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July 13-26 . 2018





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Time Out Youth Center to begin online chat support for LGBTQ young people page 4



news & features

The mom’s boyfriend said her son might grow up tonews. be gay. arts. entertainment. views. Now he’s accused of his murder. June 25 -

arts. news. views. Briefs   4 entertainment. News Notes: Regional

  5 News Notes: U.S./World Briefs   6 News Notes: Quick Hits   7 Survey details LGBTQ finances

a&e / life&style   8 10 10 11 14 17 18 19

A Night with a Queen Queer TV Shows Drag Race crowns new queen International Drag Day Health & Wellness Tell Trinity Q Events Calendar Our People: Vanity House

opinions & views 13 Legal Eagles




Online Support

Local groups mark National HIV Testing Day across Carolinas June 26 -

more news & features …

4,000 potentially exposed in Charlotte Hepatitis A outbreak June 27 - United Kingdom to ban gay conversion therapy July 5 -

Health & Wellness

Legal Eagles

My 8-week birthday fitness challenge page 14

Devising a plan for when the baby arrives page 13

Review: Sam Smith had a ‘very depressing’ problem on his hands. So how’d he solve it? July 9 -

July 13-26 . 2018




qnotes connect July 13-26, 2018 Vol 33 No 06

arts. entertainment. news. views.

contributors this issue

Russ A. Brinson , Matt Comer, Torie Dominguez, Jack Kirven, Robin M. Lalley, Lainey Millen, Trinity, Shane Windmeyer

front page

Graphic Design by Matt Comer Photography: Peter Kim via Adobe Stock


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, Social Media Manager: Matt Comer, Copy Editor: Torie Dominguez, Staff Writer: Matt Comer, Production: Lainey Millen, x205, Printed on recycled paper.

Material in qnotes is copyrighted by Pride Publishing & Typesetting © 2018 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

upcoming issues: 07.27.18: Focus on the LGBTQ Family Advertising Space Deadline: July 18 08.10.18: Charlotte Pride / InFocus Charlotte: Newcomer & Resource Guide Advertising Space Deadline: Aug. 1



July 13-26 . 2018

news notes: carolinas compiled by Lainey Millen :: qnotes staff

Time Out Youth partnering on pilot teen online initiative CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center Executive Director Rodney Tucker announced the launch of a pilot program, Q Chat Space, to provide online support groups for LGBTQ teens in collaboration with CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers. Q Chat Space is an online space where teens will join live, chat-based, facilitated support groups. The program gives youth safe opportunities to connect with each other, in spaces moderated by trusted adults, within a structure that encourages compassionate interactions and discourages bullying and harassment, the center shared. “In addition to the hundreds of new youth that we have seen since moving to our new physical location at 3800 Monroe Rd., I am well aware that there are numerous youth who just can’t come in to our center because they live too far away, can’t get a ride, or are just not ready to take that step,” Tucker said. “When the center was approached about the opportunity to pilot Q Chat Space, I knew that we had to make it happen for all of those youth. Creating an online presence for our center is a natural fit to increase our ability to impact youth in the Carolinas.” According to a report by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), “Out

Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet,” LGBTQ youth report that they have more online friends than do non-LGBTQ youth and that they are using the Internet to connect with other LGBTQ individuals specifically. In addition, online spaces may offer LGBTQ youth new opportunities for being open about their LGBTQ identities. More than one in 10 LGBTQ youth said that they had first disclosed their LGBTQ identity to someone online, and more than one in four LGBTQ youth said they were more out online than in person. “Q Chat Space aims to leverage young people’s current digital behaviors while also creating a new and safer space where they can receive support and information without fear,” stated Lora Tucker, CEO of CenterLink (no relation to Rodney Tucker). “We’re proud to be partnering with Time Out Youth as we move forward with Q Chat Space, and we’re excited to see how they can help us to expand and enhance the program.” Time Out Youth will begin offering the online groups every Monday with a future goal of additional opportunities for youth to chat in

Photo Credit: Tatty via Adobe Stock

the future. The first group was held on July 2 and gave participating youth an opportunity to get acquainted with each other. Topics for the group in the following weeks include Coming Out, Labels and Language and LGBTQ+ Representation in Media. “By filling a crucial and unmet need for accessible and safe support groups, Q Chat Space will make a vital and even life-saving difference for vulnerable adolescents,” TOY’s Tucker stated. “Time Out Youth is honored to help pilot this important work.” For more information about Time Out Youth Center or the pilot of Q Chat Space, email info:

Ward included in bike-share feature CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte B-Cycle’s Executive Director Dianna Ward left her imprint on a news story by Carolina Public Press about bike-share programs across the state. Her company provides docked bikes throughout Center City and neighboring locations. Users can become a member in one of three ways: a 24-hour pass for $8; an option for $9.99 which entitles one to unlimited 120-minutes monthly; and an annual membership for $100. With each, riders are asked to dock their bike every two hours to avoid a $4 usage fee. Ward, an LGBTQ community member, was the first to offer the ever-increasing popular bike-share program to the Queen City. Her non-profit was launched in 2012 (see “Pop a wheelie with these summer cycling excursions” at to gain some history about the organization and experience qnotes staff writer Matt Comer’s ride with Ward back in 2015, in addition to reading the Our People Q&A at to learn more about Ward). It is managed by Center City Partners. Charlotte B-Cycle is part of the BCycle nationwide network. Since the introduction of bike-sharing in Charlotte, four more companies have ventured into the scene. Throughout the city, one can see yellow (ofo), green (LimeBike), red (Mobike) and orange (Spin) dockless, GPS-equipped bikes dotting the landscape. Riders simply pull up an app on their phone, pay for time and unlock the bike and head off for errands, a relaxed adventure or any one of a number of other reasons to enjoy the day while getting fit. Unlike B-Cycle which requires that bikes be returned to a rack, bikes can be left either upright using a kickstand or simply left on the ground.

For now, other areas around the state that have bike-share programs are Durham and Winston-Salem, as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Raleigh is entering the fray and Asheville is also considering adding the program and is collecting data in a feasibility study that should be completed by the end of the year. The Charlotte Observer previously reported that complaints against the dockless companies included ones on blocked sidewalks and bikes being left on private property. Pilot program bikes have incurred vandalism and others have received damages. “In Charlotte, as with most of our cities, we work in partnership with the city,” said Laura Andrews, communications manager for BCycle. Stray bikes have caused some problems. In Durham this spring, on a particularly windy day, free-standing bikes available to share were found piled up throughout downtown. According to news reports, more than 1,500 dockless bikes are available in Durham. Jordan Levine, communications manager for ofo, which operates in both Charlotte and Durham, said bike providers work to mitigate these problems before they become a public nuisance. “We have a local operations team on the ground and software that tracks the bike,” Levine said.

Dianna Ward “We can tell the location of a bike at any time. Our operations managers on the back end are getting all of this information locally. We can rebalance our bikes to make sure they’re in the proper areas. If they’re in the right of way, we can move them.” A one-year pilot program using the four companies is being tested and evaluated by the Charlotte Department of Transportation for its viability. Each permitted operator is limited to a fleet of up to 500 bikes within the city limits. They are also responsible for equipment safety, maintenance, operations, parking and data sharing as outlined by the city’s permit requirements. The conclusion of the pilot year ends in October when city staff will gather information in its evaluation process to determine what its next steps will be. info:

see next page u

Triad Center creates directory resource

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The North Star LGBTQ Center, 930 Burke St., has announced that it is collecting listings for its Rainbow Directory. The resource is open to businesses or organizations that are friendly and affirming to LGBTQ individuals. Listing include, but are not limited to those who are healthcare professionals, lawyers, educational groups or any other business establishment. From restaurants to insurance to car parts, all are welcome. By being a part of the directory, LGBTQ individuals are able to find a resource that is open to working with the community. To get listed, visit and complete the online form. In other news, the center is holding a LGBTQ young professionals hang out for its newly-named group, Quinston, on July 19, 5:30 p.m., at Fair Witness, 290 East 4th. St. Sign up at For the middle and high schoolers, a dropin at the center will be held on July 16, 6:30 p.m., for those ages 14-20. Then on July 21, 3 p.m., enjoy a youth social. The center is holding Safe Zone trainings on July 18 and Aug. 7 at 5 p.m., July 29, 1 p.m. and Aug. 25, 2 p.m. The free, two-hour small-group workshops provide an opportunity for community members to engage in activities and discussions to learn more about diversity and explore conversations around gender, sexuality and identity.

