Sept. 3-16, 2021
Sept. 3-16, 2021
inside this issue
Sept. 3-16, 2021 Vol 36 No 10 qnotescarolinas.com twitter.com/qnotescarolinas facebook.com/qnotescarolinas instagram.com/qnotescarolinas
contributors this issue
L’Monique King, Jack Kirven, Jesse Monteagudo, Julianna Peres, Chris Rudisill, Terri Schlichenmeyer, Gregg Shapiro, Trinity
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4 Charlotte Pride Postpones Amidst Fourth COVID-19 Wave
6 N.C. Lt. Gov. Tries to Muzzle LGBTQ Teachings in Public Schools 6 MeckPAC Pays Board of Elections Fees to Be Reinstated 6 Asheville’s Campaign for Southern Equality Launches Study of Queer Life in the South 6 Briefs 7 How LGBTQ North Carolinians Are Faring With New NDOs 7 NCAAN’s Lee Storrow Accepts Position at Community Education Group 8 The Future of Pride 12 From Sears and Roebuck to Arts and Entertainment
14 ‘Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond’ 17 Tell Trinity 18 Pile on the Reissues
16 It Takes More Than Water Alone 19 Our People: Lee Robertson
15 charlotteobserver.com/1166/ a local news partner of The Charlotte Observer
The Future of Pride
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COVID-19 has had a severe impact on everything in our lives. We look specifically at how it has affected LGBTQ organizations and events.
Our People: Lee Robertson
A North Carolina native, Lee Robertson currently works in Charlotte as an attorney. He has also been active in numerous LGBTQ organizations. Learn more about his life and experience in the legal system.
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Sept. 3-16, 2021
Charlotte Pride Postpones Amidst Fourth COVID-19 Wave Latest Delta Variant Delays Pride Events Throughout the South
by Julianna Peres qnotes Staff Writer
ost people around the globe agree the COVID-19 Pandemic pretty much cancelled all of 2020. In Charlotte, the city’s annual Pride events were cancelled, resulting in a loss of an estimated $3 million in revenue for the city of Charlotte, as well as hundreds of thousands of tax dollars. This year, Pride organizers are moving forward with plans for the annual celebration, although all events have been pushed back to a later date. As of August 23, all Charlotte Pride events originally scheduled for late August and continuing through September 18 have been postponed until October, 2021. Because of the Delta variant and increased rates of COVID-19 infections, Charlotte Pride will require all attendees at October’s indoor events to wear a mask and bring proof of a full COVID-19 vaccine. No unvaccinated individuals may participate. As of now, the most immediate schedule changes can be found in the festival and concert. Originally envisioned as two separate events on differing days, the festival and concert have been combined into a single day. The updated schedule for Charlotte Pride 2021 is as follows: Charlotte Pride Drag Pageant • Originally scheduled for Saturday, August 28 • Postponed and rescheduled as a portion of the October 16 concert and festival Charlotte Pride Interfaith Celebration • Originally scheduled for Sunday, September 12 • Postponed until Sunday, October 17, 4:00 p.m. • St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 1600 Norris Ave.
Charlotte Pride’s events have been postponed to October. (Photo Credit: Grant Baldwin via Charlotte Pride) point in 2021. We’re calling on every member of our community do their part — get vaccinated, wear masks, get tested.” Matt Comer, Communications Director of Charlotte Pride, confirms the organization is looking for ways to live stream larger events so that those with disabilities, as well as those who deem it unsafe to participate in events with sizable crowds, can still participate in the annual festivities. In order to keep all in-person attendees safe, any one of Charlotte Pride events may be subject to possible changes. “There are a lot of really great lessons learned last year and this year [about ways] we can make our activities more accessible to a wide array of people,” says Comer, “Everybody in the community is ready to see an end to the pandemic and
see a return of the traditional celebrations, like the two-day street festival and parade that we have become accustomed to.” Across the United States, the Delta variant of COVID-19 began sweeping through the nation in late June 2021, causing restaurants, night clubs, concert halls and schools to shut down anew. What is now being referred to as the “fourth wave” of the continuing pandemic has resulted in cancellations and delays everywhere. InterPride, a collaborative international association of LGBTQ festivals, is asking that all members update their calendars on InterPride’s site. Their poll asks whether the festivities will be in-person or virtual and if they will be cancelled entirely for the year or postponed for a later date. Looking at other North Carolina cities, Greensboro Pride remains listed
Charlotte Pride Festival & Concert • Originally scheduled for Friday, September 17 and Saturday, September 18 • Postponed until Saturday, October 16, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. • AvidXchange Music Factory Festival Grounds, 819 Hamilton St. Charlotte Pride Parade • Will proceed as originally scheduled on Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte on Sunday, October 24 “We are hopeful this postponement will encourage all members of our community and our allies to take the initiative to get fully vaccinated and do their part to protect our community,” says Daniel Valdez, President of Charlotte Pride, “Higher vaccination rates, lower positivity rates and decreased community spread are essential for hosting our events at any
Sept. 3-16, 2021
Charlotte Pride attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask. (Photo Credit: Second Life Photography via Charlotte Pride)
for September 19. Winston-Salem Pride is listed on the internet as October 16, but information about specific events appears to be currently unavailable. Blue Ridge Pride is expected to take place in Asheville on September 25, but the website clearly states: “Our number one priority is our community’s health and safety. We are working to make this a safe event. You can help.” They, like many other organizers, ask potential participants to get vaccinated and wear masks during all Pride-related events. Pride Durham’s celebration is scheduled for September 25, as well. Their official lineup has yet to be announced, but the locations include Duke East Campus, Durham Central Park and Suite Four. In South Carolina, Columbia’s Famously Hot South Carolina Pride Parade and Festival will take place Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23, with a parade, concerts and other events. Upstate Pride, located in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, currently remains on the books for a weeklong series of events kicking off October 24 and continuing through October 31. Both the parade and festival are listed as October 30 events. Atlanta Pride, the largest Pride event in Georgia and the southeast, announced August 25 they will be canceling all events for the second year in a row because of the rising COVID-19 infection rates. In Miami, the pride festival and related events continue to be advertised for September 10–19 and promise performances from Walk the Moon and Paulina Rubio. With several vendors signed up and multiple VIP tickets sold, Miami Beach Pride has events priced as high as $2,000. The Miss Miami Beach Pride Pageant at Faena Hotel and a few of the late-night celebrations involve restaurants and bars; something the Delta variant may make impossible by early September. Another popular Florida tourist destination, Pride Fort Lauderdale, has a history of being nearly as popular as Miami Beach Pride. Unlike Miami, Lauderdale has postponed their festivities until November 20–21. Austin, Texas is another place where practically everything Pride-related has come to a standstill. Says Micha Andress, President of Austin Pride, “Pride organizations across the nation are suffering the same heavy blows. But we are determined to stand strong. You are too important. Pride is too important, to allow ourselves to be defeated. If we come together as a community, we can find a way to thrive.” Austin has announced all events as postponed, but no new dates have yet to be confirmed. Pride Houston is cancelled for 2021. The organization has confirmed that all large events will not return until 2022. Instead, Pride Houston will be hosting a block party October 2, with a maximum of 5,000 participants. : :
Sept. 3-16, 2021
news N.C. Lt. Gov. Tries to Muzzle LGBTQ Teachings in Public Schools
Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is a hyper-conservative Republican and self-proclaimed “man of God.” Since his election as the state’s Lieutenant Governor last year, he instituted a task force to review public school systems and the teaching styles used in them to compile the “Indoctrination in North Carolina Public Education Report.” That report, Robinson claimed, would offer proof that students were being swayed to accept leftist viewpoints via classroom curriculum and certain suspect teachers. Robinson was born in Greensboro, N.C. and ran for Lt. Gov. against Yvonne Lewis Holley in 2020, a win that made him the first Black Lieutenant Governor in N.C. history. Since his early days, Robinson has been extremely open about his beliefs and adherence to his interpretation of Christian principles. After the Pulse shooting in 2016, Robinson said, “Homosexuality is still an abominable sin, and I will not join in celebrating gay pride.” Robinson’s opinions went viral during a Greensboro City Council meeting when he spoke out as a strong supporter of gun rights, which led the National Rifle Association to extend a personal invitation to Robinson for their annual convention. Robinson has spewed xenophobic rhetoric against American Muslims and called Michelle Obama “a man.” In creating the anti-LGBTQ task force, Robinson says that he and his fellow Republican leaders aim “to stop the abuse of the teaching profession by a few who are using that profession to put undue pressure on young minds to accept their way of thinking.” In Robinson’s mind, elementary, middle and high school teachers are polluting children’s brains by enforcing a leftist agenda. The task force’s findings, which are comprised of complaints from parents, staff and students, include grievances with children’s books, vocabulary lessons and example graphics. One such graphic was titled “flying gender unicorn” and taught kids about the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt offered some half-hearted support for the task force’s findings. “In reading this report, it’s clear that some have used their personal and political beliefs to influence students rather than to educate them.” Robinson also made a point of mentioning the book “George” by Alex Gino. This children’s book tells the journey of a transgender girl as she struggles to be herself in fourth grade. The Lieutenant Governor says this piece of literature is about a “biological boy” who “talks about cutting off male genitalia and [undergoing] hormone therapy.” Although a Black man himself, Robinson and his largely white constituents have also called for public schools in North Carolina to ban the promotion of Critical Race Theory and have created a bill, which recently passed the Senate, to achieve their goals. Known as House Bill 324, Robinson had apparently hoped to find justification for the bill through the task force’s findings. Both the Raleigh News and Observer and the Charlotte Observer, however, have proclaimed the task force efforts “a dud” and reported that Robinson’s efforts found no evidence of “indoctrination” teaching in any of the state’s public school systems. Instead, state media outlets have reported, the study revealed nothing more than a Republican-led effort to muzzle discussion of any topics that don’t align with the Republican agenda. On an up note, even if House Bill 324 is approved to go to Governor Cooper, it is likely Cooper will veto it. info: bit.ly/3DsetN9 — Julianna Peres
MeckPAC Pays Board of Elections Fees to Be Reinstated
The Mecklenburg Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) FaceBook page has been silent since February 5 of this year, following a 2020 termination letter from the North Carolina State Board of Elections (BOD) and Ethics Enforcement. Despite what volunteers and supporters of MeckPAC may believe, the letter did not mean the organization no longer exists. Instead, it was issued in response to the fact that the 2018 fourth quarter report had yet been filed by the organization. This report typically would have been due by Jan.15, 2019 and would have covered the time from Oct. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018. The letter did not terminate the organization itself, however, it did mean that MeckPAC could not legally receive or spend funds until all their reports had been filed and they had been reinstated with the BOE. MeckPAC’s original website is no longer active, but, according to the Facebook page, their mission remains: “political advocacy work that promotes LGBT equality in Charlotte, N.C.” During this time of battle and achievement with an NDO in Charlotte, but lacking in the county itself and surrounding towns in Mecklenburg, MeckPAC’s once powerful voice has been much missed by the community. Their social media account came back to life on August 12, with a detailed update on where the organization has been and what its plans are for the future. “When the Transitional Board of MeckPAC took over last fall, the organization had $2,000 [in] penalties that were assessed as unpaid by the North Carolina Board of Elections (BOE),” William Loftin, Transitional Board Chair, posted on Facebook. Loftin went on to explain that throughout the past year MeckPAC has requested a complete dismissal of the fees, though the efforts had been unsuccessful. Now it appears things are looking up for MeckPAC. The organization’s Transitional Treasurer attended the BOE’s meeting in June, asserting that he believed their requests were being denied because of MeckPAC’s previous refusal to file payments or documents on time. The BOE decided that, since $1,000 of MeckPAC’s penalties have expired in accordance with state laws, there was only $1,000 in remaining penalties left to be paid. Of this number, the organization was only required to pay $500 in order to bring MeckPAC back into active status. After a quick vote by the Transitional Board, the organization mailed $500 to the BOE and is currently awaiting confirmation of their reinstatement. Once these filing errors are put behind them, Loftin promises future Facebook updates. “As a past MeckPAC board member, I appreciate the work of the transitional board,” offered Larry Ferri, “Hopefully these steps will put a close to this sad chapter in what otherwise has been a great organization.” info: facebook.com/meckpac — Julianna Peres
Asheville’s Campaign for Southern Equality Launches Study of Queer Life in the South
A new project known as the Southern Equality Research & Policy Center (SERPC) was launched by the Asheville-based political activism organization Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) on August 20. According to SERPC Director Dr. Austin H. Johnson, this new research program was created with the intent to expand representation and information for and about LGBTQ individuals in the South. “More than one-third of all LGBTQ+ people in the United States are Southerners,” Johnson explains, “Yet there has historically been a distinct lack of research on the population. Less than 10 percent of social research on LGBTQ people has been focused on those in the South, and limited data underlines significant disparities in key areas of life, including families, workplaces, schools and public life.” The Campaign for Southern Equality has conducted research-driven projects in the past. One of these was the 2018 Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project. CSE polled 48 individuals throughout North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi about HIV care and access to comprehensive healthcare in 2018. Another such study, “Southern LGBTQ Health Survey,” was conducted in 2019 and explored depression and anxiety in over 5,600 individuals in the queer community. Deputy Director of SERPC, Dr. Abigail Brown is enthusiastic about the future of the program as well as the information they hope to uncover through research. Says Brown: “The South is home to sustained legislative efforts to undermine the dignity and equality of LGBTQ people. As we continue to push back against these attacks, one vital tool must be inclusive data collection and analysis to understand the lived experience of LGBTQ Southerners.” The developments of SERPC are sure to allow for further analyses of small towns to take place. And, in doing so, the program may be able to design outreach programs around the specific needs of LGBTQ persons in specific areas. info: bit.ly/3BsS1BT — Julianna Peres
Sept. 3-16, 2021
Briefs CHARLOTTE Queer Society Charlotte Hosting “Ladies Night”
On September 3, beginning at 8:00 p.m., there will be a sapphic, trans-inclusive “Ladies First Social Mixer.” Hosted by performer Onya Nerves, and featuring Drag King Marty McGuy, this event is open to all LGBTQ individuals and allies. This will take place at Common Market Plaza Midwood, and the party is sure to continue straight through 11:00 p.m. Tickets are free, but registration is encouraged.
