QNotes January 7, 2022

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LGBTQ Local News, Voices and Community

JAN. 7 - JAN. 20, 2022|VOL 36, NO 19






Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022



Mental Health Nutritional Guidance General Healthcare now accepting new clients and all insurance types for the new year

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Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

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inside this issue

Jan. 07-Jan. 20, 2022 Vol 36 No 19




contributors this issue

Writers: Joey Amato, Jonathan Limehouse, LGBT Nation/Qnotes, Eric Griggs, Joe Killian, L’Monique King, David Aaron Moore, Qnotes Staff, Trinity

front page

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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

4 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Dead at 90 4 Charlotte-Area Schools to Require COVID Booster Shots for Spring Semester 8 ACLU Sues SC Over Law that requires Gay Men to Register as Sex Offernders 5 LGBTQ Equality Scores in NC Cities and Towns 5 North Carolina Courages Rehires Anti-Gay Soccer Player 5 Actress Betty White Dead at 99

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


Tell Trinity A Magical City

Betty White Dies at 99

An icon and activist who we all loved passes at the age of 99. In this article, we remember our Golden Girl.


Our People

Life Coach, mother, wife, author and motivational speaker with no end in sight. In this article we get Cayme’s insight on coaching us through the madness.



10 Lessons Learned from COVID-19 15 Our People:Cayme Andrea 11 Searching for a Healthcare provider

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Big Plans for 2022? Year in Review


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Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022



news Archbishop Desmond Tutu Dead at 90

Global Equality activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who passed away on Sunday, Dec. 26, maintained a long term connection with North Carolina that dates back to 2003 when he visited Elon University in Elon, N.C. and delivered a Spring Convocation address titled “No Future Without Forgiveness.” Long a staunch ally of the LGBTQ community, he spoke these words during his visit to Elon: “We are all bound up together, and God’s dream is that you and I, and all of us, will help God realize God’s dream, that we belong in this family in which there are no outsiders – all are insiders.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and fighter of apartheid, died at the age of 90. Though he was best known as a religious leader who tirelessly fought to overturn South Africa’s system of institutionalized racism (known as apartheid), he

also spoke out for LGBTQ equality. In fact, he once said that he’d rather go to hell than worship a homophobic God. In July 2013, Tutu raised eyebrows when he said, “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. ‘No,’ I would say. ‘Sorry, I mean, I would much rather go to the other place.’” He made his comments at a public event launching the United Nations’ Free and Equal campaign for LGBTQ equality. “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he continued. Then, speaking out against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence, he added, “I cannot keep quiet when people are penalized for something about which they can do nothing. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.” His stance in support of queer rights put him at opposition with many other

Africans and Anglican church leaders, but his voice gave the global LGBTQ community an influential ally. In the foreword to a book by Gene Robinson, the man who became the U.S. Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003, Tutu apologized for the “cruelty and injustice” of Anglicans towards the LGBTQ community. This week, Robinson remembered Tutu for his radical empathy. “[Tutu used his own experience of oppression] as a window into what it was like to be a woman, what it was like to be someone in a wheelchair or for someone to [be] LGBTQ or whatever it was,” Robinson told the Associated Press. “It was the thing that taught him to be compassionate.” Consensual same-sex relationships remain illegal in 34 African countries. Many of the countries have anti-LGBTQ laws as a result of European colonialism and others have implemented harsher anti-LGBTQ laws due to ultra-conservative Christian and Islamic extremist influences.

Charlotte-Area Schools to Require COVID Booster Shots for Spring Semester

Three Charlotte-area colleges will now require COVID-19 booster shots for students, faculty and staff as the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase nationwide amid the emergence of the omicron variant. Davidson College and Johnson & Wales University announced the new requirements on Dec. 21. Queens University of Charlotte also recently alerted its campus of the requirement. Those who received the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should get a booster six months after their second shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recipients of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get either a Pfizer or Moderna booster after two months, the CDC recommends. Davidson College said students would need the booster in order to return for spring semester, which begins on Jan. 20. If a student isn’t eligible, the college said they should plan to get a booster shot

as soon as they can. “We are requiring students to get a booster shot because they generally live in congregate settings, and data suggest a booster shot offers more protection against both infection and serious illness,” Davidson spokesman Jay Pfeifer said. The college also is strongly urging its faculty and staff to receive the booster shot, but employees aren’t required to do so yet, Pfeifer said. The booster requirement at Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte campus applies to those who do not have an exemption for medical or religious reasons approved by health services or human resources. The deadline for the shot will be March 1, or within 30 days of becoming booster eligible, according to the school. In July, the university said it would require COVID-19 vaccinations. Queens set a Feb. 15 deadline to abide by the requirement, or as soon as students, faculty and staff are eligible for a booster, the school’s Senior Leadership

ACLU Sues SC Over Law that Requires Gay Men to Register as Sex Offenders The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Dec. 22 in South Carolina challenging the state’s Law Enforcement Division’s enforcement of an unconstitutional anti-sodomy statute. In 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that the government has no right to criminalize private intimate relationships between consenting adults. It was a watershed moment in the LGBTQ+ struggle – a legal proclamation that love isn’t criminal, and that gay people have the same right to “define one’s concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life,” that heterosexuals do. Now in 2021 – over eighteen years later – South Carolina continues to ignore the Lawrence ruling by requiring a man con-



Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

victed in 2001 to register as a sex offender for the “crime” of having consensual gay sex with another man. According to a report in The State, the man’s attorney Matthew Strugar said his client’s sex offender status has had a profound impact on his life. He is required twice a year to report to the local sheriff’s office and provide detailed information about himself – his permanent and temporary residence, his place of employment, vehicle information, fingerprints, palm prints and every account he has used online. He had to file an administrative lawsuit after he was denied a professional license because of his sex offender status, according to Strugar. South Carolina’s buggery law dates back to 1712. During the colonial era,

Davidson College wants students boosted by January 20, Queens February 15, Johnson and Wales March 1. Team said in a letter to the campus last week. Students at the Myers Park campus will have to send their updated vaccinated cards to CovidVacStudents@queens.edu, while faculty and staff will send theirs to VaccineDocsFacultyStaff@queens.edu. Not all other higher-learning institutions in Charlotte are requiring vaccinations and boosters, but they are encouraging them. anyone convicted of breaking the law was executed. “Whoever shall commit the abominable crime of buggery, whether with mankind or with beast, shall, on conviction, be guilty of felony.” The death sentence was removed in 1869 and replaced with a required fiveyear prison sentence. In 1993, the state updated the statute to read as “punishable with a maximum five-year sentence.” According to the lawsuit, at least 18 other people in the state who were convicted prior to Lawrence are still required to register as sex offenders in South Carolina because of the antiquated “buggery law.” “South Carolina is the last state in the country to require sex offender registration for pre-Lawrence sodomy convictions,” writes Allen Chaney, ACLU-SC’s Legal Director. “This practice needlessly subjects law-abiding citizens to the horrors of the sex offender registry and demonstrates a deeply troubling animosity by the

His daughter, fellow Anglican minister Mpho Tutu van Furth, resigned from her religious post in 2016 because the South African Anglican Church refused to recognize her marriage to a woman. She said she chose to resign rather than let religious leaders try to strip her of her duties. In 2020, his daughter continued his work for LGBTQ dignity by issuing a call to 400 religious figures to ban conversion therapy and all laws criminalizing samesex relations worldwide. “I had the extreme good fortune of growing up in a household with parents who were very clear about their faith, and very clear about full inclusion of all people in all aspects of our communal life,” she said. “And that was regardless of gender and gender identity and regardless of sexual orientation.” This article was published in its original form by our Media Partners LGBTQNation info: https://nyti.ms/345684G — LGBTQ Nation/QNotes

UNC Charlotte’s status hasn’t changed regarding vaccines or booster shots. “We encourage all students, staff and faculty to receive the vaccine and booster shots to keep the campus community safe,” school spokesperson Jason Vaughan said. UNC Charlotte is offering COVID-19 resources through its Niner Nation Cares website, like vaccination sites and case reporting forms. Jeff Lowrance, spokesman for Central Piedmont Community College, said he isn’t aware of plans to require vaccinations. “However, CPCC continues to monitor federal and state directives which could mandate vaccinations,” Lowrance said. “As new developments arise, the college will keep students and employees informed and up to date on any new government requirements.” Officials at Johnson C. Smith University did not immediately respond to a request for comment about possible booster requirements. In May, Johnson C. Smith University implemented a “university-wide vaccine mandate” requiring students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations for the fall semester. This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer. info: https://bit.ly/3mQ0Pg7 — Jonathan Limehouse

