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Writers: Alex Bollinger, Artie Hartsell, Kelan Lyons, L’Monique King, Bill Malcolm, David Aaron Moore, Michael F. Roessler, John Russell, Gregg Shapiro, Terri Schlichenmeyer, Daniel Villareal
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inside this issue
12 The PLUS Collective
6 Democratic Justice Michael Morgan not running for re-election to NC Supreme Court
6 Charlotte named in list of Top 10 Best Places to Live by U.S. News & World Report
6 George Santos surrenders to federal authorities, faces 13 criminal charges
9 TikTok has secretly tracked viewers watching LGBTQ videos
9 Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson falsely claims clinics performed “transgender surgery” on five-year-olds
10 How anti-drag laws are impacting Pride celebrations across the country
11 Founders First announces National Pride Grant for LGBTQ-led small businesses
The Real Magic Mike
The Real Magic Mike: out actor and illusionist Mike Carbonaro, who appeared in the 2006 comedy ‘Another Gay Movie,’ is back in the business with the live stage show ‘Carbonaro: Lies on Stage.’
By: Gregg Shapiro
TikTok has secretly tracked viewers watching LGBTQ videos
Former TikTok employees confirm China-based social media and video sharing app secretly tracked all viewers watching LGBTQ content from 2020-21. Is the Asian super power continuing the practice?
By: Daniel Villareal PAGE 9
14 Out in Print:“I Have Something to Tell You (For Young Adults)”
20 The Real Magic Mike
15 Charlotte Royals to host first IGR NorAm Cup
16 Summer travel plans on the rise
17 A holiday in Barcelona, Spain
A weekend in the city by the bay: San Francisco
23 Our People: Jenni Gaisbauer
These rates only cover a portion of our true cost, however, our goal is to serve our community
4 TNC Bar Association embraces homophobia
5 Maintaining Hope
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NC Bar Association embraces homophobia Opinion
by Michael F. Roessler Qnotes Contributing Writer
Nothing disappoints like the cowardice of fair-weather friends.
In 2021, the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) – the premier professional organization for the state’s lawyers – touted its Queer-friendly bona fides when then-President John Heyl announced the formation of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Committee, which pledged to work “to secure full equality for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the NCBA, the legal profession and society” and to “work to oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
At a time when far-right radicals in North Carolina and across the United States are slandering us as groomers – equating queerness with pedophilia – and trying to roll back decades of legal and social progress, the NCBA’s public commitment to equality offered a promise that LGBTQ people would be supported on the fields of political and cultural battle by well-positioned companions of good will and stout heart.
But it was all a lie.
The NCBA, it turns out, is led by equivocators who demonstrate the sort of pseudoallyship that rarely hesitates to abandon the vulnerable so as to mollify the powerful.
In addition to facilitating mentor relationships among LGBTQ members of the bar, sponsoring education seminars and organizing legal clinics, SOGI provides Queer attorneys with opportunities to socialize at networking events.
One such event – a drag trivia night – was to be held on June 8, until NCBA President Clayton Morgan unilaterally canceled it.
In an email sent to SOGI members on May 5 announcing the cancellation, Morgan wrote, “I did not come to this difficult decision lightly or without a lot of thought and consideration.” He offered no written explanation for his decision, but agreed to attend a video conference on May 8 to “shar[e] with the SOGI Committee the ‘why’ behind the decision.”
The job of the NCBA, Morgan explained during the conference call, is “not to steer into contested politics or offer up political responses. … We therefore try to avoid jumping into legislative or political areas.”
He added that the NCBA should avoid “delving into the politics of matters” or “taking positions.”
Instead of holding a drag event, which he suggested would count as an entry into the sort of “contested politics” the NCBA ought to avoid, Morgan counseled SOGI to “have a forum discussion where you present both sides like we typically like to do.
Both sides, with a neutral moderator.
Get the issues out there that way you’re not perceived as trying to advance just your agenda on the world.” He further suggested we offer “balanced programming, pointcounterpoint-type programming.” (Point: “My husband and I should have the right to exist.” Counterpoint: “No, you shouldn’t.”)
How did an absolute ethical impera-
tive – “full equality” – get so quickly recast as “taking positions” in a “both sides” political argument?
Since SOGI’s creation and the announcement of its mission statement, the Republican Party, which seeks to deny Queer people our humanity, has gained veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly. If the NCBA genuinely and fully embraces its Queer members now, “it’s likely our Bar Association-backed legislative agenda will be negatively affected,” Morgan explained, “because political viewpoints will be inferred by the General Assembly.” (The “political viewpoints” that might be inferred from a drag trivia night are that drag isn’t dangerous – because it isn’t – and that Queer people are people – because we are.)
The bottom line: Morgan canceled the event so the Republican-controlled legislature won’t think the NCBA is getting too cozy with the Queer community. When he granted anti-Queer bigots a heckler’s veto, Morgan sacrificed us for the sake of “the larger picture.” We were expendable.
Not that it was easy for Morgan to discard us. “This is painful. This is painful to me,” he said more than once.
Two other presidents of the NCBA – one future, Patti Ramseur and one past, Mark Holt – attended the video conference to help cast Morgan as a profoundly decent man simply doing his difficult duty. (Simone Weil’s words ring in the ear: “Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty.”) President-Elect Patti Ramseur and former president Mark Holt vouched for Morgan – the former saying she hoped we “heard Clayton’s heart on this” and the latter saying he’d “heard [Morgan’s] heart today like you have and I respect that.”
I didn’t hear Morgan’s heart – though I did hear his words. I heard Ramseur and Holt’s, too, as they abandoned the NCBA’s previously promised commitment to “full equality” and instead encouraged Queer
people to view their claims to citizenship and humanity as a mere “agenda” in a “both sides” political debate. (Two other NCBA leaders attended the video conference: executive director Jason Hensley and director of equity and inclusion Ebony Freeland Bryant. Both remained silent.)
Morgan’s agonizing offers no solace: Is thoughtful marginalization more or less soul-deadening than thoughtless marginalization? Does the homophobe who earnestly wrings his hands harm us more or less than the homophobe who proudly thumps his chest? Are acts of calculated anti-queerness committed by a highly-placed corporate lawyer more or less egregious than acts of passionate anti-queerness committed by a backwoods evangelical preacher?
Privileged beneficiaries of the status quo tell us all the time who they really are, but we far too often choose not to listen. They make negotiable commitments of convenience, not non-negotiable commitments of conviction: “Do the right thing, always” becomes “Do the right thing, when prudent or advisable or safe.”
Ultimately, such people will be guided not by principle, but by the perspectives of those whom they most respect and fear: the holders of power at any particular point in time – in this case, the Republicans in North Carolina who call us deviants and are working to shove us back into the closet.
In our desire to believe that the ambivalent are actually allies, we forget the lesson Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught in his Letter from Birmingham Jail: Well-meaning moderates who serve as our society’s prominent pillars of respectability are unreliable partners for progress who will “gravely disappoint …” us because they “prefer a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice.” These men and women of “shallow understanding” and “lukewarm acceptance” betray us because their instinct to placate the powerful is more developed than their
instinct to help the vulnerable.
To hedge is their habit.
Even if, upon reflection, the NCBA’s pusillanimity was predictable, it nevertheless counts as an act of disheartening ethical failure given the political environment in which we find ourselves.
Mark Robinson, our current lieutenant governor and likely GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2024, regularly attacks the LGBTQ community. He calls Queer people “filth,” labeling us as less than cow excrement and maggots; saying we serve no purpose other than to transform America into a “hell hole” and claiming transgender people are “demonic” and share in “the spirit of the antichrist.” No GOP voices protest Robinson’s homophobia. Indeed, with the Republican Party’s support, he is likely to continue parlaying his hatred into high office.
The party’s state and national platforms describe us as corrosive to the foundations of civil society while generally calling for us to be treated as second-class citizens and specifically seeking to deny us the right to marry.
Meanwhile, legislators in Raleigh and elsewhere are targeting transgender people and drag shows as the tip of a reactionary spear in their broader anti-Queer campaign.
These are the people before whom Morgan has chosen to genuflect, and their hostility toward the Queer community gives meaning to his actions: He’s become their collaborator, validating their homophobic slurs while adopting their calumnies not only as his own, but as those of the NCBA.
This hasty moral retreat fairly raises an essential question: If the NCBA cannot stand up to these anti-Queer bullies over a comical drag show, why should Queer lawyers expect our colleagues to do right by us when something really consequential comes along? If our right to honestly, authentically exist can be so easily denied when the stakes are so low, we’ll surely stand no chance of receiving aid and support when the stakes are so much higher.
Queer people have been thrust into battle with adversaries who seek to deny our right to exist. It is a fight for justice and liberty and equality, for decency and dignity, for our full humanity. Neutrality is impossible: You’re a friend or a foe, there is no other option, and it’s time to choose: You either affirmatively support the Queer community by actively pushing back against homophobia or – whether by Morgan’s whimpering acquiescence or Robinson’s enthusiastic proclamations – you cast your lot with those who see Queer people as a scourge. No other alternative exists, and there is no middle ground on which the calculating can stand. Accommodating, compromising with or cowering before homophobia is to excuse, enable and empower it. To countenance homophobia is homophobia.
