Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes
qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
Nov. 27-Dec. 10, 2010
Vol 25 No 15
news & features
6 News Notes: Regional Briefs
18 Charlotte activist honored
18 Poll: Gays unwelcome in Charlotte
18 Civic Briefs
21 Community passings
8 Magnetic attraction
13 Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina
14 Commentary: HIV our responsibility
15 HIV/AIDS resources
16 Concert builds bridges
19 Drag Rag
20 ‘White Christmas’ escape
23 On Being a Gay Parent
24 Tell Trinity
25 Out in the Stars
27 Q events calendar
opinions & views
4 Editor’s Note
5 General Gayety
Sign up for our weekly email
newsletter at goqnotes.com.
contributors this issue
Matt Comer, Tyler DeVere, Kevin Grooms/Miss Della,
Don King, Charlene Lichtenstein, Lainey Millen, Leslie
Robinson, David Stout, Trinity, Brett Webb-Mitchell
Graphic Design by Matt Comer & Lainey Millen
Photo: David Witt & Joe Kiser. Copyright 2010 Jimmy
Cobb, JC Digital Photography Works.
Pride Publishing & Typesetting, Inc.
P.O. Box 221841, Charlotte, NC 28222, ph 704.531.9988 fx 704.531.1361
Publisher: Jim Yarbrough
Sales: x206 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nat’l Sales: Rivendell Media, 212.242.6863
Editor: Matt Comer, x202 email@example.com
Assoc. Ed.: David Stout, x210 firstname.lastname@example.org
Production: Lainey Millen, x209 email@example.com
Printed on recycled paper.
Material in qnotes is copyrighted by Pride Publishing & Typesetting © 2010 and may not be reproduced in any manner without
written consent of the editor or publisher. Advertisers assume full responsibility — and therefore, all liability — for securing
reprint permission for copyrighted text, photographs and illustrations or trademarks published in their ads. The sexual orientation
of advertisers, photographers, writers, cartoonists we publish is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names
or photographs does not indicate the subject’s sexual orientation. qnotes nor its publisher assumes liability for typographical
error or omission, beyond offering to run a correction. Official editorial positions are expressed in staff editorials and editorial
notations and are determined by editorial staff. The opinions of contributing writers and guest columnists do not necessarily
represent the opinions of qnotes or its staff. qnotes accepts unsolicited editorial, but cannot take responsibility for its return.
Editor reserves the right to accept and reject material as well as edit for clarity, brevity.
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes
by matt comer
Preparing for the mayor’s forum
On Dec. 9, the Lesbian & Gay Community
Center of Charlotte will hold a special, open
forum with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx
(see “Civic Briefs” on page 18). The event, like
the recent forum with Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Police Chief Rodney Monroe, is historic and
marks the first time a sitting Queen City mayor
has held such a public, town hall-type event
with the city’s LGBT community.
That, in and of itself, deserves praise and
marks progress. But, like Foxx’s letter to Pride
Charlotte in October, such progress is merely
symbolic. It falls far short of the real, concrete
policy progress we need to see coming from
the dais. Words alone cannot be the only
measure of this city’s movement toward full
legal and civil inclusion for LGBT people.
Action always speaks louder than words and
action is what this city is missing.
When Mayor Foxx comes to his forum, I
hope this community’s leaders and citizens
will take it upon themselves to ask Foxx hard
questions and reserve their pats on the back
until after pressing issues are taken care of
and promises delivered.
Let this column be your cheat sheet and
come prepared to meet with Mayor Foxx.
There are several substantive policy issues
still unaddressed by this city’s leadership,
In a November 2009 Q&A with qnotes
following his election as mayor, Foxx said, “I’d
like to see the City Council move on the nondiscrimination
issue very early in the next term
and I’d like to see us do that in a bipartisan
way. I know there are members of City Council
within both parties who have expressed
support for including sexual orientation in the
non-discrimination ordinance. Given that, I’d
like to see action on that very early.”
Such city council action — also promised
repeatedly for years by many incumbent
council members — has yet to happen. In
March, City Manager Curt Walton amended
city non-discrimination policies to include
“sexual orientation.” His move, however positive,
is impermanent. The policy, as it stands
now, can be changed or amended by any city
manager current or future.
Additionally, the policy is incomplete, as it
excludes protections on the basis of gender
identity or expression. In fact, such gender
expression protections were specifically rejected
by city staff, namely City Attorney Mac
McCarley. In a memo, he advised Walton not
to add “gender identity” to the policy.
McCarley has also publicly defended
the city’s “right” to discriminate on the basis
of gender identity or expression. After a
lawsuit was filed in February 2009 by city
worker Anne Marie Clukey, McCarley told The
Charlotte Observer, “Transgendered individuals
do not have any rights under the federal
employment discrimination laws.”
As it stands, anti-LGBT employment
discrimination by the city is not only legal, it
has already alleged to have occurred. Such
past, current or future injustices can only be
correctly remedied by a public, on-the-record
vote of the city council for a fully-inclusive
ordinance — not merely a policy — prohibiting
City contracts, housing & public
As with city government itself, all businesses
contracting to provide services to or
for the city should also be held to a higher
standard. Currently, companies contracting
to do business with the city have to sign
a “Non-Discrimination Certification” that
prohibits any discrimination toward any “sub
consultant, vendor, supplier or commercial
customer on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender,
age, religion, national origin, disability or
other unlawful form of discrimination.” These
contracts and the city’s Commercial Non-
Discrimination Ordinance should be amended
— by a public, on-the-record vote of the
council — to include “sexual orientation” and
“gender identity or expression.”
And, if such a change isn’t possible — as
cities don’t have “home rule” in this state
— the city council, by a public, on-the-record
vote, should decide to add such a change to
their legislative agenda. The same applies to
amendments to non-discrimination policies
and ordinances affecting housing and public
accommodations. While such additions to
the city’s legislative agenda don’t create real
policy change, it is, at the least, a visible, onthe-record
sign that this city’s elected leaders
stand by all their citizens regardless of sexual
orientation and gender identity or expression.
Domestic partner benefits
In 2009, Mecklenburg County joined a
growing list of local North Carolina governments
extending health and other benefits to
the same-sex partners of its employees. After
the county’s decision — which was, by the
way, made through a public, on-the-record
vote of the county board of commissioners
— the debate over domestic partner benefits
shifted to the city.
Mayor Foxx addressed this issue of domestic
partner benefits in his November 2009 Q&A
with qnotes. He stated, “I have expressed a
willingness to move forward in the way I just
described. I think there will be support on the
council to do that.” Further explaining, Foxx
said the council needed to investigate the
costs of such a move and that “understanding
the impact of it is the first step but not the
last one.” Yet, that is all we’ve heard about the
benefits issue. There has been no movement,
at least in public knowledge, to investigate its
costs and the mayor and council members
have not addressed when or how they plan on
moving forward with such changes.
In May 2010, Mayor Foxx spoke at the
Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund’s third annual
luncheon. There, he proclaimed:
“I look back at the history of this discussion
of a policy change that says discriminating
against people based on sexual
orientation is wrong and I have to say that
we had more courage to help propel our city
manager to make that policy change because
of changes that had happened earlier,” Foxx
said. “A few years earlier, the county commission
was embroiled in a heated debate about
saying sexual orientation-based discrimination
is wrong. They made the right decision
and their decision created the courage for the
city to do the same.”
