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June 14-27, 2019





June 14-27, 2019

inside this issue

June 14-27, 2019 Vol 33 No 04



contributors this issue

Carylyle Addy, Camilla K. Cannon, Maurice Falls, Lowell Fleming, Kariss Frank , Stan Kimer, Jack Kirven, Charlene Lichtenstein, Lainey Millen, Jesse Monteadudo, Trinity

front page

Graphic Design by Lainey Millen Photography: qnotes staff Mission:

The focus of QNotes is to serve the LGBTQ and straight ally communities of the Charlotte region, North Carolina and beyond, by featuring arts, entertainment, news and views content in print and online that directly enlightens, informs and engages the readers about LGBTQ life and social justice issues. Pride Publishing & Typesetting, Inc., dba QNotes P.O. Box 221841, Charlotte, NC 28222 ph 704.531.9988 fx 704.531.1361 Publisher: Jim Yarbrough Sales: x201 Nat’l Sales: Rivendell Media, ph 212.242.6863 Managing Editor: Jim Yarbrough, x201, Assoc. Editor: Lainey Millen, Copy Editor: Maria Dominguez Production: Lainey Millen, x205, Printed on recycled paper. Material in qnotes is copyrighted by Pride Publishing & Typesetting © 2019 and may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent of the editor or publisher. Advertisers assume full responsibility — and therefore, all liability — for securing reprint permission for copyrighted text, photographs and illustrations or trademarks published in their ads. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers, cartoonists we publish is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or photographs does not indicate the subject’s sexual orientation. qnotes nor its publisher assumes liability for typographical error or omission, beyond offering to run a correction. Official editorial positions are expressed in staff editorials and editorial notations and are determined by editorial staff. The opinions of contributing writers and guest columnists do not necessarily represent the opinions of qnotes or its staff. qnotes accepts unsolicited editorial, but cannot take responsibility for its return. Editor reserves the right to accept and reject material as well as edit for clarity, brevity. a local news partner of The Charlotte Observer

9 Say it loud, I am black and I am proud

news 5 Trump Adm. Continues to Attack Trans Americans 6 Soulforce Names Co-Execs 6 ‘Take Pride In Your Vote’ Registration Campaign 6 New Scripted Series 6 News Briefs 7 Ninth Circuit Rules In Favor of Gay Widower

a&e 12 13 17

Stonewall Riots Astrology Interview: Nick Adams Tell Trinity

life 4 A 2019 Pride in the Triangle Initiative 10 Ladyslipper’s Rich History 11 Pride Festivals 15 Health & Wellness: Dating 19 Our People: Simmons

views 4 14

Stonewall at 50 Legal Eagles: Immigration

events 18 18

‘Quiet No More’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Ladyslipper founder Laurie Fuchs shares the history of the trailblazing company

Lesbian feminist music was a new genre back in the 1970s and Laurie Fuchs helped bring it to the masses when she created a music catalog just for women’s music to help buyers find the hard-to-find albums. The Durham-based company also brought in musical talent for concerts.


‘Falcettos’ Nick Adams

Actor Nick Adams plays Wheezer in the touring company performance of “Falcettos” being staged at Blumenthal Performing Arts. The show has been one that he’s been in love with well before he joined the company in 2019.


2019 Carolinas Pride Festivals

Across North and South Carolina, Pride season is underway. Looking for a community event is not difficult with the plethora of options available to those who wish to venture out and celebrate Pride Month and beyond.


On the Cover: Board members and title holders of the first Charlotte Black Gay Pride event. (left to right) Jermaine Nakia Lee, Damon Blackmon, Mr. CBGP 2005, Miss CBGP 2005, Monica Simpson and Lynkoya Handy.

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Stonewall at 50 Jesse’s Journal

BY Jesse Monteagudo | Guest WRITER


n 1999 I wrote an article, “Stonewall at Thirty,” where I discussed the Stonewall Uprising and what the event meant for us 30 years later. In 2004 I wrote another column, “Stonewall at Thirty-Five,” which was basically a rehash of the 1999 piece. I also wrote about Stonewall for an encyclopedia, “Youth, Education, and Sexualities,” edited by James T. Sears (2005), not one of my best efforts. Though I still think of Stonewall as the most important event in LGBTQ history, its meaning has changed as we changed over the years, both as individuals and as part of an LGBTQ community. What used to be a truly subversive event — queers resisting police oppression — has become banal; a way to sell products or services or an excuse to throw a party. Fifty years ago, I was a 16-year old high school student in Miami; and I did not learn about Stonewall until I read my first gay newspaper two years later. Today, almost every high school student in America knows about Stonewall. What was once unmentionable is now part of our country’s political and social history. Former President Barack Obama brought Stonewall, and the LGBTQ movement that it represents, up to the level of the feminist and civil rights movements when it named it along with the Seneca Falls Convention (1848) and the Selma March (1965) as a major event in the history of American freedom. (The fact that all three events start with an “s” helped.) History books that once would have ignored the Stonewall Uprising and the LGBTQ movement now mention both, if briefly. In 2011 PBS first broadcast Stonewall Uprising as part of its “American Experience” series, giving the event its seal of approval. Then in 2016 the Stonewall Inn and its

arguments: were they young, mostly-white, gay men or young, mostly-black or brown, transgender women? In a way I think the debate is a healthy one, if only because it finally gives a Stonewall veteran like Miss Major Griffin-Gracy the recognition that she deserves. On the other hand, arguing the presence of this or that person or group can get tedious, like the debate on what transgender Latinx activist Sylvia Rivera was actually doing on June, 28, 1969: challenging the cops outside the Stonewall Inn or passed out on a nearby bench. I think the distinguishing mark of the Stonewall rioters was mostly economic and not racial or gender. These people — women or men, transgender or cisgender, Black or Latinx or white — hung out at the Stonewall because they had nowhere else to go, unlike the well-off gays who were enjoying the weekend on the West Side or on Fire Island. Though the Stonewall Uprising was by no means The Stonewall Inn, where gay liberation began in 1969. the start of the LGBTQ movement, it happened at (Photo Credit: InSapphoWeTrust via Wikimedia Commons. CC SA 2.0 license) the right place and the right time: in Greenwich Village at the tail end of a tumultuous decade. surroundings became a National Monument. All this hapStonewall only happened because of Selma and the pened during the Obama years, a period of history when, Seneca Falls Convention (and their aftermath). Events like to use the title of a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “we were the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco (1966) or the eight years in power.” Donald Trump and his evangelical Black Cat Riot in Los Angeles (1967) did not get the attenbase would never allow a Stonewall National Monument, tion that Stonewall did. It helped that activists like the late though the fact that there are no fossil fuels below Craig Rodwell saw the Stonewall Uprising as a useful tool Greenwich Village means that the monument will continue and worked to make its anniversary a symbol of queer to exist, at least for now. resistance and community. All in all, we should continue Though the memory of Stonewall brings the LGBTQ to honor Stonewall for what it was and what it represents, community together once a year, if only to party, the event though always remembering those who made Stonewall continues to create controversy within our community. possible. If Stonewall never existed, another event would Even the make-up of the Stonewall rioters leads to many surely take its place. : :

A 2019 Pride in the Triangle Initiative LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Toolkit BY Stan Kimer | Guest WRITER


onsider supporting a project coordinated by Pride in the Triangle, a collaboration of Triangle, N.C.-area LGBTQ+ employees and allies from various corporations coming together to share best practices, work together on LGBTQ+ issues in our corporations and in North Carolina and network with other out employees and allies. Throughout 2018, the group met to agree on requirements and contents for a Workplace Equity Toolkit (, which will be open source and available for any company to use for workforce training, and includes an inter-company training of trainers (TOT). I, along with consultant and trainer Katherine Turner of Global Citizen, LLC, were brought on board as professional diversity training course developers and trainers to professionally develop this comprehensive toolkit. The goal of the training is to create a more equitable and inclusive work environment for LGBTQ+ colleagues by: • Articulating the business rationale for equity and inclusion in the workplace; • Explaining LGBTQ+ related terminology, concepts, misconceptions and history • Expressing empathy for LGBTQ+ colleagues and concerns; • Demonstrating their ability to comfortably initiate constructive conversations about LGBTQ+ colleagues and concerns; • Making a commitment to take action to promote equity



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and inclusion for LGBTQ+ colleagues. These contents of the toolkit provide a totally turnkey solution to organize and hold the sessions: • Facilitator’s agenda that includes facilitation instructions and adaptation guidance for different sectors, timeframes and audience familiarity with the topic; • PowerPoint slides with presentation notes; • Participant booklet with handout, worksheets and other resource materials; • Two sample agendas for different time frames; • Sample evaluation form;