To attend, email to secure a spot. The Vets Peer Support Group will have upcoming meetings on July 17 and July 31 at 7 p.m. at the center. Spend time with fellow LGBTQ veterans while socializing, engaging in discussions and supporting one another. info:

South Carolina Affinity open house slated

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Affinity Health Center announced that it will celebrate the opening of its new facility, located in the Tech Park South at 455 Lakeshore Pky., with an open house on July 26 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend this event, to tour the facility and participate in the ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. Heavy hor d’oeuvres and drinks will be served. Affinity’s new facility will include a full-time dental clinic, an on-site pharmacy and expanded access to medical care for all ages. Affinity provides primary care, counseling, HIV services, Hepatitis C treatment and free testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Services are provided at discounted rates, based on income. The center has four locations throughout York County, including sites in Clover, Fort Mill and York. It provides care for anyone, regardless of income or insurance status. No one is turned away due to inability to pay. Affinity is accepting new patients of all ages, including those without insurance and individuals with Medicaid or Medicare. For more

information or to schedule an appointment, call 803-909-6363. info:

Carolinas Quick Hits The North Carolina Gay + Lesbian Film Festival organizers have announced that its 2018 event will be held from Aug. 16-19 in Durham, N.C. More details will be available in an upcoming issue once they are available. info: Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte will hold its “Pronoun: A noun in disguise” workshop on July 21, 5 p.m., at 7121 Orr Rd. The church will also be baking cookies on Aug. 2 for its BBQ Fundraiser that will be held on Aug. 4. info: Hickory, N.C.-based AIDS Leadership Foothills-Area Alliance has announced its new Bridges program that assists the community in treating hepatitis C and getting on PrEP is now available. It is lead by April Wells, a new staff member for the organization, who will serve as the HepC and PrEP patient navigator. info: Northeast North Carolina Progressives held their second annual PrideFest in Elizabeth City, N.C. on June 24. The event was spread out along Mariners’ Wharf Park during the afternoon hours. It included vendors, food trucks, activities for children, speakers and more. “… events like PrideFest aren’t just meant to be


fun, but to make a statement about inclusion and affirmation,” NENC Progressives Secretary Catherine Cunningham and President Christina Persico told The Daily Advance. “We’re trying to create the inclusive community we want to live in,” Persico added. info: Charleston, S.C.’s Alliance for Full Acceptance retiring president Kelley Doherty has offered her thanks to the community saying, “To all our wonderful members and supporters, I want to thank you for the countless things you’ve done to support AFFA and its critical work on behalf of LGBTQ equality. I’ve had the pleasure of being Board President since 2016 and watching the organization hit exciting new strides and take on many pressing matters that weren’t always as well-known as marriage equality. My journey with and on behalf of AFFA is one I characterize as ‘constantly transitional.’” info: Imani Metropolitan Community Church will have a Prayer Night/Shut-In on July 27 beginning at 7:30 p.m. and continuing through to the next morning at 3602 C-View St., Durham, N.C. The church will also have a yard sale on Aug. 11. info: Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes:

news notes: u.s./world compiled by Lainey Millen :: qnotes staff

Name change reflects global focus

OAKLAND, Calif. — Over a decade after The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) was founded, the organization has announced that it has changed its name to MPact: Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights. The Oakland-based organization, originally created to bring the challenges of men who have sex with men back into global conversations around HIV, has gradually expanded their work over the years. The name change is representative of global shifts in the HIV and international development landscapes to larger issues of sexual and reproductive health and human rights, including the rights of LGBTI people. MPact says their focus on men who have sex with men has not changed, but rather their strategies for addressing this community’s unique issues has fundamentally shifted over the years as attitudes toward LGBTQ people have as well. “To address the escalating incidence of HIV, we must reframe our approach using sexual health and rights as our guiding principles. This means facing the root causes of health disparities head-on,” said Co-Founder

and Executive Director George Ayala. “For gay and bisex­ual men, this includes decriminalizing homosexuality, ending homophobic violence, and combatting stigma and discrimination. It also means redressing economic disparities, challenging gender inequities, and confronting racism— each of which undermines the human rights of gay and bisexual men.” The agency says their new name better reflects the mission and goal of the organization — to impact the lives of gay and bisexual men around the world. It also signals the need for “unapologetically bolder, more forwardthinking solutions” to the sexual health and rights needs of gay and bisexual men — solutions that will get the world more quickly to the end of AIDS. On July 22, MPact will host a pre-meeting ahead of the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam titled “Out With It” which focuses on supporting 12 teams of youth-led innovative solutions to the sexual health and rights of gay and bisexual men. info:

news notes continued on next page u July 13-26 . 2018



news notes: quick hits compiled by Lainey Millen :: qnotes staff sending the message to LGBTQ youth that there is nothing wrong with them, that they are loved and valued as they are. This is far from the final word on this issue. GLAD will continue working with our local partners to ensure the dangerous practice is stopped. It’s too important to young people across the state not to continue fighting for them to simply be themselves, and to know they are supported and cherished without having to change a fundamental and beautiful part of who they are. GLAD has worked this session with EqualityMaine, the ACLU of Maine, the Maine Women’s Lobby, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign and other state and local partners to advance this legislation in Maine. info:

Lesbian partners, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, 32, and WNBA basketball pro Sue Bird, 37, have become the first LGBTQ couple to grace the cover of ESPN magazine’s front cover for its body issue. The two posed sans clothing in the historic event. Other photographs in the feature spread included ones of them with a basketball and soccer ball in action poses, wooden shots taken in the Seattle wooded outdoors, showcasing muscle and agility in online videos and more. Bird told SBNation’s The UCONN Blog that feedback from her appearance was 99.9 percent positive. Those who had issue with the magazine disliked the naked bodies more than anything. Bird added, “It’s celebrating the athlete body and what it takes to be an athlete, and all the time and care you put into it and a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “We all look different if you look at that magazine. You see all different body types but at the end of the day it’s people taking care of themselves to perform at the highest level.” Another gay athlete featured in the issue is Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon. info: LGBTQ researcher Dr. Yolanda Graham has been named Georgia Psychiatrist of the Year by the George Psychiatric Association. info: GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has decried Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage for his veto of a conversion therapy ban. GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu issued the following statement: “ [the] heartless and dangerous action by Governor LePage leaves Maine’s youth at risk. There is a clear consensus in the professional medical and mental health community about the serious harms conversion therapy causes LGBTQ youth. Governor LePage had an opportunity to protect Maine youth from these harms, and to ensure parents are not misled into subjecting their children to an unsafe and ineffective so-called “treatment.” Instead, the governor has sent a signal that the risk of hurting LGBTQ youth is acceptable. Thirteen other states, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, have already banned the practice, including neighboring New Hampshire where Governor Sununu signed a bill just last month. This is not a partisan question. It’s about



