marriage, and he said, “No, here’s the point. We’re talking about things that are not happening because you don’t want to talk about inflation, you don’t want to talk about crime.” He still made it clear that he’s against

or business owners would have to come to council to request permission to create a social district. Regulations for the districts at the state level include: Social districts must be set up with clear signs along streets and parks in defined areas. Bars and restaurants must provide social district-labeled cups. Alcoholic drinks must be purchased from ABC-permitted businesses within the social district. Drinks must be a maximum of 16 fluid ounces This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer. It has been edited per agreement for space constraints.. Info: bit.ly/3dxMmnk — Genna Contino and Catherine Muccigrosso

SC Senator Lindsey Graham who previously voted for DOMA, says no to Respect for Marriage Act (Photo Credit: CNN Screen Capture) federal legislation protecting marriage rights: “If you’re gonna ask me about the federal government taking over defining marriage, I’m gonna say no.”

Bank of America. North Carolina sponsors are as follows: Platinum sponsors: Compass, Honeywell, Lowe’s and Trane. Gold sponsors; Ally, Diageo, Food Lion, House Wine and Truist. Silver sponsors: Belk, Cargo Transporters, Cisco, Geico, K &L Gates and Synchrony. At the Bronze level sponsors were Cap Tech, Dawn Pugh Team Real Estate, Dudley’s Place, Fifth Third Bank, Live Laugh Love, Moore & Van Allen, NoDa, Novant Health, PNC, Queen City Animal Hospital, Silver Monkey, Troutman Pepper and Womble Bond Dickinson. — QNotes Staff

Despite his protests, Graham was actually in favor of the federal government telling states how to define marriage for the majority of his career. In 1996, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed by states. In 2006, he supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, which opponents said would unfairly trample on states’ rights by preventing liberal states from recognizing same-sex marriages. “I believe in the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman,” said Graham at the time. “Traditional marriage is an institution worth protecting and this amendment will accomplish that goal.” This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. https://bit.ly/3pkV6Qh

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022

— Alex Bollinger




Monkeypox Now Spreading in Mecklenburg County, Health Leaders Confirm COVID Infection Rates on the Rise as Well BY BLAKE DOUGLAS|CONTRIBUTING WRITER


ecklenburg County health leaders said Aug. 1 that transmission of monkeypox is accelerating locally for the first time. Total infections for the virus is trending upward, said Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington. As of Aug. 1, the county confirmed 33 cases of monkeypox in Mecklenburg — up from 12 cases on July 20. That’s an increase of 175 percent. “The trend we’re seeing right now is for new cases to double every three to four days roughly,” Washington said. The county Health Department has identified several incidents of community spread within Mecklenburg, according to Washington. Previously, contact tracing revealed all known infections originated from outside the county. Said Washington: “We expect case counts to continue to increase, at least in the short term.” Increased monkeypox transmission coincided with the county announcing Friday that it was upgraded to high COVID community spread level by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the heightened risk factor, Washington said he doesn’t expect the county to implement any mask mandates or other safety requirements.

Mecklenburg Getting More Monkeypox Vaccines Mecklenburg will receive an additional 2,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine the first week of August. Washington said there are 1,800 patients on the vaccination wait list. Since the monkeypox vaccination is a two-shot treatment, county officials should be able to vaccinate around 1,000 people with the new shipment. Most confirmed infections have been with gay or bisexual men, Washington said, but reiterated that anyone in close contact with an infected person can be infected themselves. “The most common myth we’ve been hearing is that monkeypox is exclusive to gay or bisexual men, and that’s frankly not true,” he said. “While local infections have been mostly impacting those networks, that’s not the only group that’s possible to be impacted.” To help proactively prevent infections, Washington said the department met with organizers of the upcoming Charlotte Pride festival several weeks ago to promote safety precautions. The county has also started campaigns on dating apps to raise awareness. Lessons learned during the COVID pandemic have helped the agency more quickly create a vaccination hotline and fine-tune contact tracing,

Washington said. On July 20, county health officials reported 12 cases of monkeypox in the county, which accounted for over half of the state’s 21 total cases. As of July 29, the CDC reported 53 total cases in North Carolina, with Mecklenburg accounting for 33 of those. Mecklenburg County announced its first case on June 27, four days after the state Health Department reported North Carolina’s first monkeypox infection in Haywood County. Rowan County identified its first case on July 15. The CDC has reported 5,189 active monkeypox cases in the U.S. as of July 29. No COVID Mask Enforcement Expected Although omicron subvariant BA.5 has surged to become the most common COVID variant in North Carolina, Washington said he doesn’t expect any mask “enforcement measures” to be implemented by the county. He encouraged people to continually reassess their risk factor and mask, wash their hands and stay distanced when appropriate. Mecklenburg joined Rowan, Cabarrus and Gaston counties last week after being upgraded to high community spread by the CDC. Iredell and Lincoln counties also are on the list for high community spread,

Mecklenburg county officials should be able to vaccinate around 1,000 people with the new shipment.(Photo Credit: Adobe Stock) while Union County remains at medium, as are York, Chester and Lancaster counties in South Carolina. Last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the seven-day average of patients hospitalized with COVID was 1,111. Five deaths were reported. Variant BA.5 makes up 58 percent of all cases reported in the state, according to the state health department. This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer.::