• Certificate of participation template; • Leadership engagement tips; • Boilerplate email invitation to the training session. Pride in the Triangle is striving to raise the remaining funds so that Katherine and I can develop the toolkit and hold the training of trainers. Additionally, when it is ready, the toolkit will enable corporations to use it for LGBTQ Pride Month in years to come. We now have four major sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield NC, RTI, SAS and Dude Solutions. They have provided about 60 percent of the required funding, and we feel that if two to four more sponsors could join them, we could be begin development. If we are able to raise the remaining funds soon, we could hold the training session and, perhaps, be ready for this year’s National Coming Out Day in October. All size contributions are welcome, but a handful of larger sponsorships could really help. Bronze level is $2,500 and guarantees one seat in the Training of Trainers sessions; Silver is $5,000 and comes with two seats in the training; and Gold is $10,000 and comes with three seats in the training. Also, the sponsors will be listed and acknowledged within the toolkit. Visit for more information or contact Stan Kimer via email at or call 919-787-7315 to learn more and to discuss your organization’s possible participation. : :


Trump administration continues to attack transgender Americans Resources and Hope Persist for Trans North Carolinians


ince Donald Trump assumed the office of the presidency in January of 2017, his administration has issued a dizzying list of harmful policies and legal maneuvers against transgender Americans, spanning the realms of education, housing and healthcare. The administration’s earliest move, in February 2017, was to withdraw a 2016 set of guidelines from the Departments of Education and Justice regarding how schools were obligated to protect transgender students under Title IX regulations. In the remainder of 2017 alone, policies seeking to prevent healthcare discrimination against transgender individuals were rolled back by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was instructed to stop using the word “transgender” in official documents and Trump directed the Defence Department to begin discharging transgender service members. More recently, the Bureau of Prisons adopted a policy of housing transgender individuals in federal prisons designated for the sex they were assigned at birth rather than their gender identity, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights granted permission to adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ caregivers and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a future rollback of non-discrimination policies designed to protect transgender individuals in HUD-funded homeless shelters. Of the various discriminatory actions taken against transgender people by the Trump administration, issues involving housing, incarceration and healthcare are likely to cause the most widespread and pernicious difficulties for transgender Americans. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, “one in five transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.” The disproportionate representation of transgender individuals within the homeless population adds an extra level of injury to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently announced plan to modify the Obama administration’s 2016 Equal Access Rule, which required homeless shelters to allow individuals to enter sex-segregated facilities based on their gender identity rather than the sex they were assigned at birth. Given that transgender women of color in particular are disproportionately likely to experience violence at the hands of men, forcing them to stay in “male-designated” facilities will certainly expose them to even greater threat of bodily harm. The Bureau of Prisons’ policy to house prisoners in facilities designated for the sex they were assigned at birth poses a similar problem. Although the Department of Health and Humans Services’ repeal of healthcare discrimination is often pitched


Washington, D.C. Women’s March participants rally for transgender rights which have rolled back under the Trump administration. (Photo Credit: Rhododendrites via Wikimedia Commons. CC SA 4.0 International) as a way to prevent healthcare professionals who oppose transgender identity on religious grounds from being forced to provide hormone therapy and gender-affirmative surgery, in practice the new guidelines will allow healthcare providers to deny any sort of medical care to transgender patients based on their identity alone. Of course, healthcare discrimination against transgender patients was not solved or eradicated by the Obama administration’s issuing of non-discrimination policies, and denial of care or hostile treatment by healthcare providers is a common occurrence for many transgender people across the country. However, as Ames Simmons, director of Trans Policy at the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality North Carolina, explains, “the threat of anti-trans discrimination in healthcare, while nothing new, might bring up fears of losing access to hormone replacement therapy and the gender dysphoria that could result.” While the administration’s explicit repeal of these protections is sobering, transgender North Carolinians should know that North Carolina Medicaid still currently covers transgender-related healthcare for individuals able to attain medical documentation from their healthcare providers attesting to the medical necessity of this care, and many lowincome transgender residents may be eligible for Medicaid. Simmons encourages all Medicare recipients to pay extra attention at this time to mail they receive from Medicaid, as policies will be changing beginning in the Fall. Of course, there has been considerable legal resistance to the Trump administration’s anti-trans actions on the national level, although the most prominent cases tend to deal with military and educational discrimination rather than housing, healthcare, and incarceration. A ruling is imminent in a case opposing the ban on transgender service members led by Lambda Legal in the 9th Circuit Court of

Appeals, and the American Civil Liberties Union will soon begin defending an Oregon school district’s right to retain its long-standing transgender-affirming bathroom policies, also in the 9th Circuit. On the state level, two recent judicial and legislative developments are cause for optimism about the treatment of transgender individuals in North Carolina. On June 3, Gov. Roy Cooper and a coalition of LGBTQ activists submitted a consent decree to the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina that seeks judicial confirmation that House Bill 142, the successor to the HB2 “bathroom bill,” should not be interpreted as prohibiting transgender individuals from using public facilities that align with their gender identity. Additionally, the current state legislative session includes the first ever bill introduced in North Carolina that would ban conversion therapy for children and vulnerable adults. Perhaps even more important than judicial and legislative attempts to remedy harmful anti-transgender legislation and executive action are the on-the-ground efforts by and for transgender North Carolinians taking place across the state. As Simmons states, “Community-based solutions to end violence and get resources to the transgender community are everywhere in our state, because transgender people are everywhere in our state.” For transgender North Carolinians looking to protect and educate themselves during this time, Simmons recommends a number of organizations and resources, including the Campaign for Southern Equality’s “Trans in the South” guide for an overview of medical and legal resources, for a directory of transgender-friendly healthcare providers throughout the state and, for immediate crisis assistance, the Trans Lifeline at 877565-8860. Transgender Charlotteans can view a directory of transgender-friendly healthcare providers in the city through the Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group at, learn about available support groups at transcendcharlotte. com and, for youth between the ages of 11-20, access a variety of resources through the Time Out Youth Center. Although it can be tempting to feel disheartened at the defeated by the violence directed at transgender people by the government, anti-LGBTQ organizations, and even our friends and peers, transgender North Carolinians should know that many people across the state are fighting for their safety and well-being. Despite the dizzying amount of hostility towards transgender people emanating from the executive, national legislative and state legislative branches, transgender North Carolinians have many options for defying anti-trans advocates’ attempts to deny them the care and safety they deserve. As Simmons states, “The resistance is alive and well in North Carolina.” : :

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news Soulforce names co-execs ABILENE, Texas — Rev. Alba Onofrio and Yaz Mendez Nuñez are taking over the helm of Soulforce as co-executive directors with the departure of Haven Herrin, the organization has reported. The two southern organizers and leaders joined Soulforce in 2014 and brought their skills to forwarding the organization’s work for social justice. “I trust in their hearts, skills, and vision for what relentless nonviolent resistance feels like in this political moment of Christian Supremacy. I have deep confidence that I am departing Soulforce with our legacy in great hands,” Herrin shared. Onofrio has served as the spiritual strategist and the chief financial officer for Soulforce. They bring two decades of non-profit managerial experience to the organization. Onofrio holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School where their studies focused on the theologies of sex, embodiment and ethics based in queer desire. Nuñez is a 26-year-old culture worker, facilitator and community organizer Yaz Mendez Nuñez and Rev. Alba Onofrio, new Soulforce based in Durham, N.C., is a queer southerner from an immigrant and military co-executive directors. family. They have served as Soulforce’s director of programs and communications and has co-facilitated programs like the Southeast House Fellowship for Southern LGBTQI Youth, the 2016 Beyond Equality Ride and the first digital Vacation Bible School. Nuñez has also served as a facilitation fellow for Wayside Center for Popular Education, as a member leader of Southerners with New Ground and leadership in The Clearing. Under the duos leadership, Soulforce collaborated with 11 Global South activists to write and publish Soulforce’s first Bible resource on gender justice and transgender theology. In just the three months since its publication, over 400 copies have been distributed to activists in 22 countries who are using them to heal themselves, change religion-based messaging in their communities and organize for legislative change in the face of Christian fundamentalism and culture war, Herrin said. info: — Lainey Millen