Sadly, the NCBA and its president have made their choice.
We needed leadership, but we got surrender. We needed resolve, but we got weakness. We needed courage, but we got cowardice. We needed a real commitment to equity, but we got a self-serving farce and paper-thin fraud.
4 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023
Michael F. Roessler is a Charlotte attorney and a part of the city’s LGBT Community. ::
NCBA President Clayton Morgan (right) takes the gavel from outgoing president John Heyl, who formed NCBA’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee in 2021. Heyl said the NCBA would be committed to ‘full equality’ for queer people. Morgan has now said it will not.
CREDIT: NCBA Press release image
by Artie Hartsell Qnotes Contributing Writer
This legislative session has been difficult. So far in 2023, there have been 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures nationwide, up from 400 in the 2021-2022 session. This is an extreme increase from the previous record of over 100 such bills in 2015. This year, Equality North Carolina tracked 13 specifically anti-LGBTQ+ bills, in addition to many more pieces of legislation targeting a broader group of marginalized North Carolinians.
As of this writing, none of those 13 bills have become law. While, in the end, a relatively small percent of these bills will be enacted nationwide, the Trevor Project found a profound impact among LGBTQ+ youth experiencing anxiety as a result of this legislation, compounded with the anxiety these youth already face related to bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence.
In those states that have enacted extreme legislation, families are determining their next steps for how they will maintain healthcare or where they will reside as these bills go into effect.
North Carolina advocates – youth, families, medical providers, clergy, and educators – have told your stories in committees, signed on to open letters, visited your representatives, been interviewed, attended rallies and press conferences, and written your local papers. Because you have shared your opposition to this onslaught, lawmakers abandoned or softened bills.
Local and statewide organizations have provided support to youth and families, organized responses, and provided education and ways to get involved. It has beenall hands on deck.
That’s the only way it can be in times like these. If you have not gotten involved, there are still plenty of entry points.
We will continue to advocate throughout the rest of this legislative session, which will hopefully come to some kind of end during the summer, and we will be ready for local struggles. Pride season will kick off, as communities consider ways to keep themselves safe from threat and hold onto these celebrations, born out of historical resis-
Maintaining Hope Opinion
tance. We will express ourselves, reclaim our space and our time. We will turn our eyes to local elections and protect our boards from extremist takeover.
One of the groups fighting to erase our youth and families is Moms for Liberty; they are well-connected, well-resourced, and they are strategizing to take over every school board in this state. We must not allow it. Pay attention and participate as much as you can in local elections and governance.
In the past couple of years, the two questions I have gotten most are: “Why is this happening?” and “How do you maintain hope?”
First, this is happening as a backlash to progress we have made as a movement for our rights and in our awareness. Second, because the far right is fighting an uphill battle for legitimacy and survival, they need people to vote for candidates who would pass white supremacist and other extremist legislation. They believe they can isolate trans people from other marginalized communities, even the larger LGBTQ+ community, through propaganda and scapegoating, so that folks who don’t usually vote for their candidates suddenly will.
Even other organizers ask me why I don’t lose hope. I do sometimes. As an eighth generation North Carolinian, I love this state, but not just because of its borders, beaches and mountains.
Mostly, it’s because of the people.
In my 20 years of advocacy, I’ve given so much to help secure rights and protections we’ve later had stripped from us. One way to think about hope is through our wins. One-third of North Carolinians are now protected by local nondiscrimination ordinances passed since the prohibitions against them in HB142 became sunset.
This is substantially more than pre-HB2. I may have not had hope about local protections in March 2016, but in May 2023, I know we are overcoming that horrible legacy.
Another way I maintain hope is to focus on the truth. I know the truth is on our side, that reliance on misinformation about our community is just one of many signs proving we are on the right side of history. We are fighting for people we know and love, so that we will have a future. We know we are fighting for our lives, our safety, our
rights, and those of our youth, families and community. We have had our culture burned down and suppressed throughout history, and we always rise from the ashes.
Sometimes hope is a natural byproduct of positive conditions. Other times, we must dig deep to find hope, because it is not a miraculous state of being and it is not necessarily passive.
In other cases, we must cultivate and nurture it, because hope is a moral imperative. None of us can rely on the generations after us to do this work; we must believe that we can make the change, together, for their sake. When we believe we can change things, we are more likely to act.
For me, hope is built in the forward movement, and while I may gain short-term hope by certain policies passing, long-term hope comes from all of us, putting our resources and skills together to build a united force for liberation and for the future. Without you, this legislation we are seeing
would be far worse.
Those that seek to promote violence against us may win some ground this session and cause suffering as a result, but I know that you won’t let it stand. I know we won’t leave anyone behind. I know that we will always fight back, and I know that we will win.
Artie Hartsell uses they/them pronouns and is an eighth generation North Carolinian employed at Equality North Carolina. They have their undergrad and graduate degrees in social work from UNC-Charlotte. Based out of the Queen City, Hartsell is an LGBTQ+ inclusion training consultant and a seminary student.::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 5 CONNECT. ENGAGE. EMPOWER. To Become a Member or Partner: 704.837.4050 www.clgbtcc.org firstname.lastname@example.org views
Democratic Justice Michael Morgan not running for re-election to NC Supreme Court
Associate Justice Michael Morgan announced on Twitter Thursday morning that he will not run for re-election to retain his seat on the state Supreme Court.
“With the incredibly good fortune to be the only person ever in NC to serve in [four] different judgeships over my 34 years of judicial service, I shall not seek to be reelected in 2024 as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina,” he wrote.
Morgan is one of two Democrats on the Republican-dominated high court. Since Republicans picked up two seats in last year’s midterms, flipping the court to a 5-2 Republican majority, the Supreme Court has issued landmark rulings in
favor of the GOP on North Carolina’s voter ID law, gerrymandering and felony disenfranchisement.
If Republicans win Morgan’s seat, that would leave Associate Justice Anita Earls as the lone Democrat. After Morgan, Earls is also the next member of the court up for reelection in 2026. Three Republicans are up for reelection in 2028.
Chief Justice Paul Newby will reach the mandatory retirement age before his term ends and could have to give up his seat in 2027, but a bill pending in the legislature would raise the retirement age for judges and allow him to serve a full term; if it passed, that bill would also have allowed Morgan to serve the major-
Charlotte named in list of Top 10 Best Places to Live by U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report, a global authority in rankings and consumer advice, has named Charlotte one of the 2023-2024 Best Places to Live in the United States.
Charlotte ranked eighth on the list.
“We’re thrilled to be recognized as a great place to live,” said Mayor Vi Lyles. “The word is out that Charlotte is a great place for both businesses and families, with economic opportunity for everyone. Thank you to all our residents who contribute to making our city truly special. We will continue our work in making Charlotte an even better place to call home.”
This year’s list evaluated the country’s 150 most populous metropolitan areas
based on how well they meet Americans’ living expectations, with measures including value, job market, desirability and quality of life.
“Choosing a new place to live is a big decision and there are many factors to consider during the decision-making process,” said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News. “The Best Places to Live rankings highlight the metro areas that most closely meet the wants and needs of people considering where to settle down next.”
The four measures factored into this year’s ranking were weighted in part based on a public survey of thousands of individuals throughout the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a place
George Santos surrenders to federal authorities, faces 13 criminal charges
Out Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is being held in federal custody, and the Department of Justice has unsealed a 13-count criminal complaint against him. The charges include seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives, and one count of theft of public funds.
Santos was taken into custody in Melville on Long Island, CNN reports, before being taken to a courthouse in Central Islip. He appeared in federal court May 10, where he pled not guilty to all 13 charges. He was released on $500,000 bond, had to surrender his passport and will require federal approval to travel beyond New York and Washington, DC.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,”
said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in a statement. “Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”
Santos’s attorney is not commenting.
Santos, the first out gay Republican elected to Congress, came under fire almost immediately after he was elected as multiple news reports found that he had fabricated large swaths of his life story, including his education, his work history, and his family history.
Many people also came forward with accusations related to theft and fraud, saying that Santos stole money from roommates, from people with sick pets, and even through an ATM scam. He faces several investigations for campaign finance misdeeds in the House.
Some of the charges come from an
ity of another term.
Morgan grew up in Washington D.C. before moving to New Bern, N.C. He was the first Black student to attend Trent Park Elementary School, and one of five Black students that year who integrated New Bern’s public school system. He was on the legal staff of the state’s Department of Justice after graduating from North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Morgan was appointed as an administrative law judge with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings in 1989. There, he administered the oath of office to his father, the first and only African American to serve as the mayor of New Bern.
Gov. Jim Hunt appointed Morgan to be a Wake County District Court Judge in 1994, a post he was subsequently elected to in 1996 and 2000. He was elected to
the Superior Court in 2004, then reelected in 2012. In 2016, he was elected to the Supreme Court, his first statewide race. This article appears courtesy of our media partner ncnewsline. ::
The methodology also factors in data from the National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, Sharecare (Nasdaq: SHCR), the Bureau of Labor
LLC that Santos controlled and that he encouraged donors to give money to. He allegedly used the money for personal expenses, including “luxury designer clothing,” according to the indictment but instructed a consultant to tell donors that the money would be used for independent expenditures to support his candidacy and that the LLC was either a social welfare organization or an independent expenditure committee.