The Monkeypox Outbreak in North Carolina Where It Stands and What You Should Know BY JAMES BURRELL |CONTRIBUTING WRITER


orth Carolina has reported more than 70 cases of the virus so far, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health and Human Services and nearly half of the cases have been in Mecklenburg County. Monkeypox is a rare disease typically found in West and Central Africa. Before this year, most cases in the US have been associated with international travel. The disease often starts with flu-like symptoms and develops into a rash and skin lesions. Monkeypox is rarely fatal, although children and some people with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions can develop more severe illness, according to the World Health Organization. Men who have sex with other men have been the primary source of spreading and contracting the virus thus far, though monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. Black men, in particular, have been disproportionately affected. NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley recently emphasized that anyone can get infected and addressed the stigma surrounding gay men. “This is not a gay disease,” he said at a virtual town hall meeting last Thursday cosponsored by the department and the nonprofit advocacy group Equality NC. “Viruses don’t have a preference in different communities. And I see a health disparity… Right now, we have a dispro-



portionate outcome individuals to serve where only certain them.” groups are contracting The virtual town it. We want to solve hall also featured that and achieve a fair Dr. Victoria Mobley, outcome of no one an NCDHHS medical with monkeypox.” consultant and adjunct Kinsley also said professor of epidemithat the department ology at UNC Gillings wants to support those School of Global Public who are stigmatized Health. and make them not feel Though the virus afraid of who they are. can spread by personal, “We want to proskin-to-skin contact, NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley: vide culturally compeMobley provided ‘This is not a gay disease.’ tent care that doesn’t insight into how it can (Photo Credit: Facebook) further stigmatize or also spread through create shame around touching objects or normal parts of life,” other body parts. he said. “I believe us tackling this head-on “If you are known to have monkeyand being very transparent that there is pox or an unexplained rash, don’t share no shame in being sick and there is no items between individuals,” Mobley said. shame in sex is an important thing for us “Frequent hand washing is important. We to do and folks to hear from us as well.” touch our skin a lot when we have rashes Last week, NCDHHS further expanded that itch or hurt. We touch lesions and we eligibility for monkeypox vaccination. It has can transmit them to our fingers or other also been increasing awareness of the disparts of the body.” ease and the importance of getting tested. Mobley also gave details about vaccina“Our focus at the department and tion priorities. working with healthcare providers across “The first group would be individuals the state is to make sure we can wrap who have had close to intimate skin-tothe right prevention supports in the way of skin contact with someone with monkeyvaccines,” Kinsley said. “And other services, pox in the preceding 14 days,” she said. supports and access to testing around those “If you get vaccinated within the four days

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

after your exposure, the vaccine may prevent illness altogether from developing.” Those with jobs that deal with skin-toskin contacts, such as massage therapists, are also at a heightened risk. At least one case was from this form of exposure. Jynneos — the two-dose vaccine for monkeypox and smallpox — is currently being given statewide at several local health departments. Vaccination is free and based on the availability of the vaccine. The CDC reports that individuals who received a smallpox vaccination decades ago enjoy a measure of protection against monkeypox, though the protection “may not necessarily be lifelong.” It notes that some people previously vaccinated against smallpox have contracted monkeypox in the current outbreak and during another outbreak in 2003. The U.S. stopped providing vaccinations against smallpox in 1972 when the disease was declared to have been eradicated. As of Aug. 3, the CDC’s latest data shows there are 26,208 cases worldwide, with 6,616 of them in the United States. Most of them are in countries that have not historically reported monkeypox. This week, California joined Illinois and New York as the latest state to declare a state of emergency due to the outbreak. The World Health Organization also declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency on July 23. : :


Smallpox Vaccine Can Provide Immunity to Monkeypox

Those Vaccinated in Eradication Program Last Century May Have Immunity by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer


eginning in 1958 and continuing until 1977, the United States, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), initiated and ended a program to eradicate smallpox from the planet. When the program was completed and declared a success, the vaccinations came to an end. For everyone who received that vaccination, there’s a tell-tale sign: an oval shaped or round scar on the exterior bicep, typically on the right arm. For some people it can serve as an automatic identifier for youthful apearing Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. For those who received the vaccine, there’s an added bonus that was unexpected: potential immunity to the monkeypox virus. You heard that right. If you’re over 50, chances are you were vaccinated with the smallpox virus and carry some immunity to the current disease du jour. In some cases potentially as high as 85 percent. But not for everyone. The usual challenges