July 13-26 . 2018

GLSEN Visionary Award winner David Henry Jacobs made a surprise announcement at the Respect Awards- New York, giving the entire GLSEN community the chance to help raise a total of $2 million in support of GLSEN’s impact in local communities everywhere. ”Here I am with you as the storm rages on, excited to know that all of you can and will be part of GLSEN’s Campaign for Local Impact in your own way,” Henry said in announcing his new commitment, “I encourage you all to continue using your time, your talent, and your treasure to support GLSEN’s value.” info: The NLGJA - The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announces the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards and recognized exemplary work produced in 2017. The highest individual awards, NLGJA Journalist of the Year and Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year, were awarded to Ronan Farrow and Diane Anderson-Minshall, respectively. They join 30 other awardees from one special recognition and six other award categories. info: University of California San Francisco researchers Mitchell R. Lunn, M.D. and Juno Obedin-Maliver, M.D., MPH are conducting the first-ever longitudinal health research study of LGBTQ adults in the U.S. The main question the team wants to answer over many years is: “How does being a sexual or gender minority influence physical, mental, or social health?” Those who may enroll must live in the U.S. or its territories, identify as LGBTQ and be 18 years old or older. Enrollment is available online at (click on “Join Today” button) or by calling 855-421-9991 (or 415-476-4221 if calling from the U.S. Virgin Islands or American Samoa). info: pridestudy@ Community Marketing & Insights has released its 12th Annual LGBTQ Community Survey report which includes 40,460 respondents from the LGBTQ communities in 151 countries. More than 200 LGBTQ media, events and organizations worldwide partnered with CMI in this year’s study, helping to gain wide represen-

tation from across the community. A sample of 2018 key findings of 18,743 LGBTQ individuals living in the U.S. shows that 76 percent of LGBTQ community members fear there will be a roll back of recent LGBTQ equality gains in the coming year. Other statistics include ones on support, equality, business, Pride events, among others. info: Ashley Hobbs, a photographer based in rural Virginia, is currently shooting a visual story-telling project called Discovering Gender. “The project highlights (and advocates for) the humanity of gender non-conforming individuals through a combination of photography and personal narrative,” Hobbs shared. “We are currently recruiting gender non-conforming (in identity/presentation) individuals that are interested in helping educate, empower and encourage others by sharing their own unique stories and images across a variety of digital and/or print platforms. It is the mission of the Discovering Gender Project to showcase gender non-conforming individuals from all walks of life in a positive, humanizing, and uplifting way,” Hobbs added. Hobbs’ wife Jessica Simmons is also involved in the project. info: discoveringgenderproject.wordpress. com/theproject. The GLBT Historical Society’s current newsletter on saving LGBTQ neighborhoods, aka “gayborhoods,” includes an interview with Amin Ghaziani, author of “There Goes the Gayborhood?” which was published in 2015. info: RespectAbility celebrated Pride Month by highlighting the intersection of disability and LGBTQ individuals on its social media channels and said it will continue to recognize their important contributions on a regular basis. Of note is that among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, 30 percent of men and 36 percent of women also identify as having a disability. Several RespectAbility Fellows and staff members who identify as being part of both the LGBTQ and disability communities wrote personal reflections which are available online. info: “Queer Eye” cast members Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, and Antoni Porowski were interviewed for the August issue of Glamour magazine which is now on newsstands. The quintet underwent an audition process that included “three-day ‘Hunger Games’-style audition rounds that included group exercises, interviews and chemistry tests. Producers shifted through thousands of applicants to narrow down its search process to 300 for the auditions. info:


Hornet debuted its “True Colors” campaign to celebrate the inspiring stories of LGBTQ individuals whose relationships propagated the advancement of the community by “living boldly and fighting courageously” despite enormous risks and societal opposition. info: In order to ensure every voice is heard this November, the Democratic National Committee has launched an LGBTQ Voting Rights Toolkit to help answer common LGBTQ-specific voting concerns. “Now more than ever, with LGBTQ people under attack from Republicans and the administration rolling back the progress we have made, LGBTQ people must get out and vote,” the party stated. “Stonewall showed us that speaking up against abuses is the only way to achieve change. With voting rights and LGBTQ rights under attack by this administration, the Democratic Party is proud to stand with LGBTQ people and ensure that every voice is heard this November,” said party Chair Tom Perez. “The DNC’s LGBTQ Voting Rights Toolkit gives someone the resources they need to make sure they aren’t turned away at the polls because of who they are or who they love. Too much is at stake this November, especially for the LGBTQ community, for any voter to stay home.” info: Equality Florida has reported that fear is growing that a serial killer is targeting Jacksonville, Fla.’s transgender community. Since February, four transgender women of color have been shot with only one of them surviving. The cases remain unsolved. The organization said that law enforcement continues to misgender the victims. Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality and Chair of TransAction Florida Gina Duncan has been working along with local transgender advocacy groups to educate the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), offering transgender cultural competency training and resources to give law enforcement the most effective way to respond to violence against transgender individuals. On June 26, the JSO contacted Equality Florida to say they are considering the same Department of Justice-sanctioned training that other agencies have undergone. info: GLAAD held a first-of-its-kind, three-hour telethon broadcast called “Pride Live” which streamed live on June 29 on GLAAD’s YouTube channel. The brainchild of award-winning comedian and GLAAD board member Hannah Hart, the interactive variety program harnessed the power of celebrities and social media to raise $50,000 for LGBTQ youth. One-hundred percent of proceeds raised will go toward GLAAD’s youth initiatives, including their Amp Your Voice campaign which empowers LGBTQ young people to speak up, speak out, register to vote and then take the issues that matter most to them to the polls on Nov. 6. info: Cyndi Lauper and the True Colors Fund, in partnership with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, unveiled the State Index on Youth Homelessness — a first-ofits-kind resource that evaluates all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness. The two organizations have also launched a campaign to empower the public to contact their governors to improve their state’s index scores. info:



LGBTQ community financial habits, attitudes survey commissioned Experian Inc. releases partial results by Torie Dominguez :: qnotes staff writer


n the run-up to Pride Month 2018, international credit reporting firm Experian Inc. commissioned an online survey to investigate the financial habits and attitudes of LGBTQ individuals. The study compared the responses of 500 individuals who identified as LGBTQ with those of 500 who did not, while also examining differences among age groups in each population. All respondents were at least 25 years old. Although the company has elected not to publish the results in their entirety, its own report of its findings cites enough data to reveal at least one overarching theme: that family dynamics play a major role in determining an individual’s economic circumstances and priorities, especially if that individual is a member of the LGBTQ community. In particular, Experian’s new statistics seem compatible with the widely held theory that LGBTQ people are both less likely to have children and less likely to enjoy close relationships with their families of origin. This

can mean greater anxiety across multiple age brackets, with the company’s analysis hinting most strongly at the concern among LGBTQ elders that their amassed retirement savings must be sufficient to compensate for a lack of support from relatives. With regard to retirement housing, for instance, an aging person long estranged from their family might not only bear the financial burden without contributions from children, nieces or nephews, but also find themselves forced to enter assisted living earlier than would have been the case if family members had been present to provide physical care. By way of compensation, remaining childless offers the same benefit to queer people as to the millions of cis-het adults who choose not to become parents: freedom. Saving on diapers and college textbooks leaves more money for short-term discretionary purchases like entertainment, as well as long-term lifestyle investments, such as a more expensive home. But where family relationships, or the lack thereof, can present opportunities as well as challenges, there is one influence on the

financial lives of LGBTQ people that is exclusively destructive: discrimination. Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ people surveyed stated that they had suffered financially because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For 13 percent of respondents, those trials included open harassment while on the job. Critically, discrimination makes itself felt on both the income and spending sides of the financial equation. Even as more than one in 10 individuals report having missed out on a job, a promotion or a pay raise, a similar number say discrimination on the basis of their LGBTQ identity has forced them to accept increased housing costs. Yes, Experian’s published summary of its recent findings leaves much unsaid, and many questions unanswered. Yes, it can be argued that simply releasing the full results of its study — specifically, the responses of non-LGBTQ

Photo Credit: Masson via Adobe Stock

participants — would have allowed for a deeper understanding not merely of the financial lives of LGBTQ individuals, but of the ways in which the fact of identifying as LGBTQ shapes those circumstances, with more data to support, or to alter, subsequent conclusions. Even so, the report as it stands is a place to start. : :

July 13-26 . 2018




A Night with a Queen How a night with Skylar Michele-Monet increased my respect and appreciation for drag by Matt Comer :: qnotes staff writer


y friends have always made fun of me for wanting to go out to the bars way too early. It’s true. I’ll admit it. I’m always impatient for the fun to start. But walking into Chasers on a recent Saturday night at 8 p.m. was too much for even me. Not so for Bryan Black, the 32-year-old man behind the “Glitter Queen” stage performer Skylar Michele-Monet.

