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J.W. Arnold, Kendra R. Johnson, L’Monique King, David Aaron Moore, Gregg Shapiro, Joanne Spataro, Trinity, Will Wright

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5 N.C. Lt. Governor Says ‘Transgenderism and ‘Homosexuality’ Are ‘Filth’  6 News Notes

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The focus of QNotes is to serve the LGBTQ and straight ally communities of the Charlotte region, North Carolina and beyond, by featuring arts, entertainment, news and views content in print and online that directly enlightens, informs and engages the readers about LGBTQ life and social justice issues.

Mark Robinson is at it again with some vehemently anti-LGBTQ comments. State Senators Jeff Jackson and Wiley Nickel called for him to step down, and Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement against Robinson’s remarks.

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8 Charlotte LGBTQ Resources 10 Just Janice 12 Teaching Communities How to Fish 16 The Gayest Hood in the Carolinas 18 Stonewall Museum Launches Major Digital Exhibit for LGBTQ History Month 23 Our People: Stan Schneider

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Stonewall Museum Launches Major Digital Exhibit for LGBTQ History Month

The exhibit highlights pivotal LGBTQ figures and achievements with more than 800 entries across 10 categories.

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Vote to Make a Difference in the LGBTQ Community by Kendra R. Johnson, Equality NC Executive Director Contributing Writer

Political Voices

I

t’s October again. The holidays are fast approaching, the seasons are changing, and it will soon be 2022. And it’s also election season — now is the time to learn about the municipal candidates who will be making decisions which could make a major difference in your life. In this column, we’ll lay out the process for voting in North Carolina, as well as how ENC selected and is supporting our endorsed candidates. Most cities in North Carolina are having their elections on November 2, with early voting running from October 14 to October 30. The deadline to register has already passed, but you can also register same-day at an early voting site. You can find your early voting site at vt.ncsbe.gov/ ossite and your election day site at vt.ncsbe.gov/PPLkup. And you can double-check when your city is voting at ncsbe.gov/2021-municipal-voter-tool. Equality NC PAC has endorsed 28 candidates for this year’s elections! For the sake of clarity, we’ll outline our endorsement process below. On August 23, ENC launched our endorsement form, inviting candidates to apply by September 8. The questionnaire covers questions on LGBTQ issues, including healthcare, public education, economic justice, preemption, gun violence prevention, immigration, democratic ideals and policing. After submission, ENC invited candidates to schedule interviews, where candidates were given the opportunity to clarify responses on the questionnaire and speak to other issues crucial to their communities. The Equality NC

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You can help the LGBTQ community by participating in your local elections. Photo Credit: lazyllama via Adobe Stock) PAC subsequently reviewed all the information and voted on whom to endorse. Any candidate that did not complete the two-step process was automatically not endorsed. This is not the exhaustive list of LGBTQ+ or pro-equality candidates running in this election. We have many, many more allies during the work of supporting our communities. We, at Equality North Carolina, intend to work with all pro-equality candidates and officials, whether or not we chose to endorse them and whether or not they applied. Equality North Carolina will always be a resource and sup-

port to any candidate looking to learn, grow and make a positive impact for marginalized North Carolinians. But, we’re pleased with the slate of candidates which we have as well, a slate which is diverse, progressive and has candidates from all around the state and in many different cities. Strong elected officials like these will be able to do so much for North Carolina. We encourage you to check them out at equalityncpac.org/candidates_2021, follow them on social media and give them your consideration as you go to the polls. And we’ll be sharing more information with you all as the month goes on. We already have a fabulous panel out with some of our out LGBTQ candidates, and every week until the election we’ll be broadcasting more town halls on our Facebook on Thursdays. We have mayoral candidates on October 14, City Council candidates on October 21, and other candidates, including School Board candidates, on October 28. We’ll also be holding a canvass with our partners for our endorsed candidates in Durham on October 30. Our city and town councils in North Carolina have incredible power over people’s lives, but frequently these elections experience low turnout. Earlier this month, for example, Durham held it’s primary elections — but only a handful of people turned out, a tiny fraction of the turnout in 2020, much less of the city’s total population. With such low turnout, it’s hard for anyone’s voice to be heard. We know that we can do better. In an election with such low turnout, your vote really does make a difference — so we need you (and your friends, neighbors and family members) to come out and vote. Let’s head to the polls and make a difference! : :


news

N.C. Lt. Governor Says ‘Transgenderism’ and ‘Homosexuality’ Are ‘Filth’ Tells Reporter Issue Isn’t About ‘Sexual Preference’

by David Aaron Moore qnotes Staff Writer

N

orth Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is at it again. Seems the right wing super conservative, who also refers to himself as “a man of God,” just can’t stop embarrassing the state on a relatively regular basis with a variety of anti-LGBTQ comments. On October 6, the progressive RightWing Watch website, a conservative watchdog organization, posted a clip on Twitter of Robinson speaking at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, N.C. this past June 6, where he made the following comments: “There’s no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes I called it filth. And if you don’t like that I called it filth, come see me, and I’ll explain it to you,” Robinson said in the video clip. This isn’t the first time Robinson has attacked the LGBTQ community. In a story published in qnotes earlier this year, it was revealed that in 2016 he condemned gays and lesbians immediately following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, heartily endorsed the National Rifle Association, and — in an apparent attempt to use transgender identity as an affront — even misidentified first lady Michelle Obama as “a man.” Following the Pulse shooting: “Homosexuality is still an abominable sinm and I will not join in ‘celebrating gay pride.” After his election as the state’s Lieutenant Governor last year, his attempt at discrediting the state’s public school system through charges of a progressive and LGBTQ conspiracy have been relentless. His claim that efforts to compile data would endorse his assertions has been proven to be false. Since release of the footage, responses from other politicians in the state, an MCC Minister and even the Biden administration, have been forthcoming and direct.

All Smiles: And why not? Lt. Governor Mark Robinson gets a swank office and a $125K salary in exchange for divisive hate speech. State Senators Jeff Jackson and Wiley Nickel immediately called for Robinson to step down. “There’s no debate here,” Jackson posted on Twitter, “This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable. Mark Robinson should resign.” Nickel concurred: “Mark Robinson is a disgrace and an embarrassment to our state. He should resign immediately. I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican elected official in our state.” Gov. Roy Cooper’s office issued a statement through CNN: “North Carolina is a welcoming state. We value public education and the diversity of our people. It’s abhorrent to hear anyone, and especially an elected official, use hateful rhetoric that hurts people and our state’s reputation.” In a statement from Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates, condemnation from President Biden’s administration was added to the list. “These words are repugnant and offensive,” said native North Carolinian Bates. “The role of a leader is to bring people together and stand up for the dignity and rights of everyone — not to spread hate and undermine their own office.”

In a letter addressed directly to Robinson from St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church in Raleigh, Reverend Vance Haywood pointed a finger directly at the Lieutenant Governor, charging him with the responsibility of potential teen suicide. “Your words have caused considerable harm and have the potential to cost people their lives,” Haywood wrote, “The Trevor Project estimates that at least one LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the U.S.” Despite condemnation from multiple individuals and elected officials, Robinson remains defiant. In one of only a handful of interviews he has given since the release of his hate-filled rhetoric, Robinson spoke with Spectrum Cable News. “The issue is not about homosexuality,” Robinson said, in defense of his earlier remarks, “The issue is not about whether or not people have the right to be homosexuals and be secure in their own persons. The issue [is] our school system [and] this has no place with young children, and we’re not backing down from that issue, and we’re not backing off on that issue. We’re going to continue to speak out against that.” While Robinson never confirmed who it is that shares his opinion when he says “we’re not backing down,” he continued with

his vague line of defense and his unfounded accusations against the public school system. “Look, we have spent nearly half our state budget on education and currently we are failing on teaching our students how to read on a school level. There is no room for topics like this, and there never should be. We should get back to the business of educating our children and the primary goal there is teaching students how to read, write and do mathematics. That’s what needs to be in the classroom, and these other things need to be taken out. It’s not about being against anybody because of their sexual preference. “This is an effort again to intimidate voices on the right into silence … it’s just another effort to try and intimidate me … from speaking out on this issue. It doesn’t matter to me what the definition of hate speech is. I said what I said, and I believe what I said, and many people across the state feel the exact same way.” Across the state, the consensus is growing that Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is unfit to serve in his elected office. He can’t govern without bias against individuals who don’t share his religious and political opinions, and he can’t seem to stop bashing the LGBTQ Community whenever the opportunity arises. Meanwhile, calls for his resignation and the possibility of impeachment proceedings against him are growing. “I do not intend to resign,” he said during the Spectrum News interview, “In fact, I intend to double down on my efforts against these things in our classrooms. Those folks can continue to call for my resignation, but that is not going to happen.” If you’d like to meet with Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson face-to-face, his office is located in the nationally registered historic home known as the HawkinsHartness House, 310 North Blount Street, in Raleigh. There’s also his Facebook account, or you can call him directly regarding his anti-LGBTQ comments, remind him he works for everyone in North Carolina, and see if he can “explain it to you.” His number is 919-814-3680. : :