such as Angeles Times. health issues, “We pretty immune sysmuch stopped tem capability or halted the and age can smallpox vacfactor into cine programs, your potential and that immune poswas actually sibilities to enabling for monkeypox. monkeypox Some can to emerge be immune, among human while others populations will, at least, because imIndividuals vaccinated for smallpox before 1977 usually become munity was have this scar. There’s a good chance they have immunity less sick if wearing off.” to monkeypox, too. (CREDIT: Adobe) infected with the disease. According to Peter Hotez, co-director Monkeypox and smallpox are caused of the Center for Vaccine Development by orthopax viruses. The diseases are so at Texas Children’s Hospital and Dean of much alike the same vaccine is used to the National school of Tropical Medicine treat both viruses. Known as Jynneos, it at Baylor College of Medicine, the global is currently available for patients who are eradication of smallpox may have allowed considered to be at high risk of contracting a stronger hold and faster spread for the monkeypox virus. monkeypox. “Mecklenburg County is the epicenter “Monkeypox is believed to have beof monkeypox in North Carolina,” says come more prevalent after we stopped Wes Thompson, the director of HIV vaccinating populations against smallpox,” Medical Services at Amity Medical Group, Hotex said in an interview with the Los which frequently offers health treatment

services for men who have sex with men. As of August 5, the number of infected reported in Mecklenburg County was around 60. “Most of the people who have been infected with monkeypox are men who have sex with men,” Thompson explains. “Some of them identify as gay but not all.” Thompson says he believes the virus is transmitted through extended exposure to the bodily fluids of another individual who is infected. “This outbreak, which has spread across Europe and to the United States, has been traced back to a ... party in Ibiza,” he continues. As for individuals who were vaccinated during the smallpox eradication program, he concedes immunity is possible, but some limited immunity is more likely. “If someone became infected who had received that vaccine, they would probably be less ill, and fare better than individuals who had received no kind of treatment. Thompson confirms the vaccination is available at Amity Medical Group for patients who believe they are in a high risk category. For more details on vaccination, contact Amity Medical by phone at 704.208.4134 or visit their website. : :

Lab Techs Refusing To Draw Blood From Monkeypox Patients Experts Worry Stigma Could Prolong the Outbreak BY JOHN RUSSELL |CONTRIBUTING WRITER


echnicians at two of the largest commercial labs in the U.S. have been refusing to draw blood from suspected monkeypox patients. CNN confirms that phlebotomists at Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics are refusing to perform the tests that are both standard practice and necessary to identify the disease as well as differentiating between monkeypox and other STIs. It remains unclear whether the techs are refusing on their own or due to company policy. “The fact that this is happening is an echo of the earliest days of HIV,” says David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “This is a grave dereliction of duty.” “This reminds me of the days when people didn’t want to care for HIV patients,” said New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan. As of August 4, cases of monkeypox in the United States jumped 81 percent from the previous week, with the CDC reporting 6,326 cases as of August 2. Around the country the disease has spread mostly among men who have sex with men. Experts worry that the labs’ refusals to take blood from patients will contribute to

stigma and cians have discriminano reason to tion around fear taking monkeypox, blood from discouraging monkeypox those who patients may have as long as been exthey take posed from standard seeking precautions. treatment In a and contribstatement, uting to the Quest spread of spokesperthe outson Kim break. Gorode said “The fact that the lab CNN recently confirmed Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics have refused to perform tests that are standard practice. (Photo Credit: that phleis followScreen Capture) botomists ing “CDC are afraid of guidelines taking specithat state that patients with confirmed or mens makes it even more unappealing for suspected monkeypox infection should be someone to ask for a monkeypox test,” isolated. Once an individual is out of isolasays Chin-Hong, an infectious disease tion, we will provide service for them.” specialist at UCSF Health. However, CDC spokesperson Kristen “We can’t afford a delay in diagnostic Nordlund says that “CDC’s monkeypox testing because commercial labs aren’t isolation guidance specifically states that doing the right thing,” says Harvey. people should remain isolated, except to Diane Crawford, CEO of the National get medical care. Obtaining a sample for Phlebotomy Association says that techni-

testing is medical care that could lead to diagnosis or treatment if warranted.” In a subsequent email to CNN, Gorode said that Quest is revaluating its guidance “in light of updates posted on the CDC site.” Another spokesperson from the CDC said the only update was that the sentence about the isolation guidelines not applying to health-care settings was moved higher on the page. Labcorp president of diagnostics Dr. Brian Caveney said that the company is reviewing its policies on drawing blood from suspected monkeypox patients and that they are likely to change. Lack of testing capacity has been one of the factors contributing to the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. On Tuesday, the White House announced that testing capacity has expanded from 6,000 tests per week to over 80,000 tests per week. Meanwhile, far-right conservatives like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have already begun to stigmatize the disease with outlandish claims due to the outbreak among gay and bisexual men. This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. ::

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022




Pride’s Power Spiritual Reflections



hen I was young, a cartoon ran on Saturday mornings called the “Superfriends.” The twin superheroes would shout: “Wonder twin powers: Activate!” Their powers would then take different forms as they set out to claim victory. Imagine calling forth power and allowing it to travel in different forms on your path to victory. While superheroes may seem an element of fantasy, the ability to activate power lies in all of us. As we celebrate Pride this month, we have an opportunity to tap into the power of love and freedom within us, and find ways to affirm and awaken the same in others. Pride gives us the power to believe for those who don’t, and to live free for those who can’t. God has planted an arsenal of abilities within each of us that enables us to see and live the life we dream about. As children, we see glimpses of this power and make people smile as it manifests. As we approach adulthood, our power grows when we face challenges or when we observe the power and greatness of others. As children of the kingdom of God , we must see our potential for power and walk therein. As LGBTTQIA citizens, we must stand strong and authentic because our lives depend on it. Pride is not just a banner or parade; it’s a mindset. We hail



from transformative power voices like Bayard Rustin, Pauli Murray, Marsha Johnson, Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde and others, who gave our song of pride its lyrics. There is tremendous power in our individual melodies. I’ve always marveled at nature, at how grass grows in abundance, how flowers bloom without incident and how the elements command the universe. I’m even more amazed at how God’s creatures navigate the earth, never concerned about fate or famine, seemingly sure that they are worth being cared for. The power of Pride keeps hope for the future.