Bryan Black (right) with his boyfriend Brandon Addison before he transforms into his stage performer persona Skylar Michele-Monet.

With a couple of suitcases in hand and the largest traveling make-up case I’ve ever seen, Bryan walked into Chasers to meet me about 15 minutes after I’d arrived. A few courteous hellos and a shot of whiskey with Black started out our evening, heading back to the dressing room where he would slowly undergo transformation into Skylar. I’ve always admired drag — at least from a distance. I don’t know much about it, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you any of the names of this season’s contestants on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” It’s entertaining, but I give it only a passing thought or appreciation. And that’s where Bryan comes in. My job on this sticky summer Saturday night was simple: shadow Bryan, get to know him, learn more about the art form he takes so seriously and give readers a tiny behind-thescenes glance at life as a local queen. Bryan’s a friendly personality — the kind you can immediately identify the moBryan Black applies makeup, wig and attire to become the ‘Glitter Queen’ stage performer Skylar Michele-Monet, shown here in process and in completion of the illusion.



July 13-26 . 2018

ment you meet them. I could tell it from the moment he walked into the door, smile a’blazing across his face. And, luckily for me, he’s a talker, too. There was certainly no shortage of answers to the bazillion questions I threw at him that evening. The transformation begins Once back in the dressing room, Bryan settled onto a bar stool in front of the mirror and began sifting through his mammoth make-up case. We started simple. You know — name, age, where Bryan had grown up. And Bryan’s love of artistic pursuits. Turns out, he had been a national champion dancer — clogging, to be exact — as a teenager. “By the age of 13, I’d won every title I could,” he said. He got started when he was four. His aunt had been a member of local clogging group. “Anytime they had a recital or competition, I was always the one in the audience in the middle of the aisle dancing along with them on the stage,” Bryan recalled. His mom asked him if he wanted to dance like his aunt, and he took her up on the offer. As a kid, dancing was Bryan’s way of getting attention and standing out from under his older

brother’s shadow, he says. His father had been a “sports guru,” he said. Both sides of his family had all gone to the same high school. “My dad literally held every single baseball record and every single football record you could hold,” Bryan explained. “My brother followed in those footsteps. I was never a big sports guy. I played, but I wasn’t into it a lot. I could get my attention by dancing and being on stage.” After winning his several clogging championships, Bryan turned to hip hop, contemporary and jazz. He says he even tried a little tap dancing before putting a short pause on his need to be on stage. All that desire to entertain and perform, though, came rushing back when Bryan saw his first drag show. “The first time I went to a gay bar and saw my first drag show I was 15 years old,” he said. “I can still remember the exact show it was. Three legendary divas. Instantly, I loved it — the whole dramatic, theatrical look of it.” By this time in our conversation, Bryan already had several make-up layers applied to his face. “When I first started doing drag, my make-up took me three hours to get ready,” he said as he picked up a glue stick. “What in the world is the glue for,” I asked him, stopping him mid-sentence. Flattening down his eyebrows, he explained. “If you don’t use enough, little hairs will start popping up through your foundation.” It’s been 11 years since Bryan first performed drag at a Scorpio’s talent show. Today, he’s cut his make-up time down to about an hour. Then it’s just another 25 or 30 minutes’ or so worth of pads, tights, the dress and finally the wig. It’s an incredible transformation, really, seeing Bryan slowly, methodically turn into Skylar. The process even now makes Bryan feel special. “The whole transformation aspect, it just blows me away,” he chatted. “The amount of make-up and what you have to do and

then all of a sudden you’ve gone from having these really manly features and then you come out looking like a very feminine woman.” And that’s exactly what happened. As our first hour together came and went and Bryan finished getting dressed, it didn’t even seem quite right for me to keep calling him Bryan. Skylar, it would have to be. Drag as an art For Skylar, drag is pure art, and certainly an under-appreciated one. And, like any art, there’s plenty of disagreement on exactly what it is or should be. Skylar has a more open and inclusive appreciation of his chosen art form. “Some people are drag queens. Some people identify as female impersonators,” he said. “But, really, what is the difference between a beauty queen versus a cisgender femme queen versus a king or a male lead or a gender-fluid performer on stage? We’re already in such an inclusive community, why would we try to separate or divide inside the drag community?” That Skylar believes a drag queen can be a female-identified person just as well as a maleidentified person isn’t without controversy. Some drag queens insist that drag, in its purest form, is about female impersonation and illusion, and being male is a necessary prerequisite for that illusion to take form. Skylar says there’s a generational difference. Drag has evolved, he says, and what drag means will be different depending on who you ask. “Drag as an art form to me is representing something that is inside of you, but is not on the outside on an every day basis,” he said. “Drag means you can be creative.” And that’s an art, Skylar says, which should be open to all people. One of his own “drag children” is a cisgender woman, he says. As Skylar wrapped up his preparation, I became more and more curious about exactly what it takes to transform Bryan into Skylar. All the accessories, the dresses, the wigs and make-up — $1,000 worth of it in his gigantic case alone — it just seemed so much. Custom dresses can start at $125, he said, and only go up from there. He showed me a dress he’d brought this Saturday evening that he said cost $350. Anyone looking to start drag for the first time is in for some sticker shock. “To startup, to get the full experience, you’re going to have to spend at least $600 or $700 the first time to get all your make-up, your hair, costumes and jewelry,” he said. “It’s an expensive hobby, but you have to treat it like a business,” Bryan added. That’s exactly what Bryan does. He began doing drag full-time two years ago. Bookings were keeping him busy three or four nights a week, some of them out of town. “I was having to take time off from my regular job, so I just made the decision that if I was working this so much already, I’d just do it full-time,” he recalled.

venues where they should be able to go and enjoy themselves and feel safe and welcome, but now they can’t because they feel like they have to take a side. We should be one community, instead of people having to worry about not being able to go to this bar or that bar. It should never be about that.” Yes, the bar wars are a real thing. Drag queens themselves, Skylar said, will have to be the ones responsible for ending them. “Drag queens are going to have to take a stand and all be together for once,” Skylar said, his voice slightly rising with passion. “Literally standing up and saying, ‘Look, this is going to happen. We want to be one community and until that happens, here’s what we’re going to do.’” Making change will be hard for most queens, though. “If I say I can’t work in my hometown until things change, then I can’t pay my bills,” Skylar said. Skylar’s boyfriend, Brandon Addison, has seen the drama, too. He doesn’t like it either, and he stands by Skylar.

“He always says to keep a smile on your face and keep it professional,” Brandon told me. I saw a lot of myself in Brandon as I chatted with him. Four years ago, when the two first met, he couldn’t stand that Skylar did drag. “At first, I really hated it. I despised it,” Brandon said. It really all stemmed from a lack of knowledge or familiarity, really. Seeing his boyfriend grow in his art form has changed Brandon’s perspective. He respects it now, appreciates it more fully. “It’s about giving your all,” Brandon said. “Whether it’s a good show or a bad show or there’s a crowd or not a crowd, you still have to give it your all every single show. There’s been some shows where there’s only five people in the crowd, and he’s still gone out there and flipped and kicked and everything, and it was a great show.” In case you’re wondering, there were more than five people at Chasers that evening. And, yes, Skylar gave a phenomenal show. After spending so much time with Skylar and


Brandon prior to the show, I certainly found myself feeling more and more appreciation and respect for the art. Earlier in the evening, before Bryan transformed into Skylar, he had told me a little about what had first attracted him to drag. He’d thought the idea was crazy, at first. But all the good vibes and energy he had felt as a clogging kid back in Gaston County came flooding back to him whenever he took the stage the first time. It’s a feeling, he says, he still has now. “I can dance and just be on the stage,” Brandon said. “It’s where I feel comfortable. When I step onto the stage, it fills a void. Like a lot of performers, when I’m not on the stage, it just feels like something is missing.” 
There was certainly nothing missing from Skylar’s performance the night I visited him. Full of energy — pride and appreciation in his skill, talent and art. There’s something special about that kind of inspiring perspective on life and art. How wonderful if everyone could find, like Bryan, that one thing that brings a fiery zeal and passion for life. : :

What about the drama? Because drag is both his art and his business, Skylar says he likes to stay out of the drama that so stereotypically seems to invade the drag community. But, he understands some of the reasons why it exists. Big characters. Big ego. Competition. “The drama is very hurtful sometimes,” he said, stressing how division and competition can have a negative effect on the entire community. “It hurts people who can’t enjoy multiple

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New & old favorites: must-see queer TV Diversity makes for fun on the small screen by Shane Windmeyer :: qnotes contributor


want my Queer TV. Has television ever been more diverse when it comes to transgender characters, drag queens and more? Check out these shows, and learn what all the buzz is about.