NORTH CAROLINA Director Within Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce Selected as One of CBJ’s 40 Under 40
The Carolina Business Journal (CBJ) has awarded Erin Barbee, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy at the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, the title of one of NC’s most accomplished individuals under the age of 40 in 2021. Standing at the forefront of the fight for Charlotte’s recently adopted nondiscrimination ordinance, Barbee has been an LGBTQ and BIPOC advocate for years. Barbee also maintains the title of Senior Vice President of Programs and Services at DreamKey Partners; an organization that provides resources, aid and advising for those in need of affordable housing within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.
NATIONAL Married Lesbian Couple Shot in Utah
The bodies of Kylen Carrol Schulte and Crystal Michelle Turner were found on August 19 in Grand County, Utah. An investigation is underway, but the medical examiner can confirm that both women had been shot to death. The married couple was said to have been camping for the weekend when what the Grand County Sherriff’s Office has described as a “third party gunman,” shot them.
INTERNATIONAL Third Pride March in Bosnia is a Success
The conservative country of BosniaHerzegovina has lost approximately 9,700 citizens to COVID-19, during which most LGBTQ citizens have been experiencing lockdown with abusers. The August 14 march was a celebration, but it was also a call to action for the Bosnian government. Participants asked for a de-stigmatization of LGBTQ individuals, demanding that same-sex marriage be legalized. “In the year behind us, the rights and freedoms of LGBTIQ+ people have further deteriorated,” marchers stated.
23-Year-Old to Open Scotland’s First Ever Lesbian Bar
Emily Frood, a transgender woman in Edinburgh, Scotland, was studying for their master’s degree when they decided that what they truly wants to do with their life is to create a safe space for queer, bisexual and lesbian women. “The whole point of this bar is to curate a larger, more cohesive sense of community,” Frood shares, “and if that doesn’t happen by having a bunch of queer people and lesbians build this place together, then what am I doing?”
info: bit.ly/2Wu3phl — Compiled by Julianna Peres
How LGBTQ North Carolinians Are Faring With New NDOs
January 2021 in North Carolina brought the end of the moratorium on cities and counties implementing their own nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs), essentially allowing local governments in North Carolina to decide whether or not LGBTQ and BIPOC employees would be protected in the workplace. The most recent additions to the list of NDO holders are Winston-Salem and Chatham County. Other North Carolina counties, towns and cities with nondiscrimination ordinances include: Asheville, Buncombe, Durham, Greensboro, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Orange County and Charlotte. The response to the changes have been nearly unanimous from legislative professionals and largely positive from residents, although there has been some dissent. On August 9, the City of Charlotte’s official Twitter posted: “NEW: #CLTCC has voted unanimously to amend City of Charlotte ordinances to include familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, pregnancy and natural hairstyle as classes protected against discrimination.” The Household Pulse Survey shows that 13.1 percent of LGBTQ adults have experienced food insecurity within the last week, 19.8 percent of LGBTQ adults did not believe they would be able to make their next housing payment and white LGBTQ adults were 50 percent more likely to have their pay cut at some point in their career. 22 percent of LGBTQ BIPOC persons lost their jobs during COVID-19, and 38 percent of LGBTQ BIPOC persons had their work hours reduced during COVID-19. Equality NC has been keeping the public informed as more local governments pass nondiscrimination ordinances. Their NC is Ready webpage provides a list of locations that have yet to adopt NDOs with links made for directly contacting city council members, mayors and county commissioners across North Carolina. A few of these are Huntersville, Mecklenburg County (which does have a non-discrimination resolution), Raleigh, Boone, Cary, Black Mountain, Wilmington, Gastonia and Weaverville. To contact these government authorities, go to ncisready.org. Despite limited opposition to some nondiscrimination ordinances, overall response is positive. It should be noted the issue of bathrooms, as in the HB2/“bathroom bill,” is not referenced in the NDOs. Says Allison Scott, Director of Impact and Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality: “Leaders across North Carolina — including our U.S. Senators from NC — should look at what’s happening in our state. Communities are taking a stand to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, which leads to safer, more inclusive places to live, work and raise families. It’s time now to ensure that no LGBTQ North Carolinian is left vulnerable to discrimination — and that will require action from elected officials at every level of government.” info: bit.ly/3BhGgOm — Julianna Peres
CAAN’s Lee Storrow Accepts Position N at Community Education Group
After seven years at the helm of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network, Executive Director Lee Storrow is leaving the organization for a new role with Community Education Group (CEG). His last day at NCAAN is August 20. “It’s been such an honor to serve as executive director of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network,” says Storrow, “Working with our network and people living with HIV has grown and shaped my approach to public health, and I’m so thankful for the support, energy and passion this network has given me and our organization over the last seven years.” At CEG, Storrow will serve as regional and national policy director, where he will lead policy efforts on the impact of HIV & hepatitis in rural America. “I’ve respected and known the work of their team for some time,” Storrow offers, “I am thrilled to take on broader work fighting for the rights of rural communities impacted by HIV & hepatitis across our country.” Under his leadership at NCAAN, the organization has successfully tackled significant policy challenges in North Carolina. Storrow led campaigns that increased access to health insurance for individuals on the HIV Medication Assistance Program, modernized the state’s HIV criminal law and secured more than $1 million in new funding for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for hepatitis testing and linkage to the cure. The organization also grew significantly, and Storrow cultivated a major matching gift from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to establish NCAAN’s endowment. “Lee is an advocate’s advocate – he listens well, speaks persuasively and recruits constantly. Lee understands that policy work is a marathon, not a sprint, and that having partners from many sectors is vital — we will miss his leadership,” says Sandra Boren, vice president and senior program officer at Cone Health Foundation. “Lee transformed NCAAN over the last seven years into a powerful organization that made significant policy changes in North Carolina and across the region,” says Veleria Levy, vice chair of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network board of directors, “He’s significantly grown our budget, and the founding of our endowment at the NC Community Foundation is the kind of forward thinking Lee constantly displayed that will leave a legacy and mark for years to come.” Janeen Gingrich, an experienced North Carolina nonprofit professional, will serve as interim executive director while the board leads a national search for the next executive director. “I feel so proud of all that we’ve accomplished at the North Carolina AIDS Action Network,” says Storrow, “I’m excited about my new job, but will certainly miss the phenomenal staff team, board and dedicated group of volunteers at NCAAN.” info: facebook.com/CEGInWV — Julianna Peres
Sept. 3-16, 2021
The Future of Pride
A National Shift is Changing Pride Events Across the Country A National Shift
by Chris Rudisill qnotes Contributor
or many, big parades and festivals celebrating all things LGBTQ seem like a faint memory of a pre-pandemic existence. Pride events marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in 2019 were some of our last vestiges of rainbow-laden streets filled with throngs of people. As COVID-19 spread across the country in the spring of 2020, Pride festivals were some of the first big events to be cancelled, and, as reported in this week’s issue of qnotes, 2021 is seeing more delays in events across the country. But, there’s also a rising tide of change happening in Pride events and the groups that organize them. According to the United States Association of Prides, such organizations in the U.S. mobilize more than 20 million individuals in communities across the country through annual events. In some major cities, Pride organizations are dissolving, however, and many are undergoing major shifts — disappointing to some and heralded by others. A lot has changed in the past two years. The police-involved killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the increased awareness of sexual assault and gender inequities brought on by the #MeToo movement, the record number of violent attacks against the transgender community and the increased political divisions that exploded on January 6 have all led to increased attention on the disparities marginalized communities face. Instead of employing the overused term of “cancel culture,” one could argue that it has been a positive time for “accountability culture.” The LGBTQ community has not been immune to these conversations and the reckonings of social justice in America. Editor at Large for the Advocate John Casey pointed out in February that for the first time in our history, three of the national legacy LGBTQ equality organizations (National LGBTQ Task Force, Human Rights Campaign and National
Sept. 3-16, 2021
LGBTQ organizations and events have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo Credit: Graphic PhotoArt via Adobe Stock) Center for Lesbian Rights) are all being led by Black executives. “I don’t think we can look at these fragmentations as one-offs,” said Casey. “Rather, they are harbingers of things to come as a new generation rises and replaces what have traditionally been organizations made up of predominantly white gay men and lesbians.”
