Qnotes May 26, 2022

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LGBTQ Local News, Voices and Community

MAY 27 - JUNE 2, 2022|VOL 37 NO 03 Printed On Recycled Paper

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Pets Are Family in Many LGBTQ Homes Humane Society gets new site – pg 6 Dog training options – pg 10 Update on Charlotte’s Gay Dog – pg 12 Attorney says marriage equality is safe from SCOTUS overturn

– pg 4

Books penned by LGBTQ and BIPOC authors banned in NC and beyond – pg 8

May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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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.

inside this issue

feature

10 Canine Experts Say Dog Training Requires Also Training the Owners 12 An Update: Oscar the Gay Dog 16 Beware of the Porn Trap

An Update: Oscar the Gay Dog

Mixed- breed pooch dubbed gay and dumped by former owners finds new happiness with Charlotte gay couple. We update Oscar’s journey, visit his new home and meet the men who love him.

news

4 Lawyer Who Helped Win marriage equality says It’s Safe from Possible SCOTUS Overturn 5 Mad Madison Cawthorn and Pitiful Pat McCrory SC Governor signs HB 4608 6 LGBTQ Primary Election Results in Charlotte and North Carolina 6 New Home for Dogs and Cats Opens at Humane Society 7 Celebrating Pride in Myrtle Beach, SC 7 Qnotes Wants You 8 LGBTQ Community, People of Color in the Crosshairs of Banned Book Movement

a&e

17 Texas Road Trip 18 Everything Old is New Again 18 Screen Heat

life 14 Attorney, LGBTQ Activist and Author Urvashi Vaid Dies 19 Our People: Cremonlyn Morris-Frazier

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Beware of the Porn Trap

Is the porn industry a trap in disguise? While people think that they are getting financial gain with Onlyfans and other film companies, what is the real price that you pay? In this story, we uncover how sex work may not be the best career choice.

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views

4 This Summer and Fall Looks to Be the Fight of Our Lives

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

For event listings, visit qnotescarolinas.com/eventscalendar. May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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This Summer and Fall Looks to Be the Fight of Our Lives Political Voices

by Kendra R. Johnson, Equality NC Executive Director Contributing Writer

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eactionary forces are mobilizing, targeting trans identities, abortion and bodily autonomy at all levels of government. Resisting this climate of white supremacy, transphobia and homophobia requires frequent and powerful action and resistance. But it also necessitates that we use all levers of power to minimize the harm forced onto our communities. We need everyone in this movement to protect our people from the harm of reactionary ideologies. And that means engaging in the electoral process. That’s why at Equality NC we’ve been interviewing, researching and vetting candidates for all levels of government in North Carolina for our endorsements. We interviewed over 100 candidates and our diverse and well-qualified PAC spent hours considering and discussing their records. In considering potential candidates, we looked at them closely; we selected candidates who would strongly advocate for and work with marginalized communities in service of LGBTQ and racial justice. We’ve selected a slate which will be able

to strongly advocate for our communities in office. And this slate of candidates has already had some success. Equality NC PAC is proud to announce that 39 candidates endorsed by the organization had won their primaries and advanced to the General Election, around three-quarters of our endorsees with contested primaries. These candidates join 44 other candidates who were unopposed in their primary to form an Equality slate of 83 candidates, with potentially more being added as the election continues. Election night’s results are a decisive victory for pro-equality candidates. Nearly three-quarters of our slate won their primary. We’re excited to see the prog-

ress that fabulous candidates will make to building racial justice and LGBTQ+ equality in their communities. To uplift, here are some stats on our amazing primary candidates: Thirtynine candi-

dates won primaries. Five out LGBTQ candidates won primaries across the state. Those 39 candidates join 44 endorsed candidates running unopposed in the primary to create a slate of 83 candidates, with more endorsements coming as the cycle continues. It’s been a hard fought campaign – and it’s not over yet. The general election is coming up this fall, and our community needs all hands on deck to protect our civil

rights and advance policies which promote justice and equity. You can help build this better electoral future in a few ways. First, you can educate yourself on candidates and on the electoral process. We’ve compiled a list of our endorsees here on our website, and we have a terrific voting hub where you can check your registration, request an absentee ballot, find your polling place and more. Second, you can help build strength and solidarity in your community. LGBTQ folks and other marginalized communities have a rich tradition of resistance and mutual aid which has been a crucial ingredient in civil rights successes of our history. As we strive to build power through electoral politics, know that we need to work together to hold those politicians accountable once in office. We encourage you to find and join organizations, groups or funds in your community that strengthen the power of our people. Finally, you can get involved! We’re on the hunt for volunteers – you can sign up here – and we encourage you to engage with campaigns which inspire you. Canvassing, registering voters and texting voters really can make a difference. : :

Lawyer Who Helped Win Marriage Equality Says It’s Safe From Possible SCOTUS Overturn Some 560,000 Same-Sex Couples Are Married in the US, Presenting a Serious Roadblock for Overturning Marriage Equality BY DANIEL VILLARREAL | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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GBTQ people have worried that the Supreme Court could overturn its 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage after a leak that revealed the Court’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision protecting the right to abortion. However, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, one of the lawyers in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex marriages, has said the large number of married same-sex couples will make the 2015 ruling difficult to overturn. “We should be careful not to assume that Obergefell would be on the chopping block,” Hallward-Driemeier told Business Insider. An estimated 560,000 same-sex couples in the United States are married, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Undoing all of these marriages would “make it very difficult to unwind” the 2015 court decision, the lawyer said. “The reliance interests of already married same-sex couples are extremely

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powerful and He used would be an similar reasonenormous ing to argue obstacle, against sameboth practical sex marriage and legal, to in his past disany attempt sent against to undo the Obergefell Obergefell,” case, Vox Hallwardjournalist Driemeier Ian Millhiser said. noted. In his However, leaked opinHallwardMany married LGBTQ couples are concerned SCOTUS will ion about Driemeier attempt to overturn marriage equality. (Photo Credit: overturning disagrees with Adobe Stock) Roe v. Wade, Alito’s take. conservative “Obergefell Justice Samuel is an extenAlito said that the Constitution only sion of a long-recognized, fundamental protects rights that are “deeply rooted in right to marry,” Hallward-Driemeier said. this Nation’s history and tradition,” and he “If you’re going to overturn Obergefell, you specifically listed Obergefell v. Hodges as have to perhaps overturn a bunch of decian example of a Supreme Court decision sions on which heterosexual couples have that protected a right that was not so relied on as well.” deeply rooted. Indeed, the majority opinion in

Obergefell v. Hodges held that same-sex couples have an unenumerated “right to marry.” The opinion, surprisingly, didn’t rest upon the arguably stronger legal argument that forbidding same-sex couples to wed violates the Constitution’s equality clause that guarantees all residents equal treatment under the law, Millhiser states. But even though the court has a six-to-three conservative tilt and three justices who vocally oppose LGBTQ rights, Millhiser questions whether all five conservative justices would actually vote in favor of overturning LGBTQ rights, especially since some of those justices have expressed support for stare decisis, the legal doctrine that courts are bound by their previous decisions. While one could argue that Alito’s abortion opinion shows a willingness to defy stare decisis and overturn old Court decisions, he may find himself among the minority of justices who are willing to do so against same-sex marriage. This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. : :


news

Mad Madison Cawthorn and Pitiful Pat McCrory Go Out With Barely a Whimper Former Fixture in Charlotte Politics and Relative Newcomer End Careers on Decidedly Sour Notes

by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer

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s there ever a good time to rejoice in someone else’s defeat? Probably not. At least not too much. But when that someone is your enemy, and they’ve had their sight set on limiting or ultimately ending your civil rights, culture and your livelihood, you deserve a pass, some time to gloat a little and let out a hefty sigh of relief. The LGBTQ community and progressives across the Carolinas did just that Tuesday, May 17, when it became clear that two particularly unpleasant far right wing politicians, former Charlotte mayor turned failed one-term governor turned radio talk show host and wannabe senator Pat McCrory, and NC Representative/ boy-child and Trump favorite Madison Cawthorn, had both pulled the plugs on their political campaigns. For now, at least. Of the two, it is possible Cawthorn, 26, might resurface at some later date. However, with a list of criminal accusations, complaints of sexual misconduct, thoughtless gaffs and suspect activities that add up to more than most politicians accrue in a lifetime, it seems unlikely any future attempts would meet with success. Not surprisingly and not unlike most children, Cawthorn attempted to deflect the blame for his failure at everyone else, taking no responsibility whatsoever. “This was a coordinated strike carried out by what I think is the oldest wing of our party,” Cawthorn said during his concession speech, apparently pointing a finger at senior Republican officials. “You know I think it’s a loser’s mentality, they realize the direction the election is going in, the direction the population is going in and … they … pay off people from my past for old pictures and things that happened years and years ago. I feel free to let them do that because I think the American people can see through that.” And none of it could possibly be because of the homoerotic innuendo

Anti-LGBTQ candidates Pat McCrory and Madison Cawthorn conceded defeat in the Republican primaries May 17. (Photo Credit: David Aaron Moore ) between you and your cousin captured on video, carrying a gun into an airport twice, publicly announcing that older Republican men had invited you to a cocaine and sex party, continuing to support Trump’s big lie and helping to rally a crowd of insurrectionists into an all-out attack on Congress January 6? McCrory, 65, has a history of intolerance and bad behavior that is documented in the pages of qnotes, and there’s no reason to beat it to death again here. Just click on the link for more info (or search the qnotes website with the name Pat McCrory) if you’re curious, but at the very least, never forget he was the mayor who maliciously attempted to stop Charlotte from having an LGBTQ Pride celebration (in 2006) and humiliated the state as governor (ten years later in 2016) by creating an enhanced atmosphere of bigotry that resulted in national businesses, sports

teams, performers and conventions turning their backs on the Tar Heel State in droves because of his horrendously hateful anti-LGBTQ legislation known as HB2, or “the bathroom bill.” His concession speech was a bit more humble, although he did not admit to the damage he had caused the state. “I love you and thanks for putting up with all this stuff,” he began slowly. “I know the game. I played the game. I’ve been played by the game. I’ve won the game, but I’ve lost the game, and tonight we lost fair and square. “That’s part of what our great democracy is all about,” he continued, as he seemingly tried to distance himself from Trump. “And who could have imagined ... I [was] here at the Selwyn Pub as a Republican City Council member and later a Republican mayor for 14 years. We transformed a great American city and ...