Oct. 15-28, 2021

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news Mecklenburg Approves NDO to Protect LGBTQ People

On October 5, Mecklenburg County commissioners unanimously approved an expansion to the county’s nondiscrimination ordinance to protect LGBTQ people and people who wear natural hair styles — a major development in a years-long battle over gay and transgender rights in North Carolina. The ordinance prohibits discrimination for those newly protected groups at employers of every size. In addition, it prohibits discrimination in a wide range of public settings. With the vote, Mecklenburg County is on track to become the 13th local government to expand its local nondiscrimination ordinance this year. Commissioners will need to take another final vote before the expanded ordinance becomes law. The wave of support for the expansions comes five years after a thorny political battle between Charlotte and the state legislature. “It’s an exciting night,” Ginger Walker, the president of LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina, told commissioners on October 5, “It is a long time coming.” In 2016, responding to a nondiscrimination expansion in Charlotte, the state legislature passed House Bill 2, widely known as the “Bathroom Bill.” It sought to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice. Among other things, that law also prevented local governments from expanding their nondiscrimination ordinances. Amid national outcry, though, the state repealed that law and replaced it with House Bill 142. That law also prevented local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances, but that provision expired in December. Since then, a dozen local governments, including Charlotte’s, have passed protections of their own. Neither Charlotte’s nor Mecklenburg’s protections regulate the use of bathrooms. “Tonight’s discussion reaffirms the importance of LGTBQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, in Mecklenburg County and across the state,” Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, said in a statement, “Measures like these will make Mecklenburg County a better place, especially for people with multiple layers of marginalization. We applaud the Commissioners for taking this action, and we encourage them to pass this NDO swiftly.”

The Scope of Mecklenburg’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Commissioners weighed two proposals on Tuesday. Both sought to add job protections for LGBTQ people and people who wear their hair in natural styles.

UNC Chapel Hill’s Process Series Presents ‘Voices: A Walking Tour’

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC Chapel Hill) Process Series season begins with two presentations of Heather Tatreau’s “Voices: A Walking Tour” November 5-6, both beginning at 7:00 p.m. Curated by Tatreau, the site-specific performance takes the shape of a contemplative walking tour of campus after dark to discover the hidden voices in the school’s landscape. Beginning at UNC’s historic Old Well, the tour guide will lead audiences to performances in dance, spoken word and song at various monuments and historically significant sites on the UNC campus. The performance asks: What can we learn when we are quiet and let the voices of the past come into conversation with the present? Can we create a space where every voice belongs? Who has been left out of our community’s narrative? These are questions that members of our Carolina community have been asking more and more as we reconcile with our past. “Voices” offers an opportunity for community members to come together, contemplate and imagine a more just future. Tatreau, a UNC dance faculty member and professional choreographer, created her first presentation of the project in November 2018. Her intention was to re-visit UNC campus monuments to mark the changes in the physical and political landscape. Nowhere is more emblematic of the school’s changing campus than the empty field where Silent Sam, a Confederate monument toppled by protestors, once stood. Local choreographer, Killian Manning, is creating a dance performance and response to be performed at the politically charged empty space.

Three Bone Theater is Back With ‘Open’

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hree Bone Theater is currently staging “Open,” originally written by Crystal Skillman. The play focuses on a woman called the Magician, who presents a myriad of tricks for the audience’s entertainment, yet her performance seems to be attempting the impossible — to save the life of her partner, Jenny. Directed by Sarah Provencal and starring Danielle Banks as The Magician, the oneperson show is a theatrical magic act exploring love and loss. Audience members are an essential part of this modern LGTBQ love story: the playwright asks, is our faith in her illusions enough to rewrite the past? The clock is ticking, the show must go on, and, as impossible as it may seem, this Magician’s act may be our last hope against a world filled with intolerance and hate. “This is our first live show since the beginning of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” says a cofounder of the theater, Robin Tynes-Miller, the Artistic and Operations Director at Three Bone Theater. “It’s kicking off our tenth season of professional theater in Charlotte [and] our community partner on this production is PFLAG Charlotte.” Danielle Banks, who plays The Magician, is an actor and musician. She is currently a

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But the primary difference between them was the size of businesses that the ordinance would apply to. One version would only have applied to businesses with fewer than 15 employees, while the one that was approved would apply to businesses of all sizes. Advocates have praised the expanded ordinances as a major step forward in the battle for equality in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. In a letter urging commissioners to pass the expansion on Tuesday, Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality wrote that it “will create a community where all people can thrive.” Charlotte’s ordinance, which the City Council passed unanimously in August, applies to employers of all sizes. Cameron Pruette, who spoke to commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting, said the federal commission that handles workplace discrimination cases only takes a limited number of complaints every year. If the commission does not take a case, discriminated workers are forced to hire attorneys if they hope to get justice. “Discrimination should not require you to fund yourself to protect yourself,” he said. “All 12 local governments that have expanded their NDOs this year have not limited protections to employees at small businesses,” Pruette said. “I’m only asking you to vote for as much protections as Republicans in Buncombe County, as Republicans in Charlotte did, because we need it,” he said. Commissioner Pat Cotham said the time for action on nondiscrimination is overdue. She added that she believed the state legislature “is at a different moment in time,” and that it’s not likely there will be legislative pushback, as there was with HB2. “This is about dignity,” Cotham said, “But the more that I thought about it, you don’t have dignity if you don’t have strength.” Reprinted with permission from The Charlotte Observer info: bit.ly/3lqCo8N — Will Wright

“Although the statue has been removed and buildings have been renamed, systemic racism still flourishes here,” says Manning, “The Walking Tour gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past three years and to imagine how we can move forward.” “Heather’s work … invites a diverse array of local voices and brings them together to offer commentary on the places we call home. When we walk past those places, we will reflect upon newly exposed truths,” says Process Series Artistic Director, Joseph Megel. This tour will also include Chapel Hill Poet Laureate C.J. Suitt, giving voice to the African-American workers who built the campus with a performance at The Unsung Founders monument. “UNC sits inside the community of Chapel Hill. This is a small reminder,” says Suitt. The tour will also visit Peace and Justice Plaza on Franklin St. to provide a link between the university and the town with a song from “Affordable Housing: The Musical,” under the direction of George Barrett. As the Executive Director of The Jackson Center, Barrett’s work reminds us that Chapel Hill is not just a university town. How do we give voice to wider community issues like homelessness? Tatreau has also created a collaboration with the Carolina Indian Circle to incorporate native student voices through a performance at The Gift. This brick walkway outside of the Student Union was created by Senora Lynch of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe to pay homage to the original inhabitants of the university’s land. “Our physical landscape informs and reflects our values as a community,” says Tatreau, “Site-specific performance brings awareness to these values and offers an opportunity for diverse perspectives to be considered. I am grateful to have such thoughtful collaborators for the tour.” info: facebook.com/theprocessseries — qnotes Staff

sophomore at Winthrop University, pursuing a B.A. in musical theatre. Her prior theater credits include Megan in “Puffs: The Play,” Colleen in “Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play” and Lisarda in “The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs.” Sarah Provencal, Director of “Open” is a theatre director, professor and teaching artist based in Charlotte. In addition to being a freelance director, she also teaches directing, acting and script analysis courses at Winthrop University and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. Danielle Melendez, the show’s Assistant Director and Stage Manager, graduated from the University of the Arts in 2011. Since moving to Charlotte, she has worked with Three Bone as a stage manager, artistic associate and co-director. Three Bone will offer ten performances of “Open” evenings at 8:00 p.m. across three weekends: October 15-17, 21-24 and 28-30. The show will stage at The Arts Factory at West End Studios, 1545 W. Trade Street. To purchase tickets and for COVID-19 Health and Safety Requirements, visit their website at threebonetheatre.com. “Open” contains adult language and themes, including discussion of trauma to women and the LGBTQ community. It is recommended for ages 16 and up. : : info: threebonetheatre.com — qnotes Staff


Charlotte Pride Band to Perform ‘Halloween Music for Spirits’