During the colonial era men convicted of having sex with other men were executed. PHOTO CREDIT: AdobeStock State towards the gay community.” “It is unconscionable that in 2021, South Carolina would still put people convicted of having gay sex on the sex offender registry,” said Strugar. “This kind of overt, state-sanctioned homophobia would have been surprising 30 years ago. Today it is shocking. And it is unconstitutional.” info: https://bit.ly/3HrdttS — QNotes Staff

news LGBTQ Equality Scores in NC Cities and Towns This year the Human Rights Campaign is celebrating 10 years of its Municipal Equality Index. The group calls their annual report “the nation’s premier benchmarking tool for municipal officials, policy makers and business leaders to understand how well cities across the nation are embodying LGBTQ+ inclusion in their laws, policies and services.” In a letter accompanying this year’s report Jodi Madison, HRC’s interim president, wrote that while this year’s index shows progress on LGBTQ inclusion and

anti-trans stigma, craven lawmakers are exacerbating the epidemic of violence targeting our community that particularly impacts Black trans women.” North Carolina is among the states where progress has been balanced with broad, high-profile attacks on the community. A ban on new, local non-discrimination ordinances was lifted, leading more than a dozen city and county governments across the state to offer protections that haven’t been possible since 2016’s brutal fight over HB2. But Republican lawmakers filed bills to prevent transgender women from competing on women’s athletic teams and North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, a Republican,

called books referencing the LGBTQ community “filth.” Top GOP lawmakers in the state and congressional delegation have declined to denounce his remarks while some have actually supported him. But not everything in North Carolina is doom and gloom. Here’s a look at how the state has fared from HRC’s perspective: The number of North Carolina cities rated in the index is ten. This story appears courtesy of QNotes’ Media Partner NC Policy Watch This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer. info: https://bit.ly/3sRIHGA — Joe Killian

Jaelene and organization leadership have a productive conversation about the expectations we have set for our entire team, in and out of the locker room, and she will continue to uphold the Courage’s standards of respect and inclusion without reservation. Many of you have asked what we, as an organization, are going to do to remedy the harm. Here is our immediate plan: Continue to host and enhance Pride games celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, especially our fans and players. Continue to outfit players in custommade Pride jerseys. Continue to participate in local Pride events, parades and festivals. Continue to produce Pride x Courage merchandise with proceeds going to local LGBTQIA+ groups. Continue to fully support our Athlete Ally ambassadors on both the Courage and NCFC sides. We will actively facilitate additional diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives alongside supporters and community members to improve our club culture. We will amplify organizations that bring awareness to LGBTQIA+ causes. We will identify volunteer opportunities to support LGBTQIA+ initiatives. We will welcome ideas from our Courage community who will help hold us

to account. We recognize we have a responsibility to our soccer community to maintain a space built around inclusion, equity and diversity, and we know we have work to do to once again prove the North Carolina Courage stands with the LGBTQIA+ community.” At press time, no additional statements from The Courage were forthcoming, and it is not known yet if the overall negative reaction from fans of the team could lead to a reversal and Daniel’s removal, Daniels, however, has definitely felt the heat. She posted a response of her own on her Twitter page a short time later, insisting her feelings for her Courage teammates “has never been based on their identity.” “I remain committed to my faith and my desire for people to know that my love for them isn’t based on their belief system or sexuality,” she wrote. “I pray and firmly believe that my teammates know how much I cherish them, respect them and love them. Over the course of the season, I look forward to meeting, speaking and growing with more of you – the fans – as this club continues to become one of the best in the world on and off the field.” info: https://bit.ly/3JyVcwC — David Aaron Moore

rights and a staunch advocate for animal rights, which endeared her to many. She was much loved around the globe As of late she had for a career that dated been spending most of back to the 1950s her time reading, doand included “Life ing crossword puzzles, with Elizabeth,” “The watching television Betty White Show,” and making plans for “The Mary Tyler her upcoming 100th Moore Show” and, birthday celebration. more recently, “Hot in qnotes carried Cleveland.” an article by LGBTQ It was during Nation’s Bill Browning the 1954 television about the upcoming series “The Betty White presentation. Fathom Show” the actress took An upcoming theatrical release, productions, which a stand in the fight celebrating Betty White’s life and booked the documenfor civil rights. White career, originally scheduled for tary in 900 theaters had invited her friend her 100th birthday, will take place across the country, Arthur Duncan, a Black as planned. indicated later in the dancer and singer, day following the anto appear on a few nouncement of her death that the screenepisodes of the variety talk show. Much ing will go forward as planned Jan. 17. to her surprise, she received enumerable White had long been an icon in the complaints from white separatist viewers LGBTQ community, chiefly because of her of the time who demanded that Duncan role in the popular series “Golden Girls,” make no further appearances on the probut she was long an advocate for civil gram. “Some of them resented me being

on the show [with him] and wanted me thrown out. It was never a question at all. I said, ‘I’m sorry, but he stays. Live with it!’” While White’s LGBTQ following reached its zenith with “Golden Girls,” it clearly began with the oversexed character Sue Ann Nivens she played on the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Well aware of her popularity in the gay community, she was never hesitant to return the love. In a 2010 interview with Parade Magazine she expressed her support for same-sex marriage. “I don’t care who anybody sleeps with,” she told Parade. “If a couple has been together all that time – and there are gay relationships that are more solid than heterosexual ones – I think it’s fine if they want to get married. I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs and don’t worry about other people so much.” info:https://bit.ly/3mS03iO — David Aaron Moore

protections, it has also been a dangerous and dispiriting year for the community. “While elected leaders at the federal level have made equality a priority, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented assault on LGBTQ+ rights in state legislatures,” Madison wrote. “Anti-equality state lawmakers have made attacking our trans and non-binary youth a priority.” “These attacks jeopardize the rights and welfare of vulnerable young people — and they are putting lives directly at risk,” Madison wrote. “By further fueling

North Carolina Courage Rehires Anti-Gay Soccer Player The North Carolina Courage is a professional women’s soccer team based in Cary, N.C. Founded in 2017, it is part of the National Women’s Soccer League Franchise and maintains a sizable lesbian fan base. The NWSL has been welcoming to LGBTQ+ team members and fans since its inception in 2012.That’s why a number of people in the community were left scratching their heads when news broke that former player Jaelene Daniels had been rehired. Referred to by many as a homophobe, Daniels created a stir in 2017 when she declined to wear a rainbow-themed jersey for gay pride month, citing religious beliefs as justification. The jerseys, which were worn by every member of the team, except Daniels, were later auctioned off to benefit an LGBTQ rights non-profit group. After overwhelming response from sports fans in the LGBTQ community, the Courage issued the following statement: “In response to the recent news of re-signing Jaelene Daniels, we as a club acknowledge the impact this announce-

ment has on our community. We’ve spent the past few days reading your messages and reflecting on our actions. We are very sorry to all those we have hurt, especially those within the LGBTQIA+ community. The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not made lightly and included significant conversations between organization leadership and Jaelene. The priority expressed in those conversations is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive, respectful space for the entire team. With that, the discussion around the club supporting Pride initiatives was paramount, considering the importance it holds for us and for so many others. As team leadership has detailed in discussions with our players, and as we reinforce here today, players will be supported in expressing pride in who they are and will continue to wear their Pride number with confidence and honor. We actively support Head Coach Sean Nahas’ clear mission: To make sure Courage players have a voice and feel empowered to be who they are, without fear of judgment.

Actress Betty White Dead at 99 Actress Betty White, who would have turned 100 on January 17, has died at the age of 99. According to multiple press reports White’s agent and friend Jeff Witjas confirmed her death early in the day on Friday. It appears White died sometime in her home between Thursday night and Friday morning. She had not been dealing with any illness, although White had been remaining at home because of her advanced age and concerns regarding the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Although no specific cause of death had been discovered at press time, the general consensus was that the final surviving cast member of both “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls” passed away from natural causes. In recent years White had lived in a five bedroom, six bath home located in the Brentwood area of West Los Angeles so she would have easier access to an in-home general assistant and health care provider.

Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022




Big Plans for 2022?

CLT Community Players in the LGBT Community Share their Thoughts BY DAVID AARON MOORE QNOTES STAFF WRITER


hen you look back over 2021, it’s often difficult to distinguish the year from the previous one. The two blend together in a blurry gray mixture of loss and despair. As we leave 2021 behind and move into 2022 we can celebrate the good: a sane, well-intentioned president, some positive accomplishments in the continuing battle against COVID-19, and a stabilizing economy. On the other hand, there are some challenges that we’re going to be bringing with us: a new variant of COVID-19 (and probably more to come), a lack of affordable housing and a sky-high cost of living. All of this is playing out against a backdrop of what is likely the most fragile time in history for our democracy. Rather than review with any more depth, we’ve decided to look forward and talk with a handful of key individuals in the LGBTQ community about their desires for 2022. Chelsea Gulden, Executive Director, RAIN 1. What goals do you have for your organization in 2022? RAIN’s goals for 2022 are to reduce stigma and make progress towards our community wide goal to end HIV. RAIN will continue to work diligently and collaboratively to address the intersectional barriers to diagnosis, retention and support for those living with or at risk for HIV.

2. When you think of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, what do you believe we need to achieve for ourselves in 2022? In 2022, I would like to see more LGBTQ+ elected officials. I also believe we need to achieve a greater inclusivity of our communities of color and people with Trans experience. Job opportunities, housing, and healthcare are very important factors for safety and upward mobility. There is support at many of the corporations around the Charlotte area, but there is a void in workplaces for front line workers and minimum wage jobs. Health



Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

insurance at these jobs is still unaffordable and when it is affordable, it doesn’t cover Trans related healthcare. There is also a lack of support from management level and leaving no way to move from poverty to self-sufficiency. 3. As a community leader and influencer, what would you say to members of our community to make them realize how important the mid-term elections are? Mid-term elections are so important. We have seen locally, regionally, and nationally, how laws, policies, and ordinances have improved the lives of LGBTQ+ (people) but also how they have hurt us. Elected positions that are often overlooked are the ones drafting and either pushing through or blocking these policies. Please take time to understand the candidates, and vote. Voting is the best way to make change. 4. Come New Year’s Day 2022, what personal vice do you intend to eliminate? I hope to be healthier in 2022. This includes being more aware of my personal self-care, what I eat, exercise, and take care of my body and mind. Bethany McDonald, Executive Director, Hearts Beat As One 1. What goals do you have for your organization in 2022? One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the last few years developing programs and doing daily outreach for those in need is that just because help exists – doesn’t mean it’s always accessible. It’s become my firm belief that we have to stop demanding that people adapt to the system, and instead start adjusting the

system to adapt to the people. In 2022, we are focusing on being the conduit between the need and the resource; becoming that connection between the human and the help. And in those moments and situations when we find the assistance doesn’t exist, our most important goal is to mobilize and create the support system. We are listening, we are watching, we are moving, and we are doing. 2. When you think of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, what do you believe we need to achieve for ourselves in 2022?

While we have made immeasurable strides as a whole, our work is far from done. One of the first and most important things we have to do is reconnect as a community, always coming back together in unconditional support of each other; to recognize that we are all fighting different, individual battles in our lives with one identical wish: to be treated with the same respect and afforded the same rights & opportunities as anyone else in this country. We need to emphatically remind each other that we are stronger together. While being lesbian, gay, or “queer” may seem to be ‘trending’ and becoming more mainstream and acceptable, our trans community – now more than ever – is constantly and terrifyingly under mental, emotional, and physical attack. Their lives are in literal danger on a daily basis. We have to re-establish the need to be fiercely dedicated to supporting each other, and to continue to do whatever it takes to assure that every living being within our LGBTQ+ community (or ANY member of a minority or marginalized sector of our population) is supported and empowered to live a deserving life full of love, acceptance, equality, opportunity and peace. 3. As a community leader and influencer, what would you say to members of our community to make them realize how important the mid-term elections are? Mid-term elections carry a weight and power that far too many of us overlook. Clinically defined, the midterm elections determine our President’s ability to enact his (or her) agenda, as the power ultimately lies solely in the hands of the party that controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives. And so, to anyone reading this: I cannot begin to stress enough the importance of your role in this outcome. To put it simply and with unfiltered urgency…It’s not enough for us to show up every 4 years, we need to stay involved, aware and active. We need to show our commitment to support representatives that will be our voices and fight to ensure our rights. We need to always be present, involved, and vocal in our quest to elect candidates and officials that are not afraid to stand up for what is fundamentally right. We need to vigilantly do our part to put leaders in all levels of power that will passionately defend the civil liberties of all, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. 4. Come New Year’s Day 2022, what personal vice do you intend to eliminate? Self doubt. Hands down. I’ve always had a horrible habit of questioning myself – constantly wondering if I’m good enough, or strong enough, or qualified enough… the list goes on. However, after the last few years with HB1, I’ve come to realize that none of that matters. It’s not about titles, or resumes, or diplomas – it’s about your innate passion and commitment to bettering the lives of others. For me – 2022 will be a year focused on humble confidence and unlimited potential. Sarah Mikhail, Executive Director at TOY 1. What goals do you have for your organization in 2022?

My goal for Time Out Youth in 2022 is that we can serve even more LGBTQ youth in Charlotte and beyond. We have been able to engage young people in person and virtually throughout 2020 and 2021 and we will continue offering hybrid programming. We continue to see a great need for housing security for our youth we will increase our connections to permanent housing in the community and providing emergency financial assistance. We have expanded our reach in the Charlotte Metro region for 2022 through providing more LGBTQ trainings to increase safety for our youth in schools. Our clinical services will grow so that we can provide even more free therapy services for LGBTQ youth. 2. When you think of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, what do you believe we need to achieve for ourselves in 2022? I believe that in 2022 we need to continue community building through strengthening our relationships and leaning into more collaborations. Strong relationships and community care are such core values for the LGBGTQ+ community and through all that we’re facing, we need even more of that care. 3. Come New Year’s Day 2022, what personal vice do you intend to eliminate? I think in order to survive 2022 and another wave of this pandemic, I will need all the vices that I have! 4. What specific challenge or challenges do you expect the LGBTQ+ community to encounter in 2022 and what advice would you offer to overcome it/them? We cannot underestimate the impact of COVID on our mental health and the economic hardships it presents for our community. We need to take care of one another, seek out support from organizations that are offering essential services, demand more from our government, be nice to ourselves and we must be willing to advocate and teach. And those that are seething with passion and eagerness to inherit and fight these battles – must be willing to learn. Bryce Moffett, President, Stonewall Sports 1. What goals do you have for your organization in 2022? Our goal is to re-engage with our community, expand our offerings and league sizes, and focus our donations and giving to organizations that reflect our diverse

community. 2. When you think of the LGBTQ+ Community as a whole, what do you believe we need to achieve for ourselves in 2022? I think we need to get back to a better normal. We have had two years of intense change, which has pushed all of us to reflect on our values and the importance of the people within our lives and communities. For 2022, my hope is that each of us gets involved in organizations and activities that build community. Our collective power can affect major change. 3. As a community leader and influencer, what would you say to members of our community to make them realize how important the mid-term elections are? Elections are the greatest opportunity we have to speak in a collective voice. We can look at recent elections in Georgia and see that greater voter engagement leads to representation that better reflects a community’s ideals. I think it is also important to stress that, win or lose, an election is an opportunity to educate and engage voters on issues affecting Charlotteans and hopefully inspire voters to get involved in causes they are passionate about. 4. What specific challenge or challenges do you expect the LGBTQ+ community to encounter in 2022 and what advice would you offer to overcome it/them? I think our biggest challenge in 2022 will be recognizing that we do not all have the same experiences, obstacles, and privileges, though we are all part of the LGBTQ+ community. I am hopeful that our organizations and community spaces take time to reflect and implement changes, with grace and humility, to provide an equitable and inclusive experience that reflects the diverse perspectives of our community. Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Sacred Souls Community Church 1. What goals do you have for your organization in 2022? The Freedom Center for Social Justice is committed to scaling up our staff, board and culture-shifting efforts in 2022. We have worked hard over the past five, establishing strong partnerships, crafting new normals and building a world where the LGBTQ, Trans/Gender non-conforming world, people of color and of low wealth [will] not just survive, but also thrive. This will only be achieved through intersectional efforts that anchor those on the margins and not just the middle. We are particularly excited about our new partnership with The Black Mountain School of Theology and Community, where we will offer classes for theological as well as activist scholars. Our new partnership