Yet, any evidence of real political courage
is difficult to come by in this city. Despite
Foxx’s words to the contrary, he and other city
council members have shown zero political
courage and instead have relied upon
backroom, behind-the-scenes dealings by the
city manager to make (only a little) progressive
The mayor and city council need to do
more than come to our meetings, hold public
forums and speak niceties to our community.
They need to back up their words with concrete
action. When they do so, they will have
proven they have real political courage. Until
then, they’ll continue to give credence to the
culture of prejudicial, homophobic silence that
pervades this city and its political atmosphere.
Our own community’s leaders aren’t
blameless in this culture. For nearly a decade,
LGBT political insiders and activists, especially
with the Mecklenburg Gay & Lesbian Political
Action Committee (MeckPAC), have taken
these elected officials’ words at face value and
continued to endorse these candidates yearafter-year
despite a lack of results. I’m aware
of only one instance when MeckPAC refused
to endorse a previously endorsed candidate.
They should be more willing to hold these
elected officials and candidates accountable
and that includes releasing the full questionnaires
filled out by candidates when they seek
MeckPAC’s endorsement. If LGBT voters are
to make truly-informed decisions at the ballot
box, we must have access to the on-the-record
questions and answers of candidates.
Naysayers — even some among the
LGBT community — argue that anti-LGBT
employment discrimination and other LGBTrelated
civic matters affect only a small
percentage of city workers and citizens so
passing LGBT-inclusive policies and ordinances
shouldn’t be a priority.
City-county bureaucrats can’t even bring
themselves to say something as relatively
simple as, “No, we don’t discriminate against
LGBT people” (see “Why ‘what ifs’ are
important, and why CATS needs to clarify their
policy,” goqnotes.com/8508). That’s indicative
of a problem and an inherent inability of city
or county government to be forthright in their
otherwise promised “guarantees” of equality
and inclusion. I happen to believe that inclusion
and equality are among this nation’s best
virtues. Such ideals should be embodied in
both law and practice.
Charlotte likes to fancy itself the “Queen
City.” Unlike a real monarch, however, Charlotte
rarely leads on any issue, particularly when
it comes to social equity. Until such a time as
Charlotte and its leaders are willing to move
forward on issues of inclusion and equality,
the city will remain nothing more than a small
Southern hamlet with delusions of grandeur. : :
want more opinion & commentary
visit goqnotes.com/to/blog for daily insights, rants,
raves and news tidbits from qnotes staff and local
and national voices from around the web.
These rates only cover a portion of our true cost,
however, our goal is to serve our community
Mailed 1st class from Charlotte, NC, in sealed envelope.
☐ 1 yr - 26 issues = $48 ☐ 1/2 yr - 13 issues = $34
card – check one: ☐ mastercard ☐ visa ☐ discover ☐ american express
Meeting Date: Thursday, December 16, 2010
Program: Annual Holiday Event
Don King Community Service Awards
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St.
Sponsored by Frances Richter, www.francesrichter.com
Time: Dinner, Refreshments & Cash Bar, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
TBD, Advanced Reservations Appreciated
Accepting donations for Time Out Youth
To Reserve: Call 704.565.5075 by 12 pm
Friday, December 10, 2010
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
to request tickets for this event
qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
It was a North Carolina author, Thomas
Wolfe, who wrote “You Can’t Go Home
Again.” My partner Anne decided to ignore
him and go home to North Carolina anyway.
I decided to go along to help her clean out
the family home in Rutherfordton. Over four
grueling days we lifted and sorted an incredible
number of boxes. By the end of all that
heavy lifting, I’d mentally changed Wolfe’s title
to “You Can’t Stand Straight Again.”
In those boxes we found symbols of the
tension between Anne’s lesbianism and her
mother’s religiosity. And, when Anne and I went
into town, we discovered another tension, between
how we live in Seattle and how we felt
we had to behave in a small Carolina town.
There was a third tension regarding the
nutritional value of fried okra, but I’ll confine
myself to the gay bits.
When Anne was 14, her mother became
a fundamentalist Christian. That’s one way of
coping with a budding teenager.
Anne’s mom liked to hand out religious
tracts and in one box, along with myriad tracts
In response to our interview with new
Lesbian & Gay Community Center Chair John
Stotler (goqnotes.com/9169), readers say:
Congratulations to John Stotler and the other
members of the Board. You do not have an easy
task ahead of you in regaining trust and rebuilding
the Center into the vibrant heart of the LGBT
community it has been and should be.
I am hopeful that the change in leadership at
the Center will truly lead to a change in atmosphere.
For the last couple of years, the Center
gave the impression of being a clique in which
you had to be a member in good standing. Ruffle
feathers and you were gone. This was not lost
on the LGBT community and it seemed as though
the only time effort was made to include the
ENTIRE community was Pride.
Also, the flagrant lack of transparency with
regard to its operations, finances and the actions
of the Board served to further push away
the very LGBT community it is supposed to
serve. Until there is disclosure as to finances,
ALL finances, I will not contribute any money
and have heard this from several members of
One other suggestion for the new Board:
Would it be too much to ask for some sort of
actual and visable signage indicating the location
of the Center? That small, sad flag is far
from adequate. Many people attending Pride
were able to find the festival but unable to find
the actual Center. Perhaps this would lead to
an increase in attendance at events and overall
support. Why have you been hiding?
— Rita, Nov. 14, web
We are always looking for feedback and
ideas. We would love to have a program/event/
meeting/etc at The Center every day and night.
Please email The Center and those will get
passed to the appropriate board member or
committee to discuss.
As for signage, we are working with the NC
Music Factory on that. We will have limitations
based on their structure and policies as well
as agreements they have with the city about
by leslie robinson :: qnotes contributor
Look homeward, lesbian
on accepting Jesus as your personal savior,
sat copies of “The Gay Blade.” An image of a
man with not one, but two limp wrists, graced
Published in 1972, this tract proclaimed,
“Out of Satan’s shadowy world of homosexuality,
in a display of defiance against society,
they come forth.”
Sounds like a zombie movie.
“Their power structure is widespread —
they occupy all kinds of jobs.” Some are “even
hinted to be in high government positions.”
Yup, we snuck in right under the nose of
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover . . . oh . . . wait . . .
Most of the tract’s pages were devoted to
a vivid rendering of the Sodom story, suitable
in any decade for putting the fear of God in
Anne’s mom handed out anti-gay tracts
at the same time her daughter was feeling
lesbian stirrings. No wonder it took Anne
a bunch more years and a run at Christian
education before she became the openly gay
woman of her mother’s nightmares.
Letters to the editor and comments from goqnotes.com.
Web comments are not edited for grammar or punctuation.
And relative to financial disclosure, a 2010
Annual Report will be coming after the end of
the year with details about all of The Center’s
activities this year.