How It Started
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Tired of ongoing raids against the LGBTQ community, patrons fought back, and the Stonewall Riots or Uprising began. Earlier protests had occurred at Cooper’s Do-nuts and the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles, 1959 and 1967 respectively, and at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966. A year after Stonewall, the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee held the first Gay Pride March in New York. All of these events had important things in common. They were in response to ongoing police harassment of the LGBTQ
community and significantly involved the transgender community, many also centering around the lives of Black and Brown people. That history has served as the trigger point for many protests against Pride organizations in recent years. In Philadelphia, criticism of Philly Pride Presents, the organization that managed the annual pride event for 30 years, ultimately led to its dissolution this summer. While there remain questions about the group’s organizational structure, transparency and finances, outrage stemmed from what some called “revisionist, racist and transphobic” rhetoric on its social media pages and a history of not representing the full community. A new group of queer and trans activists are now stepping forward to create a new Pride for the city. Mark Segal, a key figure in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community and one of the original organizers of NYC’s pride in 1970, shared in a recent column that “The earth below Philly Pride Presents has been shifting for several years now. People in the community have continued to ask for changes, and none were coming.”
Segal points out a shift that has been taking place across the country. In New York, Reclaim Pride launched in 2019 as a community protest on the corporate focus of Heritage of Pride’s event. Their Queer Liberation March has served an alternative to New York City Pride in June ever since, and says that it is committed to “no corps, no cops, no bs!” In response, organizers at Heritage of Pride also announced this year they would ban police officers from participating in the annual Pride parade while in uniform until at least 2025. Toronto Pride hasn’t allowed police since 2017 and Capital Pride Alliance (Washington, D.C.) started doing so in 2018. In Chicago, Pride Without Prejudice is an ad hoc group of LGBTQ activists who held a march in June with the goal of taking Pride back to its roots. In a news release, organizers said the march would call to defund police, redistribute wealth, decriminalize sex work and center on Black and trans people, “who are typically marginalized or tokenized at white-led Pride events.” Indivisible Chicago, said that “the cancellation of last year’s [Chicago] ‘Pride Parade’ gave several queer community members the opportunity to replace that vapid, corporation-drenched spectacle with a truly community-driven event.” In Boston, the decades-old LGBTQ organization that organized the city’s Pride Parade announced a decision to disband in July after growing criticism from the community. Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted the Boston Pride parade in 2015, demanding more inclusivity and representation, and, in 2020, 80 percent of the organization’s volunteers resigned and called for the resignation of the entire board of directors. The newly formed Boston Pride 4 The People released a statement that said “the [then] current Pride Board no longer holds the trust of LGBTQ+ community that Boston Pride is supposed to serve.” It stemmed from a number of grievances of racism and what some called a lackluster statement on police brutality that removed “Black Lives Matter” from a unified statement.
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Community Gives Back During Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service More than a dozen volunteer service projects and events with more than 300 participating community members dotted the city’s landscape on the weekend that would have been Charlotte Pride’s 20th anniversary event on Aug. 21-22. Altogether, the events marked the first Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service, an opportunity for LGBTQ community members to stand in support and solidarity with each other as the city continues to face the consequences of the continued pandemic and economic downturn. At Charlotte Pride, we believe Pride is more than a once-annual event, party, street festival, or parade. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a party! “All work and no play…” as the old saying goes. But Pride also means service, support, care, kindness, and the proactive building of a collective community in which all are empowered to live our full lives and full selves.
Internationally, London Pride recently cancelled plans for a Pride festival and parade this year, citing pandemic requirements. However, LGBTQ advocate and journalist Peter Tatchell said on Facebook that he suspects “a reason for the cancellation may be because big sponsors like Barclays and Tesco, and some LGBT+ organizations, were allegedly not supporting this year’s parade.” According to Tatchell, who was also one of the organizers of UK’s first Pride in 1972, allegations of racism and bullying within the organization have not been investigated and may be a factor. “Pride has strayed far from the roots of the event,” said Tatchell, “It’s corporate and depoliticized. The organizers no longer profile LGBT+ human rights issues.” Pride events and LGBTQ organizations have evolved in many ways over the years, but one thing remains true – they have served to make visible our community’s struggles and successes. While not
dismissing the need for change, we owe it to those leaders of the early movement to not forget that. As Casey says, “We could very well be at a point of radical reckoning in our community, the likes of which probably have not been seen since the early days of the AIDS pandemic, when women stepped in to lead when men were too sick to do so. Our community transitioned then from Stonewall rebellion to ACT UP resistance. The ripple effect of AIDS was felt on an entire generation, and it forced changes in so many directions.” The awareness and need for a return to social justice in our Pride organizations and in our overall movement is nothing different. It’s an evolution that has the power to create positive change, both within our communities and beyond. It will also bring about new ideas and opportunities, marches, events and venues that further amplify our full community — if we let it happen. : :
That’s why we organized this year’s first-ever Weekend of Service. It felt right to plan a collective give-back event on the weekend we would have hosted the annual festival and parade. Pandemic restrictions and all the uncertainty that comes with them may have prevented us from hosting our community’s largest once-annual way to celebrate and empower each other, but it wasn’t going to stop us and our mission to support our broader community! We are so thrilled that community members and organizations stepped up to the plate. A dozen groups signed up to host their own service projects and events! Together with Charlotte Pride’s two projects, more than 300 people participated in acts of service and kindness, including school and clothing supply drives, letter writing to elders, a Habitat home project, a health and wellness event, school playground and classroom clean-up, community farm support, a local road clean-up, and more! The pandemic has taught us many lessons. Chief among them is just how important it is to care for each other and our collective community. Charlotte Pride is incredibly grateful for the community members and organizations who came together in solidarity during the Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service. You’ve all made a direct impact and difference in our local community. Thank you! We can’t wait to make the Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service an annual community tradition! Many thanks go out to the following community organizations who participated in the Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service: Amity Medical Group, Avant Wellness, Charlotte Area Drag Queen Story Hour, Gender Education Network, Indivisible NC District 9, Moms Demand Action Charlotte, One Voice Chorus, PNC Bank, Queer Society Charlotte, Regions Bank, Trane Technologies, Transcend Charlotte, and the UNC Charlotte Office of Identity, Equity, and Engagement.
Charlotte Pride extends a special note of thanks to our partners who assisted with our hosted service projects. Thank you to the Carolina Farm Trust, Urban Farm and Aldersgate, and Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful.
Volunteers pose for a group photo after offering support at the Urban Farm at Aldersgate.