Some of the charges are related to Santos’s application for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though he was employed at a Florida-based investment firm and earning a $120,000 salary. He allegedly received $24,744 in unemployment benefits during that time.
Last, there are charges related to his overstatement of one source of income while not disclosing his investment firm income on his 2020 campaign finance forms, as well as several other lies on his 2022 campaign finance disclosure forms.
Santos, who is usually active on social
Statistics and the U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals. For more information on Best Places to Live, explore Facebook and Twitter using #BestPlacesToLive. ::
media, has not posted about his arrest. His last tweet was published yesterday, and he accused Nassau County, New York leaders of corruption.
“Nassau county’s corruption runs deep & it’s a big bipartisan uniparty!” He wrote. “I hold their joint hatred like a badge of honor!” This story appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation:
— Alex Bollinger/LGBTQ Nation
6 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023
— Kelan Lyons
Justice Michael Morgan was originally appointed to be a Wake County District Court Judge in 1994. He was elected to the Supreme Court in 2016. CREDIT: Public Domain
Charlotte ranked eighth on the list of Top Ten Best Places to Live. CREDIT: Facebook
Now considered a flight risk, Rep. George Santos decries 13 charges a ‘witch hunt’ and promptly has passport confiscated. CREDIT: Screenshot
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8 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023
TikTok has secretly tracked viewers watching LGBTQ videos
Former employees say data loosely protected, risking it falling into the wrong hands
Daniel Villareal|Contributing Writer
TikTok, the popular video-sharing social platform, has maintained a list of worldwide users who watch LGBTQ+ videos. Employees are worried the list could leak, allowing governments and blackmailers to monitor and harass LGBTQ+ people worldwide, especially in countries that criminalize LGBTQ+ identities.
From at least 2020 to 2021, the list was kept on a dashboard accessible to employees around the world. This data was more widely available to its workers than is common at other tech companies, former TikTok employees told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). TikTok employees in the U.S., U.K. and Australia warned TikTok executives that the list could be leaked and used to blackmail users.
Online video-streaming companies regularly track user viewing habits to decide what content and ads to serve users. However, many companies severely restrict employee access to this data. Furthermore, industry practices discourage apps from tracking users by potentially sensitive traits, like sexuality.
Former employees said TikTok organizes user videos into a web of topic “clusters” and then studies user data within them to understand trends for boosting engagement. Users were identified by a number
string that allowed employees to identify their screen names. TikTok administrators in China had access to this list and sometimes controlled which employees could access it, former employees told the WSJ.
A spokeswoman for ByteDance, TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, said the company had restricted employee access to the list and now anonymizes users’ viewing habits, making them harder to connect to specific topics and individual users.
She said the aforementioned em-
ployee dashboard was deleted in the U.S. about a year ago. At that time, TikTok opened a U.S.-based subsidiary company to handle U.S. users’ data over U.S. political concerns of TikTok sharing its data with China’s government.
U.S. President Joe Biden has demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their stakes so that its data won’t be shared with Chinese government agents, something required under Chinese law. China has denied ever requiring companies to gather data
and intelligence from overseas.
TikTok was never asked by the Chinese government to provide U.S.-user data nor did the company provide such data, TikTok’s spokeswoman added. She also said the aforementioned data was only accessible to authorized TikTok employees, though she didn’t specify how many people had access.
She added that the company neither “infers” nor “identifies” users’ potentially sensitive information. She also said that watching LGBTQ+ videos doesn’t mean someone identifies as LGBTQ+, just as many non-bakers enjoy TikTok’s baking content.
However, unlike baking, being LGBTQ+ is illegal in at least 64 countries around the world. Queer people widely face violence and discrimination, even in countries where it isn’t criminalized, leading some LGBTQ+ individuals to hide their identities and personal viewing habits.
LGBTQ activists in China have accused the government of using public surveillance technology to monitor their online activities and harass them. China has also cracked down on movies, newspapers and internet access and has also previously disbanded LGBTQ organizations.
In 2021, WeChat, China’s largest social media platform, deleted dozens of LGBTQrelated accounts run by non-governmental organizations and student groups. ::
Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson falsely claims clinics performed “transgender surgery” on five-year-olds Candidate for
Governor continues anti-LGBTQ smear campaign
John Russell|LGBTQ Nation
Despite admitting that he has never met anyone who “understands” what he characterizes as the transgender “agenda,” North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson (R) claims that “clinics” are performing “transgender surgery” on five-year-olds.
Robinson, who officially announced his bid to become North Carolina’s next governor, made the false claim twice during an appearance earlier this month in Georgia at the “Faith Over Fear” rally, an event hosted by gun rights activist Lucretia Hughes, the news department of High Point television station WGHP reported.
“I can assure you of this,” Robinson said during his speech at the event, “if you believe that a five-year-old should have transgender surgery, I am sorry, but you are a bad person. You are a child abuser, and you should be placed in jail. And I draw a hard line with that. If our society continues to co-sign on the abusing of our children in that way, we will not have a society for long.”
In an interview with Hughes following his speech, Robinson repeated the false claim.
“I don’t care what anyone says. When you start talking about clinics allowing five-year-olds to have transgender surgery, that is outrageous, that is abusive,” he told Hughes. “As far as I’m concerned, it should
be illegal. You know that’s one of the many social issues that we’re going to try to push back against.”
Contrary to what Robinson and other anti-LGBTQ Republicans seem to think, gender-affirming surgery isn’t performed on minors. While every major U.S. medical organization recognizes that genderaffirming healthcare is evidence-based, safe, effective and can be medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria in minors, genderaffirming care for very young children is usually limited to allowing them to socially transition. As WGHP noted, surgical options are largely reserved for adults.
Unsurprisingly, Robinson doesn’t seem to
be aware of this. As he admitted to Hughes, “I have not met one person who agrees with that agenda or understands that agenda.”
Robinson is considered the Republican frontrunner in North Carolina’s 2024 governor’s race. According to WGHP, multiple polls show him ahead of North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, the only other Republican to announce a run so far. The same polls have him neck-andneck in a potential general election against state Attorney General Josh Stein, the only Democrat currently running.
Robinson’s history of unapologetically incendiary anti-LGBTQ rhetoric long predates the April 22 announcement of
his gubernatorial campaign.
As lieutenant governor, he formed a task force to investigate the supposed “indoctrination” of children in North Carolina’s public schools, claiming that teachers were “abusing” children by allowing them access to books about transgender characters. During a June 2021 address, he described “transgenderism” and homosexuality as “filth.” The following August, he made wildly offensive statements about trans people, calling the movement for transgender rights “demonic” and “full of the spirit of [the] antichrist.” In a November 2021 speech, he compared gay people to cow excrement and asserted that heterosexuals are “superior” to Queer people.
More recently, Robinson declared this past March that God created him to battle against LGBTQ rights.
In a statement following Robinson’s campaign announcement, North Carolina’s state Democratic Party chair Anderson Clayton described him as “an extremist who has built a legacy of division by spewing hate toward the LGBTQ community, disrespecting women, putting culture wars ahead of classrooms and pushing to ban abortion with no exceptions.”
This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation. ::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 9
TikTok reportedly maintains a global list of subscribers who watch LGBTQ content.
CREDIT: Adobe stock
Lies, lies, lies: Mark Robinson had not provided any evidence to back his claims five-year-old children have undergone ‘transgender surgery.’ CREDIT: Screen capture
How anti-drag laws are impacting Pride celebrations across the country
Festival organizers in some states are re-thinking and in some cases canceling events
John Russell|LGBTQ Nation
Bills making their way through state legislatures across the country aimed at banning drag performances are creating a climate of uncertainty as LGBTQ+ Pride month nears.
In March, in the neighboring state of Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a bill severely restricting drag shows on public property, making the state the first in the U.S. to pass such a law. Republican lawmakers in Florida followed suit in late April, passing a similar drag ban that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is expected to sign.
Last month, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Tennessee law, but that has not stopped local authorities from pressuring performers not to include drag queens in their shows, as out pop star Hayley Kiyoko recently found out. Meanwhile, in Port St. Lucie, Fla., a local Pride organization has already been forced to cancel its parade in anticipation of DeSantis signing the state’s drag ban into law.
North Carolina Republicans introduced and are considering House Bill 673, which could ban drag in public places or in the presence of anyone under 18, even if the event is a private one. An initial violation would be considered a misdemeanor, although Class A1, which is at the top the most egregious misdemeanors and places any public drag appearances in the same category as violent crimes like assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse and sexual battery, child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Reportedly, continuous offenses could end in felony charges.
In all, more than a dozen states have introduced bills aimed at banning drag shows. As a result, the Associated Press
reports, the organizers of Pride celebrations in mostly conservative states are under pressure to censor their events, in some cases “editing” acts or canceling drag performances altogether.
“As soon as this stuff started making its way, I immediately started coming out with plans to be able to counteract that,” Vanessa Rodley, an organizer with Memphis’s Mid-South Pride Fest, said.