— John Stotler, Nov. 19, web
Speaking of Christian education,
we also uncovered one of Anne’s
grade reports from Moody Bible
Institute. Perhaps her mom kept it because
she was proud of Anne’s good
grades. Or, maybe she kept it, Anne
theorizes, as proof that her daughter
once had fine Christian intentions.
Anne’s mother is still living, still
handing out tracts to strangers. When we visited
her in South Carolina on this trip, I wanted
to ask if her stock included anti-gay treatises.
I refrained. I don’t want my picture on the next
round of tracts.
During The Great Purge, Anne and I occasionally
got away from the house and headed
to Main Street. There in the town where she
was born, where everybody still knows her
family, she found herself reluctant to touch
me on the street or in a restaurant. A natural
I felt the same. In that area of the country,
where you can’t throw a hush puppy without
hitting a church and where I twice heard
white people refer to someone as being black
“but good,” discretion felt nearly necessary.
A new feeling for me and I liked it as much as
barbecue sauce on a Moon Pie.
When we entered the antiques store, we
found Anne’s childhood playmate working
there. I heard Anne pause before introducing
me as her partner. That was not the pause
The next day Anne saw her again and the
woman said she was sorry she couldn’t say
goodbye to me as well.
You just never know what you’ll find when
you go home again. In an old box or in people. : :
LesRobinson@aol.com . generalgayety.com
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes
from the carolinas, nation
compiled by Lainey Millen :: email@example.com
David Stout :: firstname.lastname@example.org | Matt Comer :: email@example.com
Clients have needs
CHARLOTTE — Regional AIDS Interfaith
Network (RAIN) is looking for donations for its
client services pantry, especially during these
Stop by Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5
p.m., and leave basic household necessities
to ensure that each person served does not
have to go without. Many of RAIN’s clients
may consider these items luxuries.
The wish list includes: toiletries (toothpaste,
shampoo, deodorant, etc.); normal
sized cleaning supplies; toilet paper and
tissue; and laundry detergent in non-bulk
For more information or to leave items, go
to First United Methodist Church, 501 N. Tryon
St., 4th Floor, call 704-372-7246, email info@
carolinarain.org or visit carolinarain.org.
Job skills workshop slated
CHARLOTTE — Got the “need a job”
blues? Then march on down to The Lesbian &
Gay Community Center, 820 Hamilton St., Suite
B-11, on Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for an LGBT
Employment Boot Camp.
This workshop is free and includes lunch.
Registration is required and space is limited.
The program includes coffee and pastry in
the morning, followed by resume writing and
interview skills training. Learn how to manage
stress during job-hunting while unemployed.
Lunch time is chocked full of tidbits on
working for the government and private business,
youth-specific topics and tip sharing.
Afterward get coaching on resume writing
from local human resources pros and leave
with a sound document for your search.
The day ends with role play to hone interview
For more information or to register, visit
Sport a shirt in support
CHARLOTTE — Want to show how much
you appreciate the talents of One Voice
Chorus? Then “jump on stage” and join the
Encore Circle as a way to keep the music and
mission of the chorus thriving through a convenient,
budget-friendly monthly giving program.
Chad Mackie, board president, said, “Every
year One Voice gives a face and voice to the
LGBT community by performing public concerts,
providing music to support Charlotte’s
other LGBT organizations and singing at social
justice events — most recently performing
as a sponsor of the ‘It Gets Better’ candlelight
vigil in response to anti-gay bullying.
“We’ll apply your monthly contribution to
the recurring costs required for our work to
continue to enrich and inform the community.
Plus, for donations of $25 or more each
month, we’ll send you two VIP tickets to every
One Voice concert while your recurring gift is
They count on individual gifts for its survival.
Everyone who participates will receive a
free T-shirt as a way of saying thanks.
To participate, visit tracking.etapestry.
Ring in the season
WINSTON-SALEM — The Adam
Foundation’s 1st Annual Holiday Social will be
held on Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m., at Finnigan’s Wake,
620 N Trade St.
Completing the work for 2010 will be an
open board meeting to be held on Dec. 21 at 7
p.m. at Celtic Cafe, 924 S. Marshall St.
The Adam Foundation promotes the
identity, strength, and well-being of the local
LGBT community and supports organizations
serving persons living with HIV and AIDS.
For more information, email info@adam
foundation.org or visit www.finniganswake.net.
Group seeks official non-profit status
RALEIGH/DURAM/CHAPEL HILL — The
youth-run and -led iNSIDEoUT is looking for
new adult board members. Now in its fifth year,
the group provides Triangle-area LGBT youth
social, support and activism opportunities.
The organization is working to file its
501(c)3 non-profit status with the IRS. To do so,
they need to assemble a board of directors.
qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
The group said, “While the youth have
authority over the programming and day-today
activities of iNSIDEoUT, the adult board
may decide to take on additional projects that
aim to support lgbtq-a youth both in and out of
Positions sought after include a treasurer,
fundraising coordinator, public relations officer,
youth representative (between the ages
of 18-21) and a legal advisor.
Those interested should send a short
statement describing their interest and any
relevant experience or other information to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested persons
should also indicate which position they prefer
to fill. The group notes that people of color,
transgender and transsexual people and
queer individuals are encouraged to apply.
For more information, visit insideout180.org.
Center gets ho-ho-hopeful for X-mas
CHAPEL HILL — The LGBT Center of
Raleigh has been selected as the “Tip for a
Cause” for December by the Aveda Institute,
200 W. Franklin St. Visit the facility for any
service (i.e., hair cut, color, facial or nail
service, etc.) and 100 percent of all tips will be
contributed to the Center.
Haircuts start at $19, color starts at $40, facials
start at $35 and nail services start at $15.
Call the Institute to reserve your December
appointment at 919-960-4769. All services are
performed by supervised students.
Now that you got your “pretty” on, how
about nibbling on one of the goodies that
center volunteers will showcase at a holiday
bake sale on Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the
Institute? Bring individually-wrapped baked
goods to school the day of the sale or drop
them off at the Center, 316 W. Cabarrus St.,
on the day before from 1-7 p.m. A team will
deliver the baked goods the next morning to
Chapel Hill for the bake sale.
For more information, visit lgbtcenterof
ASO sponsors AIDS Day events
HICKORY — AIDS Leadership Foothillsarea
Alliance (ALFA) will partner with a host
of community agencies on Dec. 1 in observance
of World AIDS Day (WAD).
Awareness campaigns, as well as target
events will highlight the day’s activities and
will be capped off with a festive celebration
later in the week.
As reported in the Nov. 13 issue in News
Notes, ALFA will host a display of a section of
the AIDS Memorial Quilt from Nov. 29-Dec. 1,
8 a.m to midnight at Lenior Rhyne University,
Rudisill Library, 625 7th Ave. N.E.
Earlier in the day at 11:30 a.m., a free
continuing education for medical providers,
sponsored by Catawba Valley Medical Center,
will take place. Registrations may be made by
contacting AHEC, 810 Fairgrove Church Rd.,
by calling 828-326-3386.
