Qnotes September 30, 2022

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LGBTQ Local News, Voices and Community

SEPT. 30- OCT. 13, 2022|VOL 37 NO 12 Printed On Recycled Paper

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A Look at the Palmetto State’s LGBTQ Culture

Former Planned Parenthood Executive and Obama Campaign Advisor

Kelley Robinson named HRC

President

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-pg 11 Finding Workplace Equity Interview with SC’s legendary LGBTQ through the Carolinas ally Harriet Hancock LGBT+ Chamber -pg 10 -pg 16 Sept. 30 - Oct. 13, 2022

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inside this issue

Sept. 30 - Oct. 13, 2022 Vol 37 No 12

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contributors this issue

Writers: Anne Blythe, Alex Bollinger, Josh Burford, Genna Contino, Fiona Dawson, John Gallagher, L’Monique King, David Aaron Moore, Zachary Porfiris, Cameron Pruette, Chris Rudisill, John Russell, Terri Schlichenmeyer

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The focus of QNotes is to serve the LGBTQ and straight ally communities of the Charlotte region, North Carolina and beyond, by featuring arts, entertainment, news and views content in print and online that directly enlightens, informs and engages the readers about LGBTQ life and social justice issues. Pride Publishing & Typesetting, Inc., dba Qnotes P.O. Box 221841, Charlotte, NC 28222 ph 704.531.9988 fx 704.531.1361 Publisher: Jim Yarbrough Sales: x201 adsales@qnotescarolinas.com Nat’l Sales: Rivendell Media, ph 212.242.6863 Managing Editor: Jim Yarbrough, x201, editor@qnotescarolinas.com Digital & Audience Engagement Editor: Chris Rudisill chrisrudisill@qnotecarolinas.com Sr. Content Editor: David Aaron Moore, specialassignments@qnotescarolinas Copy Editor: Bailey Sides Production: Tommie Pressley, x205, production@qnotescarolinas.com

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.

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Workplace equity in Charlotte

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Biden administration hosts first bisexual round table equity meeting LGBTQ winners sweep the 2022 Emmys Union County Pride denies Monroe town council’s request to age restrict Drag Queen Story Hour NC Lt. Governor sets stage for gubernatorial run HRC announces Kelley Robinson as new president

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Out in Print: Before We Were Trans

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F CUS South Carolina 15

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Historic Columbia Archives detail the LGBTQ experiences of the region Getting to know Columbia’s legendary Harriet Hancock ‘Famously Hot’ SC Pride is an event not to be missed HIV/AIDS Clinics & Organizations in South Carolina Greenville County SC GOP wants to ban books with LGBTQ content South Carolina Gay Bars and Clubs Our People: Interview with SC PridePresident Jeff March

Historic S.C. State Capital

Natasha Bedingfield at Pride

Health and Wellness: Shifting strategies for Monkeypox vaccines in Charlotte and the state

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Queer Conference makes LGBTQ history accessible Republicans would rather commit electoral suicide than protect marriage equality Qnotes Democracy: Our rights at risk NC Republican candidate targets Charlotte drag queen event with ‘call to action’ Pride is a reminder to celebrate our journey and protect our future

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Queer Conference makes LGBTQ history accessible OpEd

By Josh Burford |Contributing Writer

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fter what seems an eternity of global pandemics, social upheaval, and constant economic pressure, the second convening of the Queer History South conference begins in Dallas at the end of September. I remember talking with friend and colleague Barbara Lau at the Pauli Murray Center at Duke in 2014 about how difficult the work of locating Queer history was for the both of us. After several cups of coffee and a laundry list of connections between the both of us, we decided to try and gather people together to see if it would be possible to work together to make LGBTQ history more accessible to Queer people from all over the South. And then, North Carolina’s very conservative legislature decided it would be a great time to discriminate against our trans siblings. I imagined that the ephemeral effort to make this important meeting happen would disappear, never to be seen again. Then, in late 2018 my colleague and co-founder of Invisible Histories Project Maigen Sullivan, and I started talking about what a great idea this conference would be if we could pull it together. Our work with Invisible Histories Project is to locate, preserve, exhibit, and research LGBTQ Southern History. This conference seemed like the perfect place to bring our burgeoning network of people together to see if the work could expand. Four months and many stressful days later, we brought

together 120 practitioners of LGBTQ history from all over the South. The conference was old school, grassroots, with borrowed equipment, food discounts provided by friends, lots of volunteers, and the excitement of what this conference could mean for all of us. We had academics from large state schools, archivists working in rural communities, undergraduate students with a passion for the work, and a host of community people who came to share their stories, their wins and losses, and individuals who had been working on their own in their own communities to preserve stories of friends, lovers, lost family members, and joys they had experienced. What we learned from the first Queer History South is that when siloed and alone, the work was rewarding, but difficult. When we were all together these stories of difficulty became points of connection that bonded us across state lines and occupations. Together we had the power of experience, knowledge of our own communities, the desire to trade information and support, and the drive to see our work not only continue, but grow into something that we couldn’t even imagine. People from rural West Virginia, Atlanta, coastal North Carolina, the Texas plains, and the bayous of Louisiana had more than just shared struggle, we had the gift of a piece of the puzzle and the desire to put all the pieces together to

support work in places that we had never heard of. In a way, Queer History South became an anti-conference because we wanted to make a place that was open to everyone regardless of economic status, university affiliation or years in the field. We wanted a place to share the work and push each other to think critically and act efficiently to make sure that not one more story was lost to the passage of time. What we all had in common was an understanding of how powerful the work was that we were doing and that by doing it together, we all came one step closer to our goal of making history of LGBTQ people across the South that much more accessible for everyone. What started as a conversation between two colleagues in 2014 at a coffee shop in Durham has grown to become a network of over 500 people who seek to preserve, challenge and protect the ever-evolving history of the LGBTQ South. Queer History South isn’t just a conference to congratulate ourselves on our hard work; this convening is a chance to share the work and to inspire people with any interest in the Queer South. Queer History South is a way to push back against the notion that there isn’t a LGBTQ history of the American South. We have grown from a very modest group of people meeting in Birmingham to this year’s conference being held in one of the largest cities in Texas. Our trip to Dallas

this year marks a next step in our shared vision to keep the network alive with ideas, to shore up those people who need help, and to challenge the next generation of Queer scholars to dream a future that includes our history and our liberation. Having a large Queer conference in this climate in a state like Texas seems risky to some, but for us, we see it as a nod to what we have always done as Queer Southerners. We are taking back space that we already inhabit and showing how powerful we are when we all come together with a shared vision. I hope that as Queer History South continues to grow we will pick up people all along the way. Who knows? Perhaps Charlotte would become a host for a future conference, and that dream manifested in a coffee shop in Durham will come true, just a few years later than we planned. Josh Burford is a co-founder and Lead Archivist for the Invisible Histories Project based in Birmingham, Ala. IHP is working in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Florida panhandle to preserve LGBTQ Southern History. Josh lived in Charlotte for seven years and helped to build the King-Henry-Brockington Collection of Charlotte’s LGBTQ history that now resides in the J. Murray Atkins Special Collections Library at UNC Charlotte. This archival collection is open to the public, so please visit anytime. : :

Republicans would rather commit electoral suicide than protect marriage equality

GOP support for the Respect for Marriage Act is eroding even as Sen. Chuck Schumer schedules a vote

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ven as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is preparing to call for a vote to enshrine same-sex marriage as law, the prospects for its success are dwindling. Thanks to the Senate’s arcane (and racist) filibuster rules, ten Republican senators would have to sign on to the measure in order for it to succeed. Right now, that’s looking like a very iffy proposition. When the House voted on the Respect for Marriage Act in July, a surprisingly large number of Republicans – 47 – joined Democrats to pass the bill. The bipartisan nature of the margin led to widespread speculation that the measure would garner similar support in the Senate. At first, that seemed to be the case. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t take a strong stand against the bill. The number two ranking Republican, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) appeared equally unconcerned about how his colleagues voted. “As you saw, there was a fairly significant vote — bipartisan vote — last night in the House of Representatives,” Thune said following the House vote. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case in the Senate.” Much of the focus has been on Sen.

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By John Gallagher | Contributing Writer

Ron Johnson (R-WI). (DOMA), which His fellow senator, was rendered out lesbian Tammy moot by that Baldwin (D-WI), is Obergefell leading the charge ruling, from in the chamber for the books. If the bill’s passage. Obergefell was At first, Johnson overturned, said he didn’t “see DOMA would any reason to opgo back into pose” the legislaeffect. tion. Johnson’s But within a reversal is an Marriage Equality appears to be in danger with lack of month, he changed indication that GOP Support. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock his tune. Republicans “This is just feel they have Democrats, you know, opening up a to double down on culture war issues, wound that had really healed,” he said. no matter how unpopular they are. As an “I’ve always been supportive of civil incumbent in a tough re-election fight, unions. The Supreme Court ruled on gay Johnson could easily decide that voting to marriage and it’s, ‘Okay, that’s the decipreserve marriage equality was a simple sion. Let’s move on.’” way to curry favor with more moderate Of course, the fact that the measure voters. Instead, he realized that in today’s is needed at all is because Supreme GOP, anything pro-LGBTQ is off-brand. Court Justice Clarence Thomas specifiYou would have thought that cally called out Obergefell v. Hodges, the Republicans would have learned their ruling that legalized marriage equality, to lesson after the Supreme Court’s aborbe overturned in his concurring opinion tion ruling. The immense unpopularity on Court’s ruling banning abortion. The of removing a nearly 50-year-old right Respect for Marriage Act would remove motivated Democratic voters so much that the federal Defense of Marriage Act suddenly Republicans have been on the