I was governor of the greatest state in the United States of America ... I could have never imagined I would have the opportunity to run for the US Senate. “Politics is a tough sport. A very tough sport, and I knew I was in for [it] about a year ago this week when the former president of the United States, with me in the audience, turned to the whole audience and said I don’t represent his values. “He may be right about the values. I don’t represent his values, but I do represent his policies.” While it is unclear exactly what McCrory meant by that statement – forever pandering to the far right even in the final gasps of his career, perhaps? – his closing words were fairly succinct. It appears as though McCrory has decided to finally put an end to his political ambitions. “I began here with the city council and now end here in public service, with my friends and colleagues that will be my friends and colleagues forever. I love you. God bless you and God bless America.” Readers will remember that after McCrory lost his bid at a second term for North Carolina governor, he trotted off to Washington for a meeting with Donald Trump and an apparent attempt to find a place in his cabinet. No information has ever been released about what was discussed between the two men, although it seems evident that Trump held a distinct dislike for McCrory, which has continued to this day. Many long time Charlotte and North Carolina residents have agreed in this case the old phrase, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” simply doesn’t apply. Too much political pandering for wealthy conservatives and big businesses and a lack of support for healthcare and well-being for the economically challenged certainly hasn’t helped McCrory’s cause. Mix that with intolerant statements aimed at Charlotte’s LGBTQ, Latin and Black communities and the once highly regarded mayor is reduced to nothing more than an unwelcome guest in a city that left him behind many years ago. : :

Connie J. Vetter, Esq. Attorney at Law PLLC Your LGBTQ+ Law Attorney

Talk/Text 704-333-4000 or online

May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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news

SC Governor signs HB 4608 As of May 16, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law HB 4608, which bans transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. HB 4608 is a discriminatory attack on transgender students who – like many teens – are going through the motions of keeping fit and enjoying physical activity by playing sports with their peers. Transgender kids have said themselves they play sports for the same reasons all kids do: to be part of a team, to learn discipline, and above all, to have fun with their friends. In a report carried by ABC News, trans teen Kris Wilka, then 13, talked about watching football games at his cousin’s house when he was younger, which eventually led him into playing the sport himself. “It was very fascinating to me,” he said during the interview with the news program Nightline. “When I was in second

grade, I went straight to tackle football – I never played any flag [football] – and I was quarterback for two years in my league, and then I was on the line my third year. I got recruited to a new league, played a year there.” At the time of the interview, Wilka played quarterback at Harrisburg North Middle School in Sioux Falls, S.D. Like so many of his teammates, he couldn’t imagine life without the sport. He almost lost the opportunity when he was set to transfer to another school that refused to allow him to continue playing football on male teams. Wilka and his parents chose another school that didn’t have transgender intolerance issues and he continued to play throughout the season. But that’s not likely to be the case for trans teens in South Carolina – and especially for those that are trans female. By passing this bill, which has been so inappropriately dubbed the “Save

LGBTQ Primary Election Results in Charlotte and North Carolina Primary elections were held across various parts of the country May 17, with LGBTQ candidates vying for seats in state and local races. In Charlotte the LGBTQ community fared relatively well, with three out of four of the candidates who ran identifying as part of the community capturing nominations and preparing to move forward. In the tight, multi-candidate city council at-large race, of the four candidates from the Democratic party chosen to run in the election, coming in at third place with 37,120 votes, former city council member for District Two, LaWana Mayfield.

Mayfield captured a respectable 18 percent of the vote, while her other winning competitors captured 21 percent (Braxton Winston), 19 percent (Dimple Ajmera) and 16 percent (James Mitchell). Of the four Republicans vying for city council at-large seats, Kyle Luebke will be competing in the upcoming election. He came in fourth place, capturing 16,076 votes and 20 percent of the total number of individuals who voted. In District 1, topping out the race to capture the Democratic nomination was Dante Anderson with 4,047 votes. Billy

New Home for Dogs and Cats Opens at Humane Society Dogs and cats at the old Humane Society of Charlotte animal shelter will have a new home by the end of May—a 27,000-square-foot center funded by $15 million in donations. The new Animal Resource Center, at 1348 Parker Drive in west Charlotte, is a project that’s been in the works since 2010, according to Shelly Moore, the nonprofit’s CEO and president. “This has been a long journey,” Moore told The Charlotte Observer. The Humane Society of Charlotte had operated out of a shelter on Toomey Avenue, near Remount Road and Interstate 77, since the ‘90s. That shelter was built by the city in either 1978 or 1982, Moore said. “That building belongs to the city of Charlotte,” Moore said. After Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Animal Care and Control moved to Byrum

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Drive in the ‘90s, the city leased the building to the Humane Society of Charlotte for $1 a year, according to Moore. “The Humane Society has been able to convert and utilize that building up until probably the last decade to be able to adequately serve the community,” she said. “We were no longer able to meet the demand in that space.” Moore said she didn’t want the new center to be a place that people only went to if they wanted a pet. The Parker Drive facility also will offer low-cost and emergency veterinary care, outreach programs, and educational and youth programming, she said. It’ll have a pet food bank for families in need. “We’ve looked at addressing all these core areas,” Moore said. “There’s so many more needs for the community in serving them and supporting them with their pets.”

Women’s Sports” friends, get exbill, McMaster is ercise, and learn blatantly ignorwhat it takes to ing his duty to be part of a team. stand up for all of Transgender his constituents, people have parespecially transticipated uneventgender female fully in school athstudents. letics for decades, The Human and this issue is Rights Campaign simply manufac(HRC), a leading tured to further LGBTQ civil rights distract and organization, divide us. This bill More religion-based bigotry and hatred: South has condemned is not about fairCarolina Governor Henry McMaster signs McMaster for ness for women, anti-trans bill into law. (Photo Credit: Screen signing the bill it’s about attackCapture) into law. HRC’s ing a marginalState Legislative ized group that is Director and already bearing Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the weight of discrimination. History will the following statement: remember Governor McMaster’s disregard “HB 4608 is a shameful bill and a for compassion, humanity, and basic hustain on Governor McMaster’s record. man rights.” Transgender kids are playing school sports info: bit.ly/3sNEHWw because it’s what kids often do to make — David Aaron Moore

Maddalon, another member of the LGBT community vying for the seat, did not win the nomination and came in third place with 2,699 votes. Competing in the Charlotte City Council District 2 race from the LGBTQ community was Kendrick Cunningham. He captured 18 percent of votes cast (1,662), but lost the opportunity to run for the one available seat in District 2 to Malcolm Graham, who captured the nomination with a whopping 72 percent. Among the four other districts in Charlotte there were no other competing LGBTQ candidates. On the federal level in North Carolina, Jasmine Beach-Ferrera, a currently serving Buncombe County Commissioner, captured the Democratic nomination for the 11th Congressional District. Beach-

Ferrara was expected to go head-to-head against Madison Cawthorn, who lost the nomination, but will instead run against Republican primary winner and State Senator Chuck Edwards. Beach-Ferrara won the primary with 60.54 percent of the vote, substantially ahead of multiple challengers by 40 percent and more. Singer, North Carolina native and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken, who has attempted political runs for office twice, had hopes for winning the US House District Four nomination, which includes the Durham area. State Senator Valerie Foushee instead captured the nomination, while Aiken came in third. info: n.pr/38ClwbF — David Aaron Moore