From 5:30-6:30 p.m., a WAD reception will
be held at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 629
8th St. N.E. A memorial service follows from
6:30-7:30 p.m., including performances by the
Lenior Rhyne University Gospel Choir, Exodus
Ministries Choir and Mount Sinai Praise
Dancer, speakers, reflection and candlelight
Light the Night will complete the day’s
observance at Lenior Rhyne University.
Luminaries, in memory of or in honor of a person
of one’s choice, are available for a contribution
of $10 for the first one, $5 for additional
ones. For more information, contact Rhonda
Bonfield or David Zealy at 828-322-1447, ext.
233 or email email@example.com.
On Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Youseff 242, 242
11th Ave. NE, a Winter Gala honoring Legacy
Award winners Mitchell Gold and Bob
Williams completes the observance. It comes
with a four-course meal and wine pairings by
Executive Chef Thomas Clayton. It’s in its 13th
year and has raised over $520,000.
Sponsors for World AIDS Day 2010 are
Catawba Valley Medical Center, Frye Regional
Medical Center, Lenoir-Rhyne University and
Catawba County Public Health.
For more information, email alfadev@
alfainfo.org or visit alfaworldaidsday.org.
Champions to receive award
HICKORY — Mitchell Gold and Bob
Williams will be honored with the inaugural
Legacy Award at ALFA’s Winter Gala on Dec.
5 at 6 p.m. at Youssef 242, 242 11th Ave. NE.
The Legacy Award goes to individuals who
have made outstanding contributions in support
of HIV/AIDS services in the northwestern
North Carolina region that ALFA serves. This
year’s honorees are credited with providing
vision, strategic planning and passion for
ALFA that has insured free HIV/AIDS services
to the community.
Executive Director Rodney Tucker said.
“Thirteen years ago, ALFA was days away from
closing due to financial issues. Mitchell and
Bob are two community leaders who literally
came to the agency’s rescue. By giving their
time and resources, they insured ALFA’s doors
would remain open to serve our community.”
Special Reserved Seating is available with
a minimum contribution of $100 per seat. Gold
and Williams will also host a Legacy Table
with seating available for a contribution of
$500 per seat.
For more information or to reserve Winter
Gala seating, call Rhonda Bonfield at 828-322-
1447 ext. 223, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Kirsch headed east?
SAN DIEGO — Dan Kirsch, the onetime visionary
behind OutCharlotte and The Charlotte
Lesbian & Gay Center, has stepped down as
executive and artistic director of Diversionary
The Wisconsin-native has been there
since he left Charlotte after helping to get the
Center on its feet at its Central Ave. location
six years ago.
According to SignOnSanDiego, Kirsch
hopes to relocate back east in March. Before
departing, he’ll help the theater plan for its
2011-12 season, as well as spearhead the
effort for a replacement for himself.
Diversionary, a 25-year-old venture, produces
plays with LGBT themes. Currently, it is
in the top 10 in local theater companies.
Hospital rules respect gays
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Centers for
Medicaid and Medicare issued new rules Nov.
17 that require all hospitals that participate in
Medicaid and Medicare to allow patients to
designate who shall be allowed to visit them
and make medical decisions on their behalf.
The order will allow for same-sex partners to
have the same rights as other immediate family
members. The new rules will be published
in the Federal Register on Nov. 19.
The rules follow a directive issued by
President Obama to the Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) in April in which
he noted that LGBT people are “uniquely
affected” by being “unable to be there for the
person they love, and unable to act as a legal
surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”
Upon announcing the rules, HHS Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius said, “Basic human rights
— such as your ability to choose your own
support system in a time of need — must
not be checked at the door of America’s
Gay bishop to retire in ’13
CONCORD, N.H. — Bishop Gene
Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in
the Episcopal Church, has announced his
intention to retire from his role as Bishop of
the Diocese of New Hampshire in January
of 2013. He plans to pursue a greater role in
worldwide evangelism and expand his work
with LGBT advocacy.
Robinson’s retirement will come at the
culmination of 35 years in the diocese, nine
of which will have been spent as Bishop, and
a career devoted to physical and spiritual
wellness — including immense work on AIDS
education and prevention.
“Bishop Robinson has been among the
chief spiritual leaders in the movement for
LGBT freedom,” said Human Rights Campaign
Religion and Faith Program Director Rev.
Harry Knox. “His courage, poise, and grace
in the face of vitriolic attacks on his humanity
and faith have made him a model by which
the rest of us judge our daily actions.”
Lesbian widow sues gov’t
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Edith “Edie” Windsor,
who shared her life with her late spouse,
Thea Spyer, for 44 years, has filed a lawsuit
against the federal government for refusing
to recognize their marriage. The lawsuit challenges
the constitutionality of the “Defense
of Marriage Act” (DOMA), a federal statute
that defines marriage for all federal purposes
as a legal union between one man and one
woman. Windsor and Spyer were married in
Canada in 2007, and were considered married
by their home state of New York.
Spyer died in 2009. Because of DOMA,
Windsor was not able to claim the estate tax
marital deduction that is available when the
surviving spouse is of the opposite sex. In her
lawsuit, Windsor is seeking to have DOMA
declared unconstitutional and to obtain a
refund of the federal estate tax that she was
forced to pay following Spyer’s death.
Windsor, a senior computer systems
programmer, and Spyer, a clinical psychologist,
met in the early 1960s, and lived together
for decades in an apartment in Greenwich
Village. Despite not being able to get legally
married, they got engaged in 1967. After more
than 40 years together, they were finally
married in Toronto in 2007. Their relationship,
which is recognized by their home state of
N.Y., is the subject of a documentary entitled,
“Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement.”
Aiken supports bullying bills
WASHNGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 18,
Senators Bob Casey and Al Franken and
Representatives Jared Polis and Linda
Sánchez were joined by N.C.-based singer
Clay Aiken, “Dancing with the Stars” regular
Louis Van Amstel, and Sirdeaner Walker and
Tammy Aaberg, two mothers who lost their
sons to suicide after they faced in-school bullying,
to stress the importance of two bills that
address bullying and harassment in schools.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA)
is a federal anti-bullying bill that includes
protections based on race, sex, national
origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender
identity/expression. The bill has bi-partisan
support and currently has 130 cosponsors in
the House and 15 cosponsors in the Senate.
The Student Non-Discrimination Act, modeled
after Title IX, would provide protections
to students targeted for bullying, harassment
and discrimination based on their actual or
perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill currently as 127 cosponsors in the
House and 30 cosponsors in the Senate.
‘Give a Damn’ about runaways
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Give a Damn
Campaign, a project of Cyndi Lauper’s True
Colors Fund, has released its latest video during
National Runaway Prevention Month to
raise awareness about homeless LGBT youth.
Susan Sarandon, Alan Cumming, Rebecca
Romijn, Pete Wentz, Eden Riegel and Cyndi
Lauper speak up about the need to bring an
end to this epidemic.
Each year, between 500,000 and 1.6 million
youth in the U.S. are homeless or runaways.
LGBT youth make up an estimated three
percent to five percent of the general U.S.
population. Yet they make up more than 20
percent — and possibly up to 40 percent — of
all homeless youth in the country.