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — NextGen America launched its “Take Pride In Your Vote” voter registration campaign in honor of Pride Month. At Pride parades and events across 10 states, NextGen organizers will register members of the LGBTQ community and allies to vote ahead of local November elections and presidential primaries. In addition to registering thousands of young individuals at nearly 50 Pride celebrations this summer, NextGen has also released a “Take Pride in Your Vote” video, voiced by Peaches Christ, San Francisco drag queen, actor and activist. The video details the history of the Pride march and highlights what is still at stake for LGBTQ people in America today. “Young people have been leaders in the movement for LGBTQ+ rights since the beginning. Fifty years ago, young transgender and queer people of color, including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were only 24 and 17 years old at the time, fought back at Stonewall Inn against state-led violence and persecution,” said NextGen America Youth Vote Director Ben Wessel. “While LGBTQ+ activists have made incredible progress over the last few years, there is still so much at stake — from the Equality Act stuck in the Senate to Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. This Pride Month, we’re not only celebrating the diversity and progress of the LGBTQ+ community, but also highlighting our shared history to build a more just and equitable country for future generations.” In May, the House of Representatives made history and passed the 2019 Equality Act, which would include sexual orientation and gender identity in existing civil rights law, but now it is stuck in the Senate under Sen. Mitch McConnell. To accompany its Pride campaign, NextGen has also launched an online petition to pressure U.S senators, including those who represent NextGen states, such as Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, to bring the Equality Act to a vote. In 2018, NextGen America ran the largest youth vote program in American history across 11 battleground states. NextGen registered over 257,000 young individuals to vote and reached over 7 million young people between 18 and 35 years old in person, online, through the mail and over text. NextGen’s organizing efforts led to young people doubling their turnout and flipping the House of Representatives. “The next fight of our nation’s future is just around the corner, and with over 60 staff on the ground, NextGen is already hard at work organizing young people to make an even larger impact in 2020,” organizers said. info: — Lainey Millen

New scripted series launched LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Writer/creators Kyle David Pierce and Chris Salvatore have a new series in development centering on a 30’s gay male couple. The acting duo star in the series that takes a fresh look at gay marriage, parenting and when two families collide. “We’re delving into modern relationship territory without stereotypes,” Pierce said describing the logline. He is known for his work on, “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Three’s A Crowd,”and the Emmy Awardwinning, “Venice The Series.” “The millennial generation is growing up, settling down. We’re targeting that demographic, but the transparent narrative is for everyone,” Salvatore shared, whose credits include, “The Eating Out Series,” “Paternity Leave,” “Girlfriends of Christmas Past and “The Quiet Room.” He recently wrapped, “The Office Is Mine.” The new series has a “Brothers & Sisters” meets “Catastrophe” feel. The scripted series will be shot in 30-minute episodes. The overall tone is dramedy with comedic elements rather than a “on the head” structure and a broad but targeted range for guest stars. “The double entendre title is ironic but goes to the heart of the message that gay relationships are honest and evolving,” Pierce remarked at a recent photo shoot. “This show is important and empowering for gay men; to see our relationships reflected on screen,” Salvatore added. info: — Lainey Millen


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Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed that June is LGBTQ Pride Month across the Tar Heel State. The proclamation states that “the state of North Carolina stands with the LGBTQ community in the struggle to ensure equal treatment for all, and to defend and advocate for LGBTQ rights as human rights.”


Graham bashes ‘Arthur’

The Charlotte Observer reported that evangelist Franklin Graham asked his nearly two million Twitter followers to challenge federal funding for PBS over the network’s “Arthur” cartoon character came out and got married. Graham said that the storyline was promoting “the LGBTQ agenda.”


Military servicemembers honored

This past Memorial Day, The OUT Foundation and the Modern Military Association of America teamed up to celebrate U.S. servicemembers (both those who had passed and those who were living) that have made an impact in the LGBTQ community.


‘Take Pride In Your Vote’ registration campaign heats up


N.C. governor proclaims Pride Month

Symposium launched in S.C.

Black Treatment Advocates Network members Jasmine Takiya and Eric Paulk launched the Saving Ourselves Symposium in Charleston, S.C. last month with members throughout the South present. Black AIDS Institute, HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Treatment Action Group also hosted the pre-conference around the Future of HIV Vaccines and Research and its impact on black communities. The symposium hosted by The Red Door Foundation, addressed the health and wellness of the black LGBTQ community in the South, focusing on HIV and other health disparities.


Stroupe recipients named

PFLAG Greensboro issued monies for their Carter Stroupe Memorial Scholarship Fund. Those receiving $1,000 scholarships are: Matthew Brewbaker and Lindsey Pegram, Greensboro, graduates from Northwest Guilford High School who each plan to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Trinity Dixon, Elon University, a current college freshman attending Elon University.


Band honors Stonewall

One Man Mambo has released a new song in honor of the Stonewall Riots. The lyric video is available online at nV5MAZyTnUs.


Fundraiser deemed a success

Joan Gale, president of Concord/ Kannapolis PFLAG, reported that the organization’s spring fundraiser netted over $5,000 which will be used to assist with their scholarship fund. During the event, the first recipient of the scholarship was introduced. Daphne Reynolds from Cannon School in Concord, N.C. accepted a $1,000 accommodation that will be used when Reynolds attends Ringling College of Art and Design in pursuit of a degree in animation.


Ninth Circuit rules in favor of gay widower SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision on May 16 in favor of David Reed, reversing a lower court decision finding that the KRON/IBEW Local 45 Pension Plan did not have to provide him with spousal survivor benefit, even though Reed was the registered domestic partner of a former KRON4 employee. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Renaker Hasselman Scott LLP are serving as Reed’s representatives. Reed and Donald Lee Gardner began dating in 1998. They fell in love and committed themselves to caring for and protecting one another, including by becoming California registered domestic partners in 2004. They were together for 16 years and were married for only five days before Gardner died in 2014. Gardner was employed as technical director for KRON4, a San Francisco television station owned by Nexstar Media Group, for more than 30 years before retiring in 2009. After he died, Reed sought a spousal survivor benefit under KRON4’s pension plan, which incorporates California law. Even though California law mandates that registered domestic partners have all of the same rights and responsibilities as married spouses, the plan refused to provide a surviving spouse pension to Reed after Gardner’s death. The plan argued that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) foreclosed it from recognizing Reed as Gardner’s spouse, and the district court granted judgment in its favor. In the opinion, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court, holding that “[t]he Committee abused its discretion by denying benefits to Reed. During either time the Committee evaluated the Plan’s benefits in this case — in 2009 or in 2016 — California law afforded domestic partners the same rights, protections and benefits as those granted to spouses.” “My husband and I did everything we could to protect each other, and I was devastated by KRON4’s refusal to recognize our relationship,” Reed said. “While no one should have to litigate a federal lawsuit for three years to receive spousal protections, I’m overjoyed by [the] decision.” Teresa Renaker, who argued the appeal before the Ninth Circuit, said, “Although the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in 2013, some employers have continued to deny spousal pension benefits to same-sex couples if the employee retired or died before the Supreme Court decision. [The] decision recognizes that DOMA cannot deprive a same-sex couple of pension protections merely because it was still on the books when an employee retired.” NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Amy Whelan added, “This decision also recognizes the important protections afforded to California registered domestic partners who were unconstitutionally denied the right to civil marriage. It’s important for same-sex spouses and registered domestic partners to understand that they should not be denied benefits on the basis of unconstitutional law.” info: — Lainey Millen

David Reed (left) and his late husband Donald Lee Gardner. Reed fought to securre spousal survivor’s benefits from KRON/IBEW Local 45 upon Gardner’s death. A lower court ruled against it, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision in May. (Photo Credit: The National Center for Lesbian Rights)

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Say it loud, I am black and I am proud A Look at Black Gay Prides in the Tar Heel State