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

There are times when I look in my daughter’s eyes and see the spirit of the sparrow, where she knows that her loving mom will ensure that her needs are met. She has seen me in action long and well enough to trust that instinct. We must become like children and sparrows, where we believe that God will provide and work things out for our good. Take a moment during your day to watch a child run happily about, or to observe a bird flutter through the tree branches. That is the posture that we must embrace as “abundant life chasers,” where we trust the God that knows all about us to take

care of us. The wonderful thing about the free spirit of a child or the instinct of a sparrow is that the intimacy built into the relationship by the caregiver sustains them as life passes from day to day. God is bonded to you and cares about your wellbeing and success. In the center of these statements is another powerful message: You are. You are powerful and magnificent. Everything you need to be successful is within you, planted there when God made the executive decision to bring you into the earth realm. You have so much power in you that you may have to seek God for ways to manage it. The most beautiful thing about your power is that it’s tailor made just for you, and power doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Make a list of all of the things you love to do, and another list of all of the things that you wish to do. Take a deep breath, stand tall and declare that you have the power to achieve it all. You are a super power, not because of our humanity, but because of the divine power that God has placed within you. It is our divine light that activates the power we posess. Reconsider your purpose this month. How can you use your Pride power to free someone else? Have you decided what your Pride power is? : :


‘Blind Angels’ Docuseries Features North Carolinians

Durham Resident José Romero Talks About Life and HIV for me, because English wasn’t my first language. I know the challenges people can face.” It’s clear that Romero’s personal journey with HIV has had a strong impact on roduced by Courageous Studios and their career field and how they work with Gilead Sciences and initially shown on others who are also living with HIV. CNN, the six-part series “Blind Angels: “I was diagnosed in 2015,” they recall. A Series on HIV in the American South” “I am on medication, so that created a comtakes a look at how the virus continues to pletely new set of responsibilities in my life. impact the lives of LGBTQ individuals and [Being positive] has also helped me find others throughout the south in Alabama, joy in new ways, and to find new ways to Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, celebrate the power of the queer commuTennessee and Virginia. nity. When I was first diagnosed I felt like The film recently screened as part of I was running away, but now I feel like I’m the OutSouth Queer Film Festival in the running towards where I should be.” Raleigh-Durham area and is of particular Coinciding with HIV/AIDS Awareness importance beDay, Romero can’t cause of HIV/AIDS stress the imporAwareness Day on tance of being Aug. 20. The seventested for the virus part mini docuseany more emphatiries is available for cally. free streaming on “There’s power the CNN website in the knowledge,” at https://sponsorRomero explains. content.cnn.com/ “Consent is imporinteractive/Gilead/ tant. It’s important blindangels/#trailer. for you to know There’s no what your status question the face is and what your of HIV has changed partner’s status is, dramatically since and for them [to the virus was first know yours.] José Romero captured in a happy moment discovered in the “When we don’t during the production of ‘Blind Angels.’ early 1980s. What take care of our(CREDIT: Screen Capture) was once a disease selves, we limit the that found an opway we can take portune moment to care of each other. sink its hooks into When you find out you are HIV positive the largely white gay male communities you may think your sex life is over, but I in urban cities in New York and California think it means your sex life can get better! has since changed course, chiefly infectYou’re able to engage in sex in a transparing and impacting people of color, women ent manner.” and men who have sex with men (that As seen through the lens of the cammay identify as gay or not) in the Black era that shot the documentary, Romero is and Hispanic communities in the South. a busy individual. José Romero, who identifies with the In addition to tirelessly working as pronouns they/them, is just 30 years old an HIV advocate, Romero serves as a and lives in Durham. They are an HIV Spanish interpreter, a board member of advocate and a focal point of the North the LGBTQ Center in Durham, an active Carolina part of the documentary. member of Southerners On New Ground “I’ve been in Durham for eight years (SONG) and as the southern representanow,” says Romero. “It’s a special place tive for the national organization LGBTQ for me. I stayed out of love for the city. It Pride Foundation. feels like home.” Romero was approached by the proRomero confirms that their HIV ducers of “Blind Angels” while attending diagnosis coincided with the move to a conference for the Latino Commission Durham and confesses initially coming to on AIDS in 2019. “They had heard what the Research Triangle city of Durham to we were doing and wanted to know if we seek out a PhD in cultural anthropology. would be interested in participating. When Instead, they made the decision to work they came to Durham to investigate more, in the nonprofit sector with the LGBTQ that’s when it all kind of came together.” community and for people living with HIV. In each episode, a different activist is “There are so many people in the placed in the spotlight to demonstrate Latinx LGBTQ community that don’t how they work towards bringing HIV eduhave adequate access to healthcare,” cation, prevention and awareness to their Romero explains. “And there are many own specific communities. factors that can cause that. Barriers to If you’re interested in watching the transportation, which leads to barriers seven-part mini docuseries, it’s available to getting medication. Then there can be as previously mentioned on the CNN weblanguage barriers, especially if you don’t site, and on the gileadhiv.com website. speak English. Supporting others through https://sponsorcontent.cnn.com/interactive/Gilead/blindangels/#trailer. : : language work is especially important

by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer



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Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022