Family conflict is the most common cause
of all youth homelessness. For gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender youth, the conflict
tends to be over their sexual orientation or
gender identity. Half of all teens get a negative
reaction from their parents when they come
out to them resulting in many of them running
away. More than 1 in 4 are actually thrown out
of their homes by their parents.
LGBT aging conference held
NEW YORK, NY — Services and Advocacy
for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender
Elders (SAGE) held its first national conference
created by and for LGBT older adults
Nov. 11-13, at the CUNY Graduate Center.
“The Future of Aging Is in Our Hands” brought
together hundreds of older adults from around
the country to explore issues such as activism,
financial security, health, ageism and more.
Plenary sessions and workshops covered
topics such as reforming public policies to
address the inequities that harm LGBT older
adults; tackling ageism within and outside the
LGBT community; the unique challenges of
caregiving for the loved ones of LGBT elders;
overcoming the mental and physical challenges
of aging; and achieving financial and
legal security when discrimination is rampant
among LGBT older adults and their loved ones.
In the Oct. 30 iissue, we mispelled Coti
Collins name in the News Notes article entitled
“Pageant rated tops.” We regret the error.
info: Have news or other information? Send
your press releases and updates for inclusion
in our News Notes: email@example.com.
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes
Charlotte, Greensboro couples navigate life in love and serodiscordance
by David Stout :: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although it’s an accepted convention
that sometimes opposites attract, resulting
in dichotomous pairings like liberals with
conservatives, matinee idols with car park attendants
and Carolina fans with Duke fans, for
the most part this hasn’t been the case with
HIV-positive and HIV-negative people.
From the early days of the epidemic both
groups have largely chosen to look for mates
and sexual partners from within their own
ranks. This practice is known as sero sorting
— sorting individuals by their HIV serologic
status — and there are a variety of factors
that have made it commonplace.
Some of these antecedents are emotional
connectivity (such as the comfort partners
find when each knows what the other is going
through); altruism (the desire to limit the epidemic
to the already infected); and, of course,
sex (too often driven by the unsound notion
that individuals with the same purported HIV
status are free to engage in unprotected
As anyone who has ever been in love
knows, however, historical precedents and
guiding principles — or any other forces
for that matter — have no effect when the
heart decides to go its own way. Sometimes,
against all odds, opposites attract.
In medical terminology a couple comprised
of an HIV-positive individual and an
HIV-negative individual is a serodiscordant
couple. (Same-status couples are termed
seroconcordant.) In colloquial gay parlance
these couples are said to be “magnetic”
— positive and negative drawn together like
the poles of a magnet.
David Witt, 61, and Joe Kiser, 46, are a magnetic
couple who live in Charlotte. They have
been partnered for 14 years. Witt is a former
mental health and substance abuse professional
with Mecklenburg County. He was diagnosed
with HIV in 1986 and declared disabled
in 1997 due to related health complications.
Witt met computer programmer Kiser in
an online chatroom in 1996. He says he disclosed
his HIV status
“Before Joe ever
came over to have
dinner with me, he
knew my status. I’d already
lost a partner to
so I’d been out for a
long time and didn’t
really have any problems
about my status. On
the other hand, there’s
always a slight fear that you may be rejected
by somebody you’d like to get to know.”
Kiser says he “just had to stop and think
for a moment” before committing to the relationship.
His family’s reaction was cautious,
but not condemning. “There was concern
in the beginning,” he explains. “They were
mostly just worried about me. Now, my dad
is accepting and when my sister brings up
any negative conversation it’s about me being
homosexual, not about HIV.”
Through the years, Witt has endured a
string of health issues. He recounts them in a
matter-of-fact manner that is sobering.
“I have chronic sinusitis, candidiasis
— a yeast infection in my esophagus — and
congestive heart failure. I had a heart attack
in ‘99 that might have been contributed to by
years of HIV meds, as well as the HIV itself.
One real concern is kidney failure. My kidney
function is about 17 percent; at 10 percent
I would require dialysis. My diabetes is the
result of HIV. I have neuropathy, which has
caused me to have multiple falls and an
irritable bowel related to the HIV. There’s
also fatigue and anemia. The anemia’s what
we’re dealing with now. I’m not making blood
for some reason.”
Despite the extent of Witt’s health problems,
the couple tries to keep them from dominating
their relationship. It can be a challenge.
For example, in April, Witt spent the first four
days of a 15-day Key West vacation sick in
bed. After discussing it, the pair decided to
Lisa Waldman (l) and Martha Lang don’t sweat the little things and enjoy every moment they have
together. Similarly, Joe Kiser (l) and David Witt say they cherish each day.
stick it out. The cost when they returned home
was a seven-day hospitalization for Witt to
treat a bout of pneumonia.
Whatever the challenges, Kiser says
there’s no question that he’s been enriched
by his magnetic partnership. “It’s brought a
nurturing aspect out of me that was not often
there before and made me more empathetic”
he says. “And because HIV has affected
David so profoundly, he sees life as so precious.
He has taught me to see that too.”
Witt adds that the relationship has deepened
in turn. “I don’t think we’ve had an argument
were we’ve raised our voices. Because
we’ve had to sit and talk about such serious
matters of health, we can talk about any serious
issues in our relationship. HIV makes us
appreciate every day. When my time comes,
I don’t want to have any regrets about our
Kiser sometimes struggles with his fear of
what the future might bring, but the presence
of Witt’s RAIN Care Team and friends from
Witt’s recovery group helps. And, at the end of
the day, no matter what lies in wait, he’s going
to be there to go through it and Witt knows it.
“We talk about what’s happening to us;
what’s happening to me and how he feels
about it,” Witt says. “He’s just a great partner.
Even though he can’t experience the panic,
fear and isolation I sometimes feel, I know
he’s there and all I’ve got to do is call him. It
helps to know you’ve got a true mate to help
you go through.”
Lesbians get it too
Lesbians are the invisible component of
the HIV-positive population. The U.S. government
doesn’t even bother to track infection
rates among them. This systemic lack of interest
led to a nightmare scenario for Martha
Lang, now a 45-year-old sociology professor
in Greensboro, N.C.
By the time she was diagnosed, Lang
had made numerous visits to doctors and
specialists in Richmond, Ind., where she was
then living. She was wracked with illness
and already in full-blown AIDS, suffering
from a life-threatening combination of pneumocystis
pneumonia, thrush and dementia.
She says no one thought to test her for HIV
for so long because she’s “white, over-educated
and a lesbian.”
Lang was placed on the AIDS drug cocktail
and her health was making a vigorous
rebound when she went on her first date with
Lisa Waldman, 43. (“I had 240 T-cells when
we got together,” Lang says. “At one point I
had 48. My latest count is 1,200.”) Still, she
expected the worst when she revealed her
status during that fateful Chinese dinner.
“It was very difficult,” she shares. “In my
see Couples on 17
qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes
10 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 11
12 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
Serving proudly, AAS-C focuses on care,
community and clients
Raleigh’s Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina: Mission & History
qnotes is pleased to partner with the
Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina in presenting
this special section, “Life, Positively”, in
recognition of World AIDS Day.