The Charlotte Pride Band in concert under the direction of John Stanley Ross presents “Halloween Music for the Spirits,” featuring trumpeter Gabriel Slensiger from the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. The event takes place Oct. 30, 4:00 p.m., at Park Road Church, located at 3900 Park Road. Tickets are available for purchase online at charlotteprideband. org/tickets. They’re $20 for an individual and $35 for a family. Musical selections include works by Rafael Mendez, Leonard Bernstein, Gustav Holst, Erika Svanoe, Samuel Hazo, Clare Grundman, Charles Gounod and Eric Whitacre. Also included is a special performance by Winthrop University’s Trumpet Studio under the direction of Marisa Youngs. Ross is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music in the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State John Stanley Ross directs The Charlotte Pride University, where he serves on the graduBand for ‘Halloween Music for Spirits.’ ate faculty, conducts the Appalachian Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds and Concert Band and teaches courses in graduate and undergraduate conducting. A frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States, he has also conducted in China, Romania and South Korea. He has commissioned and arranged several works for winds, has conducted over 30 world premieres and his performances have been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today series. Gabriel has performed with a variety of leading ensembles, including the orchestras of Atlanta, Washington D.C. (National Symphony), Houston, Richmond and Utah, plus the Mercury Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed in the summer as principal trumpet with the Bravo! Big Sky Music Festival, in Big Sky, Montana. The Charlotte Pride Band has approximately 60 members drawn from the greater Charlotte’s LGBTQIA community and ally supporters. info: charlotteprideband.org — qnotes Staff

Damon Seils Captures Victory Fund Endorsement for Carrboro Mayor

As of September 23, the LGBTQ Victory Fund has officially endorsed Damon Seils for mayor of Carrboro, N.C. “Damon Seils has been a leader in advancing equality in Carrboro and across North Carolina for many years,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is the current President & CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, “Damon is immensely qualified to serve as mayor, and LGBTQ Victory Fund is proud to endorse him.” LGBTQ people remain severely underrepresented in government nationwide — holding just 0.18% of elected positions despite representing at least 4.5% of the U.S. populaIf elected, Damon Seils will be Carrboro’s third LGBTQ tion, according to Gallup. Seils has Mayor. (Photo Credit: Damon Seils for Mayor of Carrboro) been a consistent champion for LGBTQ people during his time on the Carrboro Town Council and in his broader work in the community. Seils has also served on the Duke LGBT Task Force, which works closely with students, employees, alumni and administrators to promote equality and inclusion for gender and sexual minority communities on campus and in the health system. He received the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award from Duke’s Office for Institutional Equity in 2006, and he received the Outstanding Staff Award from the Center for LGBT Life (now the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity) in 2008. He has been a consistent volunteer with the NC AIDS Action Network and received their Advocate of the Year Award in 2017. Seils announced his intention to run for mayor in June. Current Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle announced she would be stepping down after serving in the position for the past eight years. Previously unopposed, Seils is now running against local artist and restaurant owner Mike Benson. If Seils is elected, he will become the third mayor of Carrboro who is a member of the LGBTQ community. Mike Nelson was the first openly gay individual to be elected to the position in 1995. He was one of the first openly gay individuals elected to a mayoral position in the United States and the first gay man elected in North Carolina. He would go on to serve five consecutive times. Current Mayor Lydia Lavelle is the first lesbian to hold the office. info: bit.ly/3uWUVfT — qnotes Staff

notesCarolinas.com

“It’s about our family’s stories and the love we share.”

QnotesCarolinas.com Oct. 15-28, 2021

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life

Charlotte LGBTQ Resources

Advocacy

Campaign for Southern Equality southernequality.org Equality North Carolina equalitync.org Freedom Center for Social Justice fcsj.org Human Rights Campaign North Carolina hrc.org/in-your-area/north-carolina LGBTQ Democrats of Mecklenburg County facebook.com/LGBTQMeckDems Mecklenburg LGBTQ Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) facebook.com/meckpac North Carolina AIDS Action Network ncaan.org Safe Schools NC safeschoolsnc.org

Arts Charlotte Pride Band charlotteprideband.org Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte gmccharlotte.org One Voice Chorus onevoicechorus.com

Health & HIV*

Affinity Health Center Locations in Rock Hill, Clover, and York 877-647-6363 affinityhealthcenter.org *Amity Medical Group Locations in East Charlotte and South Charlotte 704-208-4134 amitymed.org Anuvia Prevention & Recovery Center 100 Billingsley Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211 704-376-7447 anuvia.org *Carolinas Care Partnership 5855 Executive Center Dr. Suite 102 Charlotte, NC 28212 704-531-2467 carolinascare.org Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group cthcg.org *Dudley’s Place 103 Commerce Centre Dr., Suite 103 Huntersville, NC 28078

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704-977-2972 myrosedalehealth.com/dudley

Charlotte Observer charlotteobserver.com

PFLAG Charlotte pflagcharlotte.org

The House of Mercy 100 McAuley Cir. Belmont, NC 28012 704-825-4711 thehouseofmercy.org

Charlotte Post thecharlottepost.com

The Plus Collective thepluscollective.org

CLTure clture.org

Poor No More Free Store facebook.com/PoorNoMoreCharlotte

Mecklenburg County Health Department Northwest Campus 2845 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 704-336-6500 mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment/ ClinicServices

Hola News holanews.com

Prime Timers of Charlotte bit.ly/3AvclBF

La Noticia lanoticia.com

Queen City Connects queencityconnects.com

QCityMetro qcitymetro.com

Rainbow Foster Network facebook.com/RainbowFosterNetwork

QNotes qnotescarolinas.com

Southern Country Charlotte southerncountrycharlotte.com

Qué Pasa Media Network Charlotte.quepasanoticias.com

There’s Still Hope! tshcharlotte3.org

Queen City Nerve qcnerve.com

Transcend Charlotte transcendcharlotte.org

Scalawag Magazine scalawagmagazine.org

Twirl to the World Foundation twirltotheworld.org

Mecklenburg County Health Department Southeast Campus 249 Billingsley Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211 704-336-6500 mecknc.gov/HealthDepartment/ ClinicServices Planned Parenthood Charlotte Health Center 700 S. Torrence St. Charlotte, NC 28204 704-536-7233 bit.ly/3myPOik *PowerHouse Project 1420 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 980-999-5295 facebook.com/ThePowerhouseProject Quality Comprehensive Health Center Medical Clinic 3627 Beatties Ford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216 704-394-8968 qchealth.net *RAIN 601 E. 5th St., Suite 470 Charlotte, NC 28202 704-372-7246 carolinarain.org RAO Community Health 321 W. 11th St. Charlotte, NC 28202 704-237-8793 raoassist.org *Rosedale Health and Wellness 103 Commerce Centre Dr., Suite 103 Huntersville, NC 28078 704-948-8582 myrosedalehealth.com

Online and Print Media

Social & Support

Carolina Bear Lodge carolinabearlodge.club Charlotte Tradesmen charlottetradesmen.org

Roof Above roofabove.org

Sports

Charlotte Rainbowlers charlotterainbowlers.com

Carolina Transgender Society carolinatransgendersociety.com

Charlotte Roller Girls charlotterollergirls.com

Charlotte Black Pride charlotteblackpride.org

Charlotte Royals Rugby charlotteroyalsrugby.com

Charlotte Gaymers Network charlottegaymersnetwork.com

Queen City Tennis Club bit.ly/2YupBcm

Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce clgbtcc.org

Stonewall Sports stonewallcharlotte.org

Charlotte LGBTQ Elders charlottelgbtqelders.org Charlotte Pride charlottepride.org Charlotte Uprising charlotteuprising.com Crisis Assistance Ministry crisisassistance.org Feed The Movement facebook.com/feedthemovementclt

Charlotte Axios charlotte.axios.com

Hearts Beat as One Foundation heartsbeatone.org

Charlotte Magazine charlottemagazine.com

Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association lgbtqbarnc.com

Youth

Campus Pride campuspride.org Central Piedmont Pride Alliance facebook.com/groups/CPCCPrideAlliance Center for Diversity & Inclusion Davidson College bit.ly/2Yz08z2 Gender Education Network gendereducationnetwork.org Time Out Youth Center timeoutyouth.org UNC Charlotte Office of Identity, Equity and Engagement identity.uncc.edu


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11/5-7 REEL OUT CHARLOTTE 11/13 CONFERENCE & JOB FAIR 11/14 FREE STORE Oct. 15-28, 2021

qnotes

9


life

Just Janice

Remembering a Legendary, Controversial and Kind LGBTQ Advocate by Joanne Spataro | Guest Contributor