BY Maurice Falls | Guest Contributor

Pride was a four-day n 2019, being both black event that included and an LGBTQ person can a town hall meeting, still seem like a revoluan evening of live tionary act. For those of us theatre, film screenwho are dialed in to current ings, multiple dance events, we see the violence parties, spoken toward black and queer word performances bodies. and the Pride Expo Unarmed, black men and which took place women are still being killed at the Africanby police and transgender American Cultural women of color appear to be Center. The Expo turning up dead weekly. To included vendor paraphrase James Baldwin, booths, entertain“To be Black and LGBTQ and ment and speakers. to be relatively conscious is to The town hall was be in a rage almost all of the held at the Lesbian time.” To compound matters, and Gay Community many people of color who Center of Charlotte identify as LGBTQ individuals, (now closed). often feel like our community Simpson told qnotes can default to following the Shades of Pride 2011 board of directors helped shape the early years of the “there were 210 same path as the broader organization. It went through two iterations, one independent and one a program of people at the opensociety. Thus, the creation of the LGBTQ Center of Durham. ing town hall meetBlack Prides offers a safe place ing.” “That’s one of where people who identify as were gone. These challenges the largest events ever black and LGBTQ people could did not deter him from startin the history of the have safe spaces to celebrate ing another Pride celebration center and definitely their unique identities. In in 2015, which has become Alvernian Davis, founder of Fayetteville the highest number of North Carolina, Fayetteville, Fayetteville Black Pride. Black Pride African-Americans ever Raleigh and Charlotte have all However, Davis has in the center at one had Prides focused on the broadened his vision to include providing greattime” she continued. black community. er resources for the area. He noted that the Black Pride in Charlotte, with a number of different Alvernian Davis is a Fayetteville area doesn’t have many resources for the gay management structure’s over the years, has gone through Philadelphia, Pa. native community, and he would like to have greater buy-in from its struggles like other Black Prides, but has persevered and founder of Fayetteville local services in the area like the health department, which and grown because it still provides a service to the LGBTQ Black Pride. Davis’ impetus he is trying to partner with this year. Additionally, Davis is community. The current president of Charlotte Black Pride, for starting Black Pride in looking to help boost participation from young people in Shann Fulton, says, “ As a marginalized group of people, Fayetteville was similar the area by moving the date of the event to accommodate Black Pride is important to make sure our voices are heard, to the other stories from their return to school. He is hopeful that these changes and our faces are seen. We must create a safe space for organizers. Being from Philadelphia, he had participated in will increase participation in the future. Since Davis people of color to embrace their culture without judgment Pride festivals in other cities. So, when he moved to North began his Pride, the area has seen another Pride begin or fear....” Carolina in the early 2000s’, he noticed that there were not in Fayetteville, which attracts more whites. He says that Latoya Hankins says that “Black Prides provide a many Prides in North Carolina at the time. The first event he supports that Pride too, but he feels that Black Prides place where people who identify as black and as LGBTQ was in 2003 and was hosted at Alias and Spectrum, the only provide a place to celebrate black culture, which he feels is individuals are safe to be themselves and be understood.” two gay clubs in the area. Davis said that this was a place still important today. Hankins is a Southpoint, N.C. native and one of the foundwhich attracted many different segments of the gay comCharlotte’s Black Pride began with wanting to highlight ers of Shades of Pride. Shades of Pride began in 2009 munity in the area. All of these segments of the community the culture of the black LGBTQ community. It began in and went through two iterations. It was an independent were able to participate in the first Pride. Unfortunately, af2005 with board members Damon Blackmon, Jermaine organization from 2009-2014. In 2016 and 2017, it became ter this beginning, the event took a hiatus. He moved away Nakia Lee, Monica Simpson and Lynkoya Handy and a program under the LGBTQ Center of Durham but has from the area and after coming back, the landscape had was met with some initial resistance from some within not returned since then. Hankins and her other foundchanged. The only gay club in the area had burned down the community. Lee recounts the racist emails that he ers, Akil Campbell, Kelly Eddings, Nina Ricci, Yvonne Ricci and Davis’ connections with the local military community received when the idea and Purusha Jones begin Shades of Pride because, like was announced to the Davis, they had visited Prides in other areas and wanted to public. He and the orgareplicate the experience for the Raleigh area. Hankins says nizers saw the need for that the event was well-attended in the beginning, but space where those who numbers began to decline. She cites the “novelty” wearing identify as black and off and life happening as reasons for the eventual folding LGBTQ could have a of the organization. space to be themselves. Hankins says that she and the other founders and That first event, Kenneth Freeman all began to have additional commitCharlotte Black Gay ments or moved from the area, so they were unable to devote the same effort to the endeavor. Regardless, as mentioned above, Hankins still sees Black Prides as playing essential spaces for those who identify as black and as an LGBTQ individual. In fact, she plans to visit Charlotte Black Pride in July and credits that event as another inspiration point for her decision to begin Shades of Pride. The need for safe spaces was echoed by all of the people involved with these Black Prides. So, as we celebrate Pride Month, we encourage you to think about how are you providing the people of color Charlotte Black Pride began in 2005 as Charlotte Black Gay Pride and was held at the Africanwithin your community a place to be their authentic American Cultural Center in Uptown and included an Expo, town hall, entertainment and speakers. selves without judgment or fear. : :

June 14-27, 2019




Ladyslipper’s rich history helped shape women’s music North Carolina-Based Curator Was on Forefront of Showcasing Lesbian, Feminist Artists BY Camilla K. Cannon | QNOTES CONTRIBUTING WRITER


hen Laurie Fuchs, founder of North Carolina’s own Ladyslipper Records, visited the third annual National Women’s Music Festival in UrbanaChampaign, Ill. in 1976, she discovered a world of women’s music that was largely unattainable for those who were not able to attend the festival and ones like it: “There were recordings there that women didn’t have access to, feminist lesbian artists, very exciting, relevant music that was inspiring to hundreds of women that were there.” The music Fuchs was exposed to at the National Women’s Festival was part of a widespread, grassroots movement that women all over the country were building at this time, creating and disseminating art, music and magazines through a decentralized and decidedly do-it-yourself social and cultural network. As opposed to the elaborate and often corporate-sponsored music festivals of today, the mood at this time was, in Fuchs’ words, “Just sort of, ‘Hey, I’ll do a music festival.’” Despite the spontaneity and seeming nonchalance of many women’s decisions to launch their own lesbian feminist cultural ventures at



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this time, they were facing tremendous odds; as Fuchs states, they were diving into business with “no experience, no money, no fear.” While the music, art and culture was rich, the traditional components of business success were sparse. Fuchs’ own decision to launch Ladyslipper in its original iteration as a lesbian/feminist women’s music catalogue was informed by her own first-hand knowledge of how difficult it could be for women all over the country, especially those not located in major cities, to get their hands on the exciting music that she was able to enjoy at the National Women’s Music Festival. Fuchs’ introduction to the music came through a serendipitous gifting of lesbian feminist icon Holly Near’s 1975 record “A Live Album” by a friend of hers. Fuchs, who was living in rural Georgia at the time, adopted the same practice many lesbians did, begging friends who were fortunate enough to travel to lesbian feminist concerts to bring back records they could purchase there. Near in particular has remained a staple of the lesbian music scene to this day, in part because she was one of the first prominent folk singers to come out as a lesbian in 1976. For

rable ramschackle women seeking repreDurham establishsentation of themselves ment located unin a music world that was derneath a 7-Eleven at best disinterested and and owned by a at worst hostile toward straight man — it them, the very act of getwasn’t exactly “loseting their hands on these yourself-dancing” records was a godsend. music. For a short Fuchs’ foray into busitime, Ladyslipper ness was aided by the was able to book fact that she had mailshows at storied order and print shop local venues like experience. Nonetheless, the Cat’s Cradle her startup process was in Chapel Hill, but very improvisational eventually, the and bold: the magazine lesbian crowd’s lack Lesbian Connection was of drink purchases having a catalogue issue led to the clubs dewhere independent cataclining to host more logues could submit their Ladyslipper Records Founder Laurie Fuchs shows. Eventually, own advertisements. Ladyslipper began Fuchs drew up a flyer, hosting listening shows in Virginia, South investing only in the paper she used to print Carolina and North Carolina, bringing it on, and had it published in the magazine. catalogues and records to sell to groups of She and her business partner printed the interested women, many lesbians, most of catalogue itself in the middle of the night at whom had heard about the event through the print shop where Fuchs worked. Because word of mouth. they did not yet have distribution rights to In 2018, Ladyslipper announced that it everything in their catalogue, they would buy would be transitioning its online catalogue records independently and then re-sell them system into an information and archive to customers who wrote in with their orders. website. Fuchs credits the transition to the Fuchs recalls sending Holly Near’s mother a label’s inability to sustain itself financially, check in the mail and receiving the number caused by factors such as the rise of of records she had requested in exchange. online music consumption and the suLadyslipper benefitted from the growing premacy of in particular, the festival world and rise of distribution services vanishing of most regional and national nationwide, becoming one of the region’s women’s festivals and a general belief that premier resources for acquiring lesbian and recorded music should be shared freely feminist records. Eventually, Ladyslipper rather than paid for. Despite the label’s began issuing its own records, from arttransition, Ladyslipper remains an imporists including Kay Gardner, Ubaka Hill and tant part of the history of lesbian feminist Nurudafina Pilli Abena. music in North Carolina and the South While there was a robust women’s arts generally. The spirit of solidarity, resource cultural movement in the Triangle and a hub expansion and celebration of LGBTQIA+ for lesbian feminism in the Triangle Area art that Ladyslipper has contributed to Lesbian Center at the time of Ladyslipper’s the community is both a testament to the beginning, lesbian nightlife was not nearly historical resilience and inventiveness of as robust as gay men’s nightlife. While Fuchs the queer community and an incitement would sometimes bring Ladyslipper’s records to carry that tradition into the future. : : to area lesbian bars — including one memo-

It’s time to celebrate Pride season Festivals and Events Across the Carolinas BY Carlyle Addy | QNotes Contributing Writer


trike up the band! It’s that time of year when the Carolinas are abloom with festivities for Pride Month and beyond. Listed below are a comprehensive list of what’s happening in cities and towns alike.