The mission of the Alliance of AIDS
Services - Carolina is to serve people living
with HIV/AIDS, their loved ones, caregivers
and communities at large with compassionate,
non-judgmental care, prevention,
education and advocacy. It provides a comprehensive
variety of programs and services
to individuals, organizations and communities
in the Research Triangle Region of central
North Carolina in order to achieve this mission.
These programs and services include:
direct emergency financial assistance;
individual advocacy to assist clients in getting
the services they need and are qualified for;
referrals to more than 180 other public and
private agencies; food pantries averaging
nearly 600 client visits per month; door-todoor
transportation for clients to medical
appointments and bus tickets for local and
regional travel; arrangements for respite
care; housing referrals; support groups as
needed and requested; Care Teams (groups
of 5-12 people from over 60 Triangle congregations),
Pastoral care and spiritual support
provided for Care Partners (clients who
have Care Teams), individuals, and families
affected by HIV/AIDS; a monthly volunteer/
client/donor electronic newsletter with a circulation
of over 4,000; operation of two Family
Care Homes licensed by the State of North
Carolina and housing a total of 11 low-income
people living with AIDS, many of whom are
dually-diagnosed; HIV prevention education
programs reaching over 25,000 people annually
(targeted populations include men who
have sex with men, women of child bearing
years, and youth), Congregational Education
(or faith-based HIV/STD education) is for both
clergy and congregations, volunteer program
with more than 1,000 volunteers who are
thoroughly integrated into every department
Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolina’s
history began in the late 1980s, when several
non-profit organizations in the Research
Triangle region of North Carolina serving
people with HIV/AIDS began collaborating
on various aspects of their missions, most
notably a major fund raising event called
Evening With Friends. These organizations
collectively served well over 2,400 individuals
annually who were infected and affected by
HIV and AIDS in the Research Triangle region
In November 1997 three of these agencies
(AIDS Service Agency of North Carolina,
AIDS Service Agency of Orange County and
Triangle AIDS Interfaith Network) created a
Joint Committee on Strategic Restructuring to
examine and recommend options for consolidation
that would meet current and projected
needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in the
Triangle and affirm the missions of each
In May 1998 the Joint Committee recommended
consolidation of the organizations
and in June 1998 the boards of directors of
these organizations formally agreed to consolidate.
The formal action that created the
Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolina occurred
on Oct. 18, 1999. Articles of Incorporation
were filed on Sept. 21, 1999. The IRS has
issued an Employer Identification Number
and granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status. After
the consolidation the Alliance successfully
integrated its formerly separate founding organizations
into one agency with 42 employees
and a yearly budget of over $1.8 million.
The Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolina
has continued to grow in the first decade of
the 21st century. Its clients in its four core
counties — Wake, Durham, Orange and
Johnston — have access to a complete
offering of client services. In April 2010, the
Alliance began an exciting new collaboration
with Wake County Human Services
to form the Access Network of Care. The
Alliance now offers North Carolinians living
in Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville,
Johnston, Lee Orange, Person, Vance, Wake
and Warren Counties a new way to access
healthcare. The Alliance’s now serves more
than 500 clients and it employs more than 50
people. : :
— For more information, visit
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 13
‘Gay disease’ or not, HIV is
by Matt Comer :: email@example.com
The statistics are scary. In places like
Washington, D.C., and 19 of the largest U.S.
cities, the facts and figures take on new
meaning, as more and more people contract
HIV and are left to live with the disease,
the cultural and institutional stigma and
Like many epidemics, HIV/AIDS has
hit minorities the hardest. In the 1980s, the
disease hit gay men and intravenous drug
users. There’s no doubt many of the men and
women first affected by the AIDS crisis were
also either ethnic minorities or poor; perhaps
they were both.
But, now it is clear: the face of HIV/AIDS
has changed drastically. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), 49 percent of all people living with an
HIV/AIDS diagnosis in 2005 were African-
American. Among black men with HIV, 48
percent had contracted the disease through
male-to-male sexual contact; 22 percent
through heterosexual contact. Among black
women with HIV, almost three-quarters had
contracted the disease through heterosexual
Nationwide, male-to-male sexual contact
accounts for more than half of all HIV/AIDS
transmissions. And, just this year, the CDC
announced new study results showing 20
percent of all gay men in the nation’s largest
20 cities have HIV.
At the Creating Change conference in
January 2008, Matt Foreman, former executive
director of the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force, took heat after he proclaimed,
“HIV is a gay disease.” I understand what he
was trying to do. Transmission rates continue
to rise among gay men and other men
who have sex with men. In a Bill Cosby-like
moment, Foreman was simply attempting to
deliver a wake-up call, no different from the
2006 “Own It. End It.” public service advertisements
produced by the Los Angeles Gay
and Lesbian Community Center.
In an interview following his controversial
remarks, Foreman told Between the Line‘s
Todd Heywood that his comments were only
meant to refocus the LGBT community’s
“HIV isn’t just a gay disease, but it is a
gay disease in the United States,” Foreman
told the Michigan LGBT newspaper. “I would
agree that we have separated HIV from the
gay community over the last 15 years. That
is why HIV/AIDS is not a priority for the vast
majority of LBGT (lesbian, bisexual, gay
and transgender) national, state and local
Some people agreed with Foreman’s
tactics; others didn’t.
Unfortunately, Foreman’s main message
got lost in the heat of debate:
“Over the last 15 years as people have
lived longer and the epidemic moved
predominately to effecting people of color,
we have lost our anger,” Foreman said. “Of
course this is not just HIV among gay black
men. It’s other African-American health
issues not being addressed at large … the
system is racist.”
He added, “I don’t blame our community
for the fact that MSM [men who have
sex with men] still account for nearly three
quarters of men living with HIV. I hold our
“The system is racist.” And, so are far too
many LGBT people.
In the fall of 2007, Carolina Celebration, a
long-running fundraising group in Charlotte,
shuttered its doors. Their move effectively
turned off the annual faucet that delivered
tens of thousands of dollars to the now
closed Metrolina AIDS Project (MAP).
Beneath several layers of controversy,
hearsay and he said-she said accusations,
a kernel of truth slipped out from one of the
Carolina Celebration’s board members.
“We decided about two months ago to
discontinue servicing the Dennis Fund and
go with something else,” Ed DePasquale
told me as I interviewed him for a Feb. 23,
2008 article in qnotes. “We were going to go
through with changing the bylaws [and have
the money go to a different organization].
Personally, I said the best thing to do is shut
it down and start something else later down
DePasquale told me how he remembered
the LGBT community rallying to confront the
AIDS epidemic in the early days of the crisis.
He said he hadn’t seen the same level of involvement
or commitment from communities
of color. “Why should the gay community give
their money to something when it isn’t going
to help the gay community?” he asked.
Ann White, then executive director of
MAP, responded sharply, “How can you put a
color on somebody’s pain?”
It’s hard to miss the inherent racism in
DePasquale’s statements. It is reprehensible
that a group of primarily white fundraisers
would pull their funds from an AIDS service
organization simply because of the skin color
of its clients.
But the “-isms” cut both ways. For the
same article, Bob Oltz, a former MAP associate
director, said, “Ironically, the African-
American community accuses us of being
nothing but a gay organization.”