The center sues,” she said. also will include A ribbon-cutting recreational spaces ceremony for the for animals and Animal Resource pet owners across Center took place its 17 acres of land, May 19, but the a public dog park new facility won’t and a cat café, acofficially be up cording to Moore. and running until The new center the end of May. will increase capacAnimals previously New friends for you: feline and canine pals ity by about 40 housed at the origiare awaiting adoption at the Humane Socipercent, Moore nal shelter are in ety’s new home. (Photo Credit: Stock Adobe) said. The new foster homes or Pet center will have 24 Palace on Wilkinson large, tempered Boulevard, Moore glass suites and 36 indoor kennels for said. dogs, compared to the 50 chain-link kenThey’ll come into the center once it’s nels facing each other outside the Toomey ready and soon be available for adoption. Avenue site, she said. This article has been edited for space The kennels and suites will help segrelimitations. It appears courtesy of our megate the dogs so they don’t get stressed dia partner the Charlotte Observer. out from seeing one another so often, info: bit.ly/3Nprmvy Moore said. “When animals get stressed — Johnathan Limehouse out, it can create health and behavior is-


news

Celebrating Pride in Myrtle Beach, SC Slate of events includes dance parties, sports, drag brunch and more BY QNOTES STAFF | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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f you’re looking for a nearby weekend getaway to coincide with LGBTQ Pride, why not consider Pride Myrtle Beach? It’s just over three hours away, and affords travelers a mix of Pride activities and surf and shore fun in the Atlantic Ocean. Pride Myrtle Beach was formed in early 2020 after previous organizers announced they were ceasing operations and leaving the Myrtle Beach area without much needed advocacy, education and resources. Within the first six months of the year they received designation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a proclamation from the Myrtle Beach City Council welcoming the organization to Myrtle Beach, which also declared June as Pride Month in the city. Building the foundation of the organization was put on hold due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2021, plans cautiously resumed and as more of the population was vaccinated and restrictions on meeting in person were lifted, Pride Myrtle Beach announced monthly informational meetings and formed a committee to choose the first Board of Directors from a growing list of applicants. In May of 2021 the group held their very first community event, the Pride Month Celebration Picnic. This year, the new event organizers will be celebrating their first full in-person Pride

week. Here’s a list of events you don’t want to miss! June 3 Pride the Wave at Ripley’s Aquarium Experience Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, 1110 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach. This is the Summer Celebration Kickoff. Enjoy this first of its kind event at one of Myrtle Beach’s favorite attractions and a top destination in the state. Dance to the sounds of DJ Stephen Craig, enjoy some of the area’s top drag entertainers along with special guest Dorae Saunders from Charleston. 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm $45. 8 -10 p.m June 3 Summer Celebration After Party at Pulse Ultra Club 2701 S Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach. Join us from 10 p.m. until closing at 3 a.m.. The party boasts music by DJ Minerva, special guest Dorae Saunders and Fierce Friday Night Drag

Extravaganza’s Breonna Tenae. June 4 Come Out and Play Field Day Market Place Commons, Park Soccer Fields, 1004 Crabtree Lane (Look for the Pride Myrtle Beach Flag), Myrtle Beach. Softball, volleyball, soccer and more. Get your teams together for your sport of choice and sign up at the event. If sports are not your thing, have some fun with the three legged race, high heel dash, hula hoop contest and more! 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Grand Park, Market Common (Public Softball and Soccer. June 5 Second Annual Pride Picnic and Food Truck Festival Tidal Creek Brewhouse, 3421 Knoles Street, Myrtle Beach. Join Pride Myrtle Beach noon to 6 p.m. for our Annual Pride Picnic at Tidal Creek Brewhouse. Grab a handcrafted brew and some excellent food from our food truck

vendors, find a spot and enjoy live music by the Goofy Footers Band. We will also have DJ Benny Nations spinning dance tunes and more. June 12 Drag me to brunch at Mr. Fish! Mr. Fish, 401 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach. Drag Me to Brunch Hosted by Morgan Richards The 1st Anniversary Brunch Party!! *We are celebrating with a “White Party” Theme! Wear your decked out luxury white! Special Guest Performers Lilli Frost & Judy Simmons Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Showtime at 12:30 p.m. through 2 p.m. All tickets except “Standing Room” tickets include brunch buffet. Get ready to party with the best entertainers […] June 16 Kick-off for Pride Beach Volleyball Sand Volleyball at Courts on The Boardwalk, 9th Ave N and Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach. Join Pride Myrtle Beach and volunteers from our Health Initiative Committee for Beach Volleyball, every third Thursday this spring, summer, and fall, 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. We will have instructors on hand for beginners and everyone will have time to practice and play. Equipment, water and snacks provided. Everyone welcome and the event is family friendly. : :

Qnotes Wants You

Historic and Leading Voice of the LGBTQ community is hiring

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t’s time for Qnotes to grow again, and we’re looking for candidates to fill available positions so that we can do our best to serve our readership. If you’re passionate about contributing to the continued growth of the LGBTQ community and maintaining the rights we’ve already achieved, perhaps one of these positions might be for you. Have office and business experience? Take note: we’re looking for a part-time office administrator. The individual hired to fill this position will assist with general office work and interact on a regular basis with many businesses in the LGBTQ and allied communities, as well as assist with email monitoring, special projects and sales support. Proficiency in Excel is preferred. But that’s not the only position available. We’re always excited to welcome talented freelance writers to pitch stories and accept assignments. If that’s something you’d like to do on an occasional basis, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your ideas or experience in the field that could very well prompt us to assign you a story or accept your idea for publication online and/or in print. Please keep in mind we are looking for people to cover news, arts and entertainment and human interest. While poetry and fiction can certainly be meaningful entertaining, that

BY QNOTES STAFF | CONTRIBUTING WRITER is not something we carry in the publication or on the website at this time. If you’re seeking a regular committed writing gig, we’re also looking for an experienced journalist to consistently cover the arts, issues surrounding labor and employment and general news and features based on developing issues and events and emerging organizations and individuals in the LGBTQ community. The potential candidate should have a desire for regular work, able to work remotely from home or wherever you choose and be based in North Carolina. Candidates located in the Triangle region and Charlotte areas will be given closer consideration. If any of these jobs sounds like a good fit and you feel like you’re qualified, send us a cover letter and resume to publisher@qnotescarolinas.com. While both of the regular commitment positions could potentially be a dream job for the right person, we know that finding a well-suited match could potentially be an

uphill battle. For the administrative position, it’s likely you’ll want to live in Charlotte, or at least the surrounding Metro area. We’re not going to kid you. As you are probably already well aware of, the cost of living in North Carolina’s larger cities has skyrocketed in the past few years. And why is that? There are multiple reasons. Four years of social insecurity created by the previous presidential administration. A global pandemic that lasted nearly two years. An unexpected population explosion coming of age and in need of housing. Massive corporate buy ups of practically any available homes for sale, which have led to senseless overpricing of rental properties. On average, an estimated 100 new people move to Charlotte every single day. While older properties are snatched up by the aforementioned corporate entities and then renovated and leased at exorbitant prices, newer homes simply can’t be built fast enough to accommodate the ever grow-

ing population. According to a Charlotte Mecklenburg commissioned study, the city has a constant shortage of approximately 60,000 homes for individuals, couples and families who want to live here. Elsewhere, prices are going up in grocery stores, automobile fuel and energy products for the home like gas and electricity. While the LGBTQ community was once viewed as an endless source of expendable income, that’s not always the case these days. We’re impacted by the devalued dollar and ever increasing prices just like everyone else. Nowhere else is that crunch felt than with the younger LGBTQ community. How do we initiate change? The answer isn’t simple and it won’t be easy, but starting at the ground floor and making a commitment for our society at large will result in a better and more affordable future for everyone. We’re currently in a challenging period of massive change and already experiencing bumps in the road we’ve begun to traverse. It’s time to rethink how we live, what we need and don’t and the footprint we leave behind if we hope to achieve an affordable quality of living. If you have an interest in contributing towards that effort by working with Qnotes, come join our team. : :

May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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feature

LGBTQ Community, People of Color in the Crosshairs of Banned Book Movement North Carolina Is One of Several States Experiencing a Surge in Book Bans BY ARIANA FIGUEROA | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

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tudents in one Pennsylvania school district were not allowed to read a biography of the first Black president, Barack Obama. In some Tennessee classrooms, a nonfiction comic book about the atrocities of the Holocaust is banned. And one school district in Wisconsin banned from libraries a picture book about a gay rights activist who was assassinated. In North Carolina two school districts have banned six books that discuss topics of racism and anti-semitism. Among those books are “Dear Martin,” by Nick Stone. The book is about an Ivy League Black student who becomes a victim of racial profiling. “Darkness before Dawn” is the last book by author Sharon Draper in a trilogy, which follows a Black teen who escapes an abusive relationship. “Forged by Fire” is the second book and Draper’s trilogy, which chronicles his struggles to cope with the loss of his aunt. The classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is about a lawyer who defends a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely tells the story of two teenage boys who handle racism and police brutality, and Ellie Wiesel’s “Night” is a memoir about his experiences in a holocaust camp with his father. Specific LGBTQ books that continue to be under fire from the ultra-MAGA set include Alex Gino’s “George,” a book about a tenyear-old transgender girl who struggles for acceptance while standing up to school bullies; “Lawn Boy,” a novel by Jonathan Evison that recounts a childhood samegender sexual experience; and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobble, a memoir that follows the author’s life from adolescence to adulthood and coming to terms with her sexual orientation. In the last nine months, hundreds of books across dozens of states are being banned at an alarming rate. A majority of the bans feature books written by authors who are people of color, LGBTQ+ and/or Black and Indigenous, and many of them feature characters from marginalized groups. State Republican lawmakers are joining the movement, spurred by ultra-conservative groups, to ban books from public schools and libraries. This year in Arizona, state Republicans put forth a measure that would ban schools from teaching or directing students to study any material that is “sexually explicit.” In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill to allow parents greater opportunity to review, and potentially object to, school library books that they find “inappropriate.” And in Idaho, state House Republicans passed a bill that would allow librarians to be prosecuted for allowing minors to check out material deemed harmful. Some of the states with the most aggressive book bans include Texas (713 bans), Pennsylvania (456) and Florida (204). Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office