with Time Out Youth will offer support and training for trans girls and young women, and our intersectional work with communities of faith, civil rights and LGBTQ people will all be expanding in 2022! We encourage those who are interested in joining us as a board member, volunteer or community partner, to reach out to us directly. Please connect with travis@FCSJ. org to ensure your inquiry gets to the right person. 2. When you think of the LGBTQ+ Community as a whole, what do you believe we need to achieve for ourselves in 2022? For years now I have longed for space. The fact that Charlotte does not have a vibrant LGBTQ Community Center is deeply troubling. The issue is not money, nor land, it is will. Like any community or family, housing insecurity has a destabilizing effect. In like manner, when space is claimed and sustained, it has a stabilizing effect. I believe a space that could house multiple organizations and businesses, offer classes, meeting space, support services, social/recreational options and equity for all, could have a transformative effect. 3. As a community leader and influencer, what would you say to members of our community to make them realize how important the mid-term elections are? If you don’t want a better life for yourself and future generations, then stay home and don’t vote. If you are committed to improving your life and the life of those who matter to you, then do everything you can to educate yourself, get to the polls for these midterm elections, and be sure to take others along with you. 4. What specific challenge or challenges do you expect the LGBTQ+ community to encounter in 2022 and what advice would you offer to overcome it/them? Race and class divides have led to so many of the challenges we face as a community. The enemy is not outside, but rather within our ranks. It is not a single person, organization or business. It is something that permeates everything we do. I have lived here for 21 years and have seen the same script play out over and over again. These twin agents of destruction have undermined so many gallant efforts. I do not believe there is a single answer that can address the complexities of this issue, however, I do believe that if a core group of us can commit to working hard to face these age-old obstacles, we just might have a chance to build something truly amazing in The Queen City, our home. : :

Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022




Year in review:

Five Stories Charting Challenges and Progress for NC’s LGBTQ Community BY JOE KILLIAN | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


ast December, a three-year state ban blocking new, local non-discrimination ordinances expired. The ban was a legacy of the brutal fight over House Bill 2, the controversial law that excluded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from statewide nondiscrimination protections. Though a 2017 law (House Bill 142) partially repealed HB 2, it locked in place a moratorium on new LGBTQ protections — including nondiscrimination ordinances for employment and housing. As the year opened, some openly worried a flood of new non-discrimination ordinances would inflame conservative lawmakers in the Republican dominated General Assembly, perhaps setting up another high-profile, HB2-style struggle. But state lawmakers had been stung by a corporate backlash and state boycotts sparked by HB2; they were also courting Apple Computer to build a new North Carolina campus, so the General Assembly did not curb the quickly proliferating ordinances. Nor did they advance inflammatory legislation, including a bill that would have barred transgender women from playing women’s intramural, public school and university sports in the state. By the end of the year, 16 local governments – including the largest and most populous cities and counties in the state – had passed new, LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality celebrated the success of their “NC Is Ready for LGBTQ Protections” campaign, touting polling that showed 67 percent of North Carolinians support such anti-discrimination protections. But the LGBTQ community also endured a year of vicious attacks from some of the state’s most prominent GOP elected officials and a renewed effort to ban books with LGBTQ themes and characters from school and public libraries. Among the most prominent stories: 1) New local LGBTQ protections could set up a fight with the General Assembly As the year opened, Policy Watch talked with LGBTQ advocates and local elected officials about the promise of the sun setting ban on new non-discrimination ordinances. The first new ordinances were taken up in the Orange County towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. Leaders there were aware of the potential conflict but determined to make up for the progress put on hold for years after the passage — and later partial repeal — of HB2. From that story: “Especially right now, it’s heartening to see these three communities in North Carolina — and more to come next week — reject the politics of division,” said Allison Scott, director of Policy & Programs at the Campaign for Southern Equality. “These ordinances not only establish concrete, clear protections from discrimination but also send a message that everyone deserves respect, dignity, and equality. We applaud the leadership of these lawmakers and cheer on the mo-



Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

mentum that these ordinances signal for LGBTQ North Carolinians across the state.” HB 142 still prevents any governing body besides the General Assembly from regulating access to multiple occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities. Conservative lawmakers and activists had seized on this issue in the HB2 fight. They based their argument on whether transgender people could choose a bathroom that matched their gender identity as one of safety for women and children. But LGBTQ advocates stress that the protections lost under HB2 and HB 142 went far deeper. The three ordinances passed this week address discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations unrelated to restrooms. That’s long overdue, advocates say, and an important step for the state. “North Carolinians have amazingly stepped up and demonstrated that our state is a beautiful place to be LGBTQ,” said Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality NC. “For too long, North Carolina has lagged behind the rest of the nation when it comes to protecting LGBTQ folks and creating a culture where our most vulnerable can thrive. The tides are changing, and we hope other cities and towns across our state will be encouraged by these victories and do the right thing for their own citizens in the weeks ahead.” 2) Bill targeting transgender athletes for exclusion receives a hearing in state House committee Lawmakers nationwide filed a record number of proposals targeting transgender people. Among the most popular were bills attempting to ban transgender women from women’s sports at various levels. In North Carolina, no such bills became law. While Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would almost certainly have vetoed any such bill, ultimately Republican legislative leaders said they independently concluded that this wasn’t a real problem and didn’t require new laws.

Though such bills didn’t go the distance legislatively, LGBTQ advocates argued that the fierce rhetoric around the subject helped to create a deadly environment for transgender people in the state facing discrimination and violence. From the story: The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Mark Brody (R-Anson), said he expects it to be controversial but that it is a solution to a problem that can’t be ignored. “I expect that those who disagree with this bill will come forward and offer solutions,” Brody said. “And not a solution that says, ‘I don’t want to do anything.’” Brody said it is important to make the standard policy in North Carolina that decisions about gender will be made according to “reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” That’s not the standard used by most mainstream sports governing bodies. The International Olympic Committee has allowed transgender athletes to compete at the highest level of international athletic competition since 2003. The NCAA has had a policy on inclusion of transgender athletes since 2011. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has had a similar policy since 2019. Each of those policies make exceptions for transgender athletes undergoing hormone therapy that suppresses testosterone. 3) GOP pals Robinson, Walker, Cawthorn align themselves with movement seeking end to separation of church and state Perhaps the most publicly and virulently anti-LGBTQ politician in the state this year was the GOP’s highest-ranking elected official, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. As Robinson publicly said he was “95 percent sure” he would run for governor, there was more attention this year on his frequent anti-LGBTQ statements. In October, the group Right Wing Watch posted to Twitter a video of Robinson giving a church speech wherein he said, “There’s no reason anybody,

anywhere in America should be telling children about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.” When the video went viral and led to calls for his resignation, Robinson explained that by “anybody, anywhere in America” he actually meant public school libraries and that “transgendersism, homosexuality, any of that filth” actually meant specific books he found too sexually explicit that were available in school libraries. The reaction was split – even among members of his own party. The North Carolina Republican Party released a statement supporting Robinson in his pivot to talking about sexually explicit books in school libraries. But the statement made no mention of LGBTQ people or Robinson’s characterization of them as “filth.” Likewise, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) released a statement supporting Robinson’s new criticism of explicit material in public schools but not addressing his characterization of LGBTQ people as “filth.” Instead, Moore’s statement contained a call to “work together with greater respect for our neighbors even in the most passionate political debates.” Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) made no comparable statement and didn’t return calls and emails from reporters seeking comment on the controversy. Brent Woodcox, Berger’s senior policy counsel, however, took to Twitter to address Robinson’s comments. “There is no future for a political party that is anti-gay,” Woodcox wrote. “There just isn’t a large enough constituency in this country for the attitude. The world changed. Some politicians are catching up.” State Rep Marcia Morey (D-Durham) called Robinson’s pivot from characterizing LGBTQ people as “filth” to talking about books in schools “a bait and switch.” “I think this started out by a video that was in a church, and it was disgusting,” Morey said at a news conference earlier this month “Now, it has pivoted to what kids are reading in schools. These are really two different issues. I think we all want good solid literature for kids to read, but don’t conflate this with the words of hate and filth that sparked this entire debate.” Beyond simply defending the remarks, Robinson would go further. In a November speech at the Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, Robinson said straight couples are inherently superior to LGBTQ couples, homosexuality “creates nothing” and has no purpose and compared LGBTQ people to maggots, flies and cow excrement. Robinson also reiterated his belief that transgender people don’t exist but are simply confused or mentally ill people who don’t realize which gender they really are. “I don’t care how much you cut yourself up, drug yourself up and dress yourself up, you still either one of two things — you either a man or a woman,” Robinson said. “You might be a cut up, dressed up, drugged up ugly man or woman, but you