Sept. 3-16, 2021
Sept. 3-16, 2021
Sept. 3-16, 2021
From Sears and Roebuck to Arts and Entertainment Charlotte’s VAPA Center Brings Local A&E to the Community
by L’Monique King qnotes Staff Writer
ake a look or walk around Charlotte these days, and you can’t help but notice the area’s budding artist community. Massive murals and open-air entertainment events seem to be popping up everywhere. Given the current state of the pandemic, you may find yourself asking: just where are all these folks rehearsing, storing supplies or holding their event planning meetings? There’s no question about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and how it has forced many spaces to shut their doors or limit occupancy and availability. But, there might just be a silver lining around this cloud that could produce quite a rainbow. If you’re a Charlotte area artist looking for a cool uptown space to showcase your art or hold a creative workshop or event, you might want to consider the Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA) Center. For those who have called Charlotte home for more than two decades, the VAPA Center is the old government building that was once a Sears & Roebuck department store. In like fashion, the building — also most recently known by many as the Hal Marshall building — has been repurposed once again. Located at 700 North Tryon Street and the corner of East 11th Street, the sprawling brick building (over 55,000 square feet) takes up much of the block and will provide performance and office space for many artists, arts organizations and local institutions like the Sheriff’s Department. So why the new focus? Because necessity is the mother of invention and innovation. And, like most innovations, someone saw new and exciting possibilities for something others thought of as old and obsolete. For a clearer understanding of the project’s birth, mission and goals, qnotes explored the topic with artist and VAPA Center Project Manager, Arthur Rogers, Jr. In the wake of impending changes at Spirit Square, Rogers explained there was an urgent need to find space for local and visiting artists. Rogers said the county came together with culturally-minded partners that included the McColl Center for Arts and Innovation to try and work out a remedy for artists that would be displaced. They put out a call to about 26 arts organizations to see who would be interested in being part of the project. He and his wife were part of that group and Rogers readily stepped up when he was informed that someone from one of the 26 arts entities would be tasked with managing the building. “So we decided to form a collective, and that’s how VAPA was born,” Rogers recalls. He enthusiastically confirmed another important factor: the McColl Center, located across the street from the Hal Marshall building, was a founding group
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member and the McColl Center’s President and CEO, Alli Celebron-Brown, was the organizer and point person for the project. With the inspiration of involving and engaging the public directly in the arts, the group of artists joined in unison earlier this year to form the independent Visual and Performing Arts organization, which is quickly progressing towards becoming a 501c3 (nonprofit organization). Coming together across a spectrum of various arts disciplines, they are diligently working together with Mecklenburg County to convert the 1949 building into a mecca for arts and live entertainment. Among those artists is John C. Quillin, Founding Artistic Director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte. In speaking with qnotes, he expressed his enthusiasm for the project, his gratitude for Alli Celebron-Brown’s assistance and his admiration of Project and Property Manager, Arthur Rogers, Jr. According to Quillin, his group is the only choral group and only LGBTQ group thus far with immediate plans to take up occupancy in the building, which they
hope to call home in mid-September. He went on to say how relieved he’ll be to finally have one central location for performance that will also be able to house the group’s props, music and equipment — currently stored in multiple locations across town. He’s particularly excited about working in an environment that houses multiple creative organizations. “When you’re in close proximity to people, you talk, connect and look for ways to be and work together. It never fails that you come up with something wonderful and unique. “It’s really invigorating to witness who has signed up and taken occupancy,” Quillin continues, “An incredibly diverse group of people from all across the Charlotte area.” Among those occupants joining the Gay Men’s Choir are the Charlotte Comedy Theater, Charlotte’s Off Broadway, BLKMRKCLT, 9.18.9 Studio Gallery and Jazz Arts Charlotte. With other groups and independent artists, they will all be able to make use of the VAPA Center’s five galleries, multiple theaters, rehearsal space, practice space and art studios.
While Quillin and others are delighted to be a part of the project, concerns are already growing over the county’s decision to make the effort a short-term project. “The building is expected to be sold in three to five years,” says Quillin, “[But] I hope that after a demonstrated demand — the county will go, ‘we’ll just leave it as it is,’ because they’ve seen that it benefits the community.” Rogers echoed Quillin’s sentiments in wanting to see longevity for the project because he feels it’s something the Charlotte community deserves and needs. He also invited the community to tour the building free of charge in hope of gaining additional support and creating project awareness. The VAPA Center has the capacity to offer so much to so many — a fact Rogers, Quillin and other local artists hope the county will recognize and consider before putting the building up for sale. Individuals and groups already on the occupancy list have begun to make plans for the building’s clean up, as it’s been vacant and used for storage for an extended period of time. They are also beginning to think about and plan indoor and outside events and activities for the fall. Educating artists and members of the community is part of the mission, so classes, seminars and programs will be made available throughout the year. Make no mistake — the VAPA Center is truly a multi-purpose space. Those interested in participating on any level, whether teaching a class or offering a program, should visit VAPAcenter.org to book space and learn more about the plethora of offerings. : :
The Visual and Performing Arts Center offers theater spaces, artist studios, arts education and more. (Photo Credit: WavebreakMediaMicro via Adobe Stock)
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Knowledge is Power As of the latest count, over 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and it is estimated that over 15% do not even know they are positive! While advances in HIV care and medication have made great strides since this disease raised its ugly head, we still have a long way to go. Cases of new infections, while noticeably lower than the beginning of the crisis, are still occurring. Especially in the South and among minority communities, one of the biggest barriers to care is stigma. HIV is still not a “acceptable” topic of discussion among many communities and families. Remaining silent and apathetic is killing people. We, as a community, must do better at talking about HIV and acknowledging the crisis. Being tested is just one step, and an easy one, that you or your friends and family can do, to help start conversations. Testing will not only provide you with peace of mind, but it shows to the world around you that you shouldn’t be living in fear over testing. Testing is easy and free to almost anyone. In 2020, Dudley’s Place dedicated a full-time staff member, Dee Dee Richardson to Prevention and Outreach and she now leads our message to the community about getting testing and knowing your status. Richardson was diagnosed HIV positive over 30 years ago. She is a perfect example of why EVERYONE should
know their status. Dee Dee had been in a “committed” relationship and was going in to give birth to her child when the hospital staff discovered her diagnosis. “Why would I have even thought I needed a test? Now, I see that it is vital for each person to know their status no matter what their situation is or appears to be.” Richardson draws on her experience and passion to help all the clients that walk through the door at Dudley’s Place and Rosedale Health and Wellness live their best life. In partnership, our two organizations offer free testing on site at Rosedale every day during clinic hours. We also obviously have the best resources for HIV care in the Charlotte area. Dee Dee works, along with the entire team, to do whatever it takes no matter what the results are of your test. If you do test positive, we have counselors and peers on staff to talk you through the diagnosis and we direct you into care that very same day. “I also always tell my clients that test negative, that now it is our job to work with them in order to keep them negative”, said Richardson. You can call 704-977-2972 today and schedule a free and confidential test for HIV. Also, visit the website at Dudleysplace .org and like us on all social media at @thedudleysplace
Sept. 3-16, 2021
‘Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond’ Out in Print
by Terri Schlichenmeyer Contributing Writer Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond Edited by Halimah Marcus ©2021, Harper Perennial $17.00 304 pages
ou were determined not to get bit. But in a totally different meaning of the word, you were equally determined that your horse would accept one. Without a bit in his mouth, he wouldn’t turn, slow down or stop when you wanted to ride — and of course, as in “Horse Girls,” edited by Halimah Marcus, the ride’s the thing. Or is a sense of freedom the best part of owning a horse? Many girls think so, while others just want their very own Flicka or Ginger or Pie. Whatever it is, Marcus says that there’s a difference between “horse girls” and a “horsewoman.” The latter, she writes, is “tough, no-nonsense... riding every day... unsentimental about horses, but devoted to them for life” — unlike many of the women in this book who gave up riding as young women and reestablished their love for it later in life. But what makes a horse girl?