Sept. 30-Oct. 13. , 2022

defensive. Marriage equality is also very popular among voters, and Republicans’ refusal to support it would be another reminder to voters just prior to the election that the party is wildly out of step with most of society. In terms of political strategy, it’s incredibly stupid. However, if nothing else, Republicans are consistent. The party of Trumpism, Don’t Say Gay, and groomer accusations can’t afford to be seen to be betraying its base. Certainly, the Christian right made this very point. Immediately after the House vote, Family Research Council Action threatened to fund primary challengers for the 47 Republicans who voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group fighting LGBTQ rights, sent a letter to McConnell signed by 80 religious right leaders, condemning the legislation as an “attack on millions of Americans.” Those are the voters the GOP has to worry about the most. The fact that they don’t make up a majority of Americans is a problem, of course. But then again, that’s where all the voter suppression efforts come in handy. This story appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. ::


views Our rights at risk

Voting is key to securing our freedoms By Cameron Pruette | Staff Writer

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lection Day is fast approaching. Voters across North Carolina will head to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, but the voting season officially kicked off earlier this month. County boards of elections started mailing out ballots as early as September 9, and over 5,000 voters have already cast their absentee ballot by mail. Voting by mail is one of the secure options to make your voice heard in this critical election. Any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot via the North Carolina Board of Elections portal at votebymail.ncsbe. gov. While the deadline to do so is Tuesday, November 1, it is highly recommended to request your absentee ballot now to avoid any potential delays in sending or receiving mail. Want to vote in person? In-person early voting begins on Thursday, October 20 and ends on Saturday, November 5. Locations and times will vary by county. If you miss the October 14 registration deadline you can register and vote on the same day during early voting. Eligible voters may also update their address during this period, aptly called “One Stop Early Voting.” Unlike on Election Day, you may vote at any open polling location in your county during One Stop Early Voting. Early voting sites and schedules are posted to the One-Stop Early Voting Site Search at vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/. Election Day Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8. Set by the Federal Government, the general election date is always the Tuesday following the first Monday in the month of November. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and voters must vote in person at their assigned precinct. The most important take-away is that you need to make a plan to vote now. Regardless of where you live in the U.S., you can use vote.org to find

everything you need to know to plan for election day, including checking to make sure you are registered, locating your polling place and tracking your ballot. You can even sign up for election reminders.

believe the actual number of threats to be higher as many go unreported to federal agencies. Election workers, poll observers and volunteers are crucial for a successful election, and the potential for intimidation and violence against them is real.

Safe and secure elections In a democracy, it is critical that our elections are safe, free and fair. The North Carolina Board of Elections, along with county Board of Elections across the state, have employees dedicated to ensuring every legal vote is counted fairly and accurately. In North Carolina, every ballot has a paper trail, allowing for a secure recount if needed. The Board of Elections also canvasses following each election, to follow-up with voters and ensure the accuracy of future elections. These are just a few of the guardrails the state has in place to protect the vote. By state law, voting machines are not connected to the internet, limiting the ability of cyberattacks to happen on digital systems. Every polling place must have a bipartisan staff of trained polling workers, all of whom have taken the same oath to protect and safeguard our elections. Our elections are safe and secure, even as the very poll workers dedicated to keeping our elections safe have come under attack. The U.S. Department of Justice has reviewed over 1,000 hostile threats reported towards election workers over the past year alone, prompting increased enforcement and investigations. Some experts, including the Brennan Center for Justice,

The LGBTQ vote In North Carolina, critical races are on the ballot this year, and the future of LGBTQ rights is at stake. Whether you are voting for a U.S. Senator or a member of your local Board of Education, it is important to remember the impact that elected officials can have on the lives of all queer people. Our elections chart the course for our lived experiences and can determine the future health of our democracy. Our government relies on the participation of the people – of you and me. Over the next few weeks leading into the midterms, this column will focus on the information you need to participate in our elections. And over the course of two years, we will further examine what is at stake and how our rights are at risk in this election and as we head to 2024. We must stand up now, understanding the urgency this moment demands of us. The anti-LGBTQ efforts seen elsewhere across the country are very present in North Carolina. Earlier this year, House Bill 755 was proposed in the NC General Assembly as a copy of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” Likewise, Moms for Liberty groups are targeting School Boards whether they’re in Wake or Union counties, attempting to ban LGBTQ books and undermine policies that

protect queer students and staff. Every vote cast determines who writes the bills and policies that govern our lives. The results of this election will be tangible and lasting.

Find your North Carolina sample ballot, precinct location and check your voter registration now at vt.ncsbe.gov/reglkup. Editor’s Note: Cameron Pruette currently serves as the President of the LGBTQ Democrats of Mecklenburg County and is Director of Faith Organizing at The Freedom Center for Social Justice. ::

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Biden administration hosts first bisexual roundtable equity meeting For Bisexual Awareness Week, fifteen bisexual and pansexual community leaders will meet with federal agency officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss remedies to the shocking health disparities facing the bisexual community – a community that is said to comprise more than half of the LGBTQ population. Six years after the last of three Bisexual Community Roundtables under the Obama Administration, the Biden White House has invited community leaders back to talk to agency officials about specific policy benchmarks. Bisexual and pansexual people face

specific disparities in mental and physical health, intimate partner violence and monkeypox prevention, treatment and care. In order to begin remedying these disparities and more, advocates will present the administration with a set of benchmarks, including the creation of a Federal Interagency Bisexual Liaison and a Federal Interagency Bisexual Working Group. The fifteen advocates comprise a wide cross section of the bisexual community, including nonbinary, transgender, female, young, older, Black, Asian and Muslim advocates, people with disabilities and parents. They come from many walks of life: academia, education, research, health

LGBTQ winners sweep the 2022 Emmys The Television Academy handed out its 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, an occasion that brought out TV’s best, looking their best, and so many white tuxes even after Labor Day! This year’s nominations included an impressive amount of LGBTQ representation. As the Los Angeles Blade reported, 50 percent of the Emmy nominees in the best drama series category, 25 percent of the best comedy noms, and 60 percent of the best limited series nominees featured LGBTQ characters or plot lines. HBO’s surprise hit series “The White Lotus” was among the evening’s biggest winners. Adding to the five trophies the show already won during the two-night Creative Arts Emmys presentations on Sept. 3 and 4, “The White Lotus” picked up another five awards. Bisexual series creator Mike White won Emmys in both the Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series

for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, beating out Hulu’s “Dopesick,” “The Dropout,” and “Pam & Tommy,” as well as Netflix’s “Inventing Anna.” and Outstanding Writing in the Limited Another first-time Emmy win: Jerrod Series categories. Carmichael. The comedian and actor won Out actor Murray Bartlett won his the award for Outstanding first ever Emmy Writing for a Variety for Outstanding Special for his acclaimed Supporting Actor in Netflix special “Rothaniel,” a Limited Series for in which he publicly came his role as the first out as gay. season’s drug- and “I made something that guest-addled resort was of great personal conmanager. sequence to me,” he said Perennial gay fave in his acceptance speech, Longtime out actor Murray Jennifer Coolidge – “and this definitely contribBartlett captured an Emmy for who was up against utes to the meaning of it.” his role in ‘The White Lotus.’ four of her “White As mentioned above, Lotus” co-stars – won the Creative Arts Emmys her first Emmy as well were handed out over two nights on Sept. for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a 3 and 4, and there were some notable Limited Series. And the series, which notaLGBTQ winners amongst those as well. bly featured what many believe to be the Out actor Colman Domingo won most memorable moment of on-screen Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama gay sex last year, picked up the Emmy

Union County Pride denies Monroe town council’s request to age restrict Drag Queen Story Hour In some form or fashion, drag has been a part of world culture for eons. In American culture – and especially American Queer culture – evidence of it shows up as early as the 1800s. You’d think everyone would have gotten used to it by now, but the small-ish Charlotte suburb of Monroe just reminded us there’s still plenty of ignorance, intolerance and old fashioned bigotry out there when they attempted to put a stop to Union County Pride’s Drag Queen Story presentation. Despite their desires, they were informed by city attorneys they could not do so because it didn’t violate any laws. In an effort to make their wishes known, and in what clearly reads as thinly veiled threat for Union County Pride 2023, the town council issued a resolution Sept. 14, which contained the following words: “WHEREAS, a portion of the Festival at Belk Tonawanda Park will include a Drag

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care, advocacy, federal intervenlaw, media and tions to catch community up with what we activism. already know Khafre Abif is through research a Black bisexual and lived experieducator, father ence.” and person living Frustrated by with HIV. “This years of inaction meeting has by the federal been a long time government to coming for the release bisexualKhafre Abif is one of 15 Bisexual community bi+ community,” specific data, taractivists invited to with federal officials at DHHS said Abif. “I’m get the bisexual for Bisexual Awareness Week. looking forward and pansexual to a dialogue community with with federal tailored intervenofficials about solving some of the health tions and recognize the importance of bi+ issues we face.” health in general, community advocates Robyn Ochs is a pillar of bisexual are cautiously excited by this opportuand pansexual community organizing. nity to share critical data and remedies. “Research has made clear our health https://bit.ly/3BQD12x disparities and invisibility. It’s time for — Fiona Dawson

Queen Story Hour where children may be present; and … members of the City Council are concerned about the potential impact of Drag Queen Story Hour on children; and … the laws of the State of North Carolina and the United States protect free expression and freedom of speech, but in some cases do not strike a balance between freedom and the need to protect our children; and the City Council acknowledges that it cannot at this time, stop Drag Queen Story Hour from taking place … BE IT RESOLVED, that the … Council … expresses that it does not support the Drag Queen Story Hour … is concerned about the potential impact of Drag Queen Story Hour on children … [and] requests that Union County Pride voluntarily considers limiting attendance at Drag Queen Story Hour to those of eighteen (18) years of age and above.” Union County Pride wasted no time in