“Because, at the end of the day, we can’t put on an event that then segregates a huge portion of our community, right? We just can’t do that. So you have to find
ways around it.”
With Tennessee’s law still on hold, MidSouth Pride has reportedly booked more than 50 drag performers, but organizers like Rodley have had to come up with contingency plans should the ban go into effect in the coming weeks. Performers will reportedly not change costumes on stage and will not accept tips from the audience during their shows.
U.S. Association of Prides co-president Ron de Harte said that Pride festival organizers have been “doing their homework” to try to navigate laws that
are often vaguely worded, while also having a tougher time getting permits from local city councils.
In Franklin, Tenn., organizers of a Pride event have opted not to include drag performers in order to get permits for their events.
Drag performances at a Naples, Fla., celebration will be held at an indoor venue due to safety concerns.
In Hutchinson, Kan., festival organizers had to find a new venue for their drag queen story hour after a local business owner posted a video calling the event “depraved.” And in North Brookfield, Mass., a three-member select board determined that a drag show violated restrictions on “adult entertainment” before the American Civil Liberties Union got involved.
But the tide of anti-LGBTQ+ hostility is also galvanizing the community. “I think people want to really make it known that they back us and that we should feel safe and protected in our community,” said Kayla Bates, a founder of ELGbtq+, which puts on a community Pride festival in Elgin, Ill.
New York City’s Pride festivities, some of the biggest and most prominent in the country, are putting the focus on the transgender community and drag queens.
“They’re attacking these people because they’re less likely to stand up and fight back,” said NYC Pride cochairperson Sue Doster, “which is why it’s important that we all come together in solidarity and speak up when we see these injustices.”
This article appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQ Nation.
Additional content added by QNotes Staff.::
10 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023 Connie J. Vetter, Esq. Attorney at Law, PLLC Your LGBTQ+ Law Attorney serving Clients from across North Carolina Talk/Text 704-333-4000 or online news
If NC passes the proposed anti-drag law, will it prevent performers like Delighted Tobehere and Malachi from appearing at Charlotte Pride? CREDIT: Instagram
Founders First announces National Pride Grant for LGBTQ-led small businesses
Application continues through June 6
Founders First CDC (Founders First), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers the expansion of diverse founder-led, revenue-generating businesses alongside TurningPoint Executive Search, is excited to remind small LGBTQ-led business owners there’s still time to apply for the inaugural National Pride Grant, a grant fund to support U.S.-based LGBTQ small business owners, is open for pre-registration.
The LGBTQ National Grant allows eligible small businesses to receive one of 25 grants totaling $25,000. Founders First is committed to increasing the number of diverse founder-led companies generating over $1 million in revenue and creating premiumwage jobs. To be eligible, the company’s founder must identify as LGBTQ, have an active U.S.-based business, be the CEO, President or owner and employ between two and 50 employees. In addition, annual business revenue should be at most $5M.
Registration began on May 6 and continues through June 6, the application deadline. Semi-finalists will be notified by June 18, with finalists being announced later in the month.
Since launching, Founders First CDC has awarded more than $620,000 to minority
and underserved business owners throughout the United States.
“Receiving a grant through Founders First CDC was a turning point for my law firm,” said Daniel Hernandez, the CEO and Principal Attorney of NextLevel Law. With their support, I was able to participate in an accelerator course that provided me with essential business skills and transformed my mindset, enabling me to take on the role of CEO. The program culminated in a pitch contest that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and I’m grateful for the experience.”
“Given the current state of our economy, small business owners are feeling the brunt of the rising cost of living, inflation and the challenges to provide goods and services for their customers,” says Shaylon Scott, Executive Director of Founders First CDC. “This is our first year hosting the Pride Grant, and we are so excited. Our mission at Founders First is to support the needs of diverse communities.”
Kim Folsom, founder, chairperson and CEO of Founders First adds, “The LGBTQIA+ is one of many underserved and under-re-
sourced groups we look to support through our small business grants and accelerator programs. By providing recognition and representation, this grant also brings inspiration to other LGBTQ+ business owners.”
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are 1.4 million LGBTQowned businesses in the United States alone. Of this group, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) estimated in 2017 that its 900+ members have created 33,000 jobs and have contributed $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy.
“LGBTQ-owned small businesses are essential for a thriving LGBTQ+ community and an inclusive economy,” Scott adds. “These businesses create local jobs and provide needed goods and services. U.S.based LGBTQ+ businesses can apply for the National Pride Grant. Twenty-five businesses will receive $1,000 each, and they can use those funds for anything to support their business, whether it’s marketing, technology or something else to support their business growth.”
For more information and to register, go to this link: http://www.foundersfirstcdc.org.::
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LGBTQ-led and owned businesses can use grant funds in any manner to support their business, including marketing, technology and other growth. CREDIT: Adobe Stock
by L’Monique King Qnotes S
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an LGBTQ community member or ally who has benefited in some way from a non-profit organization. Although not always readily apparent, they do much more for LGBTQ folks than many of us ever realize.
According to the National Council of Nonprofits Organization, they “foster civic engagement and leadership, drive economic growth, and strengthen the fabric of our communities, every single day.”
In doing so, many of our nation’s 1.3 million nonprofits have valiantly provided food, healing, housing, education, inspiration and nurturing to United States citizens of every demographic imaginable. This is an important factor, particularly for those whose intersectional identities – like age, gender, race and orientation – can place them in positions to be underserved and/or marginalized.
For these communities and the LGBTQ community in particular, a nonprofit that purposefully functions with our needs in mind is even more valuable. However, finding the provider to fulfill the services we so desperately need can be quite
The PLUS Collective Celebrating 20 Years of Support
challenging for these noble and dedicated nonprofit entities. Thankfully, for those operating in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, there’s The PLUS Collective.
The PLUS Collective: CharlotteMecklenburg’s LGBTQ+ Community Fund is managed by Foundation for the Carolinas. Twenty years ago – and in the truest spirit of serving and assisting our own – a group of Charlotte residents “saw the need for prioritized funding for LGBTQ+ non-profits.” This led to the establishment of the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund.
Over time the affirming name was changed, to reflect and embrace the diversity of our community. In 2021 the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund was renamed The PLUS Collective (TPC). Frequently described as a Collective Giving Fund, The PLUS Collective’s mission of sharing humanity based in love is married to their vision of being “guided by principles [and] inspired by diversity and supported by community.”
During the TPC 20th anniversary celebration, it became clear the Collective’s mission and vision had been realized for so many of those who have benefited from the group’s two decades of service and funding support. Funding and support many would have otherwise gone without as a result of being left out of rooms whose doors have been historically closed to LGBTQ community members.
On Wednesday, May 17, LGBTQ+ community members, advocates and allies gathered at the Foundation for the Carolinas headquarters in Uptown Charlotte to celebrate TPC’s 20 years of
them the ability to do more than network, delight in Hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live performances and the musical stylings of DJ Little Betty.
All proceeds from the event were slated to be used for directly supporting essential work in the LGBTQ+ community with $20 from each ticket sold going to TPC’s Endowment Fund to support future grant making. Providing those funds has been an effort The PLUS Collective has assisted nearly 50 grantees with over the course of the 20-year span they’ve been operating.
This year, one such grantee is Corey Mitchell; a recipient of a $5000 award, the maximum amount gifted in the Projects, Programs & Events category.
Mitchell is a creative artist and founder of Theater Gap Initiative – a nonprofit college-prep program for recent high school grads who aspire to apply for Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and conservatory programs. For years Mitchell taught theater as a teacher for CMS Schools, with many of his students going on to perform on stages that ranged from venues at local productions to American Idol.
No longer with CMS, he’s taken his efforts a step further. As founder and artistic director for the Theater Gap Initiative where he facilitates his ‘gap year’ (between High School and College) program for kids interested in acting or musical theater, he offers a plethora of classes and coaching opportunities within a wide range of performance arts disciplines. For Mitchell this skills-building labor of love is about “Giving kids an opportunity that they literally never forget.”
While driven to assist underserved young people to overcome barriers on their journeys to performance arts careers, Mitchell laments, “I want them to know, I see you, I hear you.”
service. The first voice to be heard from the podium that evening was TPC’s Chair, Shelly Schoenfeld.
She talked about the history of the Collective, while attendees attentively listened and applauded at appropriate moments. This was but the beginning of a purposeful good time. But those present weren’t just there to eat, drink and give kudos. They were dedicated supporters of TPC who had put their money where their praise is with the purchase of $120 admission tickets. Those tickets bought
With the PLUS Collective grant, Mitchell will be able to continue his valuable work, like the type of work many attendees stressed the importance of supporting for The PLUS Collective. It’s also the type of work Steve Bentley, TPC grants Committee Chair spoke of while sharing with attendees the necessity of unrestricted funding.