Pride Pixies Aims to Change the World Through Inclusivity Pride Journey



Equality NC Crew! #ENCCrew equalitync.org/membership



aylor Diamond-Vizcaino is the Founder and CEO of True Dream Vision, a company that is introducing the world to Pride Pixies, a series of NFTs created to change the lives of others for the better through activism, support, inclusivity, acceptance and representation. The company wants to see people in the LGBTQ community succeed financially, emotionally, physically and culturally. A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a financial asset consisting of digital data and intellectual property stored on the blockchain such as video, photos, film and art. Recorded ownership of this asset is stored on the blockchain for the world to see. “The enactment of the Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ appeared to be designed to marginalize, vilify and set back humans rights for the LGBTQ community,” states Diamond-Vizcaino. “I utilized the evolution of technology as a method for change, activism and social awareness. Society has already built foundations to fight this bill, but now through the power of blockchain, we can remove censorship through an im-

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

mutable distributed ledger and support those that haven’t had the education and freedom to search for their identity without prejudice.” Born in South Florida, DiamondVizcaino was the child of teen parents and raised by what she calls a village of independent youngsters. “Growing up in a Latin household to young parents instilled in me a sense of responsibility and independence. My upbringing allowed me to have room to grow and be creative, but still feel responsibility and a sense of duty.” Nearly every member of her family was a teacher, artist, or entrepreneur. Throughout high school, she was taught leadership and perseverance through the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and was presented an award for her outstanding leadership within the district. After high school, Diamond-Vizcaino relocated to Orlando, where she studied medical and cultural anthropology and sociology at the University of Central Florida. “During these years, I built a new support team with my co-workers while working as a lifeguard. Orlando granted me the opportunity to meet individuals from all over the world searching for their community while I searched for mine. With an anthropology degree and my knowledge of medicine, I began to turn my focus back onto society. At this time in my life, I was sure about my sexuality – as a bisexual woman. I started to educate myself more on the labels and conservative thoughts about marginalized people.” Diamond-Vizcaino grew to embrace her creative side by selling custom prints, designs and apparel on online marketplaces. Not only was she filling her need to be creative, but she figured out a way to help the community. NFTs first hit her radar in early 2020 and her instant thought was to merge her creative passions with technology. “Since technology is rapidly evolving, I called upon my father (a long-term Cryptocurrency investor) to provide me insight into cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and the monetization of intellectual property. The ability for creators to monetize their own intellectual property from videos, photos art, music, film, memberships really had me thinking about how I can serve more of a humanitarian purpose in this world for good.” She realized that creators, visionaries and people of all backgrounds now have the opportunity to utilize this technology as a humanitarian effort for social change. It was at that moment, Diamond-Vizcaino created Pride Pixies.

NFTs allow their buyer to say they own the original copy of a digital file in the same way you might own the original copy of a piece of physical art. An NFT creates a chain of title and a certificate of authenticity that you couldn’t attain in today’s system. Among some benefits of owning an NFT, owners can obtain special rewards, or an authentic certificate of admission to an event, preventing counterfeit items. “The industry’s biggest challenges are lack of inclusivity, the lack of education, and friction in the NFT and crypto markets. We are addressing these challenges by building an inclusive community, donating 5% of our profits to Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Ofrezco. org to support marginalized people and women in tech. We are developing the first animated non-binary series of NFT’s, the first non-binary play-to-earn video game, and building an NFT/DeFi platform with ease-of-access to enter the market as well as supplying tutorials and webinars to educate all.” There has never been a time in a creator’s life when they could monetize their intellectual property for life in perpetuity. Creators now have the ability to program a smart contract built into the NFT that can pay royalties to the creator of the NFT for life as long as the NFT trades on the open market. “These royalties can be used to fund educational events, be used to donate to human rights activism, support women in tech, develop and build out more an animated series, film or video game.” Pride Pixies NFT was originally set to Mint on June 1, 2022, but due to the recent volatile market conditions and inflation Diamond-Vizcaino decided internally to postpone our mint date to June 1, 2023, allowing for more time to promote Pride Pixies, increase their engagement for a larger community and to continue developing the items on their roadmap. Diamond-Vizcaino will only offer 10,557 Pride Pixies NFTs, so the limited-edition supply will surely be in-demand. “Change is evolutionary and the impact we make is one that sets the path for the new visionaries of the world.” For more information, visit www.pridepixies.com. : :