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Author Halimah Marcus. (Photo Credit: Bryan Derballa) Marginalization, in the stories here. These horse girls often felt shame for not fitting the norm, for being queer, Black, “chubby” or poor — but they still loved horses. Some of the writers are lesbians, but they didn’t understand it until their girlhoods were over. Alex MarzanoLesnevich writes of cross-dressing cowboys in history; Sarah Enelow-Snyder writes about Black cowboys and of “curly Afros shoved into unaccommodating cowboy hats.”
C. Morgan Babst writes of cruelty and anorexia, a twopronged part of her childhood. Horse girls worry. A lot. They worry about where their horses went after they were sold or given away. On the day she got it, Adrienne Celt worried about how she was going to bury her horse if it died. They worry about disappointing horse-loving parents, and they fret about the best way to introduce their daughters to riding. They ride with joy. They meet their spouses through horses. They remember the smell of a box that once contained a plastic horse — because, says T Kira Madden, “the thing about a horse is, it’s never about the horse.” Nope, it’s also about stories. 15 of them, to be exact, all inside “Horse Girls,” but unless you’re the horsey-type, you grew up in a saddle, or your shelves once held plastic 1:9-scale horses, you can just mosey along. In that case, you’ll haaaaate this book and that’s okay. It’s not for you anyhow. If you fit the former, though, pommel, stirrup and all, then editor Halimah Marcus offers stories you’ll devour, stories of loving horses, even when (especially when!) doing so made you an anomaly. There’s strength in that but loss also looms large here, particularly loss of childhood, innocence or imagination. Fortunately for many of these storytellers and for the readers invited along on this ride, though, recollections are resolved, reasons for them are reconciled, and the endings are mostly satisfying. If you ever trotted around the yard, pretending to be a horse, or if you actually spent your girlhood in a saddle, this book will bring back memories. “Horse Girls” is a book you won’t want to miss, not even a little bit. : :
Coronavirus Journal Jesse’s Journal
by Jesse Monteagudo Contributing Writer
OVID-19 is here to stay. This is the way it seems, 18 months after the virus entered our lives to wreck them. We thought we could go back to normal, after a year of lockdowns and social distancing. Like George W. Bush in Iraq, we declared victory prematurely. But we underestimated COVID’s resilience. Though it is wrong to ascribe intelligence to a virus, the organism seems resourceful enough to evolve into more enduring forms at a much faster pace than us “superior” species would. We developed vaccines that would keep us alive and, mostly, out of the ICU, but no matter. COVID just evolved itself into the Delta variant and other strains that are stronger and more contagious. So, we had to go back to face masks, social distancing and Zoom meetings. Sadly, like AIDS or 9/11, COVID has changed our lives forever, and there is no turning back. Humans are stubborn, and there are many of us who, like the U.S. military, refuse to accept defeat. We don’t want to be locked up in our homes, or to be limited in the social contacts that make us human. We certainly don’t want to imprison our faces in stifling face masks. As some of you know, I work part time in Port Everglades and the Port of Miami, assisting cruise ship passengers. Like everyone else, I wear a face mask at work. I also wear a mask when I attend Dolphin Democrats meeting or Congregation Etz Chaim services at the Pride Center. I admit that I hate to wear a face mask, especially since I am vaccinated. But I do it for the common good, not to show off my face mask collection. (Visit my Facebook page for samples). Like the once-progressive but now-conservative comedian, Bill Maher, said, I take one for the team. Other people, alas, are not so altruistic, and refuse to wear a mask because it would encumber them. In the United States of Trumpism and Q-Anon, everything is political. Refusing
to take a vaccine was once the province of a few crackpots. Now it is all-too prevalent among right-wingers of all kinds, who believe that turning down Pfizer or Moderna is a good way to “own the libs.” Never has cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face been so obvious. Though the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will not prevent us from catching COVID, they will keep us alive and relatively healthy. They are more effective than the horse medicine or the regeneron that Governor Ron DeSantis is peddling all over Florida. Unfortunately, for political and selfish reasons, many of our fellow citizens have turned down the vaccines, as a result of which Florida has one of the highest rates of COVID hospitalizations and deaths in the country. Speaking of Ron DeSantis, wise and compassionate governors would make the best decisions possible for the good of their constituents. Of course, DeSantis is not wise or compassionate. Like his mentor Donald Trump, DeSantis only cares about his extreme right wing political base and his own political future. He certainly does not care about businesses, local governments, or school boards that he tries to browbeat into dropping all mask or vaccine requirements. Backed by a Republican State Legislature and a Republican State Supreme Court, DeSantis made himself Florida’s dictator. And he appears invulnerable. He certainly would not survive in a blue state like California, where the governor is being recalled for doing much less. So, what can we do? I am heartened by the fact that Floridians are not taking this lying down; that the journalists that DeSantis hates are speaking truth to power and the school boards in our most populous counties are challenging his tyranny. Others are taking the governor to court, arguing that his evil moves are literally killing our children. The rest of us must also do our part. At least, we must make sure that DeSantis is only a one term governor. We must bring back sanity to a state that throughout history has seen so little of it. : :
Sept. 3-16, 2021
It Takes More Than Water Alone Health & Wellness: Effective Hydration
by Jack Kirven qnotes Contributor
just came back inside after spending a few hours roasting in the sun. It was brutal, and I feel slightly disrespected by the heat and humidity. Rude. Before heading out to the drum circle, I reminded everyone in the chat group not only to bring water, but to make sure it included some Himalayan pink rock salt dissolved in it. The reason for this is that colorful salts are more nutritious than bleached salt. It’s the same with practically all our foods: Colorful good, bleached bad. Refined salt lacks the nutritional profile of unrefined sea salts and rocks salts. Colors of natural salts can range from light grey or beige, all the way to browns, pinks, and even blacks. They each taste different, too, something to keep in mind as you consider your recipes. Some are saltier than others, so less is generally needed when using colorful salts. But why include salt in water in the first place? Of course you know that sweat tastes salty. When you perspire, you lose water along with vital minerals and trace metals. You also purge many toxins by way of sweating, but that isn’t the focus of this entry. The salts you taste in your sweat are called electrolytes, and they also have to be replenished. What’s more, these substances help to shuttle water throughout your system, so having them in your beverage gives your water more bioavailability. This is why commercial sports drinks have a certain saltiness to them: The minerals they include improve hydration. The complication with premixed sports drinks is that they come with an assortment of ingredients you simply do not need. Artificial colors and excess added sugars
come immediately to mind. So how can you stay hydrated, reduce your use of plastic bottles and save yourself money and risky ingredients? Yep, mix your own. You can control the ingredients and the portions exactly as you need. In a 28-ounce bottle of water, I suggest grinding enough Himalayan rock salt until you can very subtly begin to taste it. You are not making saline, nothing near as salty as that. If the flavor is unpleasant to you, rather than adding lots of sugar, consider soaking or squeezing various fruits or herbs in the bottle. Infusing flavors like watermelon with basil or strawberry with mint are very refreshing. If you also want to add some quick energy to the water, try a teaspoon or two of raw honey, rather than simple sugar. What are electrolytes specifically? They are particles that carry an electrical charge, and in nutrition they are therefore vital to movement and other nerve functions. They