TPC Treasurer, Becky Hoover personally and eloquently announced many of the awards. During her congratulations of the 2023 recipients, Hoover said to the crowd, “The urgency of the work is being done on
12 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023 feature
TPC Chair, Shelly Schoenfeld. CREDIT: Lee Robertson
Tony Award Winning Grant Recipient Corey D. Mitchell. CREDIT: Facebook
the ground, every day in this city and just can’t be understated, particularly not when our community is under attack both in our state as well as across the county. And I know we’re all feeling it – [though] we’re lucky we live in a largely supportive city. But it can’t be stressed enough that the environment being created just makes the work being done by our grant recipients all the more critical and necessary. Quite frankly, not just for our community to thrive, but as you heard – for so many people just to survive.”
Hoover concluded by reminding guests how important it is that we all do our part. “So this organization will continue to support the work that our grant recipients are doing. Not just today, but 20 years into the future.”
Clearly, the work being done and supported by The PLUS Collective is vital. Vice Chair, Lee Robertson has echoed and confirmed those sentiments when he shared his thoughts about TPC. “It is the unsung hero of Charlotte’s LGBTQ+ organizations, because it exists in the background but ensures that our LGBTQ+ organizations survive.”
Robertson continued: “With an endowment of about a million dollars it’s provided long term growth, especially during the pandemic, it has given orgs what they need to operate and has done so for almost 20 years.”
Robertson has been elected to become Chair next month when Schoenfeld’s two-year term comes to an end. He looks forward to continuing to work with The PLUS Collective and proudly shared how the funding entity has provided almost two million dollars in grants to various applicants. “For a number of them, it’s the only reason they exist. For organizations like Charlotte Pride and PFLAG it’s how and why they have been able to grow,” he said.
As the evening came to a close, staunch TPC supporter and financial advisor Marcia Tillotson reiterated the im-
portance and necessity of the organization many speakers before her had mentioned and expressed her gratitude.
“I love that there are so many supporters and grant recipients from within our community and a whole lot of straight allies throughout the years,” she offered. “You – we– are The PLUS Collective.”
But Tillotson didn’t stop there. She took her earnest plea to help future generations a step further and asked attendees to consider post mortem donations to keep TPC going even after the donors have passed on.
“If you care about this organization, and the work they’re doing, leave them money. Instead of your ungrateful alcoholic nephew,” she chuckled.
While little could be heard over the raucous laughter of the attendees, the passion for the work The Plus Collective does and fosters was surely felt. ::
THE 2023 GRANTEES
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Marcia Tillotson, Financial Advisor and TPC Supporter.
OPERATING GRANTS Charlotte Black Pride $10,000 Charlotte Pride Band $14,000 Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Club $5,000 Charlotte Trans Health $5,000 Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte $13,000 One Voice Chorus $13,000 PFLAG Charlotte $20,000 Time Out Youth $20,000 Twirl to the World Foundation $10,000 PROJECT, PROGRAM AND EVENT GRANTS Carolina’s CARE Partnership $5,000 Planned Parenthood South Atlantic $4,000 Quality Comprehensive Health Center $2,000 Theatre Gap Initiative $5,000 Trips for Kids Charlotte $4,000 We Rock Charlotte $5,000
Steve Bentley (left) and Becky Hoover (right) CREDIT: Jim Yarbrough
“I Have Something to Tell You (For Young Adults)” Out in Print
by Terri Schlichenmeyer Qnotes
“I Have Something to Tell You” (For Young Adults) by Chasten Buttigiegc.2023, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing— $18.99 — 209 pages
Experience, they say, is the best teacher.
Once you’ve done something, you can say you like it and you’ll do it again or not. The subject comes with a different viewpoint, once you’ve gotten a little experience with it. You’re wiser, more confident. As in the new book “I Have Something to Tell You” by Chasten Buttigieg, you’ll have the chops to offer valid advice.
If you’d have asked 8-year-old Chasten Buttigieg what life
was like, he probably would’ve told you about his big brothers and how wild and daring they were. He would’ve said he didn’t have many friends and that he loved his parents. He wouldn’t have told you about being gay, though, because he had no frame of reference, no experience, or role models. He just knew then that he was “different.”
A year later, he watched Will & Grace on TV for the first time, and it was hilarious but he had to be careful. Already, he understood that being “someone ‘like that’” had to be hidden. He watched Ellen, and he was sure that “gay people weren’t found in places” like his Northern Michigan home town.
For much of his childhood, Buttigieg says he was bullied, but being lonely was worse. He was awkward, but he found his happy place in theater. “In school,” he says, “I felt a constant tug-of-war between where I was and where I wanted to be,” between authenticity and pretending. A year as a high school senior exchange student in gay-friendly Germany, then a “safe space” in college in Wisconsin clarified many things and helped him gain confidence and “broaden [his] perspective.”
By the time he met the man he calls Peter, “I felt at ease to present myself in ways I hadn’t felt comfortable doing...”
Still, he says, things may be better or they may be worse, “We’ve got a long way to go, but you, the reader, get to be a part of that promising future.”
Filled with an abundance of dad jokes and a casual, chatty tone that never once feels pushy or overbearing, “I Have Something to Tell You” may seem like deja vu for good reason. This gently altered version of a 2020 memoir, meant for kids ages 12 and up, says all the right things in a surprisingly paternal way.
And yet, none of it’s preachy, or even stern.
Though there are brief peeks at his adult life on the campaign trail with his husband, now-Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the heart of author Chasten Buttigieg’s book is all memoir, set in a loving household in a small town. It’s lightly humorous but not trite; to this, Buttigieg adds a layer of subtle advice, and genuineness to a tale that’s familiar to adults and will appeal to young, still-figuring-it-out teens.
You can expect a “you are not alone” message in a book like this, but it comes with an upbeat, fatherly calm. For a teen who needs that, reading “I Have Something to Tell You” will be a good experience. ::
14 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023 a&e
Charlotte Royals to host first IGR NorAm Cup
Gay, inclusive and allied rugby players from around North America will gather here for major competition
by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer
The Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Club will play host to the International Gay Rugby North American Cup in Charlotte May 26 - May 28.
The fun kicks off Friday evening May 26 at 7 p.m. with an opening ceremony and registration at the Mint Museum in uptown Charlotte.
Players will be coming to Charlotte from around the United States and Canada.
Among them are the Rebellion Rugby team from Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon’s Lumberjacks, Madison, Wisconsin’s Minotaurs, Toronto’s Muddy York RFC, Orlando’s Otters, Philadelphia’s Gryphon’s Rugby, The Vancouver Rogues, the Washington Scandals and the Washington Renegades, Montreal’s Armada, the Baltimore Flamingos, the Colorado Rush and the Columbus Coyotes and the Charlotte Royals, among others.
The tournament will take place at the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex in Matthews, a suburb of Charlotte.
The facility is well equipped with 11 multiuse fields featuring permanent lighting.
If you’re planning on coming, accom-
modations are plentiful. Local organizers have reserved several rooms in advance with two large upscale hotels in the Uptown Charlotte area.
Transportation from the Le Meridien Charlotte and Sheraton Charlotte hotels will be provided by private bus service from uptown to the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex daily during matches.
The Mecklenburg County Sportsplex includes nine fields with synthetic turf and
two fields with natural grass. Two of the fields have been installed with football goal posts. All fields are permanently aligned for soccer and can be temporarily lined for other sports upon request, including lacrosse, football, field hockey and rugby.
Members of note that will be serving on the Tournament Competition Committee include Branson Brown (tournament director), Marcus Johnson (head referee), and
Scott Conway (member at large).
The Tournament Liaison Committee includes Branson Brown (Tournament Director), Madison Dennison (IGR Trustee), Jeff Enochs (IGR North America South Representative), Scott Conway (Carolinas Geographic Rugby Union) and Marcus Johnson (Southeast Rugby Referee Society, Head Referee).
Following Friday evening’s welcoming party and registration, tournament play and match play will kick off Saturday morning, May 27 at 9 a.m. and continue through 5 p.m.
Two social events will follow for the evening at Petty Thieves Brewing Company (413 Dalton Avenue, Suite B) from 7 to 10 p.m. and another at Bar Argon (4544 South Boulevard, Suite H) later in the evening.
More tournament play and rugby championships will take place Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing through 5 p.m.
The festivities wrap up Sunday evening with the clothing ceremony party beginning at 8 p.m. and ending at midnight at the Mint Museum Uptown (500 S. Tryon St.).
The Mecklenburg County Sportsplex is located at 2425 Sports Parkway in Matthews. For more details, visit the Charlotte Royals website at charlotteroyalsrugby.com or qcrugby.org.::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 15
Players are expected from all around North America to take part in the IGR NorAm Cup. CREDIT: Facebook
by David Aaron Moore Qnotes Staff Writer
If you haven’t booked your summer travel plans yet, companies like Expedia, American Airlines and the auto club group AAA, confirm the time is now. All three have indicated an increase in demand for travel services like cruises, tours, hotel stays and flights.
“We’re seeing a ton of demand,” Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern told Yahoo Finance Live. “Lots of demand domestically [and] lots of demand internationally.”
American Airlines CEO Robert Isom concurred. “We see a strong demand environment this summer and we’re highly confident that will continue going forward,” he told analysts. “If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that people innately desire to travel.”
“Travel demand has come roaring back this summer and we’re already seeing large crowds at popular domestic and international travel destinations,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA, which has recognized same-sex couples since 2009. “The recent decision to lift all international travel restrictions will only add to demand,” Haas continues. “So, we encourage travelers to do their research and [consider] a travel
Summer travel plans on the rise
expert. They can help you find the best value on a vacation.”