Unfortunately, I fear that racism
— whether realized or unconscious — is
doing damage to the LGBT community’s
continued fight against HIV/AIDS. Instead of
seeing the human person in need of aid and
healthcare, many see skin color. At the same
time, some folks inside communities of color
aren’t seeing past sex, letting homophobia
and heterosexism — whether realized or
unconscious — cloud their view of HIV/AIDS
and who it affects.
When we allow ourselves to give into
racism and homophobia, we prove to be no
better than the absent federal government
officials of the 1980s, who ignored AIDS
because it primarily affected gay men. What
are people who are LGBT and of color to do?
These divisions hurt them, and in the long run
make everyone a loser.
DePasquale couldn’t see past MAP’s
clients’ skin. In doing so, he whitewashed
the LGBT community, failing to recognize the
countless African-American, Latino and other
communities of color who combine to create
our community’s rainbow of diversity.
The racism like that exhibited by
DePasquale and homophobia from communities
of color are as much to blame for
the continued HIV/AIDS crisis as substance
abuse, abstinence-only sex education and
the lack of safer sex practices. Why is that
the two communities most affected by HIV/
AIDS can’t seem to find common ground and
fight the disease together?
Rounds of applause are due to the countless
LGBT, African-American and Latino
leaders, visionaries, community non-profits
and health organizations that saw us through
the 1980s and 1990s. Much of their work
continues today, under the leadership of hundreds
of HIV/AIDS service organizations in
cities and towns across the country. Many of
them have taken bold and courageous steps
to reach out to communities of color, building
trust and bridging the racial divide that still
exists in gay communities.
But, our community needs to reawaken
the sense of urgency, anger and emotion we
felt during the 1980s and 1990s. We need to
push more of our community institutions to
speak out and take action on AIDS, racism,
healthcare disparities and poverty. We
need to push our elected officials to provide
more funding for HIV/AIDS research, testing,
education and prevention. We need to hold
government institutions like the CDC accountable;
they need to know that they can no longer
ignore LGBT people and people of color.
HIV is not a gay disease. Rather, HIV is a
disease that disproportionately affects LGBT
people and people of color. It is a disease that
kills us, taking away our chance to enjoy the
freedoms and equality we gain each day. It is
a disease that wreaks havoc on the already
maligned, impoverished and institutionally
underserved, underprivileged communities of
color in cities like Washington, D.C.
Our community’s leaders and mentors
need to once again instill in our youth a sense
of responsibility and seriousness. Safe sex
and condom use, testing and education need
to be messages LGBT youth and youth of
color hear on a regular basis. Unfortunately,
LGBT youth and youth of color don’t hear
these all-important, life-saving messages in
gay-inclusive and gay-positive tones from
parents, schools or society. Our government
and society has proven itself to be
utterly ineffective at combating HIV/AIDS and
reaching out to the minorities overwhelmingly
affected by it.
So, in the face of government failure, it
becomes our responsibility to stop HIV/AIDS.
It is up to us to continue and increase our
discussions about issues and problems like
substance abuse, sexuality health education,
safe sex, homophobia and racism. HIV/AIDS
may not be a “gay disease,” just like it isn’t
a “black disease” or a “Latino disease.”
But, whether we like it or not, LGBT people
(specifically men) and communities of color
do bear its greatest burden. HIV/AIDS is our
responsibility, and we shouldn’t forget it. : :
— An older version of this commentary was
published on Matt Comer’s blog, InterstateQ.
com, on May 8, 2009. Read it and other installments
from Comer’s 2009 “Fessing Up” series
Do you think the LGBT community puts enough focus
on HIV/AIDS education, prevention and advocacy?
See the options and vote: goqnotes.com/to/qpoll
14 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
Carolina HIV/AIDS resources
North Carolina is blessed to have a plethora
of community resources and programming
for those living with HIV/AIDS. Several groups
throughout the state work to keep the public
educated, provide testing and counseling
and support and case management to those
who test positive. Below are resources for
the Triad, Triangle and Charlotte. Find other
resources across the Carolinas in our online
QGuide at goqnotes.com/qguide/nc/ or
AIDS Care Service
206 N. Spruce St.
Winston Salem, NC 27101-2747
336-777-0116 . aidscareservice.org
AIDS Care Service provides housing, food
pantry services, client services, Ryan White
HIV case management and a variety of support
services for Latino and people of color clients.
Triad Health Project
801 Summit Ave.
Greensboro, NC 27405
336-275-1654 . triadhealthproject.com
Triad Health Project provides case management
and other client support services, HIV
testing and prevention outreach, medical,
social service and legal referrals, food
pantry and nutritional resources and education,
support groups and education, art and
Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina
324 S. Harrington St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
919-834-2437 . aas-c.org
Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina provides
case management, HIV/STD testing and counseling,
emergency assistance for rent and
utilities, transportation assistance, housing
information and referrals other other mental
health, substance abuse or support group
resources, referrals and programs. See story
on page 13.
Men United for HIV/AIDS Awareness
728 Marsh Grass Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27610
919-233-2044 . mufha.org
Men United for HIV/AIDS Awareness is a
non-profit that provides community educational
programs and support services for
at-risk persons and their friends and families.
The group specializes in support to men of
Brother 2 Brother
P.O. Box 31101
Charlotte, NC 28231
704-295-1555 . firstname.lastname@example.org
Brother 2 Brother provides educational and
support training services for men of color.
Workshops include those on HIV awareness
and prevention, sex education, dating and
relationship violence, empowerment and
Carolinas CARE Partnership
(formerly Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium)
7510 E. Independence Blvd., Suite 105
Charlotte, NC 28227
704-531-2467 . carolinascare.org
Carolinas CARE Partnership provides free
HIV/STD testing and counseling, housing
assistance, peer training, case management
and other services, prevention and education.
Carolinas CARE Partnership also houses
the popular D-UP program, a peer education
outreach effort among young men of color
who have sex with men.
House of Mercy
701 Mercy Dr.
Belmont, NC 28012
704-825-4711 . thehouseofmercy.org
House of Mercy provides end-of-life nursing,
housing and medical care for persons living
with advanced AIDS. Services include physical
therapy and medication assistance.
Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN)
P.O. Box 37190
Charlotte, NC 28237-7190
704-372-7246 . carolinarain.org
RAIN provides case management, peer
education, counseling and support services
and various programs for minorities, the faith
community and young people. RAIN is also
active in HIV/AIDS advocacy efforts and is
soon slated to open their full-service Center
City Health Clinic, which will specialize in
HIV/AIDS medical treatment and care.
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 15
Gospel concert, attempts to bridge divide
Local HIV clinic plans concert with Southern Gospel’s Hoppers, Ryan White mother
by Matt Comer :: email@example.com
The shelves on Rosedale Infectious
Diseases’ emergency food pantry were
getting empty. With a weak economy and
the holidays in sight, the HIV/AIDS clinic’s
manager, Dale Pierce, and Rosedale physician
Frederick A. Cruickshank decided it was
time to ramp up their fundraising efforts.
“We started thinking of a way we could
incorporate an activism piece, a holiday piece
and also fill the shelves for a good six to 12
months,” Pierce says.