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Series for his role on HBO’s “Euphoria.” In the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category, the great Nathan Lane took home the award for his recurring role on Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” As for reality TV, it was a particularly good night for drag. RuPaul continued his unprecedented winning streak in the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program category. HBO’s “We’re Here” won Emmys for Outstanding Costumes and Outstanding Makeup. HBO Max’s “Legendary” also picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup – a juried award given to multiple winners – while Netflix’s “Queer Eye” won for Outstanding Structured Reality Program for the fifth year in a row. This story appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. Related: https://qnotescarolinas.com/ncnative-and-comic-actor-jerrod-carmichaelcomes-out-in-hbo-comedy-special/ https://bit.ly/3xQHIrK — John Russell

responding to the resoludesigned for, and will be attion with their own commutended by, children and their nity statement: parents together. Through “…Union County Pride, diverse and culturally-inInc. appreciates the clusive children’s books, [it] thorough, courteous and will affirm all children and professional way in which families …” staff and officials from the Based on social media City of Monroe have worked response, the event took … to ensure that the events place as planned, with a high are safe and accessible for level of success and scant all participants. However protesting. Drag Queen and … the Monroe City Council King story tellers reportedly meeting voted to request included Stormy Daie, Onya restrict[ion of] one planned Nerves, Karen Affection and event – the Drag Queen King Del Sol. Story Hour & Crafts – only While no further comKaren Affection was just to persons aged 18 and ments have been made one of the performers older…” regarding the Drag Queen who read during the Drag Queen Story Hour event “As parents, family Story Hour event by the at Union County Pride. members, and community town of Monroe, the high(Photo Credit: Facebook) members, we would not do lighted portions of the story anything to harm children. give cause for pause: Will Contrary to the apparMonroe draw a line in the ent misconceptions and concerns of the sand over Drag Queen Story Hour when Council members, the Drag Queen Story it comes time to issue permits for Union Hour & Crafts event is not sexually-oriCounty Pride ’23? https://aol.it/3dF3wzW ented or sexually suggestive. The event is — David Aaron Moore


news

NC Lt. Governor sets stage for gubernatorial run Mark Robinson doubles down on anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, slams Biden

By David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer

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n a recent interview with North Carolina public radio station WFAE, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson called CNN, ABC and CBS mouthpieces for left-wing liberals. He then referred to conservatives as the only genuinely patriotic Americans, once again proving his fine tuned propensity for false accusations and political pandering. In his new book, “We Are the Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot,” Robinson snagged dust cover endorsements from NRA head Charles Cotton, conservative commentator Candace Owens and right-wing rocker Ted Nugent. According to various North Carolina political pundits, Robinson has risen in state politics faster than anyone else in history. Previously in retail furniture sales and management, he rose to prominence in 2018 after giving a speech as a private citizen in Greensboro in response to concerns from a local city council that was considering closing down a gun show. “I am going to come down here and raise hell until you people understand what the majority wants. I am the majority, and most people in the majority are

law abiding citizens, and we arose when he referred to want the right to be able to individuals in the LGBTQ bear arms,” he said. community as trash and Just a short two years filth. He has attempted to later, his words led to victory clarify – or back pedal – in the North Carolina lieutenwhat he meant by saying ant governor’s race. that he felt the discussion In the interview with of any kind of sexuality WFAE, the anti-choice had no place in elementary Robinson is asked about or middle school. If elected governor, Mark his wife’s abortion, which is When asked if he had Robinson says he’ll make mentioned in the book in attempted to reach out to sure public schools won’t only one scant paragraph. LGBTQ organizations or ‘indoctrinate children. Photo “I think it’s important to groups in the state, he reCredit: David Aaron Moore talk about and I don’t have a sponded: “I have had conproblem talking about it,” he versations with some small replied. “Previously I didn’t groups here and there, but just because of privacy issues for my wife. here’s the thing: I don’t feel that I have to But I think what we’ve done here is turn explain myself any further or make any [abortion] into a political issue when we excuses for my constitutionally guaranhave forgotten to think about the personal teed right to an opinion, and here’s why – I and spiritual implications for the individual. am grown up enough to have my religious We’re never going to successfully deal with opinion and to respect the right of law. I this until we think about those aspects for have never advocated for anything that the individual.” would deny someone their constitutional In other portions of the interview he rights. Ever.” refused to acknowledge that President Yet, Robinson still maintains marriage Biden legitimately won the 2020 election is between one man and one woman and and even refrained from referring to him refuses to back down on that issue.”When as president. “I don’t refer to Joe Biden,” I am standing on the pulpit I am speaking he said. “Joe Biden is not doing a good from my spiritual beliefs, and God says enough job for me to refer to him as presithat marriage is between one man and dent of the United States.” one woman. Robinson’s largest controversy to date In response to Robinson’s comment,

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the interviewer at WFAE shot back: “But what about the rights of gay people? Do you also say they deserve the same rights as everyone else?” Robinson paused. “It’s funny you ask that because I do,” he claims, “but no one ever reports on that because they don’t care about that part.” Robinson’s answer suggests there are multiple layers to the man, which may indicate that he does recognize the separation between government and religion. Perhaps he is even comfortable with established law that recognizes marriage equality. Coming from a man who is known to spew such fiery anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, Robinson has attempted to use his role as lieutenant governor against trans athletes, books with LGBTQ content and trans teens. Combining that with his continual blurring of faith and government during the interview, it seems unlikely he could ever be relied on as any sort of ally in the event he was able to capture the governor’s office. While he initially remained noncommittal about running for governor in the next election, he – subconsciously or not – confirmed the intent was at the top of his list when he said that if elected he will “govern the state under conservative principles” and make certain public school systems will no longer be able to “indoctrinate children.” : :

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Sept. 30 - Oct. 13, 2022

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news

NC Republican candidate targets Charlotte drag queen event with ‘call to action’

Congressional wannabe Tyler Lee says he needs to ‘ensure the safety of any children’ BY Genna Contino | Guest Contributor

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North Carolina queen story hour has congressional drawn hostility. In candidate said June, a drag queen he plans to attend the story hour in Apex, Charlotte International N.C., received violent Arts Festival Drag threats. The town’s Queen Story Hour in mayor called for the a Charlotte park to event’s cancellation, “ensure the safety of but the show went on any children” after rewhen Equality NC, the ferring to drag queens state’s oldest LGBTQ as pedophiles and rights organization, predators. stepped in to sponsor Tyler Lee, the it. Police officers were Republican nomiposted nearby to nee for the 12th ensure the event took Congressional District, place peacefully — called for the event this and it did. weekend in Romare In 2019 in Bearden Park to be Spartanburg, S.C., a canceled. He also similar event drew encouraged people protesters from as far to protest the story as Tennessee. More hour and email council than 60 protesters Lee (left) says entertainers who will be reading during Drag Queen Story Hour at the Charlotte International Arts Festival are using the event ‘as a dismembers to call for chanted “you’re sick” guise to prey on innocent children. Photo Credit: Facebook its cancellation. A and “shame on you” Charlotte City Council while a drag queen member and former read children the antimembers and tweeted a screenshot from “It’s been happening all over the counRepublican council candidate have since bullying book “Rainbow Fish,” according to a response he received from at-large reptry and all over the state,” Simon said. “It’s called out Lee’s claims as misinformation the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. resentative LaWana Mayfield. Mayfield, the concerning that people are so bigoted and and bigotry. “This is your CALL TO ACTION! Kyle Luebke, an openly gay Republican first openly gay citywide council represenhomophobic.” Simon feels the events can I need your help this weekend in our very who ran for City Council this year and lost tative, said in her response, “Pedophiles be beneficial for LGBTQ youth, who are own backyard,” Lee wrote in a tweet. in the general election on July 26, said he are statistically white, heterosexual men more likely to commit suicide than their The story hour on Saturday thinks the conversation surrounding the over 30” and she included a link to the straight counterparts. and Sunday is part of the Charlotte event has gotten out of hand. “For me as Mental Health Center of America’s web“Children are very open, and having International Arts Festival that kicks off a conservative and a person who thinks site with more information. Lee told the a parent take them teaches them accepthis weekend and will involve drag queens that parental rights are extremely imporObserver he took that as Mayfield calling tance and that it’s okay to be different,” reading books and doing crafts with chiltant, if parents want to take their children him a pedophile because he does “not Simon explained. “These events are affirmdren to “show them there is always a way to a drag queen story hour, they should be share her radical ideology.” ing and calling it out further stigmatizes an to love who they are,” according to the able to,” Luebke said. “People can disagree Mayfield said she felt the need to call entire subset of the population.” event’s website. on whether that’s a good thing or not.” out Lee’s “blatant misinformation” and A report from the Southern Poverty Lee said in a statement provided to The Charlotte International Arts that his call to action is a classic example Law Center found 90 percent of child The Charlotte Observer he’s particularly Festival is presented by the Blumenthal of bigotry. “Love thy neighbor and supmolesters target children in their network upset the event is taking place in a public Performing Arts Center, which did not port the [drag queen story] event. If the of family and friends, and the majority park. “Men are called to be watchmen provide comment by Friday morning. The event offends, do not attend,” Mayfield are men married to women. “Most child over our children,” Lee said. “It is disgustfestival runs through Oct. 2 and includes told the Observer. molesters, therefore, are not gay people ing for a man to dress as a woman and more than 200 arts events. The full schedThe president of Charlotte Pride’s lingering outside schools wanting to use that as a disguise to prey on innocent ule can be found at charlotteartsfest.com. board of directors, Clark Simon, said Lee’s snatch children from the playground, as children by having ‘story time’ in a public This story has been edited for space limicall to action is nothing new and reactions much religious-right rhetoric suggests,” park of all places!” tations and appears courtesy of our media have grown more hostile over the past the report reads. Lee emailed Charlotte City Council partner The Charlotte Observer.:: several years. But this isn’t the first time a drag

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HRC announces Kelley Robinson as new president She will be the organization’s first black woman to serve in the role By Alex Bollinger | Contributing Writer

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he national LGBTQ organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has announced that its new president is Kelley Robinson. It’s also notable to point out that she is the first Black woman to lead the organization. “I’m honored and ready to lead HRC and our more than three million member-advocates as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer people,” Robinson said in a press release. Robinson worked as a community organizer during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. Since then, she has worked in organizing, eventually becoming the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the vice president of advocacy and organizing at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Both organizations fight for reproductive choice, access to health care and women’s equality, which means that the start of her tenure is apropos; just this past June the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ending the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. Robinson cited the Supreme Court decision in the press release announcing her new position.