More than Half of North Carolinians Plan to Take a Summer Vacation
According to a new travel survey released by AAA, 83 percent of North Carolinians will travel this year. More than half (64 percent) of them will take a summer vacation. However, less than a quarter (21 percent) of summer travelers have finalized their plans.
The most popular vacations they’re planning are beach destinations (62%); large cities and major metro destinations (29%); theme parks (24%); all-inclusive resorts (17%); and national and state park tourist sites (17%).
Top Summer Traveler Stats and Travel Tips
As many as 87 percent plan to take a road trip. If that’s your plan, leave early. Expect congestion near beaches and attractions, particularly on weekends and holidays. Traditionally, gas prices peak in the spring and fluctuate through the summer. Unfortunately, an estimated 18 percent will not get a vehicle inspection before their road trip. Take the time to look for a mechanic you trust to make sure your wheels are road ready.
Up to 27 percent plan to take a commercial flight. To reduce the likelihood of flight delays or cancellations, book a non-stop flight that leaves early in the morning. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early. Eight percent plan to take a cruise.
Summertime sailings are filling up so fast many travelers are looking at summer 2024 departures to find the itinerary they want.
More than 25 percent plan to rent a car. Rental car availability has improved, yet inventory is likely to be tight at airports. Rates are often more expensive the closer you get to your desired rental date, so book early for the best combination of availability and price. AAA offers members up to 20 percent off base rates at Hertz car rental locations.
International travel bookings are up more than 200 percent compared to 2022. Ensure your passport is up to date. Strong
demand and pandemic-related backlogs have led to passport processing delays. Wait times have increased from 8-11 weeks to 10-13 weeks. Check out the possibility of expediting services for U.S. passports and global travel visas with the government’s RushMyPassport program.
Keep in mind travel insurance is a must. There are a variety of reasons travelers should purchase it, including medical emergencies, flight cancellations, severe weather, or unexpected life events. ::
16 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023 Proudly LGBTQ-Owned and -Operated A pioneer in LGBTQ research since 1992. Your information is conﬁdential, used for research purposes only. You will not be contacted for marketing purposes. LGBTQsurvey.com Grab a coffee, take the survey, Grab a coffee, take the survey, make a difference. Take the 17th Annual LGBTQ Community Survey® LGBTQ research helps non-proﬁts, universities and businesses better understand and serve our community. Download survey results free of charge at cmi.info life
Whether by car or plane, here’s some advice to properly plan your spring and summer vacations
The most important thing to remember while vacationing: plan ahead. CREDIT: Adobe Stock
A holiday in Barcelona, Spain
City boasts great food, nightlife and a vibrant LGBTQ neighborhood
Bill Malcolm|Contributing Writer
Barcelona, Spain (and specifically the Eixample gay neighborhood) are perfect for a vacation. Restaurants, bars, transit and more are within steps of each other, and you can even walk to some of the main attractions.
Stay at the Axel Hotel and enjoy the nightly events at the Sky Bar, make new friends at breakfast, work out at the huge gym and more. Axel is a LGBTQ hotel chain with hotels all over Europe and in Miami Beach. However, everyone (gay or straight) is welcome there. Their motto is “we are hetero friendly,” and the staff is very helpful with travel tips and things to do.
Barcelona is a tropical city and a LGBTQ paradise at bargain prices. Despite its affordability, it is full of stunning architecture and well-dressed people.
With the euro close to on par with the U.S. dollar, drinks at a bar are usually an affordable five euros. You can enjoy a fancy meal with wine for under $25. Get the special five-day transit pass for just $20 that takes you to and from the airport and offers plenty of sight-seeing destinations.
The people of Barcelona are friendly, but you will have to adjust to their odd hours. Nothing is open before 9 a.m. on weekends – even for coffee. Take a nap between 2 and 5 p.m. Enjoy dinner at 8 p.m. or later. The food is great with a
myriad of cuisines to choose from, and the bars don’t close until 3 a.m. or later. They are indeed night owls.
What to Do
Enjoy the historic but still unfinished church, La Sagrada Familia. You can walk from the hotel and stop at the Gaudi house (Casa Batallo Gaudi) along the way.
Grab lunch at the St. Joseph’s marketplace, also known as La Boqueria. It has 300 food stands and is located in the historic Las Ramblas. The market dates to 1840, and its origins date back to the 13th century. Try the fresh fruit juices.
Head up to the city mountain park (Parc de Montjuïc) for city views and enjoy the botanical garden which features Mediterranean plants from around the world. Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate similar to California, Chile and Australia. Go to the clothing optional (and very gay) beach, Playa de la Mar Bella.
There are lots of clubs and bars in L’Eixample just steps from the hotel. Try the nearby Dmen’s, Gin Bar, the Boxer Café and more. Dance the night away at the Safari. The bar on the 7th floor of the Axel Hotel (Sky Bar) has a rooftop balcony and events almost every night. Try the Cava for just five euros (champagne). They also have a bar next to the rooftop pool on the eighth floor during the day. Both are a lot of fun.
What to Eat
I enjoyed the empanadas, which are seemingly everywhere. The Cava (champagne) is very refreshing, as is the sangria. And of course, Barcelona is famous for its tapas. The Spanish omelet at La Cova de La Mari (across the street from the hotel) is very good. Ask for a café con leche (coffee with milk) or have a café americano or a double espresso. There is no such thing as a 12-ounce cup of coffee in Spain.
American Airlines rerouted me onto Iberia Airlines by Level, a low cost budget carrier that has great food (Indian beef stew) and great service but uncomfortable seats. I spread out to sleep in the nearby unoccupied seats, since the plane was not that full. Fares are very low, too. On the trip home I took American Airlines which had great service and offered free wine and beer, a delicious lunch (a choice of meatballs or pasta), followed by British ice cream and then a pizza type sandwich. Service was great, and the plane was on time. Their terminal eight at JFK in NYC is new and very nice. However, Kennedy suffers from long TSA lines, so leave plenty of time for your connection.
I also took EZJet from Barcelona to Milan. EZJet is Europe’s equivalent to Southwest Airlines or Spirit Airlines. Fares are cheap, but they charge for everything, and service was tolerable. We waited for 20 minutes in the jetway to board and then faced a one hour delay due to a staffing snafu.
Take the metro line 9 sud (south) from the airport, and buy a five day pass for just $20. Then take a short bus ride to the hotel. They also have street cars and buses. The pass is good for all of them.
Pick up a copy of the LGBTQ Barcelona official gay map published by the city at the airport metro station or read it online at visitbarcelona.com. It even includes listings “bars fetish” and “cruising/dark rooms.” This is one LGBTQ friendly city. Pick up some gazpacho soup or snacks at the nearby Jespac Market. They also have an Aldi close by the hotel. You can find great local food to go (cheeses, yogurt, fruit and more) for a quick and affordable bite. Be sure to buy a converter for your cell phone charger. Europe is on a different electric voltage. That’s just five euros.
Get euros out of an ATM. Banks don’t convert U.S. dollars. Or use your credit card for everything.
You will want to return to Barcelona, and this is only a sampling of the many things to do in this great city. It’s one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, very walkable and affordable for all.
Bill Malcolm is a syndicated travel columnist whose work has appeared in publications in Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Atlanta and Dallas, among others.::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 17 BUILD THROUGH US print and online advertising solutions with qnotes and goqnotes.com call or email us today 704.531.9988 email@example.com free web presence with every print ad
St. Joseph’s marketplace, also known as La Boqueria, is a perfect spot to grab lunch while exploring the city.
CREDIT: La Boqueria, Mercat St Josep
Eixample is a popular LGBTQ neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain. CREDIT: Facebook
Barcelona by night. CREDIT: Instagram
A weekend in the city by the bay: San Francisco
One of the key sites to give birth to queer culture offers a great vacation
You can’t beat a visit to the city and county of San Francisco. The Castro and San Francisco were the mecca for many in the LGBTQ community, and the destination is still a draw today. San Francisco and the Castro district lay claim to many significant historic first accomplishments in the United States for our community: the lesbian organization Daughters of Bilitis, the first gay community center in the country created by the Society for Individual Rights, the rainbow flag, the Gay Games and the influential column-turned-book-turned mini-series, “Tales of the City” written by Armistead Maupin (who grew up in Raleigh, N.C.). One of the first cities nationwide to
Bill Malcolm|Contributing Writer
feel the impact of the AIDS pandemic, the city has also seen more than its fair share of tragedy, including the assassinations of gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk and committed ally Mayor George Moscone..
Indeed, the City by the Bay is steeped in LGBTQ history.
As a side note, the city’s bars are as popular as they ever were. In a few words, the city continues to be a magnet.
What to Do
Enjoy a stroll on the new Presidio Tunnel Tops and visit the new visitor center. It features stunning overlooks including the Marin Headlands
and the Golden Gate Bridge. An official National Park, it’s located on the northwest corner of the city, and a free shuttle provides service from the Embarcadero BART station downtown. Details at PresidioTunnelTops.org.