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GBTQ advocate Janice Covington Allison, who passed away from a long-term illness last week at the age of 74, is remembered in the hearts of local Charlotte residents. In the collective grief over her death, vivid memories of Janice elicit a mixture of laughter, tears and new revelations about how she lived and what she stood for. Many of us can paint florid scenes of her “give ‘em hell” brand of activism, all while she wore her six inch heels and sported jet black hair that rose up higher than heaven’s ceiling. You only had to hear a kind, “Hey, honey,” in her unmistakable voice from the corner of any room, and you knew it was her. In her final months, Janice regularly called my wife, Lara Americo, and me. As we’d done for years, she called me “Joanie,” and I saltily called her “Janet”. Hey, Joanie. Hi, Janet. Then we’d laugh. Two remembrance events will be held for Janice in the coming days. The first is a memorial at Chasers on Sunday, Oct. 10. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the memorial runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. A special showcase starts at 7:00 p.m. The graveside service for Janice, which is open to the public, will be held on Friday, Oct. 15 at 2:00 p.m. in the Salisbury National Cemetery at VA Salisbury Health Care. There will be a presentation of the flag to her wife, Rita Cobble, to commemorate Janice’s service in the Army. Carolina Mortuary Service & Cremation is handling the cremation and interment. For those planning on attending the graveside service, Janice’s marker will show the name she was given at birth rather than the name we most often associated with her in life. Fred Handsel, owner of Carolina Mortuary Service & Cremation and longtime friend, received several calls from those asking why the marker will not bear Janice’s name. He explained Janice never changed her gender marker through the court system and then with the Veterans Administration. Therefore, the mortuary service must use the name in the system. Handsel himself recently learned Janice and the person he worked with were actually the same person. “I knew her as [her previous name] when she was firechief out at the racetrack,” he said, “I knew Janice as a political activist. But I never knew it was the same person until they died.” In one of her final interviews with archivist Tina Wright of the J. Murray Atkins Library at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Janice talked about identifying as gender-fluid. As a child she felt this way, but putting words to how she identified didn’t come until a few years ago. “Gender-fluid means you’re comfortable every way,” she told Tina this past June, “You don’t have to choose. You already are...If I went to a store as a male, I’m comfortable. No matter how I’m dressed, they say ‘Hey Janice, hello Janice.’” Whether you agreed with her politics or not, Janice was a steadfast presence in local LGBTQ activism. Former mayor Jennifer Roberts vividly remembers seeing her at numerous meetings, witnessing firsthand how she was never afraid to back down from fighting for equal rights. Roberts points to Janice’s fierce advocacy during the fight against House Bill 2. The state law overturned a local non-discrimination ordinance that Charlotte City Council passed to expand protections to the LGBTQ community. House Bill 2 prohibited transgender and gender nonconforming people from using bathrooms in locker rooms, schools and government buildings based solely on their gender identity. Janice’s regular attendance at city council meetings helped spur people in power to action. Many people remember when anti-LGBTQ activists asked a police officer to remove Janice from the women’s restroom in the Charlotte Government Center during the city council hearing on House Bill 2. “Although the city council was supportive, it was Janice’s advocacy that made it happen and changed the bathrooms in the government center,” says Roberts, referring to the conversion of two single-sex restrooms into all gender restrooms, “She would come to so many meetings

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A memorial for Janice was held at Chasers on October 10. (Photo Credit: Jim Yarbrough) and say ‘I don’t know what bathroom to use, I have to hold it.’ Janice was very firm and made it very personal. She was there about policy issues and didn’t feel accommodated to do a really human thing. This helped people understand why facilities were an important part of discrimination.” In 2013, Janice became the first recipient of the Charlotte Pride Harvey Milk Award at The Charlotte Pride festival. The Charlotte Pride Parade and festivities had returned that year to Uptown Charlotte after 19 years. Perched on the backseat of a silver VW Beetle and clad in an all black outfit topped with a rainbow sash, Allison waved at the crowd lining South Tryon Street. She beamed. A month after receiving the award, she reflected on her achievement in qnotes. While she was always larger than life, she was also humbled by the visibility. “I was honored to have received the Harvey Milk Award during the Charlotte Pride Festival,” she said, “You, my friends, made me feel it is all worthwhile by hearing your cheers and hugs while I was riding in the Parade.” Janice became the first transgender woman elected to represent North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. In addition to her business as a delegate, she was a fixture at the multi-day event. On the first night of the convention, she even did a full-on drag show at Wet Willie’s in the NC Music Factory. She also stole the show when she arrived at the N.C. delegates welcome party the next day. I’ll never forget Janice swanning into the NASCAR Hall of Fame wearing a long black dress with little silver embellishments around the neckline. At the time, I was reporting at the DNC for a local publication and asked if she was looking forward to seeing anybody that night. “I carried an overnight bag,” she said, and then with a laugh said, “No, I didn’t.” Then she asked, “How bad’s my hair?” She had come in from the rain. The duality she brought to her role made her unique and North Carolina stand out. “Janice was a much-beloved, active Democrat and friend who served as a delegate to multiple Democratic national and state conventions,” said Wayne Goodwin, former chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, “She served dutifully and with great dedication on various committees and in multiple leadership roles within the NC Democratic Party and its auxiliaries.” While many people appreciated Janice for her kind heart, she also elicited controversy with her often fiery views and methods of activism. She was both an outspoken advocate and a complicated figure on the local political and LGBTQ scene. “You need people on the outside and people on the inside,” says O’Neale Atkinson IV, deputy director for Time Out Youth, “I inject myself into systems. She challenged the system so loudly. I always knew in her heart where she was coming from...I don’t think her work was ego-driven. It was about the community.”

Former Director of Advocacy for Equality North Carolina Crystal Richardson, an attorney in North Carolina, attended candidate forums and ENC events where she struck up a friendship with Janice. She admired Janice for her tenacity and boldness, and her ability to raise hell in a room often filled with anti-LGBTQ cisgender white men. The duality of Janice’s presence meant she took up space at times when Black and brown people could personally advocate for equality. “Sometimes if there were Black and brown people in the room, she didn’t step back,” says Richardson, “At the same time, though, certain rooms we were trying to advocate for in regards to gender identity and gender expression needed to show gender non-conforming people. It was important for her to be there so [other] identities in that way could have space. With some people, maybe they had some ill experiences with her, but I really saw the human in her. I would take time to say hello and in return she would do the same. I think a lot of people kind of missed that. People were more focused on the trigger and what they were experiencing based on [her approach to activism], but really Janice had a big heart.” Lara Americo, a vocal trans rights advocate and musician who fought against HB2 alongside Janice, echoes Crystal’s sentiment about her place in the world of local activism. “It was hard to talk politics with Janice because progressive politics change so much and so fast,” she says, “We would get to a point where I’d say, ‘It’s complicated, Janice,’ and after a while she would say, ‘Oh, it’s complicated,’ and laugh. I knew if I got really strict about what our political differences were, then we just wouldn’t have a relationship. We lose a lot of our elders [in general] now because we cancel them. We think we’re so progressive, but we’re no better than the people in the ‘70s who threw away their elders. It doesn’t mean we have to excuse the problematic things elders say. We’re too rough on them, especially our queer elders [based on their] terminology and lingo. We lose a wealth of knowledge.” In the end, Janice’s greatest legacy is her unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ community as an advocate, a friend and a family member. She threw a Thanksgiving party at Petra’s for years, complete with the turkey and fixings for those who couldn’t go home to their families for the holiday. She was passionate about protecting queer youth and looking toward their future. “Janice was a warrior, a pioneer, a protector of queer youth,” says Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and muti-Miss National Entertainer of the Year award-winning drag superstar Buff Faye, “I recall her saying on more than one occasion to me, ‘it’s for the kids, we got to take care of these kids.’ Janice lived life without boundaries, and I will never forget her bravery and fearlessness...There are not many ‘true activists’ left around these days — and nobody will ever compare to Janice.” In her final interview, Janice may have given the last lesson on how we will continue to fight for equality with love and boldness. “The whole thing that I try to relay, if anybody ever listens to this thing in the future: always just be who you are,” she said, “That’s all you got to be. You ain’t got to put on the show. You ain’t got to wear loud lipstick. You ain’t gotta wear six inch high heels. You ain’t got to be the king of the road. Just be yourself and people accept you. That’s it. That’s my word of advice.” The service for Allison will be held on Friday, Oct. 15 at 2:00 p.m. at Salisbury National Cemetery, located at the VA Salisbury Healthcare. Carolina Mortuary Service is handling the arrangements. A memorial will be held at Chasers on Sunday, Oct. 10. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the memorial runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. A special showcase starts at 7:00 p.m. More details about the memorial at Chasers can be found at bit.ly/3BuOd3t. : :


Oct. 15-28, 2021

qnotes

11


life

Teaching Communities How to Fish Food Trucks’ Role in Black Economic Mobility

by L’Monique King qnotes Staff Writer

make ends meet, food trucks are pretty popular when people are still hesitant about dining indoors. When all is said and done, having a food truck or being a successful entrepreneur is not all that’s important to Faniel. He also wants to help the community. On his GoFundMe.com page, Faniel states that “He welcomes the hurt, the hungry and the happy into his world of culinary comfort with delicious dishes that put smiles on lips and hope into hearts.” His plans include offering meals to non-paying customers in need as well.