“We, allegations by the particularly attorney general our trans and of New York that BIPOC comhe was tangenmunities, are tially involved in quite literally a conspiracy to in the fight silence a woman for our lives who had accused and facing former New York unprecedentGov. Andrew ed threats Cuomo (D) of that seek to sexual harassKelley Robinson served as a community organizer during destroy us,” ment. Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. she said. “The In New York CREDIT: Screen Capture overturnAttorney General ing of Roe Letitia James’ v. Wade reAugust 2021 minds us we are just one Supreme Court report on her investigation into the sexual decision away from losing fundamental harassment allegations against Cuomo, freedoms, including the freedom to marry, she wrote that David forwarded the pervoting rights and privacy. We are facing a sonnel files of accuser Lindsey Boylan to generational opportunity to rise to these the governor’s office as required. Those challenges and create real, sustainable files were then leaked to the press to try change. I believe that working together and discredit her. David was asked to sign this change is possible right now. This next a letter that questioned Boylan’s motivachapter of the Human Rights Campaign is tions; he suggested edits but refused to about getting to freedom and liberation sign himself. The letter was never rewithout any exceptions, and today I am leased. making a promise and commitment to HRC launched an investigation into carry this work forward.” David’s actions shortly after, and David HRC’s previous president, Alphonso later said that HRC’s investigation had David, was fired last September following cleared him of all wrongdoing. HRC’s

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board said his statement was untrue and he was fired after that. In February 2022, David announced that he was suing HRC, saying racial discrimination is “rife” at the LGBTQ organization. “HRC underpaid David, and then terminated him, because he is Black,” his complaint states. “I had to challenge a system and a pattern of bias that has not only affected me, but it has affected way too many Black and Brown people,” David told the Washington Post in an interview. “Discrimination and bias are rife within HRC. And I’m just the latest person to be affected.” Robinson touted her identities and experience in a video announcing her. “I am a Black, Queer mother and wife,” she said. “And to be able to say that – and to be acknowledged and celebrated in that way – is the direct result of the work of organizations like HRC. At the core of HRC’s work is the ability to create the families of our dreams and to fight for more rights and freedoms for the next generation than we can even imagine in our own.” Watch and listen as Kelley Robinson talks about her personal life and hopes for the LGBTQ community and HRC here. This story appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQNation.::

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Workplace equity in Charlotte

How the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber upskills both businesses and employees by Chris Rudisill Qnotes Contributor During Charlotte Pride, qnotes surveyed nearly 300 people to find out the biggest challenges they faced in the workplace as part of our work investigating solutions for LGBTQ labor and workplace equality. What we found both closely resembles national surveys on mainstream workplace issues and reports on the existence of anti-LGBTQ bias in the workplace. Based on a Williams Institute 2021 report, one in ten LGBT workers experienced discrimination at work in the previous year and LGBT employees of color were more likely to experience verbal harassment or being denied jobs. Here’s what we found locally: Nearly half (44%) of respondents said that pay equity was the biggest challenge they face in the workplace. 27.5% face gender bias and 24.9% face racism in the workplace. 26.8% said that they work in a homophobic or transphobic work environment. 22.3% lack protections or non-discrimination policies. One solution to these issues is the prominence of LGBTQ-serving

Board and staff of the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce gathered at Nuvolé Rooftop TwentyTwo in Charlotte for the Friends in Diversity Rooftop Soiree on June 28, 2022. Photo Credit: Facebook chambers of commerce. According to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), there are 53 affiliate chambers in communities across the country. Locally, the LGBT Chamber, formally the Charlotte Business Guild was established in 1992 as a place for LGBTQ business owners and professionals to network safely. Founders faced being barred from certain places in the city, but over time built a relationship with the Charlotte Chamber, now the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. In May 2021, the organization changed its name from the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce to the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, highlighting its geographical

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and diversity growth. Twenty-eight percent of the organization’s members are allies, or non-LGBTQ identifying. Like many chambers across the country, the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CLGBTCC) offers a combination of networking events, advocacy and professional development opportunities. Training LGBTQ Workers Over a quarter of survey respondents at Charlotte Pride said they either experienced a “lack of education or training opportunities” or a “lack of mentorship opportunities at work.” • 12.6% of those surveyed said that “lack of education or training opportunities” was one of the biggest challenges they face in the workplace. • 15.6% experienced a lack of mentorship opportunities. • 15.2% said access to training and education was a challenge. The CLGBTCC launched its “Lunch and Learn” series years ago and continued virtual sessions during the pandemic. Topics this year have included everything from “The Great Resignation or the Great Awakening?” to “Taking the Leap: From Employee to Entrepreneur” as the group returned with in-person events. Sessions are designed for businesses, entrepreneurs, and current or emerging professionals. The variety of topics help ensure that all members have access to skills


and training necessary to develop a thriving and equitable business community. The pandemic actually made way for “Lunch and Learns” and other programming by the Chamber to become a fixture within its offerings. Led by Jason Morton and Becky Knight, the Education & Programming Committee addressed the needs of professionals as they themselves were dealing with the impacts of stay-at-home orders and new workplace models with virtual workshops and panel discussions. According to the Chamber’s website, the committee is focused on sourcing subject matter experts and providing educational opportunities for its members in marketing, finance, I.T., human resources and more. At their most recent “Lunch and Learn,” panelists from UNC Charlotte discussed organizational change and opportunities for a more equitable future in business. Moderator George Banks, professor in the Belk College of Business, was joined by a panel of professors from the university with emphasis on business management, marketing and sociology. The event, titled “Creating Certainty in an Uncertain World: A Roadmap for All Organizational Stakeholders,” was sponsored by the university and held in-person on Sept.14 at Carolina Esports Hub in Charlotte. Addressing the needs faced by Charlotte area LGBTQ workers, Sunil Erevelles, an associate professor of marketing, touched on the importance of thoroughly examining a company’s

DNA and pointed out that our “future” is already here. “The future has already arrived. It is just unevenly distributed,” he stated. Companies are often centered on the concept of efficiency, involving bureaucracy and an established hierarchy. “We need to change that,” Erevelles challenged during the conversation. “In a world where you’re confronted by all kinds of astonishing and amazing technologies on a daily basis – all kinds of astonishing changes on a daily basis – if your company isn’t changing in a non-linear way, you are actually falling behind.” Instead, he suggested a company DNA based on the human imagination with a focus on creativity, constant experimentation, self-organization and diversity of ideas. Erevelles says the most important aspect of this model is cause. “Does your company really have a cause?” he asked. It echoes conversations that are happening across multiple industries, within employee circles and, of course, within LGBTQ professional organizations like the CLGBTCC. Old systems, often peppered with harmful power dynamics, are being broken apart, and people are searching for more purpose and self-fulfillment in workplaces. With an estimated two open jobs for every unemployed person, the worker of today is shaping the workplace of the future, and to Erevelles’ point, companies willing to shift their DNA are likely more

suited for success. This takes education, training and innovation, along with overall systems change. It also relies on more equality, or equity. In closing the recent CLGBTCC “Lunch and Learn,” panelist Jill Yavorsky said an organization’s “policies and practices are core to really gaining equality.” Yavorsky is an assistant professor of sociology and a researcher in the Organizational Science program at the university. Her research focuses on labor market inequality and the patterns and mechanisms surrounding gender, race and class. “Over the last twenty, thirty years where DEI has become a greater focus, a lot of that has been focused on unconscious biases or has been focused on changing the hearts and minds of individuals,” said Yavorsky. “It’s great, well-intentioned, but it is very, very difficult to do and the fact is most people think they’re objective, even when you present other evidence. More importantly, is to focus on the actual organization’s policies and practices to reduce the opportunities for biases to ever present. This is about structuring jobs more equitably and fairly – about having upward pathway mobilities.” What’s Next? In August, the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce received a $250k grant from the City of Charlotte. As reported in qnotes, the funding is part of the Open for Business Initiative. Chamber

CEO Chad Turner said at the time that the grant allows them to “directly impact small businesses under 50 employees with training, workforce development and programming as we enter the other side of this pandemic.” The group recently moved to a new headquarters in the Hygge Coworking space on Louise Avenue. A visit to the space highlighted the collaboration that can come from a community working together. There are members of the Chamber with office space just steps from Turner’s desk. The coworking space is LGBTQ-affirming, and meeting rooms provide space for more education and training, like these Lunch and Learn series. Next month, the group will have speakers discussing the local real estate market, something important to local business owners who are either making their home in Charlotte or invested in supporting a welcoming community for their employees. For more information about the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce or to register for upcoming programs, visit clgbtcc.org. The Chamber is also an affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. For more information on LGBTQ workplace issues, visit nglcc.org. This story is part of Qnotes’ special project “OUTlook: Finding Solutions for LGBTQ Labor and Workplace Equality.” It is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network.::

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Join Aldersgate for an afternoon of autumnal fun and games. Cruise through a golf cart tour of the vast campus and make stops along the way at the bocce ball court, putting green and a recreational bridge tournament. Chat with Aldersgate residents and get key advice on rightsizing, community life and more. Plus, learn about the Epworth apartments with views of the Charlotte skyline. RSVP today!