‘I Am Jazz’


Showtime does it again with the first nonbinary role on American series television. The character Taylor Mason on “Billions” is played by actor Asia Kate Dillon who also identifies as non-binary. “Billions” is a timely and relevant drama about the life of power and politics in the world of New York high finance. The new FX 1980s drama “POSE” brings together the largest transgender cast ever in a deeply emotional, heartfelt drama about ball culture. This is one of my personal favorites as it tells the story of ballers and the family of ballroom competition. Plus the show is forthright in sharing about the AIDS crisis, as well as the real impact on trans lives of color, their health and families. Definitely must-see!

TLC’s “I Am Jazz” follows Jazz Jennings, who at the age of two asked her mother when “a fairy was going to change her from a boy to a girl.” The TLC docuseries follows Jazz, now 14, and her unique perspectives as she faces life as a teenager, being transgender, high school, dating and family life. ‘Queer Eye’

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

‘Lost in Transition’

TLC has a new series, “Lost in Transition,” that brings the subject of “transitioning” out in the public for families. The show highlights the lives of four couples and their families as told from the wives’ point of view. The husband in each family has recently shared with his wife his years-long struggle with his gender identity, and the show follows the families during one of the most challenging times in their marriages.

It’s like candy! Everybody wants some now that its on VH1. “RuPauls Drag Race” just finished Season 10 of the drag reality competition series and also three seasons of All Stars. Season 11 is reportedly finished taping and will air in November or February. Now that drag has gone mainstream on VH1, who knows what the future will hold for drag queens? I predict America and the world will never be the same.

Get your tissues ready. It’s time to laugh and cry — a lot. Netflix reboots the Bravo series and brings together a new “Queer Eye” gang of five. Just like the old series, the gang continues to do life-changing makeovers on the lives of men — and women — and shares tips on “style” and, of course, reminds us just how fabulous we are. This time the show goes beyond New York City and instead travels to still often queer-phobic Southern towns and rural areas.

Aquaria crowned ‘Drag Race’ winner In a season finale showdown between Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Eureka and Kameron Michaels, Aquaria was crowned the season 10 winner of VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” earning the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” and a cash prize of $100,000. “Finally making it to the top of the most influential drag platform of today is proof that no dream is ever unachievable if you have the passion, resilience, love, and work ethic to devote your life to that dream,” said Aquaria. “Drag will always be a dynamic and powerful art form and it is my duty now to honor the artists who have come before me while continuing to pioneer my own path and history by being open to growth and change as a human and a drag superstar.” VH1 recently announced the greenlight for season 11 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” along with “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” after-show which provides an intimate look into the conversations between the queens as they await to learn their fate behind the main stage. info:



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‘Andi Mack’ Disney is back again with “Andi Mack.” The TV series launched on the Disney Channel in April 2017. It is at the top of the charts with kids age 6-14 and is the first series on Disney Channel to have a gay middle school boy and main character. The “coming out” story line is historic for kids, for Disney and for all of us. : :



International Drag Day may be waning July 16 marked global awareness observance by Torie Dominguez :: qnotes staff writer


espite the famed passion of drag devotees, signs that it may soon be curtains for International Drag Day are not difficult to find. All sources agree that the annual commemoration was the brainchild of one Adam Stewart, and that its inaugural celebration was held on July 16, 2009. No one would contend that convincing people to embrace a new holiday is an easy task — least of all when you’ve set the bar sky-high with that ambitious “international” honorific. But Stewart believed in his cause. He teamed up with Australian GLBTI travel and lifestyle brand to get the word out, telling them: “International Drag Day is a day where all around the world on every gay scene we take this opportunity to celebrate and thank the drag artists that add so much to gay life and culture.” He met with some success in the Anglophone world, from the Stonewall Hotel in Sydney, which reportedly hosted a flamboyant kickoff celebration that first summer, to festivities at The Village Inn, in Birmingham, U.K., taking center stage on the holiday’s official social media accounts last year. Recognition in the U.S. was limited in comparison, with the notable exception of Stewart’s guest appearance (so to speak) on Chicago-based LGBTQ

podcast Feast of Fun. For any nascent movement to survive and thrive, though, it has to break through a certain barrier. It has to become visible to those who aren’t looking for it. And that’s how Owain Wyn Evans stole the show. In July 2017, the Welsh BBC 3 presenter decided that his regular Sunday weather report could stand to be a whole lot more festive. This was, after all, International Drag Day. Discontent with the obvious — fulfilling his self-described “weatherman” duties while clad in a stunning evening gown — Evans chose a more creative approach: he stuck to typical male-designated attire and deadpan delivery throughout an elaborately composed segment in which practically every sentence contained some allusion to drag culture. Even more impressive? He left every viewer confident in their understanding of impending meteorological events. Evans took to Twitter to share video of his peerless presentation, where it quickly racked up thousands of likes and retweets, including

official website and you’ll think you’ve arrived at a home page that leads somewhere, but you haven’t, because it doesn’t. None of its social media pages have been updated for months, in most cases since last year or even earlier. Even its promotional images refer to International Drag Day 2017. Should you decide to abandon the anonymous holiday bosses and search for upcoming celebrations on your own, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve mistakenly taken on one of the labors of Hercules. In Adam Stewart YouTube video screenshot short, by all indications, practically broadcast on International Drag Day nobody is doing anything to mark this occasion. (Full disclosure: I did learn about one 2018 Drag Day a glowing review from none other than RuPaul, party. It’s in Thailand, if any of qnotes’ readers reigning queen of queens. To date, the clip has happen to be in the neighborhood.) By far the been viewed more than a quarter of a million most prominent stateside celebration of all times. International Drag Day, it seemed, was things drag remains the Austin International closer than ever to claiming a place in the Drag Festival in November. wider public consciousness. It was a promising idea, and hope isn’t lost Unfortunately for fans of Stewart — who, quite yet. But unless somebody steps up to by the way, has dropped out of sight, his lead the charge, and soon, the stage lights will disappearance an ill omen in itself — no one dim permanently on the experiment that was appears to have capitalized on that burst of International Drag Day. : : momentum. Call up International Drag Day’s

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HPV Vaccination By Bernadette Lee, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate

pittawut and Kateryna Kon via Adobe Stock

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are serious health concerns that many struggle with silently. To break the stigma, we will delve into one type of STD today — HPV — and find out what it is, why it is important, and how we can actually prevent it.



July 13-26 . 2018

To begin with, HPV stands for human papilloma virus and, as its name suggests, it is a group of viruses that specifically infect humans. There are many different strains, or types of HPV, and it is estimated that the majority of humans of reproductive age have had a strain at one point or another. Although that sounds dire, the reality is that the majority of the strains do not have any adverse health effects. There are two particular strains, strain 16 and strain 18, that are considered “dangerous” because they stay in the human body and cause the majority of cervical cancers and genital warts in both men and women. Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer in women, and actual survival rates of the cancer depend heavily on when the cancer is discovered. The treatment is painful and often includes chemotherapy and, eventually, surgical removal of the cervix, uterus, and other reproductive organs. The HPV vaccine has been hailed as one of the wonders of modern medicine because it can protect your body against HPV infection and, essentially, prevent you from getting cervical cancer! This means that the HPV vaccine is the only known vaccine against cancer!