Take a hike with the San Francisco Hiking Club. This LGBTQ hiking club features mainly weekend hikes, as does the Rainbow Sierrans. Both hike the many parks throughout the region. From February through April, the Bay Area hills are ablaze with native wildflowers, including California poppies.
Work out at SF Fitness at Market and Noe Streets (2301 Market) – day passes
Catch a film or show at the historic Castro Theater (just south of Market and Castro).
Enjoy Golden Gate Park, which includes the DeYoung Museum. Don’t miss Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs. Visit the LGBTQ History Museum on 18th Street near Divisadero.
Where to Eat
The Santeria has great food and Margaritas.
Alice’s in the Noe Valley has great Chinese food.
Starbelly at 3582 16th Street has great
18 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023 life
Travel writer Bill Malcolm vacationing in San Francisco. CREDIT: Malcolm Photography
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Beck’s Motor Lodge offers affordable and comfortable rooms in the heart of the Castro. CREDIT: Facebook
comfort food, cocktails and brunch.
La Mediterrannee at 288 Noe is very good.
Orphan Andy’s at 3991 17th Street in the Castro has great breakfasts and dinner. It is a mainstay.
Where to Stay
I always stay at Beck’s Motor Lodge, 2222 Market Street, in the Castro. Peets Coffee is across the street, as is the gay sports bar, Hi-Tops. Nearby Rosenburg Deli (276 Noe) has everything you need, including an It’s It (a San Francisco treat, ice cream covered by two graham crackers and smothered in chocolate). Beck’s is family-owned and offers free parking,
although you don’t need a car.
The Castro features many of the most fun bars. My favorites include the Midnight Sun which has great (strong) drink specials and more. They feature Boogie Wonderland, a disco dance club party and beer bust every Sunday. The 4440 Castro had $3 beer the evening I attended, and it was packed. Toad Hall nearby has Karaoke while Harvey’s (on the corner of Castro and 18th Street) had drag queens the night I was there. It also features great food.
Beaux has Latin Night on Wednesday, including go-go dancers. Friday features a DJ and the Beaux-torious GoGo Beasts. See
their calendar at BeauxSF.com. You will find the popular club at 2344 Market Street.
The Lookout at Market and Noe features a large balcony with great views, which allows easy and fun perusal of the crowds below.
The Twin Peaks Tavern (at Market and Castro) is where you can also scope out the Castro scene. Twin Peaks is the first openly gay bar in San Francisco. The famous nightspot was a hit because it was one of the few that had big windows that allowed passersby on the street to see who was inside and patrons to see out, which was considered quite scandalous at the time. Now official San Francisco Landmark #264, the crowd is welcoming for older patrons.
Moby Dick, which boasts a huge aquarium, is also very popular. It’s located on 18th Street.
Grab a Clipper Card to enjoy easy one tap admission to all the transit in the city, including the historic streetcars, the Muni Metro, BART and more. Muni is your in town subway while BART goes all over the Bay Area.
Read the BAR (The Bay Area Reporter), which comes out every Thursday. The SF Bay Times is a monthly LGBTQ periodical. Both list current events. Gloss Magazine also is a good source of nightlife information.
The Castro Clones are long gone (Do younger gay guys know what this means?), and the area has many homeless individuals, dirty streets and property crime has skyrocketed (don’t leave anything in your car). But the Castro
neighborhood and San Francisco itself is a great city to visit. It’s so walkable. With a mild climate and lush green hills in the spring after the winter rains end, it’s a dream environment. Yes, you will leave your heart here.
Bill Malcolm lived in the Castro in San Francisco for 12 years after graduating from UC Santa Cruz. He founded the San Francisco Hiking Club which is still offering weekend hikes today. ::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 19
Don’t miss a chance for some classic cinema at the historic Castro Theatre. CREDIT: Facebook
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will take you practically anywhere you want to go in the San Francisco Metro region. CREDIT: Screen Capture KTVU
The real Magic Mike
An interview with actor/illusionist Michael Carbonaro
by Gregg Shapiro
Qnotes Staff Writer
Michael Carbonaro has made magic cool again. His wildly popular hidden camera show “The Carbonaro Effect,” which took illusion and tricks to
a new level, established him on a global scale. Of course, it helps that he has movie star good looks that leave David Copperfield (remember him?) in the dust. Those looks also came in handy for his acting career. Carbonaro, an out actor, gave an award-winning performance in Todd Stephens’ 2006 wacky comedy “Another Gay Movie.” Presently he is, once again, taking his act on the road to dazzle and delight audiences in a show titled “Carbonaro:
Lies on Stage.” Michael was generous enough to make time in his schedule for an interview.
Gregg Shapiro: The title of your tour is “Carbonaro: Lies on Stage,” which is a clever play on “Live on Stage.” What does it mean to you to be able to return to live performance?
Michael Carbonaro: It’s everything to me. I had never been away from performance for that long since I was 13 years old. This was new territory, to not be doing what is really a kind of meditation for me and a love that I knew I had, but I didn’t know how important it really was for my soul. This is so wonderful to be able to get back out there and have extra appreciation for how important this is really part of my being now. Being up on a stage and being a conduit for joy. Transcending happiness through myself back from the audience, back from them to me, and seeing the smiles and feeling that love. I knew it was important, but I had no idea how much it was until I guess, like they say, you don’t know how much you appreciate something until it’s gone.
GS: Did the forced time off during the pandemic, maybe more so than if you had been constantly touring, provide you with opportunities to come up with new illusions and tricks?
MC: 100%! In fact, I was lucky and excited for this speedball of a ride that “The Carbonaro Effect” was. I started “The Carbonaro Effect” and for seven years it was a rollercoaster that did not stop. It was so exciting, but at a certain point, you really do need to reconnect. I had no time off. It was wonderful, but I was going from writing to pre-production to production to editing to writing to pre-production to production to editing with zero time off in between. As awesome as that was, it does take something away from you. I was probably the only person in the world that was like, “Yay, a pandemic!” I kind of needed a break. At first, it was wonderful to be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m gardening at my house. I’m sticking my hand in the dirt and not talking to anybody for hours, maybe a day or two.” Maybe I’ll talk to my husband while we’re chilling out. But there isn’t this constant buzz all around me, which was wonderful. And then it got boring really quick [laughs]. Although I have to say, maybe for six months there were all these virtual opportunities. They asked, “Do you want to do virtual shows for corporate stuff?” And I was like, “No, not really. I’m just sort of chillin’.” Then I was like, “All right, let me try a few.” Then, after about six months, I was like, “OK, I need to make something. I’m not going back out there, and this isn’t ending, I need to make something creative.” While I was writing and coming up with other ideas I could do on stage and for television; I thought, “I want to make something special for the now time.” So, I made a virtual show which was called “Live from Space.” I did eight shows. I had 500 families a night tuning in. It was really cool. It was its own different kind of thing that afforded a different kind of creativity that I don’t do on television or on stage. It was more intimate. You were joining me in my messy office. We were playing. I’m digging through stuff. Wild things happened. A live chicken arrived from outer space in my office. I end up flying out the window at the end. We did some cool, awesome effects that could only exist in that genre. [It made me realize], “OK, I do need to be creative.” It was a fun thing to do, but still nothing like getting up on stage.
GS: Is your husband Peter [Stickles] your test audience when it comes to trying out new parts of your show?
MC: [Laughs] it’s funny you say that. No, and I probably should more because, boy, he’s got such a threshold to get through. We have this joke where I say something, and if he laughs out loud, we both kind of look at each other like, “You made me laugh, honey!” I’m always making jokes and he’s always like, “Uh huh.” Every now and then when something gets through that threshold, it’s like, “Wow, still got it! OK!” No, I’m usually better off practicing in front of my cat and a live audience, versus Peter.
20 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023 a&e
GS: What can your fans expect to experience in the “Lies on Stage” show?
MC: It’s a great show. I’m so excited! That was another thing, too. It was really hard; because I’m touring, I’m touring, I’m touring, I’m touring, and people want to keep seeing those shows, and there was no time to stop and put together an all-new tour. So, that was fun to get the time over the pandemic to be able to do that. This is an all-new tour show, brand new magic. Which is insanely difficult to put together. A lot of the routines in my first tour were spinoffs of things that I had been doing since I was 13 years old. I had all this audience-tested material that I adapted into the tour. Suddenly, I was starting from scratch. I popped up at a few clubs to workshop some stuff. We’re just having a ball. There’re mischievous gnomes in the tour that keep popping up and stealing items from me and the audience. There’re silly tricks; I teach the audience how to magically separate laundry. Lots of audience participation. Me going out in the crowd showing off some new “Carbonaro Effect” devices and bringing people up on stage to help. Every night, two people from the audience are brought on stage and made to disappear.
GS: Do you ever get the sense that some people come to the show as skeptics and that over the course of the evening you’ve won them over?