North Carolina June 15: Carrboro Carrboro Latinx Festival June 15: Hendersonville Hendersonville Pride June 15: Durham Orgullo Latinx: Latinx Pride 2019 June 22: Salisbury Salisbury Pride 2019 June 29: Elizabeth City NENC Pridefest June 29: Fayetteville Fayetteville Pride Fest July 17-21: Charlotte Charlotte Black Gay Pride Aug. 15-17: Fayetteville Fayetteville Black Pride Aug. 17-19: Charlotte Charlotte Pride 2019 Aug. 31: Wilmington Port City Pride Sep. 13-15: Manteo Outer Banks Pridefest 2019 Sept. 15: Greensboro Greensboro Pride Festival 2019 Sept. 21: Hickory Catawba County Pride Festival 2019

Sept. 27-28: Asheville Blue Ridge Pride Festival 2019 Sept. 28: Durham Pride Durham 2019 Sep. 28: Raleigh NC Pride at Night Oct. 19: Winston-Salem Pride Winston Salem 2019 May 4: Raleigh Out! Raleigh 2020

South Carolina June 22: Greenville Upstate Pride Rally & Black Pride Festival June 22: Bluffton Lowcountry Pride Aug. 22-25: Columbia South Carolina Black Pride Sep. 14: Charleston Charleston Pride Festival Oct. 4-5: Columbia Famously Hot South Carolina Pride Festival Oct. 27-Nov. 3: Spartanburg Upstate Pride 2019

Previous Annual Events May 18: Gastonia Gaston Pride & PFLAG Gaston Family Picnic June 1: Myrtle Beach Coastal Business Guild & Grand Strand Pride in the Park

Please note that there are additional organizations that have held Pride festivals in the past, but no information was available for them this year. They are Alamance Pride and Sandhills Pride. [Ed. Note: qnotes has prepared this comprehensive list of Pride festivals for our readers. To that extent, some may have been omitted. If readers will email with other listings (must have full name, address, phone number and website), qnotes will be happy to add them to the compilation. List accuracy and integrity are vital. Please report any errors or changes that need to be made.]

June 14-27, 2019




An astrological analysis of the Stonewall Riots Surveying the Sun, Moon and Planets for Answers


strologers are often consulted to give proper perspective and intelligent illumination to certain major events. For those of us who enjoy a little 20/20 hindsight, I modestly offer an astrological analysis of the events at Stonewall 50 years ago. I, for one, believe that the planets set the whole thing in motion. June 28, 1969 at 1:20 a.m., an unexpected police raid was carried out on a bar in Greenwich Village, New York City. Usually, the patrons would submit to whatever the police would dole out, but on that particular night, enough was enough. The riots lasted five days and ultimately launched our liberation movement. Was it the drinks? Was it the planets? What was it that night that made the Stonewall Riots the event it was and the turning point it turned out to be? What was it, indeed... Astrologically, the night was primed for revolution: The Sun, which changes signs every 32 days or so and rules our life’s ambitions and true personalities, was in sentimental and sensitive Cancer that night. It was quite true that emotions were exceptionally high during that period (Judy Garland’s funeral was held the day before in New York City, and it has been said that many in the community were devastated by her death.). The Moon, which changes signs about every two days and rules our emotional reaction state, landed in Sagittarius on June 28. Mars, the planet of action and aggression was also in Sagittarius at the time. Rebellious Sagittarius; Poke in the eye Sagittarius; Need I say more? Not only does this particular sign not listen to authority, but it absolutely revels in that wonderful type of “up yours” attitude. Contemplative Mercury, in quick thinking, quick action Gemini, contributed to the highly charged energy and Venus, the



June 14-27, 2019

BY Charlene Lichtenstein | Guest WRITER

planet of love, was in stubborn Taurus. Taurus the bull will not be put aside when it is finally pushed to the limit of patience. “The Ascendant,” which rules first impressions and beginnings of things, was in fiery, no holds barred Aries. Word of advice — Aries is the steamroller sign. Don’t ever say no to an Aries. “The MidHeaven,” which is the sign that was in the highest spot in the sky at that time of night, was in Capricorn. Capricorn knows how to gain the long-term advantage; what to do and how to do it. It is also one of those unstoppable signs once it gets going. The old goat knows just how far to push without getting totally squashed. So what do we have so far? Highly charged emotions coupled with an “in your face, don’t even try to hold me back” attitude just waiting for a justification to act. The true beauty of astrological analysis is the interaction between the planets, called “aspects.” Aspects cause the energy to take off in one direction or another. It’s what gives us our oomph. The planetary oomphs that night were fairly dramatic. Here are just a few of them: The Sun had a pleasant aspect to Saturn. Saturn can be a hard taskmaster, but when it “sextiles” the Sun, one can experience a terrific learning experience. It can also set things in their proper direction. Stonewall set the entire movement in the right direction, and there was no turning

back. In addition, the Sun had a difficult face off with explosive and unpredictable Uranus; who we want to be becomes open to sudden, unexpected changes. We are not pretty during this time. We don’t sit up and shut up. Mercury and the Moon didn’t see eye to eye — emotions and logical thoughts were not in sync. We do what we are compelled to do, rather than what is logically the most prudent (and respectful) thing to do. Mars gives the energy and impetus to act. It had a few planetary tête-à-têtes that night and, with the exception of delusional Neptune, they were all good. Action produces lucky (Jupiter) and unexpected (Uranus) results. Need I point out that Mars was sitting in the area of the horoscope that affects sex and deep psychological revelations? The planet that probably set the whole affair on the map is Pluto. Pluto was having some pretty major interactions with others planets that night: 1. conjunct Uranus and Jupiter — unexpected major transformations that prove to be very lucky; 2. sextile Neptune — not sure what to expect, but big, big, big; 3. square Moon and Mercury — allowing emotions and ideas to cause some pretty major changes; 4. trine Venus — big, beautiful transformations. Pluto is unleashed power and major change. There is no turning back with this planet. It erupts and changes the landscape. That night, it changed the landscape forever. Some hack writer once wrote, “(it is) not in the stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.” I must disagree. Were it not for the stars that warm June night, who knows what type of life we would be leading today. I shudder to think. : : Charlene Lichtenstein is the author of “HerScopes: A Guide to Astrology For Lesbians” and a former qnotes columnist.

An Interview with Nick Adams ‘Falsettos’ Star Always Had Eye on Broadway BY Lowell Fleming | QNOtes CONTRIBUTING WRITER


he iconic gay musical “Falsettos” is finishing its 2019 revival tour in Charlotte at the end of this month from June 25-30 at Knight Theater at the Levine Center for the Arts. A highly frenetic play that shifts from neurotic comedy to sexy duets and heart-string tugging drama, it is sure to entertain and thrill. qnotes got a chance to reach out and talk to actor Nick Adams, one of the male leads of “Falsettos” who plays the role of Whizzer, and to discuss what “Falsettos” (which originally appeared on Broadway in 1992) has to offer audiences today. The play begins just before the 1980s in New York City. The main character, Marvin, has left his wife for his friend, Whizzer. Trina, Marvin’s ex-wife, turns to therapy to cope with the loss of her relationship and begins a romance with her psychiatrist, Mendel. All the while Jason, Marvin and Trina’s young son is having his own problems, like seeing his family split up and worrying about which girls will be invited to his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. The story is told in two acts and has nearly 40 songs, with virtually every line of dialogue being sung. A few stand out songs include the endlessly catchy “Four Jews in a Room Bitching,” which opens the play, and the highly emotional “Father and Son” that concludes the first act. According to Adams, “it’s impossible to not see yourself in at least one of the characters” of “Falsettos.” This is a play “that’s about growing up, changing and having curve balls thrown at you.” Despite how frequently humorous the play can be, complex moments are never far away. All of the

characters are “honest and flawed depictions” of how real people hurt and love each other, and the story is as much a celebration of non-traditional families as it is a memorial to the HIV crisis of the 1980s. In Adam’s own words, he has only ever wanted to be a Broadway actor. He has played many famous roles in influential plays such as Fiyero in “Wicked,” Angelique in “La Cage aux Folles,” and Felicia Jollygoodfellow in the Broadway run of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” Adams comes off as an incredibly humble and sincere person despite having to play roles that demand enormous energy and personality. When asked about his stint on “Priscilla,” he remarked that it was “one of the most joyful experience of my life” and that he still gets letters from fans claiming that the show helped them come out of the closet. He has been in love with “Falsettos” since well before he joined the 2019 revival tour and has been immensely grateful to be a part of two “powerful pieces of gay theater.” Both Whizzer and Felicia have been Adam’s dream roles. Before Adam’s got to join the cast of “Falsettos,” he performed “The Games I Play” from act one of the play at the Broadway in Chicago Theater Festival. He caught the attention of William Finn, the lyricist behind the original script. “He actually said he normally hates ‘The Games I Play.’” Adams’ performance made Finn fall back in love with the song. In spite of such glowing praise from one his idols, Adams retells the anecdote with an almost understated tone. This same feeling of gratitude and sense of being a part of something bigger than himself permeates all discussions of Adams’ career. When asked about the different locations and venues he got to visit for the tour, Adams had a noted appreciation for being able to perform a classic gay play in places like Fayetteville, (Ark.), a “cute college town that probably wouldn’t have been able to have this play 10 years ago.” The ghost of the HIV crisis of the 1980s was especially impactful when the cast performed in San Francisco. “The magnitude of the play was felt by everyone when performing there,” Adams said. For those who are longtime fans of “Falsettos,” or Adams’ other roles, you cannot miss out on this performance. If you are just hearing about it from qnotes, tickets are on sale now. You might just fall in love with Whizzer and his dysfunctional, but loving family. : :