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

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Pride is a reminder to celebrate our journey and protect our future Legal Eagles

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etween jaw-dropping drag shows, sequined-feather themed fundraisers and events, late night circuit parties and colorful festivals and parades across the whole spectrum of the rainbow – the LGBTQ+ Carolinas and our allies celebrated BIG this Pride season! Pride not only provides our community an opportunity to connect while being seen and heard, it also reminds us to honor our history and those who paved the way before us. On a national level, Pride commemorates the Stonewall riots, which began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The Stonewall riots and further protests were the catalyst in the modern LGBTQ+ rights and liberation movements, eventually leading to the organized and public Pride marches and events nationwide. Given the socially conservative histories of the Carolinas, our States experienced liberation on a slower timeline until the increase in momentum, organization and advocacy during the 1980s AIDS crisis. In June 1994, approximately 5,000 people attended the NC Pride march and rally in uptown Charlotte’s Marshal Park. A few years later Charlotte Pride returned to Marshal Park through 2005. In 2006 the festival, under the name of the LGBT Center of Charlotte, changed its name to Pride Charlotte and took place at Gateway Village and Cedar Street just a few blocks West of the Square. With steady growth

over the next few years the event moved to South Tryon Street in 2011 after going to the NC Music Factory in 2010. In 2013, Pride Charlotte added the Parade, expanding the event by another day with about 50,000 people attending. In 2022, over 275,000 people attended Charlotte’s 2022 Pride Festival and surrounding events. The first ever Rock Hill Pride Festival occurred in June 2022, and grew even bigger and bolder in June 2022. From a legal perspective, this increasing popularity of celebrating Pride in the Carolinas has raised awareness for the fight for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people in both states, including same-sex marriage equality. Many citizens of both Carolinas have questioned the future of the United States’ current same-sex marriage protections set forth in the Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges due to the concurrence issued by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In June 2022, the Supreme Court ruling in that case overturned federal protections related to a woman’s right to an abortion as previously established in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In his concurrence, Justice Thomas suggested that the Court should “reconsider” other past cases which granted rights based on the 14th Amendment’s substantive due process, including the right of same-sex marriages from Obergefell. Besides Obergefell’s protections on a federal level, both North Carolina and South Carolina still have statutory and state constitutional laws which outlaw same-sex marriages. The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is a proposed bill currently being legislated

in the United States Congress to require the United States Federal Government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages. The House passed this version of the RFMA in a bipartisan vote on July 19, 2022. To complete the legislative process, the RFMA must also be passed by the Senate before both the Senate and the House of Representatives approve and the President can then decide to sign the RFMA into enacted and enforceable statutory law. In doing so, the RFMA would direct the federal government to recognize same-sex couples’ lawful marriages – compelling states to provide full faith and credit to same-sex marriages performed in other states. Even if the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell and restores states’ authority to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the RFMA creates a backstop to ensure that every same-sex couple can retain protections if their own state nullifies their marriage. Under the RFMA, same-sex couples who would face such discrimination in North Carolina or South Carolina could travel to another state, obtain a new license, and compel North Carolina or South Carolina to recognize their out-of-state marriage. In addition to same-sex marriage equality, LGBTQ+ people are particularly at risk for unique legal challenges, including other family law issues such as estate planning and administration, adoption, custody matters, employment discrimination, harassment and general violence, assisted reproductive technology, interstate and international parentage issues, transgender rights, name and gender marker changes, divorce, dissolution of relationships, property division, premari-

tal agreements, separation and property settlement agreements, spousal support, child support, domestic violence, housing discrimination and healthcare access. While the rainbow flags, festivals, parades and events of Pride in the Carolinas continue to grow, so does the need to inform our LGBTQ+ community of these legal issues and the resources and options to protect ourselves and each other. As Pride is a celebration of our LGBTQ+ community’s survival and freedom, it is also a critical reminder of history and resources for a brighter future. Zachary Porfiris is an experienced attorney, licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina, with Sodoma Law. As an active member of the Carolinas’ LGBTQ+ community himself, Zach has developed a niche in his practice for advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Zach is honored to serve LGBTQ+ clients in the areas of domestic/ family law, child custody, child support, adoption, assisted reproductive technology, interstate and international parentage issues, transgender rights, name and gender marker changes, divorce, dissolution of relationships, property division, premarital agreements, postnuptial agreements, separation agreements, property settlement agreements, spousal support, domestic violence, estate planning, discrimination, harassment and healthcare access. Zach is a dedicated member of the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association and National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Family Law Institute, the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee -and the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. ::

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Before We Were Trans Out in Print

BY Terri Schlichenmeyer Contributing Writer “Before We Were Trans” by Kit Heyam c.2022, Seal Press $30.00 352 pages

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es or no: Before there were rockets, there were no astronauts. No, there wasn’t a need for them without a vehicle to go where people only dreamed of going. But yes – the word “astronaut” is more than a century old. Words and labels matter, as you’ll see in “Before We Were Trans” by Kit Heyam, and time is no excuse. On the evening of June 8, 1847, John Sullivan was apprehended by gendarmes while weaving down a sidewalk in London. Sullivan was wearing a few women’s garments, and was carrying more, all of it stolen. Because it wasn’t the first time he was arrested, he spent ten years in an Australian penal colony for his crime.

“Is this story a part of trans history?” asks Heyam. There aren’t enough clues to determine Sullivan’s truth, not enough “evidence that their motivation for gender nonconformity was not external, but internal...” The answer is complicated by the fact that “transgender” wasn’t even a word during Sullivan’s time. Presumably, Sullivan was white, but even so, we must also consider “that the way we experience and understand gender is inextricable from race.” Surely then, Njinga Mbande, the king of Ndongo, can be considered trans; they were assigned female at birth but presented themselves as king, as did Hatshepsut of Egypt. In precolonial Nigeria, the Ekwe people were genderfluid, to ensure that there was a male in the household. Do political and social reasons fit the definition of trans? In England, it was once believed that to dress like the opposite sex was to become that gender. In prison camps during World War I, men participated in plays to ease

the boredom, and some ultimately lived permanently as women. Early history shows many examples of people living as “both.” Were they trans or not? Says Heyam, “Historians need to tread carefully and responsibly when we talk about the histories of people who blur the boundaries between intersex and trans.” Moreover, can we allow that there’s probably some “overlap”? The answer to that could depend on your current situation and mindset. Absolutely, author Kit Heyam dangles their own opinion throughout this book, but “Before We Were Trans” doesn’t seem to solve the riddle. Judging by the narrative here, though, it’s possible that it may be forever unsolvable. There’s a lot to untangle, often in the form of partially-recorded tales that hark back to antiquity and are shaky, with a lack of knowable details. Even Heyam seems to admit sometimes that their thoughts are best guesses. And yet, that tangle can leave readers with so much to think about when it comes to gender. Ancient attitudes toward trans people – whether they were indeed trans or acted as such for reasons other than gender – absolutely serve as brain fodder. This is not a quick-breezy read; in fact, there are times when you may feel as

though you need a cheat-sheet to follow similar sounding names. Even so, if you take your time with it, “Before We Were Trans” may put you over the moon. : :

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life

Shifting strategies for Monkeypox vaccines in Charlotte and the state Health and Wellness

By Anne Blythe/North Carolina Health News| qnotes Contributor

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aynard Washington, the Mecklenburg County health director, takes umbrage when he hears people say the monkeypox vaccine clinic staged at the Charlotte Pride celebration last month fell short of expectations. In mid-August, Mecklenburg Public Health worked with the state Department of Health and Human Services to administer the Jynneos vaccine at the Pride events through a pilot program offered by the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pilot program had set aside 50,000 doses of the vaccine from the Strategic National Stockpile, vials that had been reserved to fight potential smallpox outbreaks. Monkeypox is related closely enough to smallpox that the vaccine can be used to prevent either disease, even though monkeypox is a much milder infection that rarely causes death. Mecklenburg County received enough vaccines to inoculate 2,000 people from monkeypox that weekend. The county health department had more supply than takers at the two-day event. Nonetheless, Washington chooses to put a different spin on the large-scale vaccine event than some in the national media. “I definitely would not call vaccinating 540 people not a success,” Washington said during a phone interview with NC Health News. “That pilot that we did with the CDC and the feds was literally organized the week of.” A little more than a week before, the Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization for Jynneos, changing how the vaccine could be administered. Before then, the vaccine was administered subcutaneously, in the layer of tissue between the skin and the muscle below, in two doses four weeks apart. The Mecklenburg County health department had not planned to do a largescale event because supply was limited before the FDA decision on Aug. 9. That allowed administration of the vaccine intradermally, just under the skin, similar to how tuberculosis tests are given. Changing the administration method stretches the supply because only one-fifth of a fivemilliliter vial is required per dose, meaning vaccine administrators could get five shots from a vial instead of one. With a couple thousand vials en route, Mecklenburg, which had the highest number of cases at the time, did a lot of scrambling days before the Pride events. “So in context, certainly we would consider it a success that we were able to mobilize so quickly, and to get so many people engaged,” Washington said. “We have been since the beginning of our response activities, sort of managing both a broader outreach campaign and a very targeted campaign, specifically at the Black and brown community to assure that access was available. “We noticed very early on that there was a divergence in our case demographics and our vaccine demographics, where