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ood is a delicious part of culture. People look forward to partaking in holiday dinners, community feasts and regular evenings around the kitchen table. The lack of food, or food insecurity, is still a crisis 38 million Americans deal with every day [2020]. According to FeedingAmerica.org, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased that number to more than 42 million, including a potential 13 million children. In listing some facts on food insecurity, Feeding America says that increased rates of hunger experienced by Black, Latinx and Native American communities are attributed to systemic racial injustice. Not included in their research are the staggering rates of hunger among LGBTQ communities of color. Numerous studies point to the increased difficulties faced by those dealing with the combined oppression of race and sexuality. We’re talking about communities who don’t just suffer from systemic poverty, bias and stigma, but also people who know something about resilience and resourcefulness. Food trucks are part of that. These mobile chefs and deliverers of good eats are part of a quest for Black economic mobility that strengthens our economy through entrepreneurship while also increasing access to quality food in traditional food deserts. Michael Faniel is a local young Black gay man who can throw down in the kitchen. He’s also working his way towards owning and operating his own food truck. His dream for “The Smoke” food truck hasn’t come to life yet, but he’s well on his way. As a budding entrepreneur, Faniel is steering a course for his own economic mobility. “The thing is, I had to know that I was going to be capable of making the idea a reality,” he says, “I’ve been talking about this since 2018 but it wasn’t until 2021 when I met a woman who builds, sells and owns her own food truck and commissary kitchen, that I actually started bringing my dream to fruition.” Brookshire Commissary Kitchen in Charlotte offers assistance with buying, owning and operating food trucks and catering businesses. Entrepreneurs like Faniel have the opportunity to learn about successful business practices, proper licensing, food prep safety and can even utilize the professional kitchen to prep meals for catering gigs. For Darlene Clarke, the manager of Brookshire, Black economic mobility isn’t purely about material independence and wealth though. It’s also about civic involvement. While she’s guiding entrepreneurs in the details of food truck ownership and catering, she’s also urging them to seek upliftment through voting in local elections and holding local representatives accountable. An LGBTQ ally, Clarke is heavily invested in the economic mobility of the community. Faniel is grateful for the help. “Can I tell you what she did for me, to make me feel like anything is possible?” he recounts, “We

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Black Food Truck Fridays

Charlotte’s quarterly event, Black Food Truck Fridays, has over 700 registered vendors. went into her office, and the first thing I discussed with her was my credit. It’s not the best. She gave me a person at Equifax to contact to help me rebuild my credit.” Clarke then provided advice on getting a loan. She directs entrepreneurs to have four banking strategies to be able to run a business successfully. “She told me she applies these strategies to her business and her personal life,” says Faniel. “You can’t do anything without credit,” he says. Faniel knows that it takes so much more than just a food truck to make his dreams come true, “Good credit is the backbone to my economic mobility.” In the meantime, funding is still an obstacle. He launched a GoFundMe.com page and has been doing pop-up catering gigs to build his reputation. Good old-fashioned wordof-mouth referrals have been key.

Capital Obstacles

Funding is an obstacle to many entrepreneurs, especially in the Black and LGBTQ communities. Forbes reports that entrepreneurs tend to start businesses when the economy is buoyant and flourishing, and few will consider 2021 the year to launch a business as the world is just picking itself up after the pandemic impacted most economies negatively. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 70% of all new businesses survive for the first two years. Beyond that, the chances of success fall to about 50% at five years. However, home-based catering and food trucks have kept popping up the past few years, including during the pandemic. Though some people are struggling to

Cathay Dawkins launched the famed Black Food Truck Fridays in Charlotte nearly five years ago. He wanted to ensure that the Black Business Owners Corp, an organization he founded, could drive support to as many Black-owned businesses as possible. Accountability is important to Dawkins. It is something that he has been building since 2014, when the BBOC (Black Business Owners of Charlotte) Marketplace was just a Facebook group. It grew so rapidly it was in the top 10 of all Facebook groups with a 90% engagement rate. With the assistance of three friends, Rosalind Richmond, Shemaine Pickens and Maleka Anderson, BBOC Marketplace transformed from a popular Facebook group to an official organization, now a 501(c)(3) non-profit. With a structure in place and folks from other cities taking notice, BBOC has since expanded to do more than serve as a networking tool for Black professionals. Dawkins was no longer satisfied with the provision of workshops, seminars and monthly membership meetings that focused on Black business development. In 2017, BBOC launched a marketing campaign — Charlotte Black Restaurant Week (CBRW) to empower Black Owned Restaurants. Dawkins wanted to make sure “everyone eats” during Charlotte Black Restaurant Week, so the organization hosted a charity event called 2Fish5Loaves. It’s held each year on October 21, the birthday of his beloved deceased grandmother, Helen Gray Westfield. The 2Fish5Loaves event became a collaborative effort in 2020 when CBRW partnered with Block Love Charlotte, another non-profit that cares for neighbors experiencing hardships. It became a meaningful effort to reach more people and exceed the nearly 500 people they routinely feed during Charlotte Black Restaurant Week. When the campaign started, BBOC had over 500 registered members, representing over 40 industries. That’s when Dawkins, never one to stop striving for more, created signature events like Black Food Truck Friday. The annual event soon morphed into quarterly ones, and as popularity continued to grow, it became a weekly event that Charlotteans of all races now flock to. Black Food Truck Fridays provide opportunities for food trucks, retail, artisans


Michael Faniel, left, is, working towards owning and operating his own food truck called “The Smoke.” Cathay Dawkins, right, launched Black Food Truck Fridays in Charlotte almost five years ago. and service vendors. To date, the event has over 700 registered vendors, traveling beyond the Charlotte area, and is attended by an average of 1500 patrons. It has proven to be so successful that chapters have been launched in Columbia, S.C. and Atlanta with a goal of launching three more within the next five years. Every year BBOC events drive $1.7 million back into the pockets of hardworking entrepreneurs and into the Charlotte community. With all that goodness, you might imagine BBOC has faced challenges as well. “I had to invest my own money into BBOC until 2018,” says Dawkins, “Everything was free — membership, entry into events. Even when we started Charlotte Black Restaurant Week, I was still investing my own money.” Dawkins went on to say how sponsorship and volunteers are continuously being sought. When asked about the importance of BBOC efforts and its connection to Black economic mobility, he notes that historically Black communities have not had access to resources, “No one is gonna just give [to] us without seeing it as a handout. However, we understand the needs of

our people. [Because many of us] live in the margins.” “We are able to take those lived experiences and help our people,” says Dawkins. When asked what the staple ingredient is for the Black community, Dawkins concludes, “We see entrepreneurship as the key to ending economic disparities.” He and his team, along with the many supporters of BBOC, are all making great strides in local economic equity and the mobility of Black communities in Charlotte and beyond. Charlotte Black Restaurant Week returns this year with two full weeks starting October 18. To learn more, visit bboclt.com. For updates on Black Food Truck Friday, follow the Facebook group or follow them on Instagram @blackfoodtruckfridays. : : This story is part of QnotesCarolinas’ special project “Stories of Black LGBTQ Resilience and Economic Mobility,” which seeks to connect responses to economic security and upward mobility to the lives and futures of Black LGBTQ people. It is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network. To learn more about solutions journalism, visit solutionsjournalism.org.

Black Food Truck Fridays is striving to support as many Black-owned businesses as possible.. (Photo Credit: Syda Productions via Adobe Stock)

Oct. 15-28, 2021

qnotes

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life

The Lights of Charlotte’s Center City Skyline Charlotte Center City Partners’ Moira Quinn Boasts About Lighting up The Town

by L’Monique King qnotes Staff Writer

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lexandrite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. It is a color change-variety gemstone with dual colors that can appear as a vivid grass green in the daylight and fluorescent light and an intense raspberry red in incandescent light. Alexandrite is also the birthstone (along with Pearl) for those born during the month of June — the astrological month of Gemini. How fitting it is that this rare stone is also the birthstone of the individual responsible for the color changing lights of the buildings in the Charlotte skyline. That would be Moira Quinn. She’s the Chief Operating Officer and Senior VP of Communications at Charlotte Center City Partners. Lighting up the city is one of the many things she does for the organization. She began working on the lights back in 2003 when the Panthers NFL Team made it to the Superbowl. “We were so excited as a city that the Panthers were going to the Superbowl,” Quinn recalls, “We were doing pep rallies and all kinds of things. We thought, what [else] can we do to show our support for the Panthers. To show we are an amazing place?” An entire skyline of Panthers in blue was a pretty good start and an awesome display of pride and support. In sharing how it all came together, Quinn explained how the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Arts and Science Council, The Sports Foundation and The Foundation for the Carolinas all came together to brainstorm the idea that currently and colorfully illuminates the city.