So how does it work? The vaccine is made from parts of the virus. By injecting the pieces into your body, you can teach your immune system to recognize it, and develop the correct defenses to arm your body when it comes into contact with the real virus. There are three types of HPV vaccines that protect against the two most dangerous strains of HPV: Gardasil, Cervarix, and an updated version of Gardasil called Gardasil 9. HPV is transmitted through sexual skin-to-skin contact, meaning vaginal and anal sexual contact are all risk factors for getting the virus. Increased number of partners and starting having sex early are risk factors for getting the cancerous strains of the virus. Thus, it is highly recommended that girls aged 9 through 25 get this vaccine. You can get the HPV vaccine in your doctor’s office, government health clinics, or even Planned Parenthood. Both Gardasil and Cervarix are given as a three-injection series over six months. Pap smears (which check for the genital warts indicative of HPV infection in women) are still recommended routinely as a safety precaution for the strains of HPV not covered by the vaccine. Unfortunately, if you already have the infection, the HPV vaccine cannot help with eradicating the virus. However, the vaccine can help prevent men from getting the genital warts indicative of the viral infection. While men do not develop cervical cancer, getting the vaccine can help reduce the risk of passing the infection to their partners through genital warts and help with reducing the overall risk of cervical cancer in women!



Practical considerations while working and growing your family Devising a plan for when the baby arrives by Robin M. Lalley and Russ A. Brinson, Attorneys, Sodoma Law :: guest contributors


icture this: you’re expecting a baby and couldn’t be happier! Checking off the list of things to do to prepare for your upcoming bundle of joy includes picking a name, decorating the nursery and registering for lots of cute baby gifts. But what about the more practical issue of being a working parent? You have a job you love and probably plan to return to following your maternity or paternity leave. So what special considerations are there for an LGBTQ couple when it comes to maternity and paternity leave, and how can you work with your employer to meet their needs and those of your growing family? Not all leave policies are the same. Each employer is different, and if you work for a small or new business, they may not even have a policy, or have had an employee have a baby or adopt before. If it’s a bigger company, the maternity or paternity policy is probably well-known, or there may be an employee handbook or a Human Resources department that can quickly answer this question. Otherwise, you need to figure out when (and how) you are going to approach your employer with this issue to find out what maternity leave looks like from their perspective. For LGBTQ couples this might be new territory for your employer. Knowing your options prior to having the conversation can help you address questions your employer may have and ensure you know what rights should apply to you.

Does maternity and paternity leave apply to same-sex couples? While federal law applies to both opposite sex and same-sex couples, state law varies. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the federal act that allows for leave after the birth or adoption of a child and guarantees that your job is there waiting for you afterward. However, a common misconception is that FMLA applies to every employer — this is not the case. The Department of Labor states that in order to take FMLA leave, you must first work for a covered employer. Generally, private employers with at least 50 Taking time off for maternity and paternity leave may present challenges for same-sex couples. employees are covered by the law. Photo Credit: Olesia Bilkei via Adobe Stock Private employers with fewer than 50 employees are not covered by the situation where federal-mandated maternity and paternity leave FMLA, but may be covered by state family and medical leave policies do not apply. laws. Government agencies (including local, state and federal This can also mean that private, employer-specific maemployers) and elementary and secondary schools are covered ternity and paternity leave policies are left to the discretion of by the FMLA, regardless of the number of employees. If your employer does not fall under FMLA, couples could be facing a see Legal Eagles on 15

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health and wellness by Jack Kirven :: personal trainer, qnotes contributor

My 8-Week birthday fitness challenge: Improving body composition into middle age


y the time you read this it will have passed, but today I turned 42 years old. I’m a personal trainer and wellness coach, so I spend practically every day helping others with their goals, but I’d neglected my own. Why? Frankly, because I’m sleepy. People want to work out from 5 a.m.-8 a.m., then 5 p.m.8 p.m. I’m fortunate to also have clients who want the middle of the day; however, it doesn’t change the fact that I, like most trainers, burn the candle at both ends. It’s hard to keep up with everything when you’re chronically tired. In April 2018, I realized that my working out wasn’t really doing much, because I didn’t really have a particular goal beyond increasing the weights for my compound lifts (bench press, row, squat, deadlift, overhead press and lat pulldown). I don’t generally enjoy conditioning per se, but I also didn’t prioritize going way out into nature to do the hiking and walking I love to do. I was also eating relatively clean, but not up to a specified ideal. All that together meant my body composition was beginning to get pretty lackluster. The two underlying patterns that matter the most (nutrition and rest) were the two I was training the least. I decided to do for myself what I do for my clients: I created a comprehensive 8-week program. My goal was to improve body composition by increasing lean muscle while



reducing body fat percentage. I started April 29, 2018 at 149 pounds and 13.5 percent body fat. I thought my goal was 145 pounds and 10.0 percent body fat, which would have been quite a lot of muscle added with quite significant fat reduction. Initially my numbers went in the “correct” direction for the first half; however, they swung wildly in the last weeks. Ultimately I was looking and feeling better, so I began to ignore the numbers. I finished on June 22, 2018. I did the photoshoot that day at 151 pounds and 12. percent body fat. Was I better? Definitely. Had I really satisfied myself? Definitely not. Initially it was enough to bring structure and focus into my exercise, eating and sleeping plan. However, I needed to dig deeper toward the end, and if you were to watch my daily update clips on Instagram (@integre8twellness, you would see that in the last two weeks I made some particularly quick improvements on body fat. How did I do that? First, everyone is different, so what works for me will not necessarily work the same for you. However, there are some precepts that work generally for most people. If you have not read it, I highly recommend “The Obesity Code” by Dr. Jason Fung, M.D. He offers a very accessible explanation for the ways in which current American diets create body fat at such

an alarming rate. Reading it was a revelation to me, and I found it very helpful. In brief: I have already been intermittent fasting for many years. I was doing it most of my life, simply because of the way my appetite is timed — I don’t like eating in the morning. Waiting until midday or later to break my fast is natural for me. I have also already been very physically active all my life, so I have an advantage in maintaining, re-establishing and/ or creating new muscle cells. Being athletic since youth primed my body for continued gains into adulthood and now middle age (GASP!). With this in mind, you might not have the same results I did. What did I do those last two weeks to get my elusive bottommost abs to peak out? I doubled down on fasting. Normally I eat from about noon or 2 p.m. until around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. This means I nearly always skip breakfast and break my fast at lunch time. However, for those last two weeks, I didn’t do 16-hour fasts. I did 24-hour fasts. Let me clarify that I did not do calorie restriction the first of the two weeks. I limited the timeframe within which I ate all my calories.