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we were Black popuseeing more lation, they individurepresent als of color only 27 perwith cases cent of the and fewer, people who a lower prohave been portion, that vaccinated. were getting A week and the vaccine.” a half ago, The Kody Kinsley, health DHHS secdepartment retary, went worked to North with party Carolina, promoters, Central nightclubs University, and an incluan HBCU sive church in Durham, to get the and got a word out vaccine to and provide highlight the monkeypox partnerships vaccination that DHHS opportuniwants to ties during continue to the Pride build with celebrations. HBCUs. David Wohl is an infectious disease specialist at UNC Health “We At a and UNC-CH School of Medicine. CREDIT: Photo contributed started White House by UNC Health working with briefing the party on Sept. 7, promoters Demetre several weeks before Pride, and particiDaskalakis, deputy coordinator of the pated in Black Pride so we started working White House Monkeypox Response team, closely with them,” Washington said. ”Even said building partnerships at the ground in one weekend, where at just a couple level with county health departments and of parties, we were able to vaccinate 200 community organizers would be key to people … and so we had been working the virus containment efforts. ground prior to Pride, and Pride got a lot “It’s not about just the vaccine allocaof national attention. tion,” Daskalakis told reporters, “It’s about “Our campaign efforts have been gothat intense community engagement that ing on before and after that, vaccinating happens on the ground because, ultiindividuals,” he said. mately, public health is a local event. And so, giving the tools that people need to be Engaging the Community able to sort of reach health goals is what Monkeypox cases in North Carolina we’ve been doing. And the support of and across the country have largely been organizations that serve Black and brown confined to men who have sex with men, people have been pivotal in really turning or MSM. the tide in what I think you’re going to see, As of Sept. 15, 446 cases of monkeythe new vaccine numbers emerging over pox had been reported in North Carolina, the next few weeks.” according to DHHS. Ninety-eight percent Erika Samoff, who heads up HIV/STD of the cases were in men. Ten women surveillance for the state’s Division of have contracted the virus, according to Public Health, said the plan is to recruit and the dashboard. deploy more community health workers to So far, North Carolina has vaccinated help attack the spread of monkeypox. at least 16,042 people to protect them “Which I think is a really smart way against monkeypox. The shots are availto spend public health funds, to emable to anyone older than 18 who has had ploy people who are coming from the close contact with someone infected with populations that are sometimes most the virus within two weeks. affected by disease,” she said. “I think The shots also are recommended that’s something new that we haven’t for people who have had sexual contact had before.” within the past 90 days with gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men or The Response Thus Far transgender individuals. People who were David Wohl, an infectious disease diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days specialist at UNC Health, spoke recently or people with HIV or taking medications with NC Health News about the federal to prevent HIV also are encouraged to get response to monkeypox compared to a vaccine. its response to COVID-19. Public health In North Carolina, where nearly 70 advocates complained in May, June and percent of the cases have been among the July that the demand for vaccine vials

Sept. 30-Oct. 13. , 2022

outpaced the supply. “We’ve all become armchair epidemiologists and procurement specialists,” Wohl said. “I do think that there were problems with the monkeypox response, but they are at a different level of magnitude compared to what happened with COVID-19 during the previous administration. “These are two very different outbreaks. These are two very different fumbles, if you will. So while the current administration was slow off the block in things like procuring vaccines and getting therapeutics out there, to their credit, testing was never a problem as far as capacity.” There was no scramble to get reagents and stand up testing sites. Health care workers were not waiting for personal protective equipment. Nonetheless, some things frustrated Wohl. “But it is a tenth or a hundredth of the incredible mismanagement that we saw during COVID-19, for months on end, that continues to reverberate,” Wohl said. “Those miscues and misinformation from our own government continue to reverberate in the fact that people don’t want to do things like wear masks, not all the time, but some of the time, or take a vaccine.” Wohl treats people with monkeypox and has not gotten a vaccine himself. “I don’t think I need to be vaccinated against monkeypox because of my occupation because I’m careful,” Wohl said. “I don’t think that I’m going to catch it. I think the PPE we have, the protective gear, does protect us. So I’m not really feeling that I’m at risk sufficiently to take a vaccine.” ”Just here in North Carolina, in the last few days, the criteria for getting vaccinated has basically expanded to if you’re a man who has sex with men, and I would hopefully put into that, also I would add, if you’re a transgender woman who has sex with men, we should consider vaccinating you. I think sex workers of any type should get vaccinated,” Wohl added. “I think if we can start expanding to the people who really are at greatest risk, then if we start seeing any indications that we should be expanding this more broadly, then we should do it.” At this point, Washington and his Mecklenburg public health team and their community partners are focusing sharply on the parties, nightclubs and events, where they know they might find people at risk of getting monkeypox but less likely to seek out a vaccine on their own. “Our general philosophy is we’ve got to meet people where they are here and do so in a way that honors and respects their identity and culture, so we’ve been working to do that and make sure we bring vaccines into the community and let the community help us drive our response,” Washington said. “I think so far we’re making good progress. I look forward to putting this outbreak behind us.” This article appears courtesy of our media partner North Carolina Health News. ::


Historic Columbia Archives detail the LGBTQ experiences of the region Multiple stories to explore are available, and an opportunity to share your own

BY L’Monique King Qnotes Staff Writer While much has been written about American LGBTQ history in New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia since the 1990s, less attention has been given to the South – save places like Atlanta and Miami – until recently. In Charlotte, efforts to collect local and print media history have been in place in the city over the past several years. As of last year, Columbia, S.C. has taken the lead in the South Carolina region to give voice to LGBT history of the city and beyond. For those interested in learning, recalling or contributing to that history, the LGBT Columbia History Initiative is ready and waiting to share and collect stories of Queer southern history. Historic Columbia’s Roots Nearly 60 years ago, a group of Columbia residents got together to form the area’s Historic Columbia Foundation. It all started with the goal of preserving a lone building, a 135-year-old mansion, known today as The Robert Mills House. Like many houses of the sort, the home now serves as a museum, with tours being offered and folks stopping by to learn more about the home, its original owner Ainsley Hall and the architect Robert Mills who built it. Today, the city’s Historic Columbia Foundation has much more than the Mills house for history buffs and Columbia enthusiasts to discover and enjoy. The foundation has grown immensely, and in a continuing effort to keep up with the times, now includes aspects of history its founders most likely could never have imagined. To illuminate the experiences of Columbia residents in a diverse and inclusive manner, the LGBT Columbia History Initiative stepped up to the plate in 2019. At that time, the Historic Columbia Foundation partnered with the Queer Columbia Oral History & Digital Archive Project and the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center to lay the groundwork for the program. A mere two years later, and with financial support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the LGBT Columbia History Initiative was fully underway. In connection with the University of South Carolina’s Department of Oral History and the South Carolina Library, the initiative serves as an interactive project,

which is described as “document[ing] the often unseen and untold stories of the LGBTQ+ community through the creation and dissemination of oral histories, historic site interpretation and archival collections.” It’s no secret that LGBTQ individuals have existed and contributed to history and innovation since the beginning of time. Likewise, it’s also a well know fact that discrimination and oppression have long since silenced the voices of LGBTQ community members, and the nuanced experiences of those individuals were far too often muted and discounted. For far too long the existence and contributions of LGBTQ folks has been a whispered topic to be avoided, ridiculed and left out of schoolbooks and mass media representation. In the not-so-distant past, when we finally did appear within

these conversations, texts and media, we were shown in some insulting archetypal manner with offensive polarizing displays of us as flamboyant comic relief, pedophilic villains or tragic victims of homicide or suicide. That being said, this initiative is timely, relevant and appreciated by many as it strives to show and share the experiences of the LGBT community in all its diversity. The LGBT Columbia History Initiative can serve as a wonderful educational tool and historical resource. One of the most intuitive and affirming components of the web-based initiative is how it allows subjects to define and speak for themselves. By showing the value of oral history, the project implicitly acknowledges that for many marginalized communities, the passing down of stories verbally, from one generation to the next, is often the only

way of documenting the lives of devalued citizens whose experiences were previously not recorded. Historic Columbia’s LGBTQ History website landing page gives visitors the opportunity to read firsthand accounts of the history and lives of Columbia’s LGBTQ community. Upon arrival, site visitors will immediately be given the opportunity to engage with over 35 oral histories shared by participants of varied ages, races, orientations and gender identities. But they didn’t stop there. It’s how they did it that makes the experience so cool and interactive. On the Oral History pages, you’ll find profile photos, names and a paragraph quoting the pictured participant. Once you click the name of the contributor, you’ll automatically be directed to a page that provides a bio, the complete interview the quote was taken from and access to the audio version of the complete interview. The interviews and discussed subject matter is as varied as the contributors. There’s commentary on coming out experiences, thoughts from a gay bar owner on the importance of camaraderie such safe spaces establishment can foster, talk about segregation within the LGBTQ community, reflections on how we handled the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic and more. It’s important to point out the website is dedicated to how Columbia has been impacted by the HIV/AIDS crisis and the area’s response, which was spearheaded by LGBTQ community members. For those who may not feel like they see themselves reflected in these oral histories or would like to contribute to the collection of stories, the Oral History page also allows LGBTQ Columbia residents to participate in the continued growth of this part of the initiative. There’s a menu link on the Oral History page so that anyone who is interested can contribute by scheduling an oral history interview of their own. There’s no question, the initiative’s site is chock full of information that could literally keep a person on their laptop for days! Riveting stories on the Gay History of the University of South Carolina, civil rights efforts and the relationship between female impersonators to Columbia’s Minstrel and Vaudeville Stages are readily available for perusal. It makes no difference if you’re a native of Columbia, S.C. or even a southerner – there are many fascinating stories to be found in Columbia’s LGBTQ community history. : :

Sept. 30 - Oct. 13, 2022

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life Getting to know Columbia’s legendary Harriet Hancock Mother of gay son started state’s PFLAG chapter and created a movement