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson poses with Rep. Madison Cawthorn and Rep. Mark Walker. (Twitter) still a man or a woman, and I don’t care who doesn’t like it.” As the controversy around Robinson’s remarks intensified, Policy Watch took a look at Robinson’s connection to a fundamentalist Christian organization called The American Renewal Project. Robinson’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is tame as compared to some of that group’s teachings, which are also embraced and promoted by NC Congressman Madison Cawthorn and former congressman turned Senate candidate Mark Walker. From that story: The American Renewal Project – and its state arm, the North Carolina Renewal Project – provides a pipeline for conservative politicians to reach highly motivated Christian voters and activists on the political right. The group rejects the notion of a separation between church and state. It argues that churches are at the forefront of a culture war, and pastors should run for office to ensure victory. On December 26, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker tweeted a photo of himself with fellow North Carolina Republicans U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn and Lt. Governor Mark Robinson at an American Renewal Project event. “It’s a great way to start the week speaking at the American Renewal Project luncheon with pastors and faith leaders from western North Carolina,” Walker wrote. A particular theme to which all three men have returned is that of persecuted Christianity and the need to institute reli-

gious teaching and principles into all areas of civic life, particularly public schools, which they say should be reformed according to their religious principles or abandoned by Christian families. 4) Murders highlight violence, inequality that transgender North Carolinians have long faced As debates about their rights and core identities raged at the highest levels of state government, LGBTQ people in North Carolina continued to face the very real threat of hate-driven violence. From Policy Watch’s story in April about the murder of two young, Black trans women in Charlotte: Jaida Peterson was found shot to death in a Quality Inn & Suites near Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Easter Sunday. She was 29. Remy Fennel was also fatally shot. She was found early on the morning of April 15 in a room at the Sleep Inn in Charlotte’s University City. She was 28. Anti-transgender rhetoric and legislation drives the rising violence in North Carolina and nationwide against transgender people, many of whom already face staggering health and social inequities. “Being a Black trans woman in America means you’re far more likely to experience inequities and prejudice, including extreme poverty and systemic, statesanctioned violence and murder,” said Rebby Kern, director of education policy for Equality NC. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they weren’t sure whether the two murders are connected. But they said both women

were sex workers and issued a warning to “members of the LGBTQ community engaged in sex work to exercise extreme caution and immediately report anything suspicious by calling 9-1-1.” Police later arrested and charged two men with the murders. But the police handling of the cases, and the lack of attention to the community’s needs, show two arrests do little to protect the safety of transgender people. 5) Transgender prisoner fighting for gender-affirming surgery Policy Watch has for years been following the case of Kanautica Zayre-Brown, a transgender woman who became the first transgender person in the state to be transferred from a prison designated for one gender to one designated for another. Her case has laid bare some of the problems faced by most transgender people trying to navigate large and complicated bureaucracies that often do not acknowledge or make proper allowance for their gender identities. In November, we spoke to ZayreBrown about her current struggle to have a gender-affirming surgery while still in prison and the lack of transparency around how the state is handling her case. From the story: When Kanautica Zayre-Brown was transferred to Anson Correctional Institution in 2019, she became the first incarcerated transgender person in North Carolina to move from a prison designated for one gender to one designated for another. But that hasn’t solved all the problems of navigating a state prison system that seems ill-prepared for the realities

of incarcerating transgender people. In an exclusive interview with Policy Watch, Zayre-Brown recently detailed her continuing struggles to be regarded as female. That includes her fight to have a gender-affirming surgery, which she has been working toward since well before she entered prison. Though her doctors and specialists at the UNC Transgender Health Program say it’s medically necessary, Zayre-Brown said the state won’t approve the procedure. “Maybe because they haven’t dealt with this situation before, they’re still trying to learn to deal with it,” Zayre-Brown said. “But it’s been a really bad experience.” A total of 103 incarcerated people identify as transgender and five as intersex, according to the prison system’s intake screening and Transgender Accommodation Review Committee process. Prisoners have the right to deny being identified, which means those figures could be an undercount. Some people fear if they self-identify they’ll be abused by fellow incarcerated people and prison staff. Jaclyn Maffetore, the ACLU staff attorney handling Zayre-Brown’s case, said it’s unclear how the state is making decisions about Zayre-Brown’s care. “Unfortunately there hasn’t been the degree of transparency either to us or to Kanautica, a person who is deeply impacted by these decisions being made on her behalf, that there should be,” Maffetore said. This article appears courtesy of our Media Partner NC Policy Watch. To read it in its entirety visit qnotescarolinas.com or ncpolicywatch.com. : :

Inmate Kanautica Zayre Brown: specialists at the UNC Transgender Health Program say gender affirming surgery is medically necessary but the state won’t approve the procedure. (Twitter)


you… Married to a Same Sex Partner? or Getting Married to your Partner? Protect Your Legal Rights

Connie J. Vetter, Esq. Your LGBT Law Attorney


LGBTLaw-NC.com Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022




Lessons Learned from COVID-19

A Look Back at How Life Has Changed and What We’ve Learned from the Pandemic BY L’MONIQUE KING QNOTES STAFF WRITER


n Jan. 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledged the first U.S. laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. Two months later many Americans were sent home from their jobs, stopping only to scavenge for toilet paper and rubbing alcohol – as much of the country began lock downs of businesses and organizations. At the pandemic’s onset, Americans were being strongly encouraged in some cases, and mandated in others, to limit movement and quarantine within their homes. Overworked essential workers anxious to access Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) were the exception. They remain the heroes who kept going, and kept us going in return. It was a year like no other. 2020 was most certainly the year of the mask, hand sanitizers and binge-worthy media viewing. Our world changed as we struggled to adapt. We worked from home, held meetings, conferences and Pride celebrations on Zoom; and spent so much time beautifying our yards, Lowes and Home Depot ran out of our favorite mulch and patio heaters. For the most part though, we avoided inperson shopping and kept those offering no-touch services in business because we began to order everything from milk to batteries online. When we did leave our homes to go to the gas station or the supermarket, we placed our feet on decals that reminded us to physically distance six feet away from others. The more challenging things became, the more many of us prayed for the flattening of a curve we kept hearing about through the news media. We were devastated from grieving the deaths of loved ones we weren’t able to say goodbye to – many of whom were sequestered in overloaded hospitals and makeshift medical facilities. As if all that weren’t enough, the country was simultaneously experiencing a heightened sense of social unrest, brought about by a dysfunctional police force nationwide, systemic oppression and blatant racism. This time, unlike the protest efforts of the



Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

Long lines at Start Med COVID test sight on Central Ave in Charlotte 1960s and ‘70s, when protestors were at risk from armed officers, they were also endangered by exposure to one another and the spread of COVID-19. Gathering to rally and chant for justice brought with it an airborne virus and the potential risk of serious illness, or even death. Voices muted by oppression were now muffled by the masks their voices strained against. With all that going on, Americans still refused to give up on life and community. We continued to fight for equity and humanity. In the midst of it all, we found the wins and joys and were determined to celebrate them. Some of us took part in virtual religious services. We held graduation ceremonies (birthday parties and baby showers, too) in drive-by fashion, and drove by the houses of children graduating from their schools in decorated vehicles while honking our horns – the new sound of recognition and achievement. We tried to stay healthy by paying particular attention to our immune systems by increasing and introducing elderberry, vitamin C, turmeric and sea moss to our bodies. Meanwhile, many of us also nurtured our mental health with family Faceime calls, journaling and taking yoga and exercise classes held outdoors in circles spray painted on grass and astroturf. Now it’s two years later and we’re still adapting – many of us continuing to wear our masks and get vaccinated. The pandemic isn’t over, as we know from the news of two subsequent variants: the Delta Variant and, most recently, the highly contagious Omicron Variant. Masking, frequent hand-washing and limited group (indoor) gatherings are still recommended as the best options for staying healthy and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. A different way of life has become our past, present and possibly our future. An important note to add here: as of Dec. 29 at 11:50 a.m., in less than 30 days, the number of new infections had

shot up by an estimated 25-30,000, with reports indicating as many as seven people being infected per minute by the Omicron variant. As 2021 ends and 2022 begins, here are some thoughts inspired by experiences with the pandemic and shared by some of our qnotes readers. Jeffery Edwards-Knight (He/Him) Public Health Employee, Charlotte “The past year and a half of living through COVID-19 has been quite revealing for me. I realized an inner strength I didn’t know was as strong as it is. When things with my family’s health or mental stability were in question, I held strong to my faith, which kept me grounded.” Trey Lee (He/Him) Hospitality Manager, Winston-Salem “Fuck COVID.” DJ Kelly Kel (She/Her) Retired Veteran, Columbia, S.C. “I find the lessons of COVID-19 and its variants to be many. Primarily it demonstrated and continues to demonstrate clear evidence that what affects one can easily affect us all. Another lesson: to not take things for granted. What ‘Is’ today can easily be ‘Not’ tomorrow. Know that it is okay to adjust and that you can adjust.” Dr. Janaka B. Lewis (She/They) College Professor, Charlotte “I have been reminded that neither the government nor local community members, including those at places of employment, can be responsible for protecting individual health and personal peace. I and others have lost multiple people and life keeps going, but an additional reminder not to normalize death either and to still embrace individual value.” Mya Love (She/Her) Poet & Event Organizer, Charlotte “The pandemic has made me think. Life is unpredictable. Not only does COVID come in many forms, but the results are positive for some and negative for others. Some people have used this time to reach

goals and reconstruct their lives. Others have used this time to acknowledge that they will work to do anything to protect themselves, [their] personal freedoms and loved ones. We can work together or be divided in thought, but the outcomes are affected by each action.” Rita Maneata (She/Her) Health Care Professional, Tallahassee, Fla. “I learned that some communities will always look out for each other. I also learned that you can get nearly anything delivered on demand now, even in a smaller city. I learned how to make really good vegan mashed potatoes, too.” James Prayer (He/Him) Health Care Policy Advocate, Charlotte “COVID taught me to never take life for granted, appreciate the simple things and to never save something for a special occasion because every day is a special occasion! It also reinforced my will to live unapologetically, enjoying life as well as cherishing, cultivating and repairing relationships with the people I care most about!” Roxanne Stanard (She/Her) Retired Federal Employee, Charlotte “The only person I have control over is me. I do what I need to do to protect myself. Vaccines and boosters. Masks and social distancing are in my present and future and I’m okay with all of that.” Michael “Drew” Swope (He/Him) Chef, Charlotte “That apparently everyone failed Biology 101. Evolution is real and happening as fast as we run out of Greek letters to describe variations.” Chad Turner (He/Him) Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce President, Charlotte “Masks, social distancing and vaccinations are key to minimizing risks, but we must still be vigilant to ensure that we are protecting the most vulnerable in our community.”: :


The Search of a Healthcare Provider Op-Ed


t all started with a pain in my groin, an ache I chalked up to maybe sleeping in an unfortunate position. By the end of the day, things “down there” had swollen and grown increasingly tender to the touch. When I awoke the second day, I was nearly in agony. I couldn’t call my regular (gay) doctor, who surely would’ve put me at ease right away. My options were limited, with no familiar medical expert available. After suffering far too long in silence, I delicately drove myself to the emergency room where a couple of “un-woke” medical providers, somewhat bothered by the necessity of asking a fairly-well-adjusted gay man some routine questions about sexual activity, diagnosed me with “epididimitis.” That’s the name of a certain swelling of the testicles caused by a bacterial infection. In younger men it’s typically the result of sexual activity, but in middle-aged guys like me it often appears right out of the blue. The lab results confirmed things the next day, and after a rather large injection of antibiotics and a week’s worth of the same in pill form, everything returned to normal and I could sit comfortably once again. So, why couldn’t I just call or go see my regular, gay primary care provider (PCP) when I first felt pain? Because my PCP and others had recently left the Novant Medical group and I had no way to contact them! When I’d last seen him for a routine checkup, my PCP mentioned the office was considering a split from Novant some day. Little did we both know of the unexpected changes up ahead. In the title of her Sept. 30, 2021 piece in The Charlotte Observer, Dr. Jessica Schorr Saxe, a local retired family physician, described the situation I was in just prior to the emergency room visit: When your doctor leaves a practice, you shouldn’t have to play hide and seek. She wrote, “As far as I know, healthcare systems have not sworn to put your interests first, nor been educated to respond to your innermost fears.” Dr. Rhett Brown, Dr. Carson Rounds, Michael Sulewski PA-C along with other associates left Novant Health owned family medical practice to open their own office. With the various laws guarding patient


privacy and confidentiality as well as contractual agreements in place between healthcare providers and their corperate intities, it would’ve likely been illegal for them to reach out to me to tell me how to contact them after leaving Novant. And so, amateur sleuth that I am, I started Googling and making phone calls. It had been about two months since I’d last seen the friendly face of Michael Sulewski PA-C, when I walked into his temporary office near Southpark Mall. I’d gotten on the email list after filling out the online form on the website I was directed to visit by the folks from Novant when I called the old office (“Hide & Seek” indeed). After he’d greeted me with a familiar smile, looked me over and refilled my prescriptions, I finally got to hear first-hand about my team of healthcare providers splitting off from Novant, about the current state of affairs, and about what the future would hold. Of course, my first question had to be, “Why?” The short answer from Michael Sulewsky, Ph. D. was, “They changed the non-compete portion of our contract and we weren’t able to agree to the terms Novant offered. And so here we are.” I was seated in the practice’s temporary home, sharing quarters with Avance Care – Charlotte, Southpark. Several days later,

I met (virtually via Zoom) with Michael along with Dr. Rhett Brown and Carson Rounds to learn more about the changes I’d experienced and the plans for their new practice, Avance Care – Midtown Charlotte. Regarding the split with Novant, Dr. Brown said, “Novant has been a wonderful – fabulous – place to work and the folks there treated me well for ten years. The company made a business decision to

include a more restrictive non-compete clause to my contract. I was unwilling to sign the new contract because it might force me at a later date to leave Charlotte to continue practicing medicine if I left Novant under the proposed agreement.” Novant clearly still values his knowledge and expertise, however – they have continue to engage him as a consultant providing insight and direction in matters of relating to healthcare delivery and policies affecting the LGBTQ community. Dr. Brown is proud of the great success Novant has had from a human rights perspective. “Even though I don’t wear the same badge as before, I’m still committed to working together with Novant to do great things for the LGBT community.” When I asked about the new name on their offices, the team was happy to explain things. Avance is a system of primary care practices across North Carolina with efficient and effective business processes grouped into an “operating platform.” The workflow and policies are continuously analyzed and tuned, equipping Avance providers with the means to deliver costeffective healthcare services. They claim “industry leading” ratings for efficiency, quality of care and patient satisfaction. Dr. Rounds and Dr. Brown, impressed Continued on page 12

Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022



Continued from page 11 with much of what they’d learned about and seen from Avance, took up the work of forming a new company to provide a legal structure to their healthcare practice. The fledgling business, Your Home, PLLc entered into an agreement with Avance, becoming part of its innovative healthcare delivery system. Drs. Brown and Rounds own the practice, while Avance provides the “platform” innovative processes, software, procedures and healthcare delivery network. The relationship allows Rounds, Brown and their associates and staff to concentrate on delivering the best healthcare they can based on each patient’s needs. Meanwhile, the system takes away the burden of the myriad non-medical tasks necessary to support a medical



Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

practice. Other physicians, providers and members of staff are employed by the practice and Avance. The goal of the new Avance Care practices, one enthusiastically embraced by all present in our discussion, was clearly stated as making Primary Care (a patient’s regular, familiar provider) the default choice for every healthcare need. Dr. Rounds and Dr. Brown are both strong and vocal advocates for the healthcare needs of Queer folks in the Carolinas and have been instrumental in improving care for our community here in Charlotte and elsewhere. During our discussion, I was impressed by the insightful and hopeful things Dr. Rounds shared about some of the new opportunities the partnership with Avance affords LGBTQ patients. Trans

patients in particular stand to benefit when services like hormone monitoring and management, vocal training and counseling are provided in a familiar and safe setting. More impressive when he, a self-described cisgender heterosexual white male, stated a clear and compelling truth: “The practice of medicine for trans and gay patients, etc. is not rocket science. There are a few things to account for, but in terms of delivering the best care, the great leap is overcoming stigma and educating doctors on how best to serve this population.” The company prides itself on its innovation but takes care to deliver those advances in healthcare with a distinctly human touch. When skimming through the medical information and resources available on the company’s corporate site, patient portal and mobile app, I was really impressed by the clarity and simplicity in those communications. The Avance platform felt remarkably comfortable and noninstitutional. I was really excited to learn about the services and features of my doctors’ newly established practice at Avance Care – Midtown Charlotte, and I’m equally excited to share some of what I learned with you now. For instance, in addition to the regular physicians, PAs, medical assistants and staff I have already come to know and appreciate, there are several new team members with additional knowledge and skills. The office is staffed seven days a week with open hours extending into the evening. Many “urgent” non-emergency medical issues (burns, cuts, allergic reactions,

rashes, animal bites, etc.) can be treated on site and same-day appointments are available. In addition, many visits can now take place “virtually” when necessary or convenient, Avance leveraging its technology strengths as well as valuable lessons learned lately in response to COVID-19. On-site licensed and registered dietitians and nutritionists aid with diabetes care and education, help with eating disorders, provide advice on childhood and sports-related nutrition, assist patients with their weight management goals, and help patients deal with complex digestive conditions. Right in the office, licensed therapists perform routine mental health screenings and assessments while also engaging in short or long-term psychotherapy, and coordinate with Avance psychiatrists to manage medications. Psychiatrists themselves help with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and many other conditions. All the healthcare providers anxiously await the day when construction is complete on the practice’s new medical offices located on Kings Drive, near Target in Midtown Charlotte. Meanwhile, I can reach my PCP when I need him for advice, and feeling optimistic we will all benefit from better, more efficient and convenient healthcare delivery by some very good doctors leveraging Avance’s process and technical innovations. I leave you with the wit of Dorothy Parker, the subject at hand: “Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.” : :


Are One-Night Stands Wrong? Tell Trinity

BY TRINITY | CONTRIBUTING WRITER Dear Trinity, My sister gets on my case about my onenight stands. When I tell her it’s normal for men, she guilt-trips me. Should I feel guilty? Yours, Guiltless Wilmington, DE Dear Guiltless, One-night stands are commonly thought of as naughty and unholy acts that take place late at night when two people are drunk and dancing with the devil. You and I both know that this isn’t true because we watched “Sex in the City” all those years. However, while it is adventurous and normal, it can also leave you empty and confused, which we also learned from “Sex in the City.” Honey, if your body is your temple and life is your spiritual path, then have guiltless onenight stands when it feels right, not when you need to prove you can score the hottest babe or dude! Well, maybe that’s not such a bad reason? Hugs, Trinity Hey Trinity, After five years together I was dumped for someone else, and I’m very angry. I want my ex to pay. How should I get revenge on someone for promising everything then leaving me a bachelor? Yours, Lost In Bachelorhood Cheyenne, WY Hey Lost In Bachelorhood,

I can respect your anger, but I would also, as quickly as possible, let them suffer in their loss... of you. The best revenge, Sweetie, is living your life even greater than it was before and leaving them to stew in envy of your new gorgeous freedom. Now that’s revenge! DATING DILEMMA #573 Hello Trinity, I am so stressed out about dating. All that work getting ready, hoping they show up, saying the right thing, then that awkward moment when we have to kiss goodbye. I wish two people could just meet and marry! Yours truly, Stressed New Hope, PA Hello Stressed, Wow, you’re stressing me out too! Dating, like life, is stressful, challenging and very complicated,

but that’s life and that’s also the growth, the experience and the journey of dating. So, Pumpkin, breathe, have a glass of wine and say yes to life, yes to dating… and yes to therapy! Kisses, Trin.

hell signals should I read? Thanks, Signal Stumped Montgomery, AL Hey Signal Stumped, It’s almost impossible to know what to do in a dark, noisy and (in some states) smoky patio bar, unless Darling, you’ve studied:

Hey Trinity, My best friend says, “I don’t read his signals” when we are out at a bar. What the

Trinity’s Secret Codes For Friends At A Bar

Scenario: While hitting on someone, your friend appears and you want to say…) 1. (Is “this one” gorgeous or what?) You: “Is this place Oz or what?” Friend: “Totally!” or “I like Kansas better!”’ 2. (Get “this one” away from me!) You: “Did you get my VD results?” Friend: “Yes, and I need to talk to you right now!” 3. (Get lost I’m cruising someone!) You: “How’s your mother?” Friend: “Oh, I need to go call her right now!” 4. (Is “this one” trouble?) You: “Is Dorothy caught in the storm?” Friend: “No, she’s fine.” or “Yes, and Toto too.” 5. (Can you leave us alone?) You: “Did you find your keys?” Friend: “I’m still looking (as he/she/they walk away)!” 6. (Am I acting drunk?) You: “How’s Glinda’s bubble?” Friend: “Fine.” Or, “It’s about to explode!” 7. (I need some money.) You: “Did the Dow drop twenty points today!” Friend: “Oh, here’s the twenty I owe you!” 8. (Did you put your mark on “this one”?) You: “Is the water undrinkable?” Friend: “No, it’s fine!” or “Yes, and you’ll be melting any minute!” 9. (Should I take “this one” home?) You: “Is it safe for Dorothy to leave Oz?” Friend: “No, not tonight!” or “Yes, if she’s smart!” 10. (Are you ready to go?) You: “Is Dorothy ready to click her heels?” Friend: “Yes!” or “No, she’s still looking for the Wizard!” With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity hosted “Spiritually Speaking” a weekly radio drama, performed globally and is now minister of WIG: Wild Inspirational Gatherings. Sponsored by: WIG Ministries, www.wigministries.org Gay Spirituality for the Next Generation! Send e-mails to: Trinity@telltrinity.com


Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022




A Magical City Pride Journey: Reykjavik, Iceland BY JOEY AMATO | CONTRIBUTING WRITER


he only way to describe Iceland is... magical. It truly is. Iceland is like no other place I’ve visited in the world. It’s topography, climate, people, culture, history, and nightlife blended together make Iceland a surreal adventure that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. In my case, this is my second visit to the country, and probably not my last. The first time I set foot on the island, I was on a mission to see the elusive northern lights. While they evaded me during that visit, this time was different. I didn’t see Aurora dancing through the sky, but I did see a hint of the lights, enough to make me stop and stare in awe of their beauty. One of Iceland’s many strengths is its people. I met an Joey at Gullfoss incredible group of people who helped make this visit extremely memorable, including openly gay Icelandic pop star Friðrik Ómar, who invited me to his Christmas concert. Although most of the concert was in sung in Icelandic, many of the songs were recognizable, including a fabulous version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”. Friðrik was a former contestant on Eurovision, and it was easy to see why. His vocals and stage presence were extraordinary, reminiscent of George Michael. Book your stay at the Reykjavik Konsulat hotel located in the heart of the downtown Reykjavik, just a short walk from all of the city’s main attractions including Harpa concert hall, Sun Voyager and the iconic Hallgrimskirkja cathedral, the largest church in the country which and towers over the center of Reykjavik. Its 240-foot-high tower provides a wonderful 360° view of the city. Visitors can either walk up the stairs to the top or pay a small fee to use the elevator. Going to Iceland in the winter is an adventure. It definitely isn’t a relaxing trip; more like a journey to the most extraordinary ends of the earth you will ever discover. With that in mind, book a full day private excursion to the South Coast with Friend In Iceland. Our wonderful guide Gunnar picked us up from our hotel in a Mercedes mini-bus and we were off to explore a part of the country I hadn’t been to on my prior visit. The nearly 9-hour tour took us to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls where we had the opportunity to stand at the base and feel the power of these natural wonders. Next, we journeyed up to the top of a cliff which provided views of the ocean as well as a rock formation jutting out into the sea which connects to Reynisfjara black sand beach. Words can’t describe how beautiful this moment was. I’m almost in



Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

tears again just thinking about it. The waves crashing on the beach coupled with a clear sky and mesmerizing sunrise made for an absolutely majestic view. Reykjavik is home to one gay bar, called Kiki. Although it was closed during this visit due to COVID-19 restrictions, we did happen to meet the owner who invited us back to the country this summer for their pride celebration. 2022 marks the 23rd annual Reykjavik Pride, which is held in early August. The festival attracts over 100,000 people to the city for a weeklong celebration including a festival, parade, and numerous parties. Wake up early the next morning and begin your Golden Circle tour with a trip to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO heritage site and home to Gullfoss, also known as the ‘Golden Waterfall’, one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland. I recommend descended the stairs to the lower viewing area to really comprehend the size and scope of this natural treasure. Not too far away is Geysir, Iceland’s version of Old Faithful. The geyser erupts about every 7 minutes, so keep your camera ready. Finally, end your tour with a snowmobile ride on the Langjökull glacier. This is also something I didn’t experience on my first visit, and I can honestly say it was one of the coolest (literally) experiences of my life. We had to jump off our luxurious tour bus and board a souped-up monster truck looking bus which transports you to the glacier where a team is ready to outfit you with protective gear and teach you how to use the snowmobiles. The hour tour of the glacier will make you feel like you were on another planet. There are points where the sky and the glacier meet, and you can’t tell them apart. I was fooled by a few optical illusions a few times. Iceland can be inexpensive to get to, but then very expensive while you are there, so please plan accordingly. Food and alcohol can add up really quickly, so pace yourself when visiting the bars. One of my favorite restaurants we visited in Reykjavik was Noodle Station. Guests can order soup three ways: with chicken, beef, or just vegetables. It is the perfect way to end a long day spent playing in the ice and snow and quite affordable. Do your research before visiting to find some of the city’s hidden gems and cheap eats. Icelandair offers direct flights to Reykjavik for relatively low prices from Boston, New York, Chicago, RaleighDurham, and a few other U.S. cities, so check their website regularly to catch a great deal. Enjoy the Journey. : :


Our People: Cayme Andrea Coaching Us Through the Madness



uring a family discussion recently, a nine-year-old asked her mother a question. Nothing too deep, just regular stuff. When her mother responded the little girl said, “Oh my God! Do you have to be a life coach right now?” Clearly, she hasn’t yet realized that the profession is truly an intersection of who her mother is, as her mother’s wife lovingly reminds her. Cayme Andrea was born in Flint, Mich. and lived there until she was around 10. At that time, her family relocated to Topeka, Kan. – where she resided until graduating from Wichita State University with her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Today, she lives in a quaint ranch home in Mint Hill, N.C. with her wife Ronda Parks. Together they are rearing a beautiful little girl and a rambunctious four-legged fur baby, a Pitador (Pit Bull-Labrador mix). Self-employed since 2019, the same year she married Ronda Parks, Cayme is, among other things, a Life Coach. In a comforting and somewhat sultry voice, she explains, “The company that I run, Catalyst Global, LLC, is actually a coaching and training firm. We do coaching, training and consulting. We work with organizations in helping them increase morale. We drive positive company culture, provide leadership coaching and leadership training.” But that’s not all. Catalyst Global, LLC also works with individuals. “It’s an individual partnering with individuals or groups of individuals who want to maximize their personal or professional potential.” Potential clients seeking Andrea’s assistance come to her for a myriad of reasons. Upon introduction, what they’ll find is a professional whose demeanor is wrapped in a warm radiant smile and a compassionate nature that echoes: I’m not here to judge, I’m here to help. “Sometimes it’s an individual who wants to enhance her personal relationships, like a stay-at-home mom who wants better relationships with her children or spouse. Sometimes it’s a CEO who wants to improve the productivity of his or her team.”

She explained we service both further: “Some individuals and people take our organizations Life Coach certiequally.” fication courses According to [through Andrea’s Andrea, anyone Catalyst Coach who has the Academy]. Not drive and desire because they can become a want to become life coach. coaches but be“Anyone cause they want can,” she insists. to understand the “There’s an art methodology and and a science to learn the techcoaching, and niques to apply both of those and enhance their can be learned. own lives.” That’s why I cre“It’s completely ated the Catalyst dependent on Coach Academy what the client [to share that needs at the time. knowledge with It’s not a one size those who want fits all solution. It’s to do it]. If an partnering with. In individual can’t partnership you do it, it’s generget to understand ally because where they are of their own as compared self-imposed to where they limitations.” want to be. As a Needless to Cayme Andrea photographed by Lynn Waddell. coach you assist say, during times in identifying and such as these, creating a plan to many of us basically get from point A to B and then could use a little direction and assistance hold them accountable to working that in maintaining our peace while striving plan. It could look like a coaching session, to reach our goals. So, what advice might a mix of assessment, reflecting answers Andrea offer for successful living during a back, and giving exercises, but we teach global pandemic? and practice Transformative Coaching “You can’t argue that the majority of – which means we coach the person individuals on the planet are experiencnot the problem. That’s the difference ing something new that none of us has between Transformative Coaching and ever dealt with. But we have been in other Transactional Coaching, which is closer to situations that have been just as challengconsulting. When you leave us, you leave ing, just as dark. So, I encourage people to with skills, with the tools needed to work tap into their ‘internal locus of control.’ So through any problem.” many times, when things are challenging When asked who her typical clients for us, it causes us and pushes us to think are, Andrea didn’t hesitate, “Any organiwe don’t have control, viewing our situation zation who wants to really enhance and as one where we don’t have choice, or our strengthen their work culture by investing options are really limited. That’s an external in their employees through the provision locus of control. of holistic leadership training. Many times, “Personally, as a family, we’ve gotten it’s easier to have a third party come in bethrough this mess of the last few years cause we can say things that an employee thinking [about] what is it that I need to couldn’t – without fear of reprisal. Currently maintain peace and sanity, and how can

I get that for myself? [That] can change moment to moment,” she explains. “It may look like going outside and grabbing a tree and screaming to the top of your lungs because you’re stressed the fuck out. It could be sitting in your car when you arrive home after work for a few extra moments or it could be booking a coaching session. This is my own personal philosophy because, at the end of the day – I really do believe the divine gives us everything that we need.” Like the rest of us, Andrea is more than her profession, though it does show up in her personal life. “It’s interesting because every day the work that I do with other people is about how they can master their own mindset and align that whole mind, body and spirit connection,” she offers. “Just seeing people that are living authentically and embracing their freedom and really tapped into their divine connection … makes me smile. Every single day I am really intentional about making sure that I am in control of my mindset, my experiences and my responses [as well]. So, I challenge myself [daily] to own my own power. “My happy place is somewhere warm, with nice weather and water close by. I’m that water/beach person. I make time for stuff that matters, like the book I just published, ‘Letters to Our Daughters.’ It’s a collection of thoughts, wisdom and life lessons to our daughters. It’s very important to me. It’s a project that’s been in the works for the last two or three years. Now more than ever, I wanted this book to turn into a movement and open more communication for Black mothers and their daughters. However, the information transcends race. I’ve had readers who are white women who aren’t mothers express how much they enjoyed and needed it.” For the foreseeable future, Andrea is enjoying what she’s able to provide and share as a Life Coach, mother, wife, author and motivational speaker with no end in sight. But 20 years from now, she sees herself continuing to travel the world (for pleasure and speaking engagements) with her wife – jointly supporting her daughter in all her endeavors while continuing to look for ways to give back, in a manner she hopes will create a ripple effect we all need. : :

Jan. 7 - Jan. 20, 2022





Jan. 7-Jan. 20, 2022

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