To amp up the effect, the second week I also replaced carbohydrates with fats. Again, this was not calorie restriction. Also, this was not particularly “low carb,” nor was it gluten free, low fat, “Whole 30,” “Keto,” “Atkins,” “Paleo” or other branded plans. I ate lots of whole eggs, coconut oil, guacamole, nuts, seeds, cherries, apples, kiwis, full fat plain Greek yogurt, olive oil, olives, raw vegetables and hard cheeses. I also ate some dried apricots and prunes, a little hummus and sporadic glasses of whole milk. I almost never ate meat, but that wasn’t purposeful or philosophical. When I wanted a treat, I air popped quite large portions of popcorn and slathered it with ghee, pink salt and garlic powder. I avoided breads, pastas, juices, candies, cakes, sodas and snacking in general. What I believe is that Dr. Fung got it right: I was simply avoiding eating in ways that provoke large and/or frequent insulin spikes. I got all my calories at once in the course of a large, long dinner. I avoided breakfast, lunch and snacks. When I did finally eat dinner, it was a feast, but it didn’t contain processed carbs. I had loads of carbohydrates, but practically no added sugars. The carbs/sugars I did eat were slowed down by fiber, fat and protein. The dramatic difference in my body fat was the result of timing my meal and moving calories away from sugar toward fat. Also, practically every food I ate had a single ingredient. Nothing, except the hummus and guacamole, was premade, and even those had only 4-5 ingredients (all of which were natural, and none of which were sugar). The reason I’m not satisfied is because a year ago I was leaner and thicker. This year I had some elbow injuries and additional sleep challenges. I couldn’t work out as intensely; however, I think I did finally find the combination of foods and preparation that will allow me to continue making lean gains going into the foreseeable future. My next challenge will be even better! : : info: 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

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Legal Eagles continued from page 13 the employer for same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike. If you feel like your employer has discriminated against you based on your gender or sexual orientation in regards to maternity/paternity leave policies, you may want to speak with an employment attorney to see what options are available to you to address the issue. So what if FMLA doesn’t apply? At that point, you are most likely at the mercy of your employer’s policies and ability to work with you. No matter your gender, orientation or situation, your employer may only offer six weeks’ paid leave to any employee having a baby. You may have a short-term disability policy or be able to work something out with your employer to extend that leave. Your employer may not offer any paid leave. This means you may have to save up sick days or vacation days in order to have any sort of paid leave. You might also have to negotiate with your employer to take a leave of absence, but have a guaranteed job to come back to. In employment-at-will states like North Carolina, there can be some tough choices to make when it comes to how much time you can take unpaid and still come back to your job. The hope is that your employer values you and is willing to work with you to ensure you can have that special bonding time with your new baby, while having the assurance that you have the same job when you return to work.

What else should you consider in taking time off of work? Your own career objectives, your partner or spouse’s maternity/paternity policy, childcare options and other factors may affect what you decide to do in terms of how much time you take off. While it’s easy to focus on the fun parts and excitement of having a baby, it’s important to think through the non-work logistics of what happens once your new bundle of joy arrives, to do what you can to match your workplace considerations to your at-home needs. If you are considering having a baby, or have one on the way, now is the time to start considering your options for after your baby’s arrival and making sure that your goals and priorities line up with that of your employer. : : — Robin M. Lalley is a Family Law Attorney with Sodoma Law York. A member of both the North Carolina and South Carolina Bar, Lalley is also a Certified Parenting Coordinator and Certified Collaborative Law Attorney. — Attorney Russ A. Brinson practices at Sodoma Law in the area of business litigation and employment law, providing litigation and counseling services to a wide variety of individuals and businesses. He is a superior court mediator and received his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

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tell trinity by Trinity :: qnotes contributor ::

But my boyfriend’s not ugly to me Dear Trinity, I’m a gay male whose hubby moved to California a year ago for work and is soon returning. Now, he’s afraid I wont like him because he hasn’t worked out since he left. I told him I of course still love him. But how can I prove it? Missing Hubby, Green Bay, Wisconsin Dear Missing Hubby, This is easy. First, start dating him again with a couple of long-distance trips before he moves back. This way he gets to feel loved by you all over again. You just have to restart his engine, sweetie, unless, of course, there’s some “muscle worshiping” going on that you didn’t mention. California has really made him a bit insecure, but nothing a few martinis won’t fix! Good luck. Hey Trinity, You hardly talk about safe sex. What do you think of it? Do you believe in it? Safety Check, South Beach, FL Hey Safety Check, Some readers would love me to relate every question to safe sex or sex itself, but sometimes it’s just not necessary — like when talking about dinner dates or getting dumped. Now as for safe sex, of course I believe in it,

every time, whether you’re gay or straight. Remember, “On me not in me, honey!” (My cartoon spells this out for whatever situation you are in. Better safe than sorry! Just make sure that you and your partner fully understand what safe sex is.) Dearest Trin, One night I went home with a guy who said he was rough, but never mentioned how rough. At his apartment, he asked me to slap him in the face. When I refused, he slapped me to get me started. I had to leave before hitting him with a closed fist. Now I’m thinking, should I have stayed and tested the fetish waters? Fetish Tests, Provincetown, MA Dearest Fetish Test, Every situation requires both parties’ consent, period. Tough means sticking to your boundaries, not shocking someone into a fetish scene. Pumpkin, you absolutely did the right thing. If you want to try a fetish, you need to be asked first, that’s Fetish Rule #1. Hey, at least you were introduced to it. Hello Trinity, I try meeting people to date at the gym or at the bar, even at Starbucks, but I don’t meet that many


people, or many that I like. I also chat online, but no “real” bites. What’s left? Tried Out, Tulsa, OK Hello Tried Out, You’re on the right track, baby, so keep trying and trying, as well as keep reading: Trinity’s Smart Tips For Things To Change In Your Routine For Meeting New Dates   1. H  ealth Club: If you work out before work, then go after work or vice versa.   2. C  lubs: If you like happy hour at nearby bars with familiar faces, then go to farther away bars, at different times, with unfamiliar faces.   3. F riends: If your drinking chums don’t introduce you to new potential dates, then go outside your circle of friends and meet new friends.   4. H  otspots: If you hang out at popular beaches, cafés, restaurants or malls, then go to completely different ones. There are plenty!   5. I nternet Chat Sites: If you’re stuck on certain sites with certain types, then broaden your connections by trying new sites.   6. D  ating Services: If you’ve tried OkCupid or other dating services without success, then, darling, there are many more!   7. A  ttitude: If you often sit drinking, waiting for people to approach you first, then stand up (if you can) and go approach others.   8. B  enefits/Fundraisers: If you go to certain

events every year, then try some new ones!   9. G  roups: If you don’t already attend some sort of religious, athletic, intellectual or spiritual groups, then start and don’t always stick with the same crowd. 10. Lastly, Makeover: If the old you isn’t getting much attention, then try a makeover with clothes, hairstyle and colognes — and a few pushups wouldn’t kill ya either! info: 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, Learn more at

July 13-26 . 2018




Submit your event to our calendar! Email with complete information. All submissions must include date, event name, location, address, city, time, a short description of the event including costs and an email and web address for the submitting organization.

July-August 2018 Salsa, Soul, Saki & SEP JUL MO Sparkle Soiree Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture 551 S. Tryon St., Charlotte 6:30-9 p.m. The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce teams up with the Charlotte Black Chamber, Asian Chamber and Latin American Chamber for an evening of networking and camaraderie with drinks and entertainment. Register online. This is a free event.

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‘Centerstage’ LGBTQ SEP JUL MO One-Act Play Festival Venue @ 1801 1801 North Tryon St. #609, Charlotte 7-9:30 p.m. Four works by African-American playwrights including Sandra Hamlin-Rivers and Jermaine Nakia Lee, presented in partnership with Charlotte Black Gay Pride. $10 admission/all four plays and post-show reception with directors and cast. For mature audiences only.

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Continues through July 29 Pressure: Queens in the QC Pride for Women Multiple venues and times Five-part celebration including a variety of day and evening events, from a Caribbean-themed afternoon to the finale party featuring R&B and Trap karaoke. Early bird tickets available online until July 22, with prices $10-$15 per individual event, more at the door. $100 early bird All-Access pass.


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Miss Major Griffin-Gracy SEP JUL MO in Conversation with Local Elders Sacred Souls Community Church 2127 Eastway Dr., Charlotte 2-3:30 p.m. The legendary activist, Stonewall Rebellion veteran and Attica State Prison survivor Miss Major Griffin-Gracy partners with Aldersgate Retirement Community and the Charlotte LGBT Elders Group for a discussion on intersectionality and the evolving needs of elders in the LGBTQ+ community. Hosted by the Freedom Center for Social Justice, the event is free and open to the public. –––––––––––––––––––– Continues through July 29 CharLiT ‘A New Heat Wave’ Black Gay Pride Party Series Friday and Saturday: The Nickel Bar 2817 Rozzelles Ferry Rd., Charlotte Sunday: Apostrophe Lounge 1440 S. Tryon St., Charlotte Times vary Local DJs provide entertainment for three consecutive nights of partying along with special guests, including Mr. Black Gay Pride on Sunday night. Tickets are $15 each for Friday “It’s Lit” and Saturday “Chill Pill” events, and include free admission to the Sunday finale. $25 Triple Threat pass allows access all weekend.