By David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer

H

arriet Hancock is sitting at her dining room table looking out at her back deck. The backyard is shrouded in trees, creating an idyllic, peaceful environment that surrounds her threebedroom home in Irmo, South Carolina. In many ways, it is idyllic, only it isn’t exactly home. Home is Columbia, South Carolina, a place where she grew up, left for a time and then eventually returned. It’s a place where her family roots can be traced back to the Revolutionary War and her ancestors donated large portions of land that would eventually come to be known as central parts of Columbia, the capitol of South Carolina and a cosmopolitan city surrounded by suburbs like Irmo and filled with a thriving LGBTQ community. Hancock had much to do with how well the city and state’s LGBTQ community is thriving today. If you don’t know her, you should. She just celebrated her 86th birthday and she’s the original founder of South Carolina PFLAG, a fete she accomplished back in 1981 after her then 20-year-old son Greg came out to her. That started her down a path which would take her from being a hair stylist to an attorney, new to the bar at the age of 51. Since then and along the way, she’s worked tirelessly for the LGBTQ Community. So much so that she became a legendary figure known and loved by many. She and other key LGBTQ and allied Columbia residents spearheaded the movement to establish and purchase a building that could serve as an LGBTQ Community Center. Her efforts led to other leaders and activists easily coming to the mutual conclusion the center should be named in her honor. She agreed to speak with us recently, just two days before turning 86. David Aaron Moore: You’re a native South Carolinian, aren’t you? Harriet Hancock: Yes I am, I’m originally from South Carolina. I was born 1936. That was 86 years ago! I’m actually still 85, but I’ll be 86 in two days. But yes, I am a native. In fact, both sides of my family go back to the pre-revolution era here. DAM: What prompted you to leave South Carolina, and then later return? HH: I moved away from South Carolina when I married my husband and he graduated from USC in 1959. He went to USC with a major in engineering on the GI Bill. He had served during the Korean War. After he graduated we moved to New Jersey, where he worked for RCA, and then he worked for the federal government. After he passed away, we moved back here in 1978. My oldest daughter (Karen) was at the University of Maryland at the time getting ready to graduate, and my son Greg, who is gay, was a senior in high school and then I had my youngest one Jennifer. It was a tough time, but I’m so glad I came back because I had family here and I needed to be with my family so they could help me. Help me through that

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Harriet Hancock holding an award for her efforts with the SC LGBTQ community.Photo Credit: Facebook

nightmare, you know, and so things got so much better. Sometimes it feels like I’ve lived two different lifetimes. DAM: How did you respond when your son came out to you? HH: How did I react? Well, you know, there was a time when my husband and I talked about the possibility Greg might be gay. It was when he had a girl that lives across the street, they were big buddies, and we knew that there was nothing there romantic at all. They were just good friends. I mean, her mother didn’t care if she came over and brought a sleeping bag on the weekends, and she and Greg would just watch TV all night down in my den in their sleeping bags, and we thought nothing of it. So we kind of wondered, and then I think he kind of got an inkling that we might be suspicious. Then all of a sudden, he had all these really good looking girls he was bringing home and introducing them to us. And it was just a big cover up. He was scared to death about what would go down if we found out. But he did finally come out to me, after we were back in Columbia. The way that he told me, it was just that there was, you know, a lot of emotion attached to it. He brought my sister with him, and I had a friend over and we were watching television, so they came in and

Sept. 30-Oct. 13. , 2022

they were just sitting in the dining room, waiting. And they didn’t look happy. I was kind of like, how can I get my friend out of the house, because I knew they were sitting in the dining room, and she basically needed to go. I told her “there’s something brewing here and I need to find out what it is.” So when I went into the dining room, they were sitting there at the table, and Greg said, ‘Mom, I have something to talk to you about. And I said, “Greg, I can’t sit down. I said, whatever it is, you have to tell me. I said, whatever it is, okay.” Then he said, “Okay,” and then he looked at me and my sister and said, “I cannot, I can’t tell her.” And she grabbed his hand and told him, “Yes, yes you can tell her. It’s gonna’ be okay.” I looked at him and he had tears in his eyes and he just looked so frightened. I’ve never seen a look like that on anybody. “Mom, I’m gay,” he told me. And I just said, “Is that what this is all about? I thought maybe you got caught smoking pot or you got arrested.” I had to tell him, that it was okay and that I loved him. So then we just talked more, and then my sister, she went home and we just talked and talked. In fact, I think we probably stayed up all night long talking and,

you know, just loving each other. I think me telling him that nothing in the world could ever make me not support him and love him no matter what was what made our relationship as mother and son so close and so, you know, successful. DAM: How did Columbia end up with an LGBTQ Center that is bought and paid for? That’s amazing. HH: Gary Price was a big part of that. He owned beauty schools, he was a hairdresser, he owned a florist’s shop and property around town. He was very generous. He was the one that when we were trying to find the money to buy the building, he stepped up. We couldn’t find anybody to lend us money and he said, “I’ll lend you the money. And, you know, just do what you need to.” I told him we just needed the money for the down payment, and we paid him back, but had it not been for him, we probably wouldn’t have a center because I didn’t know who else would have helped us out with the money. DAM: What a selfless, kind thing to offer. Is he still in Columbia? HH: No. He is no longer alive. He’s gone. I think it’s probably been four or five years ago. I think it’s been about five years ago, actually. In fact, I’m the only one out of the group that used to be. We all used to hang around together, and I’ll have you know all my old friends are dead. I’m telling you, it’s terrible [chuckles softly]. Of course, you know, I’m sad. But I’m still here, and I’m glad to be. But I sure do miss my old friends. I’ve got a lot of friends who are younger than me, practically everybody is (laughs), but I mean, they’re not exactly young. Just younger than me. DAM: How did it come about that Columbia’s LGBTQ Center was named after you? HH: Ed Madden and Bert Easter. I love those two. They’re like sons to me. But they suggested it and everyone agreed. I’ll tell you, it has been such an honor and I have loved every moment of my involvement with this community. It’s my community, it’s my family. I’m proud the center is named after me. DAM: Do you have any concerns about the future of this country, and what words would you share with younger people in our community? HH: About this country? Of course I do. There are so many reasons we have to be concerned about after we saw what happened with Trump in office. And in South Carolina, as a state, there are some crazy people in office. I mean it’s bad in North Carolina, but it’s nowhere as bad as South Carolina. To young people in today’s community I would say learn about where your rights and abilities came from and the people who worked so hard for you to have the life you have today. But, more importantly, you know, don’t quit. Don’t just sit back and relax. There are people out there working and organizing to try and change everything we’ve accomplished. We can’t let that happen, which means young people in the [LGBTQ] community have got to vote, organize and fight to hold on to what they have and to make the future better. ::


a&e ‘Famously Hot’ SC Pride is an event not to be missed

Festival boasts stellar lineup including Natasha Bedingfield, Sheila E. and Crystal Waters By David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer If you’re anywhere within relatively close proximity to Columbia, South Carolina, mark your calendars for October 14-15 and make sure to be there for the city’s annual Pride parade festival. Well the state as a whole tends to lean a bit too far into the red zone for most queer taste (not unlike its neighbors), prominent cities like Charleston, Greenville and Columbia trend toward progressive and boast active and respected LGBTQ communities. Columbia, the state’s capital, holds the annual statewide pride event each year, which has progressively grown larger over the past decade, now attracting a crowd numbering somewhere around 80,000, according to reports. The Pride Parade takes place Friday October 14, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. in the evening. That’s different from most of the surrounding LGBTQ communities in other cities, but has proved to be a success in

Natasha Bedingfield headlines SC Pride. Photo Credit: Facebook

Columbia. The parade kicks off at the corners of Main and Laurel Streets and ends at Lady Street. A dance party and celebration follows with performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race on the main stage including Phoenix, Denali, Tammie Brown, Kerri Colby and A’Keria Chanel Davenport. The festival continues on Saturday, October 15 with headlining performers Natasha Bedingfield, Sheila E., Crystal Waters and CupcakKe. Bedingfield is best known for such songs as ‘Unwritten,” “Pocketful of Sunshine” and “These Words.” Sheila E., who worked closely with Prince during the height of his career, is best known for her hits “Glamorous Life and “Belle of St. Marks.” Crystal Waters has seen major dance chart success with “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” and “100% Pure Love.” CupcakKe experienced viral video acclaim with videos like “H2hoe” and “Marge Simpson.” In addition to the Saturday vendor fair and festival, an after party follows the main stage concerts with more entertainment from RuPaul’s Drag Race performers. For more details, visit scpride.org.

HIV/AIDS Clinics & Organizations in South Carolina Compiled by Mykah Buff |Qnotes Contributer

ACLU South Carolina (843) 720-1423 aclusc.org

Carolina’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce

29407 (843) 402-3093 ryanwhiteofcharleston.org

Columbia, SC (803) 771-0411

AHF Healthcare Center

1022 Calhoun St, Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 254-6644 scdhec.org

Charleston, Columbia, Fort Mill, Myrtle Beach and Rock Hill CLGBTcc.org

4100 N Main St Ste 102, Columbia, SC 29203 (803) 223-9895 hivcare.org

Gay & Sober

AID Upstate Prevention

gayandsoer.org Go to “‘Meeting Finder” Choose country and then state Over a dozen 12 step groups in SC

4100 N Main St Ste 102, Columbia, SC 29203 (803) 223-9895 aidupstate.org

HopeHealth in Aiken

CAN Community Health

150 University Pkwy, Aiken, SC 29801 (803) 643-1977 www.hope-health.org

1911 Hampton St, Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 849-8430 www.cancommunityhealth.org

Palmetto Community Care

Harriet Hancock LGBTQ Center

3547 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29405 (843) 747-2273 Palmettocare.org

1108 Woodrow St, Columbia, SC 29205 (803) 771-7713 harriethancockcenter.org

Palmetto Community Care

Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services

3547 Meeting Street Rd, Charleston, SC 29405 (843) 747-2273 palmettocare.org

Ryan White Wellness Center

1481 Tobias Gadson Blvd, Charleston, SC

2638 Two Notch Rd # 108, Columbia, SC 29204 (803) 779-7257 palss.org

SC Gay & Lesbian Business Gild

SC HIV Council

Pride Link at the Queer Wellness Center

30 Pointe Cir Suite B, Greenville, SC 29615 (864) 248-4040 pridelink.org

PFLAG Greenville

1801 Rutherford Rd, Greenville, SC 29609 (864) 336-8899 pflaggvl.org

Queer Wellness Center of Greenville

30 Pointe Cir, Greenville, SC 29615 (864) 655-5193 queerwellnesscentergvl.org

MCC 6-- A Dorchester Dr.