MC: I wonder if there are people who literally come in like Houdini used to do and call out spirit mediums. Like they’re going to stand up and shout, “Impostor!” I think that even if they’re fans, somewhere in their head they’re like, “I’ve seen this guy on TV. I don’t know how much I trust TV. Gosh, I hope this can happen in front of my eyes, and that’s why I’m here and hope to fulfill that excitement.” There’s this electricity that happens when I start doing things right there, in front of them, for real. There’s this excited relief. Like it’s real. Not real, real. It’s real, fake real. It’s not camera tricks. It’s not actors. This is happening to me or it’s happening right in front of their own eyes. I think there is that excitement that comes from the relief that it’s not BS on TV.
GS: To commemorate the 15th anniversary of 2006’s “Another Gay Movie,” a director’s cut of the movie was released on DVD and VOD. Did you do anything special to mark the occasion?
MC: It’s so funny. Peter, my husband, who buys DVDs with CDs, and loves going to [record store] Amoeba [Music], took a picture the other day [and asked me], “Did you know this DVD 15th-anniversary cut was released?” I knew that they were releasing it, and they did a screening. But I didn’t know that it was going to be a hard copy, going to be sold. I was so excited to see that it was out there. I have to go get a copy. I knew of the cut, and we did a little online reunion. We also went to the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. They did a 15-year anniversary screening and the whole cast came, all four boys and the director. It was that moment in life where I was like, “This is the most special thing I’ve ever had.” It was so incredible to reconnect with this project 15 years later. All of us together, where we are in our lives now. It was an interesting story, and I don’t know how much you followed that.
But one of the actors in “Another Gay Movie” [Jonathan Chase, who played jock Jarod], as soon as the movie was released in 2006, didn’t take part in any of the promotion for it. He had this crazy strong team who didn’t like the cut, and he wasn’t going to promote it. He never went on any of the fun ride. That was really the whole thing about making that movie, aside from how fun it was to make. He didn’t go to the Castro or any of the film festivals. The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival! The Tribeca Film Festival! That was the excitement of it, and he didn’t take part in any of that. So, this 15-year anniversary was the first time the four of us watched the film together. He really came around and supports it now wholeheartedly. He regrets not supporting it back at the time. We rented a little Airbnb, and we had a hot tub. I felt so lucky and
blessed to have a moment like that and friends like that.
GS: “AGM” writer/director Todd Stephens’ latest movie was 2021’s critically acclaimed “Swan Song.” Given the chance, do you think you’d ever work with Todd again on a film project?
MC: A million percent! Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to. I know he’s working on another TV thing that sounded so cool. All four of us, the boys, were like, “Todd, if we come in it’d be pretty cool to see one of the boys from that movie come in on your new TV show, even as a guest star.” I love Todd. He’s like a big brother, totally family. That was the greatest ride of my life. For all the things I’ve gotten to do in my life in “the showbiz,” that movie, shooting that film, and meeting those people and that ride just tops them all. ::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 21
22 Qnotes May 26 - June 8, 2023
Our People: Jenni Gaisbauer
Fundraising mommy and martini maker
by L’Monique King
Qnotes Staff Writer
There’s a charming four-bedroom Craftsman style bungalow near Davidson College, which is inhabited by some happy folks who love the area as much as they do their home.
Jenni Gaisbauer, a yoga lover who makes a really good dirty martini is one of them. Originally from Minnesota, she’s also a former PLUS Collective Chairperson who has lived in the Carolinas for over two decades, serving Charlotte and surrounding area residents in multiple capacities.
During this interview we learned some interesting things about Gaisbauer and gained greater insight on what philanthropy looks like within the LGBTQ community of the Carolinas.
L’Monique King: What brought you all the way from Minnesota to the Carolinas?
Jenni Gaisbauer: My parents did. During my first two years of college, my parents relocated to Cary, N.C., for a change in weather and life. When I graduated from University of Montana with my psychology degree, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I moved to Raleigh and went to grad school. After graduating from Ohio State University [with a master’s degree], I moved to Charlotte. I wanted to be close to my parents, but not on top of them. I’ve been in the area for about 23 years now and have probably been in Charlotte for about 15 of those.
LMK: Who are the people who make up your nuclear family? Are you partnered?
JG: I am. I have been with my wife for 12 years and married for almost six. I’ve grown a lot, and I’m learning a lot. It’s good. It’s tough [at times]. Marriage is compromise. It’s wonderful, and it’s also a challenge. We take our vows seriously, and we’re gonna get through this – whatever obstacle we’re going through at the time. We both agree, divorce is not an option.
LMK: Do you and your wife have any children? Are you parents?
JG: We are. We adopted a newborn little girl about 16 months ago. It’s a transracial adoption. She’s Black. The beautiful thing is – her birth mother selected us. Typically, lesbians are the last on the list to be selected for adoption. Gay men are selected much more often.
LMK: Really? Why do you think that is?
JG: The consultant we used said that [working with] two women who are trying to adopt can be challenging because some birth mothers find [the idea of allowing a lesbian couple to adopt] threatening. In our case, however, we were just honored that she [our daughter’s birth mother] selected us to give her child a good life. We love our daughter dearly, and we’re doing our best to make sure she’s exposed
to her culture. There’s a lot of intentionality around that.
LMK: What’s the best thing about being a parent so far?
JG: Being a parent has caused me to be a more empathetic person and a better boss. I didn’t get it before, but I do now, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my daughter. Before having her, my wife and I both felt a big void that trips or buying things couldn’t fill. We both felt there was more to life. We were both yearning to be moms and had been quite career driven. With so much love to share, during COVID we decided to stop dragging our feet and do it. I’m so glad we did. I find so much joy in being a mother – more than anything else. It’s a deep love that I’m so grateful for.
LMK: Being a parent can make you wish you had control of anything impacting your child’s life. When you think about that, when you think about the world we live in, what’s the one thing you’d change if you could?
JG: Gun violence. No guns. Military yes, but pedestrians no. I just don’t think anyone needs guns. I saw someone the other day, not a police officer, with a gun on his hip. I was like wow, that’s scary.
LMK: You mentioned becoming a parent has made you a better boss. What do you do for a living?
JG: I’m the Executive Director for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. I am a fundraiser. I raise money professionally and have for 24 years.
[Currently] my team and I raise money and awareness for the library system. Right now, we’re running a campaign to open a new main library in Uptown Charlotte. It will replace the one that’s already there. Originally, the library was built in 1903, knocked down and rebuilt in 1956 and later renovated in the late 80s. So it’s time [for a new and updated library].
LMK: How’s the fundraising going for the project so far?
JG: It’s going pretty well. We’ve raised close to 60 million and have about 19 million to go. It’s not all for the new main library, it’s also for the whole system – for innovation. Hopefully the main library will be done and ready for the community by late 2025.
LMK: Forgive me for asking, but with our current technology boom, so much access to streaming services and audio books, are libraries still a thing?
JG: Yes, they’re just different. Libraries have changed a lot – with technology. They are serving communities differently. There’s now meeting spaces, computer access and working together. If you go to any one of our 20 branches right now, you’ll see tons of people using them. Before COVID our attendance was over three million visits [annually]. We’re now up to two million, and visits are growing – with over 300,000 people having cards – and we’ve just opened a new branch in Pineville. There’s been somewhat of a resurgence in library use, as they adapt to what communities need. It’s been said that the
library system is the most trusted institution in our country next to the military. There are more libraries in our country than there are McDonalds. Everyone has a story about going to the library and what libraries mean to them. People are very attached to them. Especially now with the attacks on intellectual freedom.
LMK: What do you mean by that?
Care to elaborate?
JG: I’m really proud to work for an institution that believes in intellectual freedom and will do anything at all costs to protect it. We believe it’s a person’s choice, [to choose] what they read. We don’t believe that we should make the decision on what my children or anyone else’s [can] read. My boss says, we have something to offend everybody in the library [tickled laughter].
LMK: As someone intimately connected to the library system, do you read to your daughter much?
JG: Yes, every night, three books. I have the benefit of working at the library and learning specific skills, like active reading. It means pointing out things and asking them to expand on their own experiences. It’s using the ABCs, asking questions, building vocabulary and connecting to the outside world. It’s being a little more intentional.
LMK: How about you? What do you enjoy reading?
JG: I like Historical Fiction. I like to read Marie Benedict. She writes books on powerful women many people don’t know about. I like autobiographies as well, and I listen to a lot of podcasts. My attention span for reading at night is kinda short.
LMK: We’ve talked quite a bit about your work within the library system. But we’ve also heard that you have a connection with The PLUS Collective, a 20-year-old philanthropic organization that recently awarded some worthy community members and organizations with needed funding.
JB: I was on the board when it was called The Gay and Lesbian Fund for six years. I was Chair during my time with them, and I loved it. There’s no other group like them in Charlotte that is trying to support the LGBT community. They are a really well-intentioned group of people that will hopefully grow. They’ve done great work and helped many organizations become more intentional with their fundraising.
LMK: Before we go, would you mind answering a question we often ask public figures? Could you tell us something about yourself people might be surprised to know?
JB: At one stage in my life I was a fairly decent ultimate frisbee player [chuckles]. And, I’d rather be well traveled than wealthy. If someone said, “Here’s 10 million dollars,” I’d rather they say, “I’ll pay for you to travel with your family for the next 10 years.” ::
May 26 - June 8, 2023 Qnotes 23
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation Exec. Dir. Jenni Gaisbauer
CREDIT: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
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