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Students may end up losing access to books that bear the slightest bit of controversy if current trends continue. (Photo Credit: ADOBE STOCK) for Intellectual Freedom, said book bans within the last 10 years have dealt “with the lives of LGBTQIA persons, either reflecting their experiences, or talking about issues of concern to the LGBTQIA community.” She said those bans have ranged from picture books depicting same-sex couples to young adult books talking about gender identities. Caldwell-Stone said, “the one thing that has interrupted this” trend of banning books centered on LGBTQ+ themes was the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin. “There was an increased number of challenges to books dealing with race and racism that accelerated when we started seeing complaints from organized groups about critical race theory,” she said. “And so when I say critical race theory, I’m not using it in the sense that it actually should be used, which is to describe a graduate level academic analysis of law and political systems, but this use of it to describe books and materials that offer alternative perspectives on American history that reflect the lives of Black persons and their experience of slavery, their experiences with police violence, and so we’ve seen a rising number of challenges to those books.” Some of those groups that have challenged school boards include Moms for Liberty, an organization that has strong GOP ties and has local chapters that “target local school board meetings, school board members, administrators and teachers” to push right-wing policies, as reported by Media Matters. Moms for Liberty has more than 100 local chapters across 35 states. “We’re seeing nationally organized groups create local chapters, and use social media to amplify their demands,” Caldwell-Stone said. “They will tell you that they’re asserting parental rights to direct their children’s education, but the impact of their activities is to deny other parents

the right to make decisions about their own children’s education, and particularly for older adolescents denying the First Amendment rights and agency for elder adolescents to read and access the materials they find important for their lives.” Congressional Democrats have also raised concerns about the increase in book bans across the country. At a recent hearing, Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin, cited a report by PEN America – an organization that advocates for the protection of free speech – that found from July 2021 to the end of March this year, more than 1,500 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states. Ruby Bridges, a civil rights icon who was the first Black child to desegregate an all-white Louisiana school, was a key witness at the hearing. Children’s books about her story – “Brand New School, Brave New Ruby,” and “The Story of Ruby Bridges” – have been banned from classrooms in Pennsylvania. “The truth is that rarely do children of color or immigrants see themselves in these textbooks we are forced to use,” Bridges told lawmakers. “I write because I want them to understand the contributions their ancestors have made to our great country, whether that contribution was made as slaves or volunteers.” Banning books has a long history. Since the 1980s, the American Libraries Association has celebrated those books that are taken off the shelves for its yearly “Banned Books Week.” Books have been banned for racist depictions or language, such as “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck because of its racial slurs. And in 2021, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced it would no longer reprint six Dr. Seuss books, including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” and “If I Ran the Zoo.” “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and

wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement. But the uptick and rate at which books are now being challenged and banned in schools has alarmed many free speech advocates, such as Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN’s Free Expression and Education program, and author of the report Raskin referred to during a House hearing. “It’s not just a parent getting angry about a book in a one off fashion,” Friedman said in an interview with States Newsroom. Friedman said some parents or local activists will submit hundreds of books to be challenged and removed off shelves. “It’s happening all over, so it’s not just one part of the country. A list of books that might be deemed illicit by a group of parents in one state is being used in other states as well,” he said. Friedman said he noticed most of the escalation of book banning happened in the fall of 2021, and pointed to a large swath of book bans that started in Leander, a school district in Texas. “I think a lot of the energy around that [trend], set off of anti-mask energy, and you know, sort of frustrations of a pandemic,” Friedman said. During a school board meeting, a parent read an excerpt of “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez that has a euphemism for anal sex that is historically accurate for the time the book takes place in, which is the 1930s. That book was one of 120 that students could choose from based on an optional curriculum, such as a book club. “And in response, the district suspended the entire curriculum and launched a review, a kind of book by book review, much of it seemingly developing on the fly,” he said. “So they went through a year-long process, but some have serious questions about how much that process was conducted in a way that was fair.” Banning books in the classroom is an issue the Supreme Court took up in 1982 in Island Trees School District v. Pico. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled in the student’s favor, affirming that the First Amendment limits the power of junior high and high school administrative officials to remove books from school libraries based on the books’ content. But in that court decision, because “given the sensibilities of young people” schools were given discretion to remove books that were deemed “pervasively vulgar,” or “educationally unsuitable,” Caldwell-Stone said. “Because the court really didn’t define these terms, they become a kind of magic word,” she said. “If we say those magic words that will make it legal for us to remove this book when, in fact, the actual motivation behind removing the book is because the book is about two gay teens finding each other and falling in love.” This article appears courtesy of our media partner NC Policy Watch. : :


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May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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feature

Canine Experts Say Dog Training Also Requires Training the Owners North Carolina Pet Trainers Offer the Royal Treatment to Clients in Charlotte and the Piedmont

BY L’MONIQUE KING Qnotes Staff WRITER

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f you’re an animal lover or you know one, you understand the passion of pet owners who want to dote on their fur babies. After all, who wouldn’t want to come home to wagging tails, prancing excitement and the type of unconditional love that never requires an apology or explanation. Besides, who wouldn’t want the added bonus of increasing their chances of living longer simply by owning and caring for a Fido? According to a story that appeared in USA Today referencing the peerreviewed journal of the American Heart Association’s scholarly article, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, there is a direct correlation between mortality and dog ownership. The research examined studies published from 1950 to 2019 and included over three million participants. In doing so, scientists discovered the following: dog owners were likely to live longer than those who didn’t have dogs. Dog owners had a 24 percent risk reduction for death from any cause, according to the study. For people with heart problems, living with a dog had an even greater benefit. In an effort to discover what the actual cause of longevity to dog owners is, USA Today reported this on the study’s findings: “The potentially life-extending benefits of dog ownership could be traced in part to increased physical activity from walking the dog, authors speculated. The study found dog owners were less likely to die from heart disease compared

Tim and Mitchell Gold with a client named Troops. (Photo Credit: Barbara Proud)

with nonowners. [Additionally] Keith C. Ferdinand, professor at Tulane University School of Medicine, said having a family pet may assist a person with managing stress, increasing activity and decreasing isolation and loneliness.” With information like this, it’s no wonder that pet ownership in general (not just dogs) soared during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shuttered and isolated folks needed something, someone, to assist them in staving off loneliness and remaining sane. But what about the requirements needed for a high maintenance pet? Most of us don’t find an uncontrollable, misbehaving pet, or one who leaves so much fur around our homes that we’ve been reduced to wearing nothing but leather. Not to mention, it’s responsible and healthy to groom, socialize and teach your pet boundaries. For folks who need more than a YouTube video and are truly willing to invest in a furry family member, there are certainly options. Have an unruly pooch? Looking for training that embraces a holistic approach? Tim Gold Dog Training in Conover (less than an hour from Charlotte) might be just what you’re looking for. Life partners Tim and Mitchell Gold are also partners in bringing the dreams of joyful pet ownership to fruition. It all started back in 2016. At that time, after experiencing a series of panic attacks, a doctor diagnosed Tim with anxiety disorder. Tim Gold working with another happy pooch. (Photo The suggested course of Credit: Facebook) action left two options for Tim,