Affinity Health Center

455 Lakeshore Pkwy, Rock Hill, SC 29730 (803) 909-6363 affinityhealthcenter.org

PFLAG Spartanburg

220 E Kennedy St, Spartanburg, SC 29302 (864) 381-8187 pflagspartanburg.org

Piedmont HIV International Center

101 N Pine St, Spartanburg, SC 29302 (864) 582-7517

Uplift LGBTQ+ Youth Outreach Center

200 Fernwood Dr, Spartanburg, SC 29307 (864) 381-7234 upliftoutreachcenter.org

Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce upstatelgbtq.org

North Charleston, SC 29418 843-760-6114 mcccharleston.com

Wateree AIDS Task Force

We Are Family

MCC of Our Redeemer

1801 Reynolds Ave Unit B, North Charleston, SC 29405 (843) 637-9379 closetcasethrift.com

108 E. Liberty St, Sumpter, SC 29150 (803) 778-0303

557 Augusta, GA 30901 706-722-6454 mccoor.com

Sept. 30 - Oct. 13, 2022

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news Greenville County SC GOP wants to ban books with LGBTQ content

County Council member Joe Dill takes up cause to remove titles from public library youth sections By David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer While most residents of Greenville County, S.C. have proudly evolved with the times politically and much change has come in recent years to the county that is home to Spartanburg and Greenville, the region is no stranger to major anti-LGBTQ controversy. It’s come knocking at the door again, 21st century style, as Greenville County councilmember Joe Dill has proposed – at the behest of the county’s Republican party

– a potential ban on books with LGBTQ themes from the youth literary sections of all public libraries. According to the website greenvilleonline.com, 23 people showed up to speak about the proposed ban, and none of them spoke in support of Dill’s proposal. “Authoritarian governments ban books, not democratic republics,” said Leslie Johnson, who founded the Greenville chapter of PFLAG nearly 30 years ago. Nearly all of the county council members were on hand September 22, at the beginning of the session, but only four remained by the meeting’s end. Response to the unanimous proposal

from leadership of the Greenville County Republican Party came after their Sept.12 resolution calling on the county council to remove books with LGBTQ themes and place them with adult books. While Dill has said he consulted with the county attorney regarding a resolution, at press time there was no confirmation it would come to a vote. “Book banning is illegal, and it’s been illegal for a long time,” Alan Chaney, Director of Legal Advocacy for the ACLU of South Carolina told council members during the meeting. Another council member present in the chamber, Ennis Fant, assured Greenville

County residents there would not be a successful attempt at passing a policy to ban books. “I can promise you, if it comes, it won’t go very far,” Fant told the audience . “I can promise you there aren’t seven votes to do that in 2022.” In 1996 the same county, in response to the Atlanta Olympic committee’s acceptance of openly LGBTQ athletes, announced that the “homosexual lifestyle was incompatible with living in Greenville County.” The move backfired, leading to the Olympic committee making the decision to reroute the legendary Olympic Torch completely around Greenville County. ::

South Carolina Gay Bars and Clubs Compiled by Mykah Buff |Qnotes Contributer

The Capital Club 1002 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201 803-256-6464 thecapitalclubsc.com

Kandy Shop 1509 Fontaine Rd, Columbia, SC 29223 803-445-6262 https://colakandyshop.com

Gaslight Lounge & Grill 600 Keith Drive, Greenville, SC 29607 803-616-5403 https://mygaslight.com

PT’s 1109 1109 Assembly St, Columbia, SC 29201 803-253-8900 pts1109columbia.com

St. George 503 8th Ave N, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 843-712-1964 https://m.facebook.com/stgeorgre/

WE’s on Meeting 735 Meeting St, West Columbia, SC https://m.facebook.com/WEs-On-Meeting/

Blu Nightclub 1 College St, Greenville, SC 29601 864-242-5743 https://blu-martini-bar-nightclub.business.site

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DT’s Tavern 100 E. North Street, Greenville, SC 20601 864-232-1514 facebook.com/Dtstavernthefunplace

Sept. 30-Oct. 13. , 2022

Pulse Ultra Club S. Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 843-315-0019 https://m.facebook.com/PulseUltraClub

The Hideaway­ 405 E Baskins Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29730 803-328-6630 thehideawaysc.com


life A conversation with SC Pride President Jeff March Our People

By L’Monique King qnotes Staff Writer

J

eff March has enjoyed living in the Carolinas for 40 years now, and hasn’t looked back since his family relocated from Chicago decades ago. For March, Columbia, S.C., is home. “It’s growing in a positive direction for a lot of communities, including the LGBT community,” March explains. A staple within South Carolina’s Pride community, he humbly admits he is happy to be part of that change. A business owner and community volunteer, March is a much respected hairstylist with 35 years of experience under his belt. For the past 30 years, he has been the owner/operator of Robert Jeffrey Salon – a hair Salon in downtown Columbia. While speaking with qnotes, March shared some of his insights into the intricacies of living a full life while making an indelible impact on the community. Has it been challenging? At times, of course – well, maybe not the hairdressing part as much. “It just came naturally for me,” he claims. “Nothing I wanted to do, or set out to do, something my mother made me do quite honestly. It’s just a very natural fit for me. Oddly enough, so is Pride. I was kinda’ pushed into a leadership role when no one else wanted the seat.” What has been your involvement with South Carolina Pride? I started working with South Carolina Pride 14 years ago. I was the volunteer coordinator for three years. Then, 11 years ago, I became president. What got you started? I was one of those people that was going to our Pride and wondering why things weren’t changing. Why can’t this be better? We were in a festival mode with just our community. When I started attending [Pride] meetings, I was hearing phrases like, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” but we only had about 6000 to 8000 people, and we didn’t have outside community members or allies. So I needed to figure out how to make the general population comfortable with

events they would attend. How did that work out? The first big thing I thought of doing was a comedy event. On July 13, 2012, we had Joan Rivers at the Koger Center for the Arts. The seating capacity there is 2200. It was my first [large scale Pride event]. It was a hugely successful event, and it gave me the foresight to say, this is where we need to be. This is how we need to change the climate here for LGBT people in South Carolina, through allyship. Do you think the event helped to change the climate? It did. It changed everything from that day forward. Our Pride was moved from Finlay Park in 2012, to Main Street, in front of the state capitol. I fought to have that happen. Sounds like lots of work, especially for a full-time business owner. Would you say it is challenging? It can be, but I’m very lucky. It doesn’t feel like a lot of hard work. I have a good time with both. Doesn’t mean it can’t be stressful, especially Pride. There are a lot of entities to Pride. Like the business side. It’s a financially secure organization [SC Pride], and still a volunteer one. Soliciting community participation can bring stress. Everyone loves Pride and wants to enjoy it. But, when it comes to the work of making that happen, it’s a lot. There’s marketing and there’s inventing creative concepts and ideas.

President before me only sat for three years. We’ve grown so much in the 11 years I’ve been involved. We’ve done a lot. I’m calling it retiring because I want to do something else. I’m not sure what that is [yet]. You’ve done so much for pride. Are there any accomplishments that you’re particularly proud of? I was just given the key to the city a few weeks ago. I am the first openly gay person to receive the key to the city for my work for the LGBT community. It felt great! I haven’t gotten much attention or accolades within the political arena, and I’ve always been the political challenger, so to speak. A lot of people would say I’ve done a lot for Pride, and while that might be true, Pride has done a lot for me. And for that I’ll always be grateful. Anyone special you’ll be spending this next chapter with? Are you partnered? Yes. I have a fiancé, Sergio. We’ve been

engaged for two and a half years. He’s Costa Rican, and we met on Facebook the day after my mom passed. The person who does social media for Pride posted it. Someone read and shared the post with him, which led to him sending me a condolence message. But then he followed up a week later. To be honest, I thought he was too pretty and that I was being catfished, so I kept him at bay for about two months before we finally decided to have dinner. He’s just an all around good soul. Right now, we’re looking at 2024 [for the wedding date], but are prepared to move it up if our marriage rights are threatened before then. Right now, I don’t trust the Supreme Court because they lied during their interview process regarding the abortion issue. If you could go anywhere in the world for an escape the madness dream vacation, where would you go? My fiancé’s home is Costa Rica. I’ve been there a few times; I love his family, and it’s very beautiful there. We bought a house in June in the outskirts of Columbia in the middle of nowhere because it reminds him of home. [Thoughtful pause] I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. The only problem is, I’m not a flier, and it’s a long flight, so I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. : :

When you’re feeling stressed or challenged, what or who can you count on for inspiration? The Jonas Brothers’ song “Remember This” is inspiring me to get to the finish line. It’s upbeat and inspirational. Finish line? What do you mean? I’m stepping down. It’s a volunteer position, and I don’t want it to feel like it’s a job that I have to do. The longest sitting

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