Charlotte Black Gay Pride Expo Le Meridien, 555 South McDowell St., Charlotte 12-5 p.m. Charlotte Black Gay Pride’s annual Expo, presented by Bank of America, featuring a variety of vendors and entertainment from T.S. Madison and headliner Terrell Carter of FOX’s “Empire” and Tyler Perry stage plays. Free and open to the public.


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Charlotte Black Gay Pride Continues through Aug. 19 SEP SEP JUL AUG MO MO Sunday Jazz Brunch Charlotte Pride Festival 1801 N. Tryon St. #609, & Parade Charlotte Uptown Charlotte 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Various Times Live jazz band perforCharlotte’s annual mance accompanied LGBTQ Pride festival by buffet brunch. and parade takes over Vegetarian and vegan Uptown Charlotte with options available. Cash bar. Tickets are two days of vendors, $40 individually or $70 for couples. entertainment, food and more. Sunday’s parade runs 1-3 p.m. –––––––––––––––––––– ‘Goddesses & Divas’ SEP AUG MO Pride Fest ft. Alyssa Edwards Burlesque and Rooftop210 @ the Epicentre Drag Show 210 E. Trade St. #B320, Charlotte Vintage to Vogue Boutique 7 p.m.-2 a.m. 530 S. Elm St., Greensboro The Vanity House 9-11:30 p.m. and Rooftop 210 Peaches de Vine present Alyssa and Ivy Carter Edwards and the lead a variety Vanity House cast: of drag and Erica Chanel, burlesque performers. A raffle will also be held. Doors open at 9 p.m. for the 9:30 Jack Dahlia, and Pandora Mystére. Doors open at 7 show. Ticket prices are $10 in advance p.m. for the 10 p.m. show. Ticket prices or $12 at the door. Ages 18 and up. $20-$75.

To see more upcoming events, visit


‘Over the Rainbow’ Pride SEP AUG MO Weekend Kickoff Rooftop210 @ The Epicentre 210 E. Trade St. level 3, Charlotte 8-10 p.m. Buff Faye headlines this extravagant multiperformer drag event to benefit Campus Pride. Doors open at 8 p.m. for the 9:30 show. Tickets are $10.

Just Twirl Candyland SEP AUG MO Pride Party Flight Beer Garden & Music Hall 314 N. College St., Charlotte 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. DJ Joe Gauthreaux headlines. Ages 21+ with valid ID required. Ticket prices are $15 when purchased online through July 18, $20 through August 11, $25 thereafter. A portion of proceeds will benefit Charlotte Pride and the Twirl to the World Foundation.

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Glory Sunday T-Dance SEP AUG MO Rooftop 210 @ the Epicentre 210 E. Trade St. level 3, Charlotte 3-9 p.m. Post-parade party featuring live DJ, gogo and drag performers along with drink specials. Tickets $20.

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Q&A with Nic Nichols and Christopher Booher Co-owners, The Vanity House by Torie Dominguez :: qnotes staff writer


ewly minted Charlotteans — Queens of the Queen City, if you will — partners Nic Nichols and Christopher Booher immediately embraced their new home, making a splash with their drag production and management collective The Vanity House. In a special dual interview, qnotes presents a backstage pass to the pair’s unique vision, inimitable enthusiasm…and one small brush with disaster.

tainers, including Pandora Mystere, Jack Dahlia and Erica Chanel. Has talent management always been part of your plan? NN: No, it was not in the plan to begin with, but it’s been the most incredible rewarding experience just to be a part of the amazing things each of them are doing. CB: It’s been a honor to work with them and watch them grow. I look forward to being on this journey with their faith in us.

Where are you from originally? How long have you lived in the area? Nic Nichols: Originally I grew up on a peanut farm in southern Virginia. I’ve lived here for five years. Christopher Booher: Born and raised in sunny southern California. I’ve been here for three years.

What sets The Vanity House apart from other production companies in the area? CB: We strive to create a safe place of equality for our performers and guests. The event that you’d say put us on the map, our Drag Brunch, is hosted at Vida Cantina (Uptown). We purposely chose a venue not typically known as an LGBTQ+ establishment in order to bridge the divide, put the LGBTQ+ community in the center of our city and invite the straight community to embrace us as well, and it has worked. NN: We want to send the message that everyone is welcome to our events. You don’t have to be part of the LGBTQ+ community we welcome all! What was your goal in founding The Vanity House? Was it solely a question of entertainment, or do you envision having a particular role in the community? NN: The idea of starting The Vanity House was a lot more simple than it became. We just simply wanted a Drag Brunch to go to. We never thought it would take off and now that it has, we are so grateful for all the doors it’s opened for us. What excites or inspires you about working with drag performers? NN: I love to see the impact they have on audience members. People sit in awe of them, and it’s really magical to watch. CB: Watching the creativity and growth of the performers is such an amazing experience to witness.

Every producer knows that, no matter what, the show must go on. Have you ever had to deal with a lastminute crisis in order to pull off an event? Nic Nichols (left) and Christopher Booher NN: Yes!! We actually had a RuPaul guest not show up for the show and didn’t let us know until a few hours before the show that she would not be joining us. We Are you, either as individuals or as a company, involved in the had to pull some connections to “save the day” and, luckily, local LGBTQ community or Charlotte-area institutions in any everything worked out fantastic, and we still had a sold out show other way? and everyone had a great time! CB: We like to feel that we have always been a part of the community ever since moving to Charlotte. We are friends of and What do you consider your greatest accomplishment, either support many of the local LGBTQ+ institutions and have been with The Vanity House or otherwise? warmly embraced. NN: Producing drag shows was just an idea that we tossed NN: We are always seeking ways to better our community and around on a cross country drive, and bringing that dream to life looking forward to being involved in any way we can. was the real accomplishment. CB: I’d say our first show because it took almost a year of setHow do you each contribute to the work that The Vanity backs to get the show off the ground. House does? NN: Each of us has or own talents and abilities that help create a Imagine fulfilling your ultimate professional aspiration. What successful business. does that look like? CB: With the help of family and close friends, we are very selfNN: I absolutely love to travel, so to take our show on the road sufficient. would be amazing! Just to show other people who live in towns that don’t get to experience a show like ours would be so rewarding. Before you started The Vanity House, did you have any experiCB: Being able to do tours and go out and bring our vision to ence owning your own companies? people everywhere would be the ultimate dream. NN: I actually had several years’ experience in managing business but, as far a drag goes, I was a huge supporter of the local And finally, what would you say to readers who’ve never seen a drag scene, and going to shows was just a hobby. drag performance, or who aren’t sure they’d enjoy one? CB:I was (and still am) an independent contractor for many years NN: Give it a try! A drag performance is an experience that anydoing hair and makeup in the entertainment industry and had to one can go to and feel included and just have a good time! manage my own career. CB: Drag is truly for everyone whether you like dance, comedy, singing, costumes or hair there is a place for you. : : In addition to event production, you manage a number of enter-


What can you tell me about the history of The Vanity House? CB: The idea of The Vanity House has been around for almost 10 years, its title I used in my career as a hair stylist and makeup artist and when event planning and the beautiful world of drag came along. It seemed like the perfect match to add even more talents to The Vanity House.

What’s surprised you most about the experience of running The Vanity House? CB: The most surprising part is that this job never sleeps. You still have the 9-5 aspect, but yet most of the time the real work is from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. in the morning.

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July 13-26 . 2018





July 13-26 . 2018

QNotes, July 13, 2018  

QNotes takes a dive into the local drag scene, profiling the "Glitter Queen" Skylar Michele-Monet and a Q&A with the owners of the new drag...

QNotes, July 13, 2018  

QNotes takes a dive into the local drag scene, profiling the "Glitter Queen" Skylar Michele-Monet and a Q&A with the owners of the new drag...