Many buildings in uptown Charlotte are outfitted with programmable LED lights. (Photo Credit: SeanPavonePhoto via Adobe Stock) “I was elected to send an email to the property managers for all the buildings that had lights on top of them. I asked what it would take and if they would consider it. A lot of them said they could, and they did it,” said Quinn. However, back then, it was no easy feat, and Quinn acknowledges that with “big props to them.” At that time none of the buildings had LED lights, so changing colors represented a challenge. There simply weren’t many buildings that could do it, only about eight, and it required purchasing large and expensive colored gels. At the project’s beginning, the Duke Energy Center, the one that resembles a huge

martini glass when lit, was the first building to have programmable LED lights. Today, buildings are being built with exterior LED lighting included. Coordinating, deciding upon colors and timing the lighting, something Quinn refers to as “calendaring,” requires time, commitment and often great specificity. On October 5, World Teachers Day, Charlotte Center City and some surrounding buildings were lit up in multiple colors (like a box of crayons) to honor teachers. How does that work? We asked. Is it multiple colors, or a single color? It all seems so complicated. Quinn explained.

The Charlotte skyline lit up blue for the Charlotte Panthers. (Photo Credit: Moira Quinn via Charlotte City Center City Partners)

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Her first step is to contact building managers and request they display a particular color. Generally, there’s a committee that considers the request. If they agree to honor the request, Quinn then sends them a color code (HEX, RGB, CMYK and Pantone) for the sake of consistency. One person’s idea of teal may not be another’s, so this is important for continuity and branding. After all, would you really know something was representative of the Panthers if the shade of blue used was Navy or Cornflower? Probably not. So, after a request is accepted, each building has its own process for how they calendar the colors, which is a computerized process.


Coordinating, deciding upon colors and timing the lighting across the many participating buildings takes a great time commitment and effort. (Photo Credit: Facebook) Most often, requests from Quinn are honored, but sometimes they are not. When she sent out requests to have buildings display red, white and blue colors for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and the Republican National Conventions (RNC) being held in Charlotte, quite a few building managers refused. They felt like doing so was just “too political” and didn’t want to appear to be endorsing either political party. Conversely though, all buildings in the red and purple state that is home to Charlotte agree and shine brightly with rainbow colors during Pride Month, in support of the diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQ Community. “Everyone participates in Pride, happily and proudly,” says Quinn. “It’s a special group of people that do this work, and I am very proud of them.” Continuing to show their true colors, this year, when the world was in reflection of 9/11, uptown Charlotte building managers pre-programmed their computers to be bathed in red, white and blue colors starting at the stroke of midnight and remaining so for 24 hours. On some days, it’s not Quinn who makes the requests for building color changes. Sometimes it’s an individual citizen, enraptured, delighted and seeking to make an impact by having a building lit in a particular color. Quinn has filtered requests from people wanting a building

turned pink or blue for a gender reveal, or twinkle because it’s their birthday and they’d like to impress friends and family with the display. But Quinn’s focus is on the collective, so if it’s commercial or self-interest oriented, the answer is no. After working with the project for so many years, you’d think Quinn has a favorite building she particularly enjoys seeing illuminated. She’s quick to share her thoughts: “I can honestly say that I don’t,” she offers, “But I really love it when all the buildings have the same color. I just think it looks so amazing. It gives the city personality and it provides an emotional connection when you can drive through the city, look up and think, wow. Look at that. It is so beautiful.” That being said, Quinn pauses for a moment and reflects on a lighting of the Charlotte skyline she thinks of often, “When there was a shooting at UNC Charlotte [in 2019], I was able to contact the buildings and asked if we can be Charlotte strong and show that. It was such a horrible thing, but what it meant was that in times of trouble, we can be strong.” With that, a moving display of strength, solidarity and compassion could be seen, glowing in UNC Charlotte 49ers green (HEX code #046A38), a color that also represents growth and renewal. : :

After the tragic shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the city light up in the school’s green to show solidarity and strength. (Photo Credit: Moira Quinn via Charlotte City Center Partners)

Oct. 15-28, 2021

qnotes

15


life

The Gayest Hood in the Carolinas

Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood Grows in Leaps and Bounds: Can it Maintain its Gay Identity? by David Aaron Moore qnotes Staff Writer

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laza Midwood. There’s a good chance if you’re part of the Charlotte Metro region’s LGBTQ community, you’re familiar with the neighborhood. For all intents and purposes, it’s the city’s hub for queer community. In fact, a census report from 2010 confirms that 28205, the Charlotte zip code that claims Plaza-Midwood, NoDa, Chantilly and Shamrock, is home to more LGBTQ individuals than any other zip code in both North and South Carolina. The main thoroughfare, Central Avenue, may hold part of the answer why it is so popular: it’s packed full of independently owned businesses — specialty shops and restaurants — and even a high end grocery store. Just a quick drive through the area and you’ll see a mixture of gay men, lesbians and gender-fluid 20-something blending in comfortably with their heterosexual neighbors. The beauty of it all? Everyone seems perfectly happy, comfortable and at home with each other. Plaza Midwood is a community on the go, as evidenced by constant foot traffic and the many methods of travel available, from rentable scooters and bicycles to the light rail. But it wasn’t always that way. As early as the 1970s Charlotte’s LGBTQ Community took root in the city’s Dilworth neighborhood. There they built a sense of community that included gay bars, a bath house, antique stores, gay-friendly restaurants and access to other nearby bars and dance clubs that served a mixed clientele of lesbian, gay and trans patrons in Uptown and other nearby neighborhoods. Most importantly, they found the glue that allowed them to create that community: a large neighborhood full of old apartment buildings and houses in various states of decay, available for rental and purchase prices that were more than affordable.

Central Square, formerly a strip mall in Plaza Midwood, is currently being developed into mixed-use spaces. (Photo Credit: (Left) David Aaron Moore (Right) Crosland Southeast via Twitter) Not unlike other neighborhoods and cities across the country, the Queer Community moved in, spruced things up and the property values shot up. Then the rest of the city wanted a piece of the cool. In less than two decades gentrification took hold and most residents started to look elsewhere for other affordable places to live that had a sense of character. Rental prices were going up, and the homeowners were being offered sums of cash they never anticipated. That’s when the LGBTQ community found Plaza Midwood and the exodus began, sometime in the mid 1990s. Older homes could be bought for a song and rental properties were plentiful and inexpensive. In Plaza Midwood today, as you make your way from Five Points — that intersection where Louise Avenue crosses over Kings Drive, 10th Street and Central Avenue, you’ve entered what most residents consider Plaza Midwood. From there to the end of the Big Q Strip — arguably somewhere around Kenilworth Avenue — you’ll find a plethora of new high density condo and apartment construction, mixed

The Diamond is a popular restaurant among the LGBTQ community. (Photo Credit: David Aaron Moore)

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together with earlier construction, some dating from the 1920s up to the 1970s. While the general region has largely come to be referred to as Plaza Midwood, it’s actually a mix of neighborhoods that — depending on an individual’s viewpoint or CDA (Charlotte Date of Arrival) — can also include Morningside, Commonwealth, Country Club, Windsor Park and Sheffield. All dot one side or the other of Central Avenue. Plaza Midwood is now into its third decade of queer evolution. A lot has changed, and the forces of gentrification, once again, want their piece of cool. The most apparent change evidenced by the popularity of location is the architectural landscape. Entire blocks of old houses and small apartment buildings have been replaced with that newer construction, which is usually multi-use and allows for more people, more amenities and easier access throughout the area itself and other parts of the city. For example, if you choose not to drive but work on the other side of town or somewhere in Uptown, getting there

isn’t that hard. Snag one of those rentable scooters or a bicycle and make your way to a Central Avenue bus headed in town or the Lynx Light Rail. It’s just a couple of blocks off Central Avenue down Hawthorne Avenue. Not only does your trip allow for some cardio, it’s also a chance to enjoy the urban outdoors and take in some sightseeing. The Light Rail Line can take you to places in Mecklenburg as distant as the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and down South Blvd. to 485, with a sizable number of stops for your convenience in between. So what about the amenities? Some have been with us for awhile, others are new to the scene and still more are yet to come. White Rabbit books, located near the corner of Central, Louise and Kings, is a specifically gay-owned and operated retail store offering gift items and hard to find specialty goods of LGBTQ interest. For the sake of full disclosure, it also houses the offices of qnotes. Moving along Central and some of its various side streets, you’ll find LGBTQpopular and established restaurants like

The old Dairy Queen building will be turned into a second location for Milkbread, a popular restaurant located in Davidson. (Photo Credit: David Aaron Moore)