DeLesslin George-Warren Considers Himself a Pollinator Bee on the Catawba River

Queer Artist, Researcher and Organizer From Catawba Nation Weaves Past and Present to Sustain Community BY SAM CARNES|QUEENS UNIVERSITY NEWS SERVICE


n an environment marked by disappearing lakes and rising wildfires, DeLesslin George-Warren believes the people of the Catawba Nation raise an existential question: How do you create a society that lasts 6,000 years? “What we’re doing is reclaiming, revitalizing and reweaving our culture,” said DeLesslin George-Warren, a citizen of the Catawba Nation near Rock Hill. He is an organizer, educator and researcher of the tribe who call themselves the people of the river. The Catawba River flows through 26 counties in the Carolinas, provides drinking water for more than two million people and generates electricity for nearly three million residents, according to the Catawba Riverkeeper organization. “Our ancestors survived here for at least 6,000 years, therefore, something had to work. You can’t survive 6,000 years on an unworkable system,” GeorgeWarren said in a recent interview. He’ll turn 31 in late August and has served as a diplomatic polymath for at

DeLesslin George-Warren. (Photo Credit: George-Warren) least a decade, translating across diverse fields that include gender identity, art, music, food, language, technology and culture. In the last four years he’s led programs to strengthen the food sovereignty of the Catawba Nation and the

development of an app to teach the Catawba language. George-Warren has used tours of presidential portraits in the National Portrait Gallery to teach Native American history, and once created an art installation in Washington with 15 pounds of red glitter. “We’re in the middle of a crisis, particularly around climate,” GeorgeWarren said. His travel and study has shown him that social issues and climate issues are intertwined.

The Catawba River provides drinking water for more than 2 million people and generates electricity for nearly 3 million residents (Photo Credit: William Jugle) Where Do You Change the World? George-Warren where his grandfather was assistant chief Catawbas other than South Carolina is was born in Atlanta for almost 30 years. Utah,” he said. “Most of the tribe are and spent a lot of time growing up on the “What I think my role is, is more of a members of the Church of Jesus Christ of reservation when his mother – who helped pollinator, like a bee,” he said, “showing up Latter-day Saints.” restore the federal status of the Catawba and helping to solve problems.” Nation – was serving as tribal administraHis aunt wrote that their ancestors Preserving the River tor. He studied music and art at Vanderbilt lived off the land, but knew they couldn’t Other programs of the cultural center University, graduated in 2014, and spent live without the land. They continue to include preserving plant life and original a couple of years in Washington before practice land stewardship, crop rotation, aspects of the Catawba River. The Yehasuri returning to the reservation. revitalizing culturally relevant plants and Trail on the reservation dates back to 1810 “I really remembered why I left Rock teaching gardening classes. Dance and and leads to one of the river’s only two Hill in the first place after I moved to D.C.,” pottery classes focus youth on environexisting free-flowing sections. Along the he said. “I wanted to change the world, but mental issues. trail, plant communities are untouched, realized that doesn’t happen in D.C.” including oak, hickory and pine trees. He now volunteers and consults at the Clay From an Ancient Source “We are looking at our past, we are Catawba Cultural Center, which protects, “Our pottery is dug from the very clay looking at our present,” he said. “We are preserves, promotes and maintains the hole site our ancestors dug from, so contrying to weave them together into a cultural heritage of the Catawba Nation. servation and stewardship is being taught culture that can hold us and sustain us for His aunt, Wenonah Haire, the center’s to protect this site,” Haire wrote. another 6,000 years.” director, wrote recently in an email that While George-Warren focuses on the Sam Carnes is a student in the James L. George-Warren has been a part of tribal Catawba community in South Carolina Knight School of Communication at Queens work “since he was a little tot.” near the reservation, he said the rest of University of Charlotte, which provides the the Catawba population – around 3,500 The Role of a Bee news service in support of local community citizens – is scattered around the world. George-Warren considers himself lucky news. Her summer work is supported by the “One of the biggest places to find to have grown up in the tribal community, James E. Rogers Research Program. ::

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022




Better Than Ever An Interview with Philip Dean Walker

by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer


f you enjoyed DC-based gay writer Philip Dean Walker’s 2016 debut short story collection “At Danceteria and Other Stories,” then you’ll find even more to love in his new book “Better Davis” and other stories (Squares & Rebels, 2021). Closely related to its predecessor, “Better Davis,” Walker’s third book, contains six short stories consisting of fictionalized situations involving characters whose names will be familiar to many readers. In “Very Special Episode,” for example, actor Jim J. Bullock deals with a health crisis. “Elizabeth/ Regina” takes readers back to 1981 when Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton performed in a pre-Broadway production of Lillian Hellman’s” The Little Foxes” at The Kennedy Center. Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Michael Bennett is the main character of the story titled “The Line.” Philip was kind enough to make time in his schedule to answer a few questions about his writing. Gregg Shapiro: Your first book, At Danceteria and Other Stories,” was published in 2016. What was the experience of having your debut short story collection in print like for you? Philip Dean Walker: I made the final edits to “At Danceteria” at the beginning of the 2016 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. The first proof copy then arrived from my publisher delivered to me on the mountain just in time for me to read from it at the final Blue Parlor Reading, which is a big Bread Loaf tradition. So, it was kind of a perfect way to debut myself as a writer. I was so excited to actually be holding my first book - it was a thrilling moment and felt even more fitting to be having it at a Middlebury College campus as that is my alma mater. GS: “Better Davis and Other Stories” (Squares & Rebels, 2021), your new book, is dedicated to the late, gay writer and educator Richard McCann. Please say something about him and his influence on your work. PDW: Richard was a huge mentor for me in grad school and became a very good friend. I still can’t believe he’s even gone, such is Richard’s behemoth. I cannot say enough about the fearlessness, the zest for friendship and life, the pure honesty of writing — all of that Richard inspired in me. Richard was one of the finest writers of our time and his loss is a profound one. He was so charismatic and generous. One of the characters in “Better Davis” is loosely based on Richard, something I was able to share with him before his unexpected death. GS: “Better Davis and Other Stories,” which is your third short story collection, is linked to “At Danceteria.” Did you know at the time that you were writing “At Danceteria,” that there would be a second collection in the same vein? PDW: The short answer to that is no, although I did actually start the story “The Line” which closes “Better Davis,” three months before “At Danceteria” came out.