June 14-27, 2019




Navigating Immigration Law Bureaucracy Legal Eagles: LGBTGQ Families Find Significant Challenges BY Kariss Frank, attorney | guest WRITER

Immigration issues are challenging for LGBTQ families. (Photo Credit: Rawf8 via Adobe Stock)


It is no secret that the LGBTQ community has faced discrimination throughout history in the United States. Though the monumental decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a fundamental right to marriage and ultimately legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S., was a giant tally in the equal rights column, the fight for equality in many aspects of the law remains at issue. One example, specifically, is the discriminatory effect U.S. immigration laws have on non-traditional families whose children are born outside of the U.S., whether by choice or circumstance. This is issue that has come to a head recently — let’s take a look at the scope of the issue, and how LGBTQ families affected by current policy can navigate the bureaucratic waters. As it currently stands, Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) allows a child who is born outside of the U.S. to gain U.S. citizenship if his or her parents are married, and at least one parent is a U.S. citizen.1 The problem lies, however, in the U.S. State Department’s interpretation of Section 301. Though the statute does not explicitly include language requiring married parents to be biologically related to their child, the State Department, through its Foreign Affairs Manual, has interpreted the statute to require this.2 Consequently, absent a biological relationship to both parents, a child born “in wedlock” is seen as a child born “out of wedlock” in the eyes of the government. The result: children born in same-sex marriages are not allowed to obtain U.S. citizenship if they are born outside the U.S. and are biologically related to their non-citizen parent, despite the other parent being a U.S. citizen. Not only does this discount the legitimacy of the same-sex couple’s marriage, but the child’s parents are suddenly faced with additional obstacles as they are forced to look elsewhere under the INA to obtain citizenship for their child — an alternative that may bring about hurdles that are both emotionally and financially costly. Unfortunately, this was the case for married California couple, Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks. Andrew was a U.S. citizen, while his husband, Elad was not. While living in Canada, Andrew and Elad made the decision to grow their family with the help of assisted reproductive technology, and the couple welcomed twin boys in 2016. It was not until they attempted to obtain U.S. passports for their sons that they would face the discrimination of the INA firsthand. Despite the couple being married, and Andrew being a U.S. citizen, only one of their sons,


June 14-27, 2019

Aiden, was granted U.S. citizenship. Based on the State Department’s interpretation of Section 301, Ethan was denied U.S. citizenship because he was biologically related to Elad and not Andrew. In February of this year, the United States District Court of the Central District of California declined to follow the State Department’s interpretation of the statute, ruling that Section 301 does not require a child born to married parents to have a biological connection to both parents, and Ethan was granted citizenship.3 However, this happily-ever-after may be short-lived, as the State Department has announced their decision to appeal the ruling. As the future of this issue remains unsettled, LGBTQ families who are contemplating establishing their families beyond U.S. borders are left with few assurances as they engage in family planning. Without solid answers, couples remain limited in their ability to choose where their children are born and which of the parents must biologically contribute to guarantee that their child is born a U.S. citizen. Notwithstanding the many protections North Carolina law offers LGBTQ families, this is still an issue for those residing in our state. Federal law trumps our local laws, and the State Department’s website provides: “Even if local law recognizes a surrogacy agreement and finds that U.S. parents are the legal parents of a child conceived and born abroad through ART, if the child does not have a biological connection to a U.S. citizen parent, the child will not be a U.S. citizen at birth.”4 Therefore, until this is settled, North Carolina LGBTQ families must be aware of their rights and the current limitations in the law. Given the intricacies of this area of law, if you and your family are affected or may be affected by Sections 301 and 309 of the INA (Immigration Equality provides insights on this issue from a national perspective) (, it is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney to protect your interests and the future of your family. : : 1 8 U.S.C. § 1401 2 7 FAM 1131.2 3 Dvash-Banks v. Pompeo (2019) 4 Kariss Frank is an attorney in the Family Law practice area of Sodoma Law, based in the firm’s Charlotte, N.C. office. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.


Let’s Try Swimming Again

Health & Wellness: Dipping a Toe into the Dating Pool


BY Jack Kirven | qnotes contributor

I have generally tried to embody the s I type this at 2 p.m. on a Sunday, notion that transparency is healthy, and my date from last night is still that people will appreciate it and return passed out on the couch. Given it. I’ve face planted into this wall so many that he was blacked out and peed in the times that one point of fault I will still claim, bed (possibly ruining a $5,000 Tempuris that I’m purposefully naive about the Pedic mattress), I honestly don’t care if he lengths to which people will go to pretend wakes up and reads this over my shoulto be someone they are not. der. My roommate and his boyfriend Is it my fault that so many of the gay hurried home when I texted them in a bit men I have known (and frankly LGBTQ of a panic. So, now my latest blunder is people in general) have seriously unbalaffecting the day for three people — five, anced substance habits? No. It specifically if you include his parents. This 30-someisn’t my fault. I shouldn’t need to explain thing man-child literally told me to text that the incidence of addiction, depreshis parents to find out what I should do sion, suicide and other self destructive with him; they actually didn’t do anything behaviors are markedly more common to help, so three is a better count. amongst Queer folk than Straight. In fact, To complicate this further, he told me homophobes will often cite these sad last night (once he was plastered) that statistics as proof that being an LGBTQ we’d originally chatted online in 1999 — individual in and of itself is the innate literally 20 years ago. I have no memory quality that causes these situations. of this. He said meeting me has been the Bigots very conveniently ignore the fact fulfillment of one of his lifelong fantathat abuse, bullying and oppression have sies, that he is in “love, love, love” with a disproportionate effect on people in me, that this has been 20 years in the our community. Am I at fault that every making and that all he wants is to make Accepting that bad dates are not one’s fault creates major breakthroughs to mental wellness and a LGBTQ person who drinks and/or parties me happy. This is what I attract with better sense of self. (Photo Credit: theartofphoto via Adobe Stock) too much is doing it because they’re an alarming consistency. LGBTQ individual? No, of course not. That So, why is this in a wellness column? What do all these dating interactions have in common? isn’t the conflation I’m going to make. For one, I am forced once again to try to Me. Ergo it’s my fault. Well, that perspective about caution However, an assertion I am going to make that might understand how these situations keep happening, despite didn’t do anything to help me see how to avoid this. I think my best effort to filter out crazy people. In the past on this I’m going to look at how a lot of this, in fact, is not my fault. column I have taken the brunt of the fault upon myself. see Dating Pool on 16

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life Dating Pool

continued from page 15

❝ I would challenge everyone to look closely at their relationships with substances and how they affect their relationships with people. ❞ — Jack Kirven

offend some people is this: LGBTQ people are walking wounded. We can’t not be. It’s the default setting. Do I blame myself for this disastrous encounter? No, I do not. I acted in good faith. It wouldn’t be helpful or healthy for me to continue taking on the blame for situations that I don’t desire, create or facilitate. Do I blame him? Yes, he peed all over me while I was sleeping, and he was so drunk I couldn’t rouse him to make it stop. But is it helpful or healthy to single him out for all of my ire? No. I’m looking at him sleeping on my couch. He’s a physically attractive, charming person with elite level education in music from a wealthy family. So let’s break it down to the undergrad social justice warrior trope: He’s a hot, rich, white gay whose parents still bail him out of his unforced errors. I mean, right now my apartment smells like urine, and I may have to buy a new bed unexpectedly, and I want to blame something for this experience. Whether it’s accurate or not, I need to

channel this frustration away from myself, and I’m choosing to wonder why a person with all these privileges is acting like this. It’s a gross oversimplification, obviously, but I’m choosing to blame heteronormative patriarchy. You can make dozens of counterarguments (and probably nearly all of them are valid); however, in this moment all I know is that it isn’t contributing to my wellness to take responsibility for this. I want to know why it’s practically impossible to meet someone I’m attracted to who isn’t utterly broken. Why is this? Why, why, why? It will sounds like whining, but I’m mad, and I don’t care: This is not fair. In terms of bringing this back around to a Health and Wellness concept, I would challenge everyone to look closely at their relationships with substances and how they affect their relationships with people. One of the biggest reasons I don’t go out or date is specifically because so many gay men cannot have a good time sober. And I think it’s also important to ask ourselves not only why that would be, but also how we can help each other be simultaneously more critical and also more supportive. How can we nurture ourselves and each other, and how can we help and protect each other sooner so that these destructive behaviors become less and less prevalent? How do we lovingly, but firmly, create accountability? I’m being altruistic in this, and I’d like answers. I’m also being selfish, because I want to finally find a boyfriend who isn’t an abusive, cracked-out drunk. : : Jack Kirven completed the MFA in Dance at UCLA, and earned certification as a personal trainer through NASM. His wellness philosophy is founded upon integrated lifestyles as opposed to isolated workouts. Visit him at and