From rentable bikes to the light rail, Plaza Midwood offers a variety of transit options. (Photo Credit: David Aaron Moore) The Diamond, Fuel Pizza, Dish, Zada Janes and House of Pizza. Newer arrivals in the dining out scene, but also popular with the queer community, are restaurants like Midwood Smokehouse, Workman’s Friend, Pure Pizza and Moo & Brew. If spirits (the alcoholic version) are your thing, there’s a number of good go-to spots in the area, and some serve food, too. Among them are Petra’s Bar & Venue & Taproom, Whisky Warehouse, Snug Harbor, Pilot Brewing, Legion Brewing and Catawba Brewing. All are LGBTQ welcoming, and many have nights that are aimed specifically at an LGBTQ clientele. While aspects of old and new will always remain side by side on the architectural plate, there are developments ahead that will result in even more change for Plaza Midwood. One of particular note is the old Dairy Queen building, located at the corner of Central and Pecan. The neighborhood collectively mourned when the landmark closed its doors, but it’s actually still around. It just relocated a bit further out to a shopping center near the corner of Central and Eastway. The original DQ building still remains. And it’s about to take on a new purpose as an intown Charlotte location for the popular Davidson restaurant Milkbread. The strip shopping center located in the 1300 block of Central Avenue, currently called Central Square, is about to undergo a much more major overhaul. Eventually to be known as Commonwealth, Crosland Southeast

and Nuveen Real Estate, purchasers and developers of the 12-acre property, will keep much of the historic aspects intact while adding on new structures that will include residential, retail, restaurants and office space. The agreement reached by the two companies to acquire the property also included the acquisition of Midwood Corners, another small strip shopping center at the corner of Central and the Plaza. While the specific designs for Midwood Corners have yet to be announced, the reported plan is to keep it pedestrian-friendly and reflective of the diverse character in the area. Crosland expects to purchase further property at the old Eastland Mall site in anticipation of the light rail plans to further extend out Central Avenue. If handled incorrectly by current LGBTQ property owners, it is possible Plaza Midwood’s queer identity could evaporate. Remember those folks mentioned earlier in this article that left Dilworth for a wad of cash and lower purchase prices in another area they could make their own? That doesn’t have to happen again. Along with the transplants from Dilworth to Plaza Midwood came newer and younger generations who bought into the area when real estate prices hadn’t exploded just yet. Think about it for a moment – those first time buyers of the 1990s, in their 20s and 30s at the time, are now in their 40s and 50s, and some, likely even in their 60s. Most homeowners are living in houses that are already paid for. While property owners could make a

substantial profit if they decided to sell, where would they go? There’s not really anywhere else in the city to go with similar qualities. Real estate in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County is pricey all over. Why leave an active and attractive neighborhood full of plenty amenities for the ultraburbs, which can literally be as far away as South Carolina? There’s no question plenty of residents are unhappy about some of the rapid fire developments in the area. Some of the new construction is resulting in the destruction of older buildings and other changes across the board that could potentially create a new face of Plaza Midwood and other parts of 28205. But nothing stays the same forever. The population has grown in the Queen City by leaps and bounds. Real estate prices across Mecklenburg County have skyrocketed. And Plaza Midwood, along with numerous other parts of the 28205 zip code, will continue to grow and change over and over again. A point of interest here to take note of: absent in the district are specific gay bars. It’s a trend happening in larger cities around the country. New generations are comfortable sharing night spots and bar stools side by side with patrons of different sexual orientations and gender identities. That doesn’t mean 28205 is losing its gay identity in the way Dilworth did. It just means it can and should take on another interpretation of it, depending on decisions made by current LGBTQ property owners. Embracing the change, but aspiring to maintain the history will be the key to preserve the Plaza Midwood identity. : :

WANTED Danny Downs

I am looking for Danny Downs or his son, who would be about 25 years old now. We knew each other before. I moved to Atlanta in 1993. Please email me or call me with any information about Danny. Thank You FrankieLesterATL@aol.com 404-876-5111

24 hour number for death calls: 704-563-7676

Plaza Midwood continues to see a large amount of new construction. (Photo Credit: David Aaron Moore)

Oct. 15-28, 2021

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Stonewall Museum Launches Major Digital Exhibit for LGBTQ History Month Retrospectives from the LGBTQ History Project by J.W. Arnold | Guest Contributor

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isitors to the Stonewall National Museum and Archives (SNMA) in Fort Lauderdale, one of the largest LGBT lending libraries and collections in the country, dropped by nearly two-thirds because of the pandemic. Stonewall, like other museums and other cultural institutions across the country, is still struggling to resume operations. Visitors slowly returned as vaccines became available and donors stepped up to bolster hard-hit finances. The federal Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program offered a more recent lifeline this summer to the hardest hit organizations, covering the sorts of overhead that Paycheck Protection Program grants couldn’t. During this trying time, administrators and board members searched for ways to fulfill their missions in a future where capacity restrictions, social distancing, mask mandates and heightened sanitation procedures would become the norm. Institutions explored creative ways to “pivot” during the pandemic, moving lectures and performances outdoors, reinventing activities and exhibits and, most commonly, leveraging technology and the global reach of the internet. Stonewall, a nearly 50-year-old museum, had already begun an ambitious undertaking to digitize its collection of more than 28,000 volumes and six million pages of historical documents, but director Hunter O’Hanian knew there was much more work to be done during this critical moment. After months of research, SNMA recently launched a major digital exhibit just in time for LGBT History Month in October. “In Plain Sight” is a digital timeline that highlights pivotal LGBT figures and achievements with more than 800 entries across 10 categories: AIDS/HIV, Arts, Business, Film/TV, Literature, Memorials, Milestones, Music, Sports and Theatre/Dance. Far more than an interactive display, the SNMA team of researchers, programmers and designers created an engaging curriculum that provides in-depth education and opportunities to interact with existing material from the archival collection available at the museum.

“In Plain Sight” is a digital timeline that highlights pivotal LGBTQ figures and achievements with more than 800 entries across 10 categories.

The Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo Credit: Stonewall National Museum and Archives)

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“For years, a static LGBT timeline showcased on a wall became one of the museum’s most popular areas. We wanted to expand its reach to online audiences at a time when visits to cultural institutions are restricted due to the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic, while making it timelier and more inclusive regarding gender and race,” explained O’Hanian. That timeline in the gallery stopped with 1999, and O’Hanian pointed out that scholars have recognized that LGBT milestones have actually increased exponentially in the decades since, citing major wins in the Supreme Court legalizing marriage equality and workplace protections, high profile celebrities and professional athletes coming out, and advances in transgender visibility.

“In Plain Sight” is already a valuable learning resource for students around the world who can pull these stories up in their classrooms or even their phones. “For centuries, there was a tremendous stigma associated with being gay…Over the past few decades, student and proponents of gay studies and gay rights have looked at LGBT history to understand where the bias comes from and how people have worked to overcome that stigma. This work is done to improve the people today and future generations,” O’Hanian said. Beyond young people, the exhibit is also available to others who may be coming out in their 30s, 40s or later, he emphasized. And understanding LGBT history is also key to anyone concerned with racism, sexism, ageism or any form of systemic discrimination in society. Funding for the project was provided by the Florida Humanities Council. “It is important to anyone who cares about breaking down barriers and creating an inclusive society,” O’Hanian said. “In Plain Sight” is not the only innovative program to arise from the museum’s COVID pivot. More than 31,000 visitors have attended a series of lectures and curated talks from leading historians, authors and thought leaders via Zoom since the initial shutdown. More than three dozen of those conversations are archived on the SNMA website and future speakers include John Catania and Charles Ignacio, producers of the groundbreaking PBS magazine series “In the Life;” colorful storyteller and podcaster, Mike Balaban (“BAMMER and Me”); Leslie Cohen, author of “The Audacity of a Kiss;” and Adam Zmith, author of “Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures.” Even as patrons and school groups slowly return to the museum, digital outreach will continue. A grant from the Mellon Foundation has expedited efforts to complete the digitization project and O’Hanian expects constant updates to “In Plain Sight” and the continuation of the streaming lecture series. “It’s become sort of cliché, but that’s one of the silver linings of the pandemic,” he concluded. To visit “In Plain Sight,” watch the curated talks or explore the SNMA archives, go to Stonewall-Museum.org. : :

The tablet version of the “In Plain Sight” virtual exhibit. (Photo Credit: South Florida Gay News)


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Incurable Screen Savor

by Gregg Shapiro Contributing Writer

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o-directors Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer open their documentary, “Cured” (Story Center Films), with the viewer discretion warning that it “contains graphic images of past treatments used by doctors to ‘cure’ homosexuality.” Regardless of the emphasis on the “past,” many of us are well aware that other insidious techniques, such as so-called faith-based “conversion therapy” are still in practice in 31 states. The focus of “Cured,” however, is the historic (and revolutionary) 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness in the organization’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Sammon and Singer set the tone for the doc with black and white film footage of a speaker at a 1966 Dade County Florida school assembly warning the students about homosexuals. This is followed by footage from “The Homosexuals” episode from the 1967 series CBS Reports hosted by Mike Wallace which makes it clear that at the time (a year after the riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco and a mere two years before the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York) that gay people were viewed with “disgust, discomfort or fear.. One interview subject in “The Homosexuals” talks about a gay friend being beaten by his father, “savagely…with bricks.” There also existed a “poisoned climate of thinking about homosexuality” in the psychiatric community. Psychiatrists including Edmund Bergler, Irving Bieber, Judd Marmor (who later reversed his position)