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medication or a service dog. Not wanting to set himself up for a possible drug dependency and after discussing it with Mitchell, his husband, he decided a dog was the best route. Not long after, Tim and Mitchell ended up with Zola, a Doberman. After three weeks of service dog training, Zola joined the Gold family. Though she had her basic commands down, Tim, an avid reader with an ongoing quest for knowledge, sought to learn more. While learning how to care for Zola, Tim was actually setting the foundation for what would become Tim Gold Dog Training. Tim’s success with Zola led to him offering his training assistance to friends and family, casual acquaintances and eventually, anyone who could make a call or do an internet search. His co-founder and husband told qnotes, “Here’s the big thing, Tim [an anxiety sufferer] has really developed techniques that relieve the anxiety that a dog has and to train them with treats instead of shock collars. Many times, when you take a dog to a trainer, they want to keep the dog for two or three weeks and don’t want you to come visit. What we do, is only keep a dog for five days. It’s like a sports camp or a boot camp. We have three other trainers working from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The dogs are constantly being taught how to behave and how to respond to cues. We don’t call them commands because we’re cuing the dogs on how to behave properly.” So what sets Tim Gold Dog Training apart from others? Mitchell explains: “A big part of it is training people. We have a compact, faster program [that’s completed] within a few weeks. The dog is kept for one week. Mid-week the pet parents come for an hour or two to learn how their dog has been trained and what they have to do [to keep the desired behavior in place]. After, Tim and his team go to the dog’s

home with the dogs to ensure that the parents can assist in keeping everything going while in their home environment.” Another factor that makes Tim Gold Dog Training different than many others is the atmosphere pets and pet owners enjoy while a fur baby is being housed and trained. Puppy Palace is the Gold’s ecofriendly lakeside house used for boarding and training. “Most dog training places are very institutional,” Mitchell explains. “Not ours. We wanted to train the dogs in a homelike environment. When people come here, they are blown away, because it’s so beautiful.” Their facility is divided into four specific zones: a training area, a kitchen/bath station, kennel suites and a living area with chairs and sofas. Tim and Mitchell aren’t the only local gay male couple offering stellar pet services. While summer is on the horizon, Carolinian pet owners are excited about taking their canines on playful romps in the sun. Of course, those long days at the park and summer vacations are much more anticipated by those with well-mannered pooches. For those who are acquainted with the kind of help Black Crown Premier Pet Services provides, they’re certainly barking up the right tree. While at home in East Charlotte, Black Crown Premier Pet Services owner Dorian Graham (accompanied by about 20 furry friends) took qnotes on a journey of his joys and experiences training dogs for everyone from area entrepreneurs to celebrities and notables like Gloria Mary James, mother to NBA player Lebron James. But before we go any further and you re-read that last sentence about ‘at home with 20 dogs,’ a little context. Graham is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, who relocated to Charlotte in July of 2020. Though he’s been in the business of training and working with animals for years, Black Crown Premier wasn’t officially launched until 2021. For Graham, the move to Charlotte was an exceptionally gratifying experience. “A breath of fresh air,” he recalls. “From ripping and running all over the country training, [to] going from a busy lifestyle to spending the second half of [the COVID-19] quarantine in Charlotte.” The respite was rewarding and much of that slower pace was spent in a large, two-story 3,000 square foot home he shares with his partner, who is a breeder and groomer. The ample space allows them to [temporarily] board over 20 dogs at a time. In case you’re wondering, they’re not all teacup size designer pooches either. Seven huge, beautiful and obedient Black Russian Terriers personally belong to Graham. Even more impressive is the fact that a pin drop could have been heard during our interview, even with all those canines in the midst.


train dogs.” Apparently, it was a good decision. When folks bring their dogs to Black Crown Premier Pet Services, they can expect for him to resolve 90 percent of their issues within the first 10 minutes. From aggressive or mild-mannered to old or young, he’s worked with countless pets or varying ages, breeds and behaviors. He’s helped pet owners overcome some seemingly impossible obstacles and he doesn’t subscribe to the adage of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks. Dorian Graham and friend. (Photo Credit: Mario A. Turner/@Booklevi) “No. Absolutely not. Where I think that came from is a Quite possibly, for Graham, that type certain point, just as it is with humans, that of peaceful and respectful shared environthey are not eager to learn. It really depends ment is about doing what he loves most. on how comfortable they are in their ways, “It’s a mixture of rehabilitating the dogs but rarely impossible.” and also educating people.” At the end of the day, most dog trainGraham’s experiences with dogs began ers seem to agree, the behavior of pet at a young age. “I have actually been trainlovers is just as important, if not more so, ing dogs since I was five, when my mom than the behavior of their pets. To that got our first dog,” he recalls. “We had a lot end, Graham adamantly cautions well going on and moved around a lot, so we intentioned dog owners against treating only kept dogs for eight months to a year. furry family members like toddlers. When bad behavior would surface, we’d “I’m all for treating your dog like a child re-home them. As an introverted gay kid but not to their detriment – I think we’re I spent plenty of time with the dogs – so babying our dogs so much that we’re [hopefully] my mom wouldn’t re-home neglecting the fact that they are animals. them. That went on until high school.” Because of that, shelters are full and dogs While in college, he majored in animal are being euthanized. There’s a direct corstudies and primatology. “I had convinced relation between the decrease in quality myself that I wouldn’t be able to make of training and the increase of dogs being money training dogs and so I entertained euthanized because they’re ‘untrainable.’” being a vet. But after two hours of volunThat said, Graham shared a little advice teering at a veterinary clinic in Cleveland for those interested in owning a pet. “Do and throwing up because I didn’t have your research before adding a dog to your the emotional tolerance for surgeries and home. If you don’t research what you’re poor conditions some of the dogs came bringing into your home you most likely in with – I dropped out of college in my won’t be able to keep it in your home.” : : sophomore year and made the decision to

Graham’s experiences with dogs began at a young age: ‘I have actually been training dogs since I was five, when my mom got our first dog,’ (Photo Credit: Mario A. Turner/@Booklevi)

May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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news

An Update: Oscar the Gay Dog

Mixed-Breed Pooch Surrendered to Stanly Animal Shelter for ‘Being Gay’ Finds His Happily Ever After by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer

asked why we thought the story had exploded,” Nichols continues. “It seemed pretty obvious to us. After the last four or five years of craziness in our country, people are craving stories with real heroes he story originally broke on March and happy endings.” 17. Local CW affiliate WCCB’s Morgan Now, just over two months later, the Fogarty reported that Stanley County hype has died down. Animal Protective Services (SCAPS) had “It’s funny – I remember at one point posted on their Facebook page a dog had John looked at me and said, ‘When is all of been dropped off at their shelter because this going to end?’ I thought about it for a his previous owners had complained he moment and said, ‘When the next big thing was gay. comes along the media can run with.’” According to the report, the previous And that did happen. In front of milowners said they had spotted him mountlions of people around the globe on April ing another male dog, which, in their 8, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on the minds, confirmed he was gay. Academy Awards for a perceived slight While same-sex activity and attraction against his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith. occurs between animals of all species Just as quickly as the attention had across the board, one dog mounting anrisen, it almost immediately disappeared, other is a common gesture of dominance with television programs like “The Ellen and happens frequently. DeGeneres Show,” offering and then Perhaps it was a slow news day or rescinding invitations to Oscar and his there just wasn’t going enough going on Happy at Home: Oscar relaxing on his favorite perch. (Photo Credit: Nichols/Winn) two dads. in the world, but the dog’s story ex“It just shows you what their motivaploded across media here in the United tion really is,” Nichols offers. States and around the world in places of bigotry and ignorance throughout our Cruelty to Animals in Charlotte (SPCA). But the two men haven’t let their eflike England, Japan, Ireland, Malta, India, lives,” Nichols explains. “And there were The organization footed the bill for forts come to a standstill just because the Australia and others. times when we couldn’t do anything about Oscar’s care, which includes treatment media packed up and went home. They’ve A local gay couple who met in it. When we saw this we both looked at for heartworms. Now Oscar’s health has gone a step further to set up a website Savannah, Ga., and later moved to each other and said, “We should do someimproved substantially and he’s adapting so that Oscar’s fans and friends can stay Charlotte in 2005 before making their thing about this.” to life with his two new dads and other home in Indian Trail, eventually came to updated on his latest developments. Neglecting the dog because of its pets, including a Terrier-Chihuahua mix the dog’s rescue. They posted the following statement: perceived sexual orientation wasn’t the named Harry. Steve Nichols and John Winn saw “Let’s be quick to point out that we are only thing his former owners did wrong. “Harry doesn’t believe he’s an animal. stories about the dog – just like the rest of not the heroes in this story. The shelter According to Nichols, Oscar wasn’t in the He thinks he’s a human,” Nichols laughs. us – but made the quick decision to jump employees, the volunteers and donors at best of condition, either. In addition to “So I think he just sort of tolerates Oscar. in and adopt the dog. being dirty, ungroomed and desperately in He sees him as another pet.” the local SPCA, and the veterinarian who While volunteers at SCAPS had reneed of nail maintenance, it appeared he The attenis working to named the dog Fezco (after a television sehad never been to a veterinarian. tion generated restore Oscar to ries character), Nichols and Winn decided “The volunteers at Stanley County by Oscar’s initial health and hapto name the dog Oscar, after legendary did a great job taking care of him,” says abandonment piness – these gay poet, playwright and world traveler Nichols. “We wanted to take him to a because of his people who deal Oscar Wilde. veterinarian to have him checked out just perceived sexu“We just thought it would make sense with unwanted to make sure he was in good health and ality, and the for a ‘gay dog’ to be adopted by a gay famand abused everything was okay.” resulting media ily,” Nichols chuckles. animals every As it turns out, everything was not. frenzy that folThe two men said their motivation to day – they are Oscar was examined by Dr William lowed, continadopt the dog so quickly came from disthe heroes.” Pressley of Pressley Animal Hospital, a ued even after crimination they had experienced in their local veterinarian who routinely partners the two men Their efforts, own lives. “We’ve been subject to that kind with the Society for the Prevention of had adopted they say, are all the dog. about educating “It was the public on the pretty overimportance of whelming,” shelter adoption Nichols recalls. and the work “We were getdone by the ting calls from Charlotte SPCA, around the in the hopes that world after goanimal lovers will ing viral on the internet and sodonate time or cial media. NBC money to animal News, TMZ, The shelters and their Today Show, local SPCA. Good Morning Best buddies – sort of, anyway – Harry (back) As for Oscar, America, USA oversees while Oscar snoozes.. (Photo Credit: his story continToday, and a Nichols/Winn) ues to just get plethora of better. other media “He’s dooutlets barraged [the Charlotte] SPCA with ing well and his personality is starting to requests to contact us. Our story was on emerge,” Nichols explains. “He’s becoming countless talk shows that we never even more playful and he’s getting along well saw, including Jimmy Kimmel. We discovwith Harry – they stay together constantly.” ered copies of the story on major websites For more details on Oscar and his like Huffington Post, Newsweek [and] the John Winn and Steve Nichols pose with their new canine friend Oscar. new family, visit his website at www. NY Times.” (Photo Credit: Nichols/Winn) oscarthegaydog.com : : “In all the interviews we did, we were