June 14-27, 2019


Demonic, Immoral and Shameful Living Tell Trinity

BY Trinity | CONTRIBUTING WRITER Hello Trinity, I’ve been dating this guy off and on for almost a year, but then… I met his brother. Now, I’ve been fooling around with his brother behind his back for a few months. Am I bad, or is it his brother’s fault too? Help! Brotherly Sins, Los Angeles, CA Hello Brotherly Sins, Now I know I’ve read this problem somewhere. Oh, yes, here it is in the book called, “Demonic, Immoral and Shameful Living” written by Satan himself just before descending into the underworld. In the chapter called “Ruining A Family Without A Conscience” it clearly states that, “When you sleep with or date two brothers at the same time behind their backs, any morals or standards that you thought you had no longer exist.” This chapter also touches on future karmic punishment, but that’s way too graphic to print. Darling, you better start sleeping with a weapon because this is not a love story… this is a revenge thriller. Speechless, Trinity

meaning of life anymore! Help! Sincerely, Lost, Tulsa, OK Dear Lost, Every so often even the most fabulous find themselves lost. Pumpkin, you must force yourself to conquer your loss for life by getting lots of sleep, keeping busy, intellectually challenging yourself, as well working on the next election and facing your fears constantly! (I do this daily and it’s empowering. Check out my cartoon to see how.)

Dear Trinity, The world is in such turmoil: the economy, the GOP’s war on the working class. The Putin/Trump love affair! I can’t find the



Hey Trinity, I caught my boyfriend in the bathroom at a circuit party with another guy for the second time. He said that they were just doing drugs. Why are gay men into drugs and sex at the bar even if they have someone special at home? Yours, Sex & Drugs, Detroit, MI Hey S & D, Some relationships are “win- win,” but this sounds more like “loser-loser!” Drugs and/or sex in the toilet stall also sounds like juvenile delinquency at its finest. Having a boyfriend doesn’t mean having his problems. This situation is way too Sid & Nancy (Vicious) for me, or you. Sweetie,

before you catch him a third time you need to tell him, “Make a fool of someone else… and good-bye!” Good luck, Trinity Dearest Trinity, I need to go to court, but my offense is not big enough to be appointed a lawyer. I need one, and I can’t afford one. Help! Lawyerless, Tucson, AZ Dearest Lawyerless, I may not have been born in a courtroom, but, honey, I’ve been in one many times for many reasons. So on those trying court days where you must go it alone, here are:

Trinity’s Trusty Tips For Winning in Court Without A Lawyer

 1. S  howing up ON TIME with a good attitude always works best.  2. Be very PREPARED with pictures, statements, witnesses and short, to-the-point answers.  3. Y  ou’re not in a foreign country where they flog you, so at least APPEAR grateful and RESPECTFUL to the judge, jury and the press.  4. L  ook PROFESSIONAL. Men: dress shirt, tie (optional), slacks, shoes. Women: two piece suits and hair UP!  5. If you have a law enforcement, post office, doctors or military uniform, WEAR IT!  6. P  ointing, throwing things or swearing in court is one way to be found GUILTY or in “Contempt of Court.”  7. I know you’re a gay rights, feminist, African-American, anti-establishment activist, but a courtroom is NOT the place to attack the SYSTEM.  8. Would you rather die right or live? Spend your time in court proving yourself innocent, not standing up for what’s right. (Review: Salem Witch Trials)  9. The more MONEY you have the better chance you have of getting out of trouble, so get it, borrow it or FIND IT if you can! 10. L  astly, our judicial system has major failures, but it’s what we have, so learn to MANIPULATE it rather than blame it! With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity hosted “Spiritually Speaking,” a weekly radio drama performed globally, and is now minister of sponsor, WIG: Wild Inspirational Gatherings, wigministries. org, Gay Spirituality for the Next Generation! Learn more at Send emails to:

space starting at $22: call qnotes for details 704.531.9988

June 14-27, 2019



events June 14-16 Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas

1215 Thomas Ave., Charlotte Times Vary Charlotte’s Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas draws over 5,500 notable dignitaries, elected officials and influential young professionals to the Queen City. This family-friendly event features music, educational exhibits, and local vendors.

June 15-16 Stonewall 50th Anniversary Rally + Celebration

Romare Bearden Park 300 S. Church St., Charlotte 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Charlotte Pride presents a community-wide rally and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots in Romare Bearden park. The rally will be followed by a retro dance party at Bar Argon. Charlotte Pride has created an open call for speakers and presenters which can be accessed online.

June 15 Mr. Gay Southeast America Pageantry Contest

Dillworth Neighborhood Grille 911 E. Morehead St., Charlotte 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Join Charlotte queen Buff Faye and reigning Mr. Gay America Judas Elliot for the fabulous Mr. Gay Southeast America Pageant. The event will feature dinner, a drag show and drinks. Tickets start at $12 and are available online.

June 17 The Underground Open Mic

Petra’s 1919 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte 8 p.m. The Underground Open Mic wel-

comes artists of all styles, genres, and skill level for a night of performance and fun. Proceeds will benefit the Underground Mobile Art Gallery, a community project that seeks to bring visual, musical, poetic, and graphic black artists to low-income Charlotte neighborhoods. Tickets are $5 and are available online.

June 19 Charlotte Black Pride Monthly Mixer

Hollywood Nights 7631 Sharon Lakes Rd., Charlotte 6:30 p.m. Charlotte Black Pride presents a night of red carpet walks, hookah and great drinks with friends. Admission is free, but guests are asked to register online.

June 20-June 30 Churchill’s Shorts

CAM/Raleigh 409 W. Martin St., Raleigh Times Vary Burning Coal Theatre Company and CAM/Raleigh present two short plays by acclaimed playwright Caryl Churchill. The plays will explore themes such as technology, family and the environment. Tickets are $15 and are available online.

June 21

Asheville Celebrates 50 Years of Pride

Eleven on Grove 11 Grove St., Asheville 6-10 p.m. Asheville celebrates 50 years of Pride with a fundraiser for Western North Carolina-area non-profits who help the community thrive. The event will include dinner, a Drag Show MC’d by Beer City Sisters, Abbey of All Souls and music from DJ Smiley. $10 donations are requested and can be made online.

June 22-29 Charlotte Caribbean Carnival

Various Times and Locations Charlotte’s week-long Caribbean

Submit your events:

festival will feature a wide variety of events including a children’s carnival, a Miss Charlotte Caribbean Carnival Queen pageant and various music and dance events. A highlight of the festival will be the June 29 AfroCarribean street parade, starting at 4 p.m. and ending in a carnival village where local, national and international talents will perform. A full listing of events and tickets are available online.

June 22 Upstate Pride Rally & Black Pride Festival

Falls Park 601 S. Main St., Greenville, S.C. 12-6 p.m. Upstate Pride presents their new Black Pride Festival. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our True Colors” and it will honor the queer people of color who sparked the modern LGBTQ rights movement in America. Admission is free.

June 22: ‘Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall’

June 23 Best of Broadway at Symphony Park

migrant communities. The event will feature live music, kid’s activities, and vendors from around the world. Admission is free.

Symphony Park 4400 Sharon Rd., Charlotte 8:15 p.m. The Charlotte Symphony presents a night of Broadway’s best-loved show tunes, including selections from “Grease,” “The Sound of Music,” and ”Wicked.” Tickets are free for youth 12 and under, $4.11 for youth 13-18 and $11.51 for adults and are available online.

June 23 Queens Who Brunch

Ink n Ivy 222 S. Church St., Charlotte 12 p.m. The Vanity House presents a brunch show featuring Paris Brooks Bonet, Kassandra Hylton, Crystal Guysir and Erica Chanel. Tickets start at $35 and are available online.