My publisher, Raymond Luczak, suggested that we do another collection, and I did have some ideas clunking around in my head for additional stories. GS: Both “Better Davis” and “At Danceteria” consist of short stories about familiar celebrities. Please say something about how you select subjects for your stories. PDW: The subject matter of my stories comes to me very organically and can be led back to something as simple as a small paragraph in a biography or watching an old movie. GS: How much research is involved in your writing process? PDW: For these stories, the research is pretty heavy. I don’t feel like I can write these characters until I’ve located the essential beingness of them, which is some-

Aug. 19 - Sept. 01, 2022

thing that has no definable timeframe. The research felt like all that practice you go through before a big race. As soon as the proverbial gun goes off, you almost aren’t even thinking anymore, just doing the writing. GS: Some of the stories in “Better Davis” feature living people, including Jim J. Bullock, Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. Are you at all concerned about repercussions? PDW: My book is a work of fiction. Even though famous people or celebrities (dead and alive) may appear as characters in the book, their actions or dialogue should not be construed as factual or historical truths. GS: Do you know if Jim J. Bullock, for example, knows about the story “Very Special Episode”?

PDW: I don’t know if he has or not. I am a big fan of his, so I would love for him to. Although, as I said previously, the character in that story is very much a “character” and is not supposed to be him in any real, biographical way. GS: Because of the mainly 1980s settings of the stories in “Better Davis,” AIDS features prominently. Other gay writers, including James Magruder, Bryan Washington and David Leavitt, have also included the subject of AIDS in their recent novels. Please say something about the importance of continuing to include AIDS in your work. PDW: I always wanted to tell a larger story in this collection about the titanic cultural watershed that AIDS was for this community. But, also, I wanted to show the small ways that it had a huge effect on the way we lived. The ways in which the disease democratized everyone –created, in a way, a level playing field where everyone was at some risk, obviously the gay world with which I deal directly in the book. GS: Even though the stories in “Better Davis” are all stand-alone pieces, I noticed that there were threads that connected them in this way – The World According to Garp is mentioned in two stories “Very Special Episode” and “Gay Nineties,” Natalie Wood appears in both “Brainstorm” and “Better Davis,” while Maureen Stapleton can be found in “Elizabeth/Regina” and “The Line.” Please say something about that device. PDW: The big difference between the writing of the two books is that, for “Better Davis,” I actually knew that it would be a book. More than half of “At Danceteria” was comprised of stand-alone stories that I had been publishing one after the other in a gay men’s fiction journal called Jonathan. And because BD was conceived as a linked collection, there are some characters who get to jump around the book, as you noted. There are also certain Easter eggs planted for anyone who’s looking. You might be the first person who’s mentioned the Garp one. GS: Chalk it up to being OCD, I guess. If there was a movie made of one of the stories in “Better Davis,” which one would you want it to be and why? And who would you want to play the lead? PDW: I think a limited series format would work best for an adaptation of this book. I’ve actually envisioned, in my head, how some of this could be brought to the screen. I’d love to see what Natalie Portman could do with the role of Natalie Wood in the story “Brainstorm” which takes place on the last night of Natalie’s life. GS: Finally, is there a third book in the series in the works? PDW: There isn’t currently. I’m actually working on my first novel. But I never say never. I feel like I’ve told the stories of this era that I needed to tell for now, but there’s always the possibility that I could revisit. I was very happy with how “Better Davis” turned out, so it’s certainly a possibility. : :