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May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

13


life

Attorney, LGBTQ Activist and Author Urvashi Vaid Dies

Former National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Passed Away in New York BY BRODY LEVESQUE | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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rvashi Vaid, a powerful longtime influential attorney and LGBTQ activist whose career spanned from the early days of the AIDS pandemic to the contemporary battles over equality and equity for the LGBTQ community, died today at her home after a bout with cancer in New York. Vaid, 63, known for her extensive career as an advocate for LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, anti-war efforts, immigration justice and many other social causes, had served as the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force from 1989-1992 and served prior to that as the organization’s media director. “We are devastated at the loss of one of the most influential progressive activists of our time,” said Kierra Johnson, current executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. “Urvashi Vaid was a leader, a warrior and a force to be reckoned with,” continued Johnson, “She was also a beloved colleague, friend, partner and someone we all looked up to—a brilliant, outspoken and deeply committed activist who wanted full justice and equality for all people.” “Her leadership, vision and writing helped shape not only the Task Force’s values and work but our entire queer movement and the larger progressive movement. We will strive every day to live up to her ideals and model the courage she demonstrated every day as an activist and a person. She will be deeply missed. I miss her already,” concluded Johnson.

Trailblazing attorney, author and activist, Urvashi Vaid at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights. (Photo Credit: CSPAN Screen capture/Twitter GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)

“I am deeply sad that Urvashi Vaid has died. My heart is with Kate and all of Urv’s beloveds who have been with her these last years, months and days as she dealt with cancer. My activism has been greatly shaped by the fact that Urv took me seriously as a young leader in our movement. She seemed endlessly excited about the ideas and passion for justice that young activists held. She was one of our movement’s motivators and north stars. Whenever Urv called, I’d clear my schedule for the next hour (at least!), pull out a pen and pad of paper and prepare to feverishly write down what were likely to be 10-20 rapid fire ideas of things she thought I should be doing, or doing much better … tomorrow! Urv pushed me to see connections, dig deeper, and I was a better activist and leader for it. Her impact within the National LGBTQ Task Force carried on Urvashi Vaid on PBS’s progressive news and talk show long after she left its staff. The The Laura Flanders Show in 2014. (Photo Credit: Wikisheer intellectual and strategic media Commons/CC BY 3.0) hole in our movement’s drive towards liberation and freedom, left by Urv’s death, is hard to grasp. Vaid’s impact on the politics of the AIDS Up until her last months she was crecrisis and the battles over full equality was ating projects, mentoring others, pushing considerable. During former President for liberation, gathering data through the George H.W. Bush’s 1990 address on National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community AIDS, Vaid, then the executive director of Survey. The only thing I ever saw Urv be the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, more passionate about than her pursuit made a statement with her sign: “Talk Is of freedom and liberation, was her love Cheap, AIDS Funding is Not.” Her critique for Kate, their family, and her energy for made waves, disrupting the press conferher friends. ence, and shedding light on the failures of The best way we can honor Urv is to the Bush administration. continue to fight for justice and the full Another former executive director of liberation of all people,” Carey said. the National LGBTQ Task Force, Rea Carey Her time at the National Gay and noted in her post on Facebook: Lesbian Task Force, in which she held mul-

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who loves her. If there’s a heaven, Urv is already organizing the angels,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. Troy Masters, the founder of Gay City News in New York, a longtime LGBTQ advocate and currently the publisher of the Los Angeles Blade noted upon hearing the news; “On a day when millions march to protect our rights and stand up to a right wing SCOTUS, we celebrate the life of one of our greatest social justice LGBTQ and AIDS warriors—keep shining on Urvashi Vaid.” In 1995, after resigning from her position at the Task Force three years prior, she published her first book, “Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation,” in which she criticized the idea of “mainstreaming” what was and is, in fact, a civil rights movement. Rather than tolerance, she argued, the objective for the movement should be fundamental, actionable change. It was not an immediately popular notion, as media representation for queer people was just beginning to take shape, though it was, for her, of great moral importance. In 1996 “Virtual Equality” won the Stonewall Book Award. In her position as president of the Vaid Group, Vaid advised, mentored and supported the LGBTQ movement. In 2012, Urvashi Vaid launched LPAC, the first lesbian Super PAC, and it has since invested millions of dollars in candidates who are committed to social justice through legislation. Prior to that, Vaid held positions on the boards at the Ford Foundation, the Arcus Foundation (where she served as executive director from 2005 to 2010) and the Gill Foundation. She was a leader in the development of the currently ongoing National LGBTQ women’s community survey. Vaid was the aunt of activist and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon. She is survived by Alok Vaid-Menon as well as her longtime partner, political humorist Kate Clinton. This story was republished with permission from the Washington Blade. : :

tiple positions for over 10 years, notably media director, then executive director, saw her bring all aspects of queer life and struggle into the public eye. While at the Task Force, she co-founded the annual Creating Change conference, now in its 33rd year. “I first met Urv in the early 1980s when we were both young attorneys and lesbian activists in Washington, D.C. As we became friends and, eventually, colleagues, I admired her leadership and all that she accomplished, both within and outside of our movement—for queer people, for women, for people of color and against poverty. She continued her work to advance equity and justice until the very end. “I’ll always be grateful to Urv for being one of the people who encouraged me, back in 1992, to accept the job running the Los Angeles LGBT Center. And when the National LGBTQ Task Force faced severe financial challenges in 2001, she played the key role in recruiting me to step in and help turn things around, lending her support every step of the way. “Over the years, we spent many an hour laughing and scheming about ways to advance the causes we cared so deeply about. Urvashi was a visionary. But she was so much more: Brilliant, hilarious, charismatic, loving, determined and, above all, courageous. She made life better for all of us. Our community and our nation owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. Our hearts go Urvashi Vaid with her longtime partner Kate Clinton. (Photo out to Urvashi’s wife, Kate Credit: Facebook) Clinton, and to everyone


Tapas & Trivia THURSDAY, JULY 7 |6PM

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

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May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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Beware of the Porn Trap

New Subscription Social Media Sites Promise Young Gay Men Wealth Through Sex BY LOU GHIRALDI | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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s the Carolinas LGBTQ community celebrates 2022 Pride and attention is at its highest, it’s a good time to take a look at an issue that doesn’t get discussed enough and churns through young people at an ever increasing rate. Names have been changed to protect privacy and any other similarities are purely coincidental. In a world where technology has taken over many aspects of life, whether it’s through automation or downloads, change and modernization has come in many forms. And that also includes the world of gay pornography. Where the big corporate porn studios once reigned supreme, a new wave of homegrown porn has taken a sizable bite out of their profits. Nowhere is this more evident than on sites like Twitter and OnlyFans. The one thing that has not changed is the minefield of issues this sex trade and skin commerce has created. This story takes a look at two young men living in the new world of modern day gay porn and how they navigate what has come to be known as the porn trap. Mario, 25, works at a men’s spa offering personalized service. Angel, 20, is still finding his way looking for friends and acceptance. Both are from a booming Mexican

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tourist town, where foreigners are outnumbered only by the locals enjoying the gay nightlife and tourist attractions. Angel confuses rape with romance, as he rhapsodizes poetically about his co-stars. Looking to be popular, he allows himself to be abused by strange men nightly for money and fame. He has become a celebrity of sorts on Only Fans. Mario is a different story. Intelligent, highly perceptive and likely capable of doing great things with his life, he instead turns on his friends who try to help him find himself and get into a solid career. He has turned his back on a lucrative career of legitimate male modeling with a minimum annual earning of at least $200k, for short term star status. Instead of working toward a career that could potentially provide him a lifetime of security, he has devoted himself to street level porn and prostitution, even spending money to convert his bedroom into a production studio, complete with lights, cameras and all the works needed for his endeavor. Mario’s idea of friends are the same porn cronies who are exploiting him for their own gains and will toss him aside when he’s no longer needed. Angel openly pines for friendship and being liked. He even considers doing