June 23 Pride Month Sunday Funday Social & Mixer

Hoppin’ 1402 Winnifred St., Charlotte 2-5 p.m. Charlotte Pride presents a laidback afternoon of new friends, drink specials and good conversation. Attendees will also be able to learn about upcoming Charlotte Pride activities and volunteer opportunities. Admission is free.

July 9-15: ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in the critically acclaimed musical “Hello, Dolly!” This new production has broken box office records and garnered praise in the media and from theatergoers. Tickets start at $25 and are available online. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte. Various Times.



June 14-27, 2019

June-July 2019

June 23 Durham Refugee Day 2019

Durham Central Park 501 Foster St., Durham 3-6 p.m. This family-friendly event celebrates Durham’s refugee and im-

The Common Woman Chorus and the Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus of Raleigh participate in a national, 25-city presentation of a new choral work commissioned by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the LGBT Center of Raleigh and the LGBTQ Center of Durham. Tickets start at $15 and are available online. The Carolina Theatre of Durham, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham. 8 p.m.

June 25-June 30 ‘Falsettos’

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center 130 North Tryon St., Charlotte Times Vary The groundbreaking, Tony Awardwinning musical “Falsettos” tells the story of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door. Tickets start at $25 and are available online.

June 25 Gay & Gray Cookout

Senior Resources of Guilford 1401 Benjamin Pkwy., Greensboro 6 p.m. As part of the Guilford Green Foundation’s ongoing Gay & Gray event series, join them for a good ‘ol fashion cookout. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be provided, but organizers are asking attendees to provide side dishes! For more information, email

June 26 Wine Down Wednesday

Mellow Mushroom 255 W. MLK Jr. Blvd., Charlotte 9 p.m. Onya Nerves presents a night of drag, food and wine featuring Lolita Van Dank, Gouda Judy, drag king Will Charmer and music by DJ Little Beatty. Tickets are $10 and are available online.

June 26 Watch Party for the

Democratic Debates

All American Pub 200 E Bland St., Charlotte 8-11 p.m. The Young Democrats of Mecklenburg County and Slate Charlotte offer the opportunity to watch the Democratic presidential primary debates with other interested Charlotteans. Admission is free.

June 27 Friends in Diversity

U.S. National Whitewater Center 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte 6:30-9 p.m. The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce presents Friends in Diversity, a celebration of Charlotte’s vibrant business community featuring a meet and greet, networking opportunities and complimentary hors d’ouevres. Admission is $15 for non-members and may RSVP at any time free of charge.

June 28 Ali Wong: The Milk & Money Tour

Ovens Auditorium 2700 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte 7 p.m. Comic Ali Wong brings her raunchy and insightful comedy to Charlotte. Tickets start at $39.50 and are available online.

July 12 Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Ovens Auditorium 2700 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte 8 p.m. The legendary Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons visit Charlotte with their unique blend of pop and rock. Tickets start at $57 and are available online.



Our People: Ames Simmons

Charlotte Latin Pride

Spanish-language support nights, second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., Charlotte Pride offices at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1900 The Plaza, Charlotte. info:

PFLAG Charlotte

Support meetings, second Monday of each month, 6:30-8 p.m., Time Out Youth Center, 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte. info:

Prime Timers

Monthly meeting including dinner, speaker, games and more for gay men ages 21 and up, 5-7 p.m., Park Road Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 3900 Park Rd., Charlotte. info:

Trans Youth Group

Weekly discussion groups for transgender youth ages 13-20 each Thursday, 4:30-6 p.m., 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte. info:

Transcend Charlotte

Support groups for partners, friends and family of transgender and gender non-conforming adults ages 18 and older, second and fourth Sundays of each month, 6-7 p.m., Time Out Youth Center, 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte. info:

Youth Drop-In Space

Drop-in space Monday-Friday, 3-6:30 p.m., 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte. info:

Youth Discussion Group

Weekly discussion groups for LGBTQ youth ages 13-20 each Wednesday, 6:308:30 p.m., 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte. info:

Youth of Color Group

Weekly discussion groups for LGBTQ and ally people of color each Thursday, 7-8:30 p.m., 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte. info:


Do you have a regular and reoccurring community event you’d like listed? A listing to update? Email us at editor@

Director of Trans Policy, Equality North Carolina


BY Camilla K. Cannon |qnotes staff WRITER

mes Simmons is a queer, transgender white man who serves as the first-ever director of Trans Policy at Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization. In his historic position, he uses an anti-violence, anti-oppression and transgender justice lens to advocate for transgender North Carolinians with the North Carolina General Assembly, the state’s executive and administrative agencies and local governments. He enjoys exploring North Carolina, learning about the legal dimensions of transgender policy in the U.S., and wowing President Barack Obama with his snazzy footwear. How long have you been in North Carolina? I’ve lived in North Carolina for the past two and a half years, but spent lots of time here as a young person growing up in Atlanta. I learned to ski at Sugar Mountain, rafted the Nantahala and spent time with my parents for the three years they lived in Asheville. You are the first-ever director of Trans Policy at Equality North Carolina. How did you get involved with public policy and what piece of advice would you give to trans and transsupporting folks looking to get into the field? My policy work began with reproductive justice organizing: when I was in college I was part of the formation of the Georgia Abortion Rights Action League chapter on campus. Fifteen years ago when Georgia adopted a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, I joined an active resistance movement as a volunteer, and the more volunteer organizing I did, the more I learned about policy issues affecting the LGBTQ community. I started attending conferences using vacation time from work, then being asked to speak on panels, then submitting my own workshops and that is something any trans person or ally could do — start with organizing, get in the mix of policy folks and see where it takes you.

What non-professional accomplishment are you most proud of? I was part of a flamenco dance company in Atlanta called Perla Flamenca. We had our own shows, but a lot of what we did was paid work in the community. I stopped dancing because of a stress fracture that required foot surgery, but I would love to revisit flamenco as a trans man and be dancing again in this tradition based on resistance to oppression. Lately, the news has been full of some dire information concerning the treatment of trans and gender non-conforming Americans, including hate crimes, emboldened anti-trans speech and of course anti-trans legal maneuvers from the executive branch on down. However, wherever there’s anti-trans oppression, there’s trans folks banding together for support and solidarity. What current activist movement in North Carolina most excites you? There is such a rich history of activism, civil rights, and resistance in North Carolina, and growing out of that I am especially excited by Rev. Barber’s national work with the Poor People’s Campaign, led here locally by a black trans woman co-chair. I also believe strongly in supporting youth-led movements like Ignite NC. What is your ideal alone-in-the-car, tinted-windows-so-no-onecan-see-you lipsync song? It’s definitely Michael Jackson, but it shifts between “Man in the Mirror” and “Scream” depending on what is going on that day!

Who is one of your trans heroes and why? This weekend at the National Trans Bar Association mentorship summit, I got to spend time with one of my heroes, Kylar Broadus, who was the first transgender person to testify in congressional hearings about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2012. From being raised in Missouri as a “corn-fed farm boy,” to use his words, to heading up the National Black Justice Coalition and the Trans People of Color Coalition, he is a great possibility model for trans people and really any people.

What is the most valuable thing that being trans has taught you? In one word, the most valuable thing that being trans has taught me is resilience — in the words of trans pioneer Miss Major Griffin Gracy, “I’m still f*cking here.” When I first began to understand my transness almost 11 years ago, the first thing I thought was, there is no way I can do this and I cannot tell another living soul. While I was able to navigate many obstacles because of unearned advantage I have as a white person, the number and size of the obstacles was daunting, but over time and with the help of community, I’m figuring it out.

What is your brightest memory? In 2011, I had the opportunity to meet President Obama at a fundraising dinner, and I was wearing red patent leather loafers with my tuxedo. I was completely star-struck when I got to shake his hand, and any smart or interesting questions or comments I might’ve had flew right out of my head. In his usual casual style, as I walked away, President Obama called after me, “Oh hey — nice shoes!”

What do you hope to accomplish next? I would love to pursue an advanced degree like an LLM in gender identity and the law, and possibly teach it someday. It is thrilling that more and more law schools are offering classes about transgender people, but they are usually elective readings courses, and I believe there is enough cutting-edge civil rights jurisprudence in this area for gender identity to be a black-letter, full-credit legal course. : :

June 14-27, 2019





June 14-27, 2019

Profile for QNotes

QNotes, June 14, 2019  

Pride Month and Stonewall's 50th Anniversary observance are in high gear and as part of our coverage of events past, present and future, we...

QNotes, June 14, 2019  

Pride Month and Stonewall's 50th Anniversary observance are in high gear and as part of our coverage of events past, present and future, we...

Profile for qnotes