also help to maintain the pH balance of your blood. There are many electrolytes, but the five most widely known are sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Sodium is important in transmitting electrical pulses across nerve membranes, so is vital to communication throughout the nervous system. It also affects fluid balances throughout your body. Chloride is negatively charged, so it works in tandem with positive ions to regulate electrical impulses and to maintain proper pH balances. Calcium plays a role in muscle contractions throughout your body, including those involved in digestion, and especially your heart. This is why your heart beat can become irregular when you are dehydrated. Magnesium is important in allowing muscles to relax and slide back out to their full lengths. Cramps occur with more frequency and severity when you lose electrolytes. Potassium is also involved in water balance, nerve impulse transmission, and muscle function, bananas are a popular post-workout snack, specifically because they help reduce cramps, because they are high in potassium. As you are outside enjoying summer activities, it is vital to remain hydrated. When you are active, and especially when you are exercising or cavorting in a hot environment, you are losing more than water. Choose beverages that hydrate you, which is measured not by the amount of water you drink, but by how much of the water you can actually use. Other than thirst itself (which is often mistaken for hunger), watch out for other signs of dehydration. They include thick saliva, difficulty swallowing, irregular body temperature, poor digestion, constipation, overly dark urine, dry eyes, puckered lips, wilted skin, fatigue, nausea, cramps, tremors, difficulty with balance or coordination, headaches, poor memory and confusion. : :
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Sept. 3-16, 2021
The Bar, the Greatest Date and the Unreturned Texts Tell Trinity
by Trinity | Contributing Writer Hey Trinity I went to the bar, met the greatest guy and had the greatest night. So, before the end of the night, we exchanged numbers. Great, right? Well, I’ve texted three times in four days and nothing. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Is it me, him, the places I go or just bad karma? Yours, Bad Karma, San Diego, CA Hey Bad Karma, It seems like some guys meet and marry even before the bar closes, and some meet, promise to marry and can‘t even get to the first date. I agree it’s an unkind, inconsistent and frustrating world of meeting, greeting, mating and dating. However, honey, you must be stronger than a hundred fools, tougher than a kid in a candy store and more resilient than a bad politician. Whether or not it’s you, him, the place or bad karma… it’s life, the game of life. If you’re alive and single, you have to play it. But next time don’t get so attached so quickly! Love, Trinity Hello Trinity, If I’m an aging and not-so-attractive gay man who hasn’t had a date in years, is there anything I can do to turn back time? Turn Back Time, Orlando, FL
Hello Turn Back Time, There’s great pride in aging, but yes, that won’t always get you a date. Just like nature has a way of turning a winter bush into a summer bouquet, you have ways of turning back time as well. Have a makeover, join a gym, take some self-awareness courses, i.e., the Insight or the Gratitude seminars, take some acting classes and/or dating courses. Pumpkin, it’s not who you think you are but what you do about it that makes you dateable!
Dearest Trinity, Why does dating hurt so much? Dating Pangs, Key West, FL Dearest Dating Pangs, Dating always was, is and will always be a 50-50 chance that two people take. Just like life, dating is all about trial and error, success and failure, idiots and interesting people. But this should make you stronger, not weaker! Embrace it all as a learning experience, but don’t get hung up on the past. If you’re on your deathbed and your last words are, “Boy, did I have an adventurous, dangerous
and challenging life,” then, sweetie, you lived like Agnes Gooch! Stay Strong, Trinity Dear Trinity, I was with my girlfriend for what I thought would be forever, but then she ended it. And now she wants to be “friends.” What for? Friends?, Greenwich, CT Dear Friends? While you’d like to think that being enemies is better than being friends, sometimes ex-couples make really great, life-long friends. And, darling, if you’re still skeptical, try reading:
Trinity’s Rational Tips for Why to Stay Friends With Your Ex
1. Because she has a CAR and you don’t. 2. Because he has a lot more MONEY than you and isn’t afraid to share it. 3. Because they know a lot of people in your CAREER and are willing to help you. 4. Because he OWNS your apartment or the house you rent. 5. Because she WORKS for the airlines and is still willing to give you Buddy Passes. 6. Because they are your BOSS at work and you really, really need that job. 7. Because she’s the MOTHER of your child, children, dog or cats. 8. B ecause he’s a GREAT person who really just didn’t want to date you and would rather be friends. Plus, he makes a great friend. 9. B ecause they are a DOCTOR, lawyer, cop or judge and you can never have enough of those friends. 10. B ecause he, she or they may be available one day for that one special night when you just need a good QUICKY. 11. L astly, because having ONE MORE ex as an enemy means at every party, club or social event, you’ll be surrounded by yet one more enemy-ex and… who needs that? With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity hosted “Spiritually Speaking” a weekly radio drama, performed globally and is now minister of WIG: Wild Inspirational Gatherings. Sponsored by: WIG Ministries, www.wigministries.org Gay Spirituality for the Next Generation! Send e-mails to: Trinity@telltrinity.com
Sept. 3-16, 2021
Pile on the Reissues Q-Music
by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer
ately, brothers Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks have been getting a lot of attention. They are the subject of Edgar Wright’s acclaimed “The Sparks Brothers” doc and the sibling duo also wrote the screenplay and songs for the Leos Carax movie, “Annette,” starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Possibly all this renewed awareness will spark (get it?) people’s interest in the underrated. 80s LA new wave band ,Gleaming Spires, whose primary members David Kendrick and Leslie Bohem were members of Sparks from 1981–1985. Expanded reissues of Gleaming Spires’ first three albums, “Songs of the Spires,” “Walk on Well Lighted Streets” and “Welcoming a New Ice Age” (all on Omnivore) not only go a long way in helping us understand why the Mael brothers wanted Kendrick and Bohem in their band, but also the contribution they made to West Coast music scene of the period. Perhaps best-known for the college radio hit single “Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?” (from 1981’s Songs of the Spires), Gleaming Spires basically made new wave music for your noggin that also spoke
Sept. 3-16, 2021