May 27 - June 2, 2022

recreational drugs to gain dates and friends. Little does he realize that the friends he craves only acknowledge him as long as they can continue to violate him, and that includes Mario. The common thread of these sex workers remains the same: They’re individuals from broken families lacking in self esteem, without financial aspirations and a yearning desire to be accepted. And yes, the big time porn producers troll the sites looking for fresh meat to exploit Anonymous sex work can be a perilous career choice. in their newest flesh fests. (Photo Credit: Facebook) Dangling a carrot of fame and fortune in front of them, So what happens if one of these interproducers get the kids hooked net porn actors contracts HIV or an STD early and later dump them when they during production, or – worse yet – ends become too sick to work or a fresher up being murdered by the same strangpiece of meat is discovered. ers they’re engaging with? In many cases, It’s sad these young gay men don’t nothing at all. comprehend what’s actually happening and how they’re being used. Worse yet, Angel has become well off financially far too many are impacted by depressince doing his homegrown porn, traveling sion and don’t want to acknowledge the the world looking for hookups to film. He unpleasant reality. often brags about being recognized and Attempting to explain such a disparagpeople complimenting his ass. Mario, also ing situation to them is practically useless well off from various sexual endeavors, is – they’ll fight you tooth and nail. The level now looking for the big money, courtesy of brainwashing is high, as is the use of of more porn and prostitution and will do drugs, pills and alcohol – another byprodanything to get it. His recent work includes uct of the porn trap. a cameo in a big studio porn film that unSo what, you might ask, what is doubtedly promised big fame and fortune. OnlyFans’s role here? What is their culpaBoth young men enjoy fancy clothes, bility in the production of content? Last expensive restaurants and high end clubs, year they announced they would ban all though neither seems to understand adult content from their platform gowhen the bill comes due, it won’t be paid ing forward. Within days they reversed at a cash register. that decision upon realizing it was their The effects on friends and what family main source of revenue. Without it, the they have can be overwhelming. Imagine subscription-based social media platform how it must feel when you see someone would go belly up. you care about destroying themselves and As a result of that decision, do they you can’t get through to them. carry the weight of a moral or legal reThey don’t want to listen and they sponsibility, since they share in the monthdon’t even want to remain friends unless ly fees charged? Complaints to OnlyFans you agree to be one of their “yes men.” regarding improprieties, price gouging Sometimes you simply can’t save someone and scam artists fall on deaf ears. Twitter from themselves, especially when they’re will suspend egregious accounts but the trapped in such a destructive vortex. perpetrators often work around it by changing one character in their name and Over the course of several months, opening new accounts a few days later. research has been conducted and many pages and posts have been read, all in the hopes of getting a feel for this next generation porn phenomenon. It’s not about generalizing or chastising the performers or subscribers, it’s about saving the lives of possible victims. Like the porn industry of yesteryear, it serves a purpose, bringing wealth to some and victimization to others. Some prosper, but most do not. Far too often, they are the forgotten ones. If you or someone you know is in need of help or looking for resources, SWOP USA offers many of these services. Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of people involved in the sex trade and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy. www.swopusa.org : :


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Texas Road Trip Pride Journey

BY JOEY AMATO | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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had a trip to Texas planned prior to the introduction of the anti-transgender bills in state Congress. I considered canceling the trip completely, however, I realized that there are thousands of LGBTQ people living in the state who would be negatively affected by boycotts and travel cancellations, so I decided to forge ahead. Texas is a red state with multiple blue dots, including Austin, Houston, Dallas and others. I started my road trip in Dallas, a place I have visited multiple times before for business. Dallas is a fun city with a thriving LGBTQ culture. The city’s nightlife is centered around the Oak Lawn neighborhood and its main thoroughfare Cedar Springs Road. Dozens of LGBTQ-owned shops, restaurants, salons and bars line the street giving locals and tourists a variety of options to choose from. Don’t party too hard because we are about to hit the road and venture to Palestine, Texas, a town located about two hours away. Upon arrival, it doesn’t seem like much, but as you explore the East Texas town you begin to notice its charm and appeal. Many coupled LGBTQ families are relocating from Dallas – or buying second homes here – because of its proximity to lakes and natural wonders. One such park is Davey Dogwood Park. The 254 acre park is open year-round and offers eight miles of hiking trails. I was a bit early to see the bloom of the beautiful dogwood trees, but I heard it is quite a remarkable sight. I was visiting during the Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration and Davey Dogwood Park was the centerpiece for one of the key components of the festival, the Fairy Garden Trails. Dozens of locals recreate miniature fairy lands throughout the park for guests to view. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever seen such a display.

Not too far away is Oh My Goat, a family-owned farm offering goat yoga. I had been anxiously awaiting this the entire trip as I had never done goat yoga before. I was expecting two, maybe three goats interacting with me as I performed yoga poses, but as we settled on our mats, the owners opened the gates, a herd of goats swarmed the pen. They were so cute and curious, each with a unique personality. The baby goats were my favorite of course. They were so inquisitive and friendly. At one point, I had four goats laying on my mat. It made it difficult to focus on my yoga form, but I didn’t care. Oh My Goat also features a cute shop where people can purchase t-shirts to remember this memorable experience. Head back to the Redlands Hotel for a quick wardrobe change before dinner. You can visit any one of numerous restaurants located throughout the town, or if you are tired from playing with the goats, try the hotel’s restaurant, Queen St Grille. The casual fine dining restaurant has been voted one of the best in the city and features a variety of southern favorites at a moderate price point. Most of the entrees are under $30, so feel free to indulge! Palestine is also famous for its railroad history. Train enthusiasts will love taking a ride on the Texas State Railroad. Book your adventure well in advance because this experience is typically sold out during the spring when the dogwood trees are in full bloom. Don’t expect to see many rainbow flags in this part of Texas, as it is quite conservative. However, the people are friendly and welcoming, so if you like exploring small towns, then a weekend visit to Palestine should be on your radar. Enjoy the journey! : :

The redlands hotel was built in 1914 (Photo Credit: Joey Amato)

After your morning hike, head to Shep’s Bar-B-Q, a favorite among the Palestine locals. The family-owned business has created quite a name in the town, so expect a long line when you arrive at the restaurant. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but once you taste the food, you’ll realize why it has become so popular. Spend the night at the historic Redlands Hotel, located in the heart of Palestine. The property was built in 1914 and features 20 unique suites. I stayed in a fabulous corner suite which reminded me of boutique hotels in South Beach. The modern room featured white linens with pops of color. There is also an art gallery located in the lobby which features works from East Texas artists including Stacy

Campbell and Cecilia Bramhall. I acquired works from both of those artists during my stay. After breakfast head to Oxbow Bakery for a slice of their world-famous pies. It’s never too early for pie, especially when they have been voted one of the “South’s Best Pies” by Southern Living Magazine. Walk off your pie during a visit to the East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society, about a 20 minute drive from Palestine. Enjoy two miles of hiking trails, live (enclosed) honeybees and the historic Wofford House Museum, the oldest home in Henderson County, built in 1850. The arboretum is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment and the creation of formal and informal plant collections.

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May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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Everything Old Is New Again: Latest Downton Abbey Release Screen Savor

by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer

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irst, the good news. There are no multiverses in “Downton Abbey: A New Era” (Focus Features). Now, the bad news [SPOILER ALERT], the indomitable Violet Grantham (Maggie Smith) spends the whole movie dying and eventually succumbs. She does, however, have a classic deathbed scene and some of the greatest last words ever spoken onscreen (no spoiler here). Conscious of how much fans of the “Downton Abbey” series, and the previous movie, are tasked with keeping track of, the filmmakers generously include a thorough recap (also available online) of all the comings and goings before the movie begins. As any “Downton” devotee knows, there is much to recall. As we’ve come to expect the upstairs/ downstairs drama (and occasional com-

edy) never stops. The “new era” of the title not only refers to the approach of the 1930s and the fastchanging modern world, but also to various changes occurring within the family, its exclusive society and its beloved home. In other words, nothing really earth-shattering happens, although watching these characters reactions throughout, might make you think so. The biggest dramatic moments are divided between the homestead and the

South of France. At Downton Abbey, a British film crew is paying a pretty pound sterling to make a movie. The money will come in handy as Downton’s leaky roof is in desperate need of repair. Led by director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) and featuring silent film stars Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock), Downton is transformed into a movie set. The production is fraught with complications, but they manage to muddle

Screen Heat

An Interview With Margaret Cho by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer

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ould there be an Emmy Award in Margaret Cho’s future? In Hulu’s “Fire Island” (premiering June 3), as well as on HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant,” Cho’s uncharacteristic restraint gives her queer characters, Erin and Utada respectively, an admirable depth and humanity. Additionally, Cho has an upcoming appearance on the Emmy Award-winning “Hacks” (as herself), and ongoing gueststarring roles in a multitude of popular shows. Never one to sit idle, Cho will be taking her stage act on the road throughout the coming months. Busy as she is, Margaret was gracious enough to make time to answer a few questions. Gregg Shapiro: Margaret, in the new movie “Fire Island,” you play Erin, who’s described by one of the characters as a “career brunch server, age unknown, lesbian queen.” What was it about Erin that spoke to you and made you want to portray her? Margaret Cho: I just love the script. I’m a big fan of Joel Kim Booster, and his comedy and his writing, and as a person. I wanted to be a part of the film. I love Andrew Ahn’s direction. I love Bowen [Yang]. It was really special to do this. The “career brunch server” was so appealing. Everything about this character is a lot of fun, and so it was just perfect. We had a blast doing it. GS: It looks that way! Erin is the wise lesbian housemother to her gaggle of younger gays. Is this an aspect of your personality that also transfers to your offscreen life? MC: Absolutely! The elder gay. The crone. It’s also the old lesbian who’s burned all of her bridges with the cur-