Our People: Riley Murray

Charlotte Pride VP Shares Thoughts On Love, Life and LGBT History BY L’MONIQUE KING QNOTES STAFF WRITER


iley Murray is a self-identified butch lesbian Gen Xer who has been living in the Charlotte area since 2005. Originally from Santa Barbara, Calif., she ended up in Charlotte as a result of a mixture of things, she offers. “But the biggest thing was [when] I came out here for work. Flying in during the fall, it was so beautiful. Plus, I’ve always been a bit of a nomad and this felt like home.” With that, the Charlotte area (living in Kannapolis for two years and later moving to Charlotte) became home for her and her children. “I have two daughters,” she beamed. “They were teenagers at the time. They’re grown now, 30 and 33 years old. They both have four children [ranging in age from two to 13 years old].” These days, Murray is a grandparent, raising one grandchild who lives with her, while continuing to be a vital member of our community. In 2007 Murray married her wife Dee for the first time. “And then we did it [again] legally in 2015, the year it became legal in all states. We were married that very week,” she recalls happily. “I met her at church. I joined the church choir to meet girls. I figured if I sat in the choir, I’d get to see everyone walking in. The funny thing is, another girl took me there.” Murray paused for a moment before bursting into laughter “Actually, all I know was that God led me to that church to meet my wife. When we finally got together, we dated for three months before I got the nerve to kiss her. She was fragile [having recently lost her partner] and special. I knew she was special and I knew I wanted more out of this relationship than just a roll in the hay – so I gave her time to heal, time for us to get to know each other better.” Easygoing, charming and devoted to her wife, Murray is at ease talking about love, her involvement with Charlotte Pride and her quest to find comfort and acceptance with her ethnic identity. Early on during our interview, however, Murray made it clear she wasn’t in the mood to talk about infectious plagues or politics. “Ask me anything, ask away, but I don’t wanna’ talk about COVID, monkeypox or politics, that’s not me. I know a lot about it – I just don’t want to talk about it. Doesn’t mean I’m an asshole, just means I don’t wanna talk about it.” So, we didn’t. Instead, we continued to delve into some very interesting aspects of Murray’s life we couldn’t help but share with you. Murray is currently Vice President of Charlotte Pride, but she wasn’t always. “I’ve been with Charlotte Pride since 2005 [when the organization’s name was Pride Charlotte] doing logistics. So, in other words, I ordered stages, tables and chairs, assisted with the layout and made sure that the food vendor [we only had one back then] was placed appropriately. Everything you see at the festival; I do all that. For a long time, it was just me, we didn’t have staff back then. Now we have staff, so now I have help and I do more of

Riley Murray is Vice President of Charlotte Pride. (CREDIT: Dee Murray) signing off on invoices and providing oversight. Today, I’m the VP of Charlotte Pride. I’m in charge of the parade but I’m behind the scenes.” In two years, it will be two decades that Murray has worked with Charlotte Pride – as the organization’s mission statement says – assisting in the mission of “creating programs and activities to enrich, empower, strengthen and make visible the unique lives and experiences of LGBTQ people in Charlotte and the Carolinas.” In the meantime, Murray is actively preparing to pass the torch by training people to take her place. “Hopefully they do it bigger and better than I did.” When Murray isn’t working on a Pride event, she makes her livelihood as a supply chain supervisor. “I’m in logistics,” she said with glee. “It’s my happy place.” But what about those buzz words [acceptance with her ethnic identity] you’re probably still waiting to learn more about? No worries, we didn’t forget. For anyone with a staunch need to categorize or identify individuals by race or ethnicity, Murray’s visual appearance may present a challenge. Even she acknowledges she felt the need to embark on her own personal journey of self-discovery. “I was adopted, my parents are white – so for most of my life I identified as white though I was always told I was Black. My dad was superintendent of schools

and I was in a program called Upward Bound. During the summers, I lived with Black teachers and counselors because my parents wanted me to know my culture – things they couldn’t teach or just didn’t know. It wasn’t until I moved to the South that I was “told” by Black people that I was Black. At that time, I wasn’t ready for that chapter, the next step in my life [was] finding out who I am…ethnically. [I’ve since learned that] technically, I am bi-racial. Fifty percent Black, and fifty percent white. So now I embrace who I am. Do I still struggle? Yes, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, I’m human and we all bleed the same way.” So, what does matter to Murray? Her wife. If you ask Murray what makes her smile, she points to her wife without skipping a beat. She also shared her experience with another journey – the road to finding sobriety. “I’m five years sober this year,” she says. “I started on that road Aug. 17, five years ago, when I went to Vegas to get sober. I was probably an active alcoholic for two years – but drank for five years.” Wait, Vegas to dry out?! “Yes. Vegas has the biggest sobriety block, as large as a New York City square block of NA, Tweekers Anonymous, AA, just about everything,” she

explains. Murray continues with a message she hopes will resonate with the many who are struggling to find their way back from substance abuse issues. “Everybody hits a bump. It is okay to hit bumps, and you can still be successful after – there is light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re in that tunnel, you can’t see it, but I’m proof, I’m now on the other side of it. There are a lot of people who drink alcoholically in our community and I want them to know, it’s okay to reach out for help.” When wrapping up our latest installment of Our People, if we’re talking to a senior member of the community it’s not uncommon that we ask our interviewee to share a few words of wisdom for the younger set. Murray decided to touch on a topic many older LGBT community members carefully avoid and others just don’t want to argue about. “Stop using the Queer word,” Murray says. “Generations [before you] have fought hard for the word not to be used. When I look at my generation and generations before me, I can’t forget – that’s what was said, screamed, as they were getting the shit kicked out of them. There’s been too much hate, too much hurt connected to the word Queer and you can’t erase it. [For me] there’s just no way you can take that back.” : :

Aug 19.- Sept. 01, 2022



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