to your feet. Their irresistible original compositions deserve the chance to be heard again (or for the first time), and their stellar choice in cover material (“Somewhere” from West Side Story, Abba’s “Does Your Mother Know?” and Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds”) speaks for itself. Believe it or not, it’s been more than 40 years since U2 released its excellent debut album, “Boy,” featuring the breakout single “I Will Follow.” At the time, no other band sounded like U2, thanks in large part to the distinguished guitar playing of “The Edge.” Soon after, U2 would release a string of studio albums, including “War,” “The Unforgettable Fire” and “The Many older bands, such as the Gleaming Spires, have Joshua Tree” that would make re-issued their music decades after its original release. them favorites of critics and music-lovers alike. “Achtung Baby,” coming four years after “The album since 2017). Like the best of U2’s Joshua Tree,” was a career-high and also previous albums, it sounds timeless and the beginning of the band’s decline. deserves to be revisited. Aside from At the time of its release in 2000, “All the four singles, “Beautiful Day,” “Stuck That You Can’t Leave Behind” (Island/ in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” UMC), reissued in a 20th anniversary “Elevation” and “Walk On,” “All That You remastered double CD deluxe edition, Can’t Leave Behind” contains standouts signaled something of a comeback for such as “Wild Honey,” the bizarre “New U2 (who have not released a new studio York” and the still timely “Peace on Earth.” The first disc of the reissue also includes the non-U.S. bonus track “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” which features lyrics by Salman Rushdie. A second disc, recorded live in 2001 at the Fleet Center in Boston, includes songs from earlier albums such as “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “With or Without You” and “The Fly,” with a focus on the newer songs. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, while a pre-arena rock U2 was leading the new wave invasion from across the pond, bands in Athens (Georgia, that is), including the B-52’s and R.E.M., both led by queer performers, were creating some of the most distinctive music stateside. In fact, R.E.M. (as well as U2) is credited with creating what would come to be known as college rock. Landing sonically somewhere between the B-52’s and R.E.M., the quartet known
as Pylon are being feted with handsomely packaged reissues of its first two albums, 1980’s “Gyrate” and 1983’s “Chomp” (both on New West). The vocal acrobatics of lead vocalist Vanessa Briscoe Hay gives the band a certain B-52’s quality, along with the jagged dance beats, best experienced on “Volume,” “Feast On My Heart,” “Driving School” and “Danger” from “Gyrate,” as well as on “M-Train” and “Gyrate” from “Chomp.” On the other hand, you can also hear echoes of R.E.M. in songs such as “Weather Radio,” “Gravity,” the instrumental “Italian Movie Theme” and “Crazy.” R.E.M. even covered “Crazy” on 1987’s “Dead Letter Office.” These comparisons aside, Pylon was always very much its own band, blazing its own underappreciated trail, especially on “Yo-Yo,” “Beep,” “Buzz” and “No Clocks.” If there’s one quibble, it’s that the CD reissues don’t include the bonus material that could be found on earlier expanded Pylon reissues — 2007’s “Gyrate Plus” and 2009’s “Chomp More.” Originally released in 2005, the 15th-anniversary reissue and vinyl (opaque red, no less!) debut, “All That We Needed” (Craft Recordings) by Chicago’s west suburban band, Plain White T’s, is notable for being the first place once could hear PWT’s song “Hey There Delilah.” Of course, the version on “All That We Needed” differs from the rerecorded 2007 version that went on to become the band’s sole, albeit massive, hit single. “All That We Needed,” arriving as it did after the Smashing Pumpkins had already broken up and then reformed, was a latecomer to the formerly fruitful Chicago music scene (see also Liz Phair, Urge Overkill, Material Issue, Veruca Salt) and owed more to fellow suburbanites Fall Out Boy than any of its predecessors. The other notable thing about the previously mentioned “Hey There Delilah” is that not only did it not sound like anything else on the otherwise crunchy collection of suburban punk songs such as “Take Me Away,” “Sad Story,” “Lazy Day Afternoon” and “Last Call,” it had more in common with Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” than anything else. : :
Our People: Lee Robertson
Charlotte-Based Attorney Talks About His Life and Career by L’Monique King qnotes Staff Writer
ee Robertson was born in WinstonSalem, North Carolina, but has made his home in Charlotte for 30 years. These days, he resides in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood, where he enjoys tending to his yard and playing with his dogs, Baxter Pancakes and Boon French Toast, a pair of Chihuahua mixes. A prominent Charlotte attorney, Robertson is the eldest of three siblings and has two younger sisters. When it comes to his career, if it’s LGBTQ, business- oriented and requires legal attention, don’t be surprised if he’s probably been involved in some capacity. Lee has worn many hats. In addition to acting as a lawyer, he has served as a treasurer and a board chair for countless organizations, among them the Charlotte Gaymers Network, Stonewall Sports (Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington), RAIN, Time Out Youth, Plus Collective, Transcend Charlotte, LGBTQ Elders, Carolinas LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, HRC and more. So, you’re a lawyer. Can you briefly tell qnotes readers about your specific role as an attorney? I’m a Business Litigation Lawyer. I do a lot of fighting over people’s problems. Do you enjoy what you do? Yes, I like solving people’s problems. What’s a typical day in the life of Counselor Robertson like? Bojangles or McDonald’s breakfast, whatever is on the way [to work]. I’m a litigator, so I spend a lot of time in court. That’s a little different now due to COVID. So now I spend more of my time in the office on the phone with clients or preparing for trials and hearings. When you finally make it into a courtroom, is it anything like what we see on TV? Is there any Law & Order drama or glamor? [Laughs] I’m a civil litigator, so in my kind of work no one is going to jail. It’s not very exciting or worth getting worked up over. Most of the time it’s not that much fun. I like solving people’s problems, but that’s best done when people do it themselves. And most times, that doesn’t happen if a judge or jury is involved. What do you like least about what you do? Fighting over things that aren’t worth the fight. Aside from helping others solve problems, what do you like best about what you do? Using my skills as a lawyer in helping our organizations be strong, compliant and lasting. It seems as though most of your work has been with LGBTQ and/or LGBTQ affirming organizations. Is that intentional?
It is, but I’m also on the board of organizations that do not have that focus. I’m involved with the North Carolina Bar Association; I chair the Communications Committee and sit on the Construction Council. Locally, I’ve been on the Board of Directors for The Mecklenburg County Bar, and [I’m] currently on the Grievance Committee. I am [also] a Board Member of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, the charitable arm. Wow, that’s a lot. Is there anything you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to share with readers? My work with the Mecklenburg County Bar Leadership Institute. It’s a program for emerging leaders in the Bar. We train them to be good leaders, good lawyers and good community members. That’s awesome. Doesn’t sound like you have much time for a personal life. Do you have a partner? I do. We’ve been together for five years, he’s in banking. He has a very dry wit; he makes me laugh. We eat out a lot. Neither of us cooks, we both pretend [chuckling]. I don’t have the patience for [cooking] or desire to clean up. When we can, we spend time traveling, though not as much since COVID. COVID has been tough because
of the number of deaths and things being cancelled. It’s the right decision, but I wish it wasn’t [necessary]. Post COVID, would you like to see change within our legal system? Having people be able to have hearings, have their cases heard or attend court remotely. When COVID happened, the president of the Mecklenburg County Bar began working to make access to the courts more equitable. The biggest roadblock to equity in the justice system is access to broadband internet. The library is the only place to access broadband for those who don’t have it, and you can’t have court in the library. So, it means people have to find a way to get to court and risk having things continued. North Carolina is very behind other states. If you want to file something, you have to go to court or mail it. So, access to broadband internet is something that needs to change to create access for everyone. If there’s a “next life,” who will Lee Robertson be? What will he be doing? I’ve always wanted to write a book. If I thought I could be a good fiction writer I would do that. In law school I kept a blog. But writing fiction is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve written several manuscripts. : :
Sept. 3-16, 2021
Sept. 3-16, 2021