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rent lesbians her age and has to mine the younger generation for friendship. It’s very fun, it’s really cold, and it’s very realistic to me. GS: What was the best part for you about acting with rising comic actors such as Bowen and Joel, whom you mentioned, as well as Matt Rogers? MC: We laughed every day. We had such a good time. Outside of my dressing room, every day, there were full-on reenactments of entire “Real Housewives” episodes. Full Tiffany Pollard monologues from “I Love New York.” It was like Shakespeare in the Park, but it was “Real Housewives” by the trailer. It was exciting. I just love those guys. GS: Erin was able to afford to purchase the Fire Island house following winning a settlement involving a piece of glass and a major Italian chain restaurant. Do you think our current culture is more litigious than necessary? MC: I don’t know. I think the character is just really savvy and knows where to make an opportunity for herself. I think that’s really more it. I don’t know if it was necessarily because of the culture or the time or whatever. But I think that she’s just smart about doing where she can get something. GS: Was your first trip to Fire Island as a performer or as a vacationing guest? MC: Every trip I’ve made there was as a performer and then I stayed for vacation. So, I made it work and pleasure, both at the same time. I’ve been going there since 2008. I love spending time there and just hanging out. I’m actually more of a Provincetown lady. I’ve been going to Provincetown since the 1980s to work and perform and just hang out. These are very much important areas for me. It’s the gay beach life that I really love. GS: You mentioned Andrew Ahn, the gay filmmaker who directed “Fire Island,”

May 27 - June 2, 2022

and he also directed the lauded 2019 film “Driveways.” Is he a director you could see yourself working with again? MC: Absolutely! I love Andrew. I think he’s quite an incredible director. Not only is he so great with actors…the way that he creates films is so visually stunning and they’re so emotionally rich. I really admire him and his vision as an auteur. I would love to work with him again. GS: You were one of the performers in the line-up for the LGBTQ+ comedy show “Stand Out,” which was part of Netflix is a Joke: The Festival. Stand-up comedy has received increased attention with Jerrod Carmichael coming out as gay in his HBO Max comedy special “Rothaniel,” as well as the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s Netflix comedy special. As a performer whose roots are in stand-up comedy, do you think there’s the possibility of healing? MC: Yes, I think so. We need to hear from LGBTQIA voices in comedy. I think that queer comedy has always been a part of the larger comedy world. We’ve always had a very strong presence within comedy. I see so many more of us participating and out there in this conversation. I was glad to be part of the festival and I’m so grateful to be part of the queer comedy community. GS: Finally, I live in Fort Lauderdale, and I noticed that Florida is not on your tour schedule. I know that I’ve seen you perform in West Palm Beach, Miami and, more recently, in Fort Lauderdale. With the political climate being what it is under the current governor, do you foresee performing here at any point in the near future? MC: Yes, definitely. I think it’s important to be out there. I was actually just there a few weeks ago, so I think that we need to be constantly out there and we definitely need to be heard. Yes, I’m sure I’ll be returning again soon. : :

through. Part of the fun is watching the impact Barber, Dalgleish and Dexter have on the household, including an unexpected and heartwarming potential romance for dashing gay butler Barrow (Robert James-Collier). As for the South of France, it turns out that Violet has inherited a palatial chateau following the passing of a love interest from her past. It’s a part of her life she long kept private, but now those closet doors have been flung open, and its contents, including a stack of correspondence, as well as a painted miniature portrait of Violet, have come tumbling out for all to see. Unfortunately, unlike Barber, the director character in “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” Simon Curtis, the actual director of “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” doesn’t know when to yell “cut.” Sadly the movie, and its countless (and often confusing) cast of characters, ends up overstaying its welcome. Rating: C+ : :


life

Our People: Cremonlyn Morris-Frazier She’s the Crème de la Crème in Queer Fitness

BY L’MONIQUE KING Qnotes Staff WRITER

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rom a task chair in her home office, Cremonlyn Morris-Frazier, better known as Crem, has her feet propped up on a two-drawer file cabinet. Light streams through two huge windows of her University City apartment while she relaxes in comfy joggers and a faded old Q Fitness and Wellness t-shirt. Morris-Frazier is enthusiastic about discussing her joy for fitness and what life might look like in the future. The about page on the Q Fitness and Wellness website describes her as the founder and mastermind behind Q Fitness and Wellness. A veteran in the fitness community with over 20 years of experience, she has owned multiple fitness studios across the east and west coast, worked as a personal trainer, fitness director and just about every job in-between. Her life’s passion, the description continues, is helping people live their most vibrant lives. What more is there to say? Plenty. Let’s begin with how she ended up in the Queen City. The eldest of three girls, Morris-Frazier has been living in Charlotte for almost two years now, though she’s lived here before. Although she was born in Orange, N.J., she claims army brat status and says she was “raised everywhere,” including Charlotte, 17 years ago. Both of her parents were in the army, her mother eventually settling in Charlotte over two decades ago. The first time Morris-Frazier left it was to pursue a fitness career in California. At that time, she thought, “I’ll never come back. But things change. I got older and things that became important to me changed. I wanted to be close to my mom as she got old and I missed my nieces and nephews. It was the best decision ever.” A typical day for Morris-Frazier starts with “getting up at about 6:30 and taking a look at my to-do list first. I live and die by my list. If I don’t have it written down, you can forget it. Then I take a look at my client’s progress. After that, I check my email account to see if there’s anything that needs to be addressed right away. And then, I have breakfast my wife will make

Cremonlyn Morris-Frazier, founder of Q Fitness and Wellness, hopes to have a lasting impact on the Queen City.. (Photo Credit: Crem) for me if she’s in town. It’s the same thing every day, steel cut oatmeal and turkey or chicken sausage.” Morris-Frazier excitedly talks about the woman she plans on spending the rest of her life with. “She’s awesome,” she exclaimed. “We’ve known each other for 10 years now and have been married for over a year. We met online when I lived on the West Coast in Portland. She lived in Seattle. It was a long-distance relationship at first and she would come up to visit me every few weeks. Back then I was tough to tie down and played hard to get. But I didn’t want to lose her, so I moved to Seattle and here we are today and I get to be married to my best friend.” As for those intermittent breakfast meals, she continues, “She travels twice a month and works for a national organization – keeping low-level drug offenders out of the criminal justice system. It’s a diversion program working with police departments to give people with drug dependency and mental health issues op-

tions outside jail and prison sentences. It’s great work, but of course, I miss her when she goes away.” However, during those times, Q Fitness and Wellness keeps Morris-Frazier quite occupied. “Q stands for Queer. It’s almost four years old now and started in Minnesota. We offer fitness; group and personal training, on demand fitness classes, nutrition coaching and meal planning.” The best thing about it, aside from being an affirming safe space for those in the LGBTQ community, she says, “What I know it can provide. Meaning that we will give you above and beyond what you expected. There’s a lot of care in what we do. It really comes from the heart and we work hard to give you the best experience you can have. It’s not coming from a numbers standpoint. It’s me taking everything I’ve learned from the fitness and diet industry and making sure everyone feels great and no one feels unaccepted, without having to compromise the service or quality of big box fitness organizations.

“Fitness is so much a part of my life, it’s much a part of who I am, it’s my identity,” she continues.”You really can’t have one without the other with me, from a personal and professional side, it just doesn’t exist.” The Q Fitness and Wellness founder explains her love for fitness goes beyond assisting others in reaching their goal: it extends to her consistently challenging herself, as well. One of the ways she does this is through martial arts, another love she’s nourished for years. “[Currently] I practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but I started out as a boxer at Charlotte Boxing Academy and then transitioned into MMA [Mixed Martial Arts]. I love martial arts. It just gives me so much from a standpoint of being well rounded and yes, I can kick someone’s butt. However, that’s not what drew me to it, the ability to hurt someone.” For a woman who is all about fitness and rising to the next challenge she’s set for herself, many just might find it surprising to learn she has what she refers to as her nerdy side, as well. “I love anime and I just love comics, I’m a huge graphic novel reader, and sillier than people would probably realize.” All silliness aside, when it comes to her future, say 15 years from now, Morris-Frazier has put plenty of thought into that. “I’d better have my wife and a beach house by then or I’m in trouble,” she says matter-of-factly. “We love water and have talked about a beach house or a lake house. I see myself hanging with my best friend, having a cocktail on the beach, having a good time. I don’t know if I’ll [ever] know what true retirement is. I’ve been an entrepreneur since child[hood]. I had a bike wash at 12. I think it’s healthy to be doing something, so I hope whoever I’ve left my company to by then will allow me to have some input and that I will have made a real contribution at that age to a large bunch of people.” Excited about returning to Charlotte and delighted by the support of her partner and the city’s growth, she left us with a final thought. “It’s one thing to be a business owner, but I wanna’ make sure I’m a steward of the community – part of impacting change in this city.” We have no doubt she will. : :

May 27 - June. 2, 2022 Qnotes

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