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Rev. Magora Kennedy leads a worship service in Harlem to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Now 81, Kennedy spoke about her decades of activism on behalf of LGBTQ equality and racial justice. (Photo Credit: Story Center Films, LLC) and, worst of all, Charles Socarides were unrelenting in their professional opinion about homosexuality being an illness and reversible. In 1952, the first edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual: Mental Disorders unequivocally categorized homosexuality as a mental illness. This diagnosis was used against gay people, leading thousands to seek out psychiatrists to cure them via treatments ranging from talk therapy to far more aggressive methods including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and lobotomization. This was occurring right before a time of cultural upheaval involving various movements (civil rights, women’s, anti-war). As

American society began to evolve, a group of young, outspoken queer activists, including Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen (who were partners for 46 years), Frank Kameny, Charles Silverstein, Reverend Magora Kennedy, Ron Gold and Don Kalhefner, to name few, were making their voices heard via public protests and other arenas. Due to the impact that the APA’s policy had on the personal and professional lives of these activists, as well as on the lives of those around them, they set their sights on influencing the organization. What occurred over the course of a number of tumultuous years was momentous and groundbreaking, resulting in the 1973 landmark decision, “a great gay victory,” to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness or disorder. This is where the doc is at its most compelling. While it occasionally gets bogged down in the rehashing of historic facts and events (who do they think is going to be watching this doc, anyway?), “Cured” is nevertheless informative viewing. : : Rating: B-


a&e

Are Singles Just Play Ponies For Married Men? Tell Trinity

by Trinity | Contributing Writer Hey Trinity, I met someone who asked me out, but after we had sex, they told me they were married. Why do we singles end up being play ponies for the married elite? Sincerely, Play Ponies, South Hampton, NY Hey Play Ponies, It does seem like every time a single person, or pony, steps into the field, the bar or goes dating, the odds become higher and higher that they’ll end up a play pony for an already taken jockey! Today, more and more couples are “playing” or “open.” And for some reason, couples seem to “open up” their relationship after about three to seven years. So honey, before getting taken for another ride, just come right out and ask, ”Are you married?” I do… well, most of the time! Love, Trinity Dear Trinity, I’m a 48-year-old gay man who loves dancing, but the circuit parties are so filled with drugs and steroids that it’s depressing me. Is my gay generation silently ruining their lives in exchange for being bigger and higher? Yours, Bigger & Higher, Montréal, QC

Dear Bigger & Higher, I agree, it IS a silent problem. It’s so strongly connected to the freedom of being openly gay, yet silently connected to the destruction of gay men as well. When I’m at a circuit party, I try to create a healthy circle of friends that inspire my “clean” experience, while at the same time trusting that everyone around us is on their own ever-changing path. Sweetie, that which doesn’t kill you will make you stronger… or at least higher?

Hey Trinity, I’m in love and want to call my girlfriend everyday, but I don’t want to call too much. Any advice? Thanks, Phone Or Not Phone, Peoria, IL Hey Phone Or Not Phone, I understand love and wanting to hear someone’s voice everyday, even every minute ,but, pumpkin, there are healthy and unhealthy rules that must be respected in the beginning of a relationship. Besides using good intuition for when or not to call and letting someone get off the phone quickly if they’re busy, also try to remember to never call more than twice a day or three times a week (the first month), and

never leave long messages. The phrase “short and sweet” has lots of power! Hugs, Trinity Hello Trinity, I love my partner, but after a night at the clubs he smells; we both do, but I can’t get him to shower. Then he wants to have sex, but he stinks. Help? Clubs, Cleanliness and Communication, Seattle, WA Hello Clubs, Cleanliness and Communication, Men, you can take ‘em out, but you can’t clean ‘em up. Listen, baby, on your refrigerator try posting:

Trinity’s Hard Tips for How to Prepare for Sex (Without Taking a Shower) After a Night at the Clubs

1. Before laying down, go down to the bathroom and…  2. I f you SMOKE, brush your teeth, tongue and upper palate. If you’re sans, toothbrush put toothpaste on your finger and “fake” brush.  3. If you TOUCHED money, food or other hands, wash your hands!  4. If you’ve BEEN SWEATING, wet some toilet paper and yes, wipe your butt clean!  5. If you’re UNCIRCUMSISED clean your appendage, and if you’re circumcised, still wipe it clean!  6. If your BREATH is bad (which it is), use mouthwash.  7. If your FEET SMELL, wet them, wipe them, then sprits a bit of cologne on them.  8. I f your HAIR SMELLS, of cigarettes or sweat, wet a hand cloth, and wipe it or run water through it.  9. If your ARMPITS SMELL, apply some baby powder or just a bit of cologne. 10. L astly, if you’re GASSY, light incense and fart outside the bed sheets while romantically covering your lover’s ears. : : 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

Oct. 15-28, 2021

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Our People: Stan Schneider Educator, Advocate & Husband

by L’Monique King qnotes Staff Writer

married since 2013. The vast majority of our gay and lesbian friends have been in long term relationship. Most of our friends are married couples that have been together for 30 years. This is another thing that the elders group is good for — because we have these long-term stable relationships and the world needs to know about them.

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n a rainy Friday afternoon from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), a Biology professor talks to qnotes before heading to his next class of eager students. Dr. Stan Schneider was born in Austin, Texas, where he lived for the first eight years of his life. He then moved to Davis, Calif., where he received his PhD from the University of California Davis. With sheepskin in hand, Stan relocated to Charlotte in 1984 and began teaching at UNCC a year later. He’s been at UNCC ever since as a professor in the Department of Biological Science. This warm gentleman, who prefers to simply be called Stan, speaks at an almost rapid-fire pace and is fully immersed with work, community affairs and his marriage to “the right person.” You’ve been with UNCC for quite some time now. Why? University life is a collaboration with other people. It’s positive and optimistic. It’s a great life, I’ve always felt lucky and privileged to be a faculty member. I enjoy teaching and like working with students. It’s a wonderful life, you get paid to pursue your interest. It’s a wonderful learning experience for students and faculty. After 36 years, do you ever think about retiring? I’m now in what’s called phased retirement. It’s like semi-retirement, but I’ll be fully retired in 2023. Once you fully retire, what will you do with your time? Oh, I don’t know. I have a lot of interests. I’m also active in the community. The one thing I want to find out is how much I enjoy doing nothing. I’ve never done just nothing. You mentioned being active in the community. What are you involved in? The LGBT Elders Group, we recently became a 501c3. Initially Dan Kirsch, who passed away about two years ago, gathered together a group of LGBT elders to

True. It’s still impressive that you’ve made it this far with your husband. How have you maintained 29 years of longevity? When you find the right person, you find the right person. It’s listening, communication and compromise. A long-term relationship is endless compromise. Tell us what you love about Garry. He’s the finest person I’ve ever known. He’s incredibly honest and sincere. He’s passionate about other people and has a great sense of justice, and I trust him completely That’s wonderful. What do you think he would say he loves about you? I never like speaking for other people, but I think he’d probably say about the same things about me.

see if there was interest in starting an elders group, with the ultimate goal of starting a SAGE chapter. So, we began organizing ourselves and just as we began to gain momentum, COVID hit. So, we were halted because elders are at higher risk of contracting COVID. Every month we tried to have at least one event. One would be social, and one would be educational. So, we collaborated with Time Out Youth to meet with the youth so we could ask each other questions and learn from each other. I have a soft spot for Time Out Youth. They’re a wonderful organization, and the city should be proud. Together, we were providing an outlet where people can tell their stories and share their accumulated knowledge; there’s a lot we can learn from youth, and there’s a lot they can learn from us. That was prior to COVID. COVID caused us to lose some steam. So, right now, there are only four active members,

steering committee members trying to keep things rolling. At the start of the COVID pandemic, we had a monthly Zoom gathering where people could get together and talk and share experiences around how they were coping with COVID. Why do you think it’s important to have an elders group? There was just nothing in Charlotte for elder LGBT people. We were forgotten, as if once you reach a certain age, you become invisible. I was concerned about this. There was a whole group of people that not only needed recognition but possessed so much wisdom and talent. Sounds like the group also provided connections and companionship. Speaking of which, are you partnered? Yes. I’m married to Garry Justice. We’ve been together for 29 years and legally

Sounds like a busy life with not much down time. So, when you’re not reading or grading papers, what do you enjoy doing? I love to read, it’s one of my hobbies; I like gardening. I’m physically active and go the gym four days a week, and enjoy taking long walks Teaching, giving back to the community, nurturing a loving relationship, that’s good stuff. Any uncomplimentary character traits? What’s your worst quality? I’m impatient, and I have a bad temper. Really? Would you like to say more about that? No. I don’t have the patience to. This conversation concluded with the interviewer bursting into hearty uncontrollable laughter and thanking Stan for his time and contributions to the Charlotte LGBTQ community and the world at large. : :

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