And, that’s when it hit them: What about a
They’ve put their plans in motion and will
be presenting a special holiday benefit on Dec.
11 with North Carolina-based Southern Gospel
group The Hoppers and Jeanne White Ginder
— activist and mother of 1990 AIDS victim
Ryan White — for whom the pantry is named.
Pierce says he didn’t know want to expect
when he first reached out to The Hoppers.
Nationally recognized, award-winning and
Southern Gospel community favorites, The
Hoppers have also worked closely with
gospel legend Bill Gaither. Needless to say,
HIV/AIDS patients and LGBT people aren’t the
first groups of folks one might think of as fans.
“I reached out to
them and said this is
what we are doing,”
Pierce explains. “It was
a booking; they were
going to take it. But the
next thing I said was,
‘Let me explain. What
we are doing, this is
not your demographic.
There will be a lot of
gay and lesbian people
Pierce says Claude
Hopper, the group’s father
and founder, took a
long pause and asked,
“Tell me, son, exactly
what the money is going
Pierce told Claude how his clinic’s pantry
shelves were getting empty, and how they
provided basic canned foods and dry staples
to those in need.
“If you came in with your family and
needed food, you would leave with a bag of
groceries to feed your family for the night,”
Pierce told Claude.
The Gospel singer’s response was enthusiastic:
“Son, we’ll be there,” he said.
Pierce sees the concert as an opportunity
to build bridges. To his knowledge, the holiday
concert and fundraiser will be among one
of the first times a Southern Gospel group of
The Hoppers’ caliber has stepped up on their
own and offered their talent for an HIV/AIDSrelated
“Most of them won’t touch it,” Pierce
says. “There is still that stigma with HIV/AIDS
and the Christian community. We’re breaking
down the wall a few bricks at a time.”
Since the 1980s, the anti-gay stigma attached
to HIV/AIDS has waned, especially in
recent years. Leading Christian evangelists
like Rick Warren and gospel groups like Jars
of Clay have reached out with their own efforts
targeting the disease and its toll across
the globe, particularly in Africa.
Pierce says such humanitarian efforts
are becoming more commonplace, even as
“I’ve been in the business for a long
time, and personally I’ve been positive for 13
years,” he says. “In those years, I’ve seen
a change in the tide, but we’re still in the
Bible Belt and there is still that stigma. We’re
hoping things like this will enable the message
from both sides to get across in a very
comfortable way for people.”
That message, Pierce passionately
explains, is vital, especially in a time when
younger generations unfamiliar with the
personal tragedies of the 1980s continue to
contract the virus at astounding rates. He
says more awareness and education, coupled
with courageous leadership and vision, is the
only way to end the crisis.
“Do we all need to dust off our ACT-UP
T-shirts and banners and get out there in
the street and start raising the flag again? I
think we do,” Pierce says. “Federal and state
dollars are getting cut. It’s not in the public
Pierce, who will serve as the concert’s
master of ceremonies, is hopeful the concert
will strengthen Rosedale’s ability to continue
funding its food pantry. He also hopes it starts
a much-needed, community-level discussion
on prevention and education.
He says, “If we reach just one family that
goes home and around the kitchen table
starts a dialogue with their teens or in their
church or neighborhood and that that would
start to blossom into other groups, that will be
a greater event for us.” : :
If you go
An Evening of Hope and Inspiration
Featuring The Hoppers With Jeanne
White Ginder Sponsored by Rosedale
ID and Kerr Health Dec. 11, 7 p.m.
McGlohon Theatre 345 North College
St., Charlotte Tickets, $20. 704.372.1000.
16 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
continued from page 8
experience lesbians don’t do well with other lesbians where
HIV is concerned. So, I kept looking down at my Chinese food
waiting for her to freak out. That’s what had happened with the
last woman I’d dated and I was pretty traumatized by it.”
However, Waldman, a counselor for an after-hours crisis
hotline, took the news in stride. “I’ve been in the mental health
and substance abuse fields since college in Rhode Island. One
of the things I’d done there was HIV pre- and post-test counseling.
I just looked at her and said ‘how are you doing?’ and we
talked about it.”
Lang and Waldman became a couple in 2002 and married
two years later in Massachusetts. They are out to their families
about their relationship, as well as Lang’s HIV status. After a
period of education and adjustment, both families are supportive,
although Waldman’s elderly mother still hasn’t been fully
disabused of her misconceptions.
“It doesn’t get talked about anymore except with my
mom,” Waldman says. “Every time Martha catches a cold I
get reminded to not share glasses, towels or soaps because I
could catch ‘the HIV.’ I have to remind myself that mom’s 75 and
she’s doing her best to understand. She’s better now than when
we got together. I just have to keep reassuring her that I’m not
going to catch it.”
To make good on that promise, the couple practices safe
sex. “We used barriers in the beginning and we still use them
now,” says Waldman. “ We don’t have unprotected sex, period.”
The biggest issue is that lesbian safe sex is an amorphous
concept, explains Lang. “There’s not a lot of information on lesbian
safer sex. I went to an HIV doctor who is a lesbian and she
couldn’t give me an absolute answer. So, Lisa and I spent a lot of
time talking since there’s not a clear categorization of risk.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) basically
takes the position that lesbians can’t pass HIV to lesbians,
and, in practical terms, Lang and Waldman say they have
limited concern about sexual transmission. It’s another matter,
however, when Waldman occasionally uses Lang’s toothbrush
by mistake. “She lovingly yells at me and reminds me not to do
that,” Waldman teases.
Today, Lang says maintaining her health is “a balancing
act” between AIDS meds and the substantial dose of supplements
she takes to counter their side effects. “People think you
just take pills, but for me it’s a tightrope walk. I spent a good
two years basically sitting on the couch because [AIDS drug]
Sustiva just made me so stupid.”
Waldman’s steadfast understanding during that difficult period
held the relationship together. “We practice unconditional
love and she was so patient with me,” Lang recalls. “I was
working part-time at Brown [University] teaching one course
and struggling with the mental side effects and the gastrointestinal
nausea stuff. Lisa did more things, like managing the
housework and the household finances. Instead of 50-50, she
did more than her share.”
Though both women work full-time now, HIV still exacts a
significant toll on their finances due to the costs of the supplements
and medical co-pays for Lang. “We’ve been having to
have some blunt conversations about that,” Waldman reveals.
Despite the attendant challenges to health and livelihood and
the uncertainty of the future, which is exacerbated by Lang’s inability
to get life insurance, both partners believe their lives have
been enriched and their bond as a couple strengthened by their
Lang says, “Having faced down death and knowing nobody
realistically knows how long you live with this disease, my
perspective is not sweating the petty or minor stuff. Just being
with Lisa and us being happy together is my focus.”
“This experience has taught us how to live simply and recognize
what is important,” Waldman adds. “People who know
us see that we have something pretty special here.” : :
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 17
Charlotte activist among six
honored at statewide gala
Roberta Dunn receives ’Equality Champion’ award, joins CLT center board
by Tyler DeVere :: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roberta Dunn has forged a path for herself as a trusted leader
and advocate for LGBT people in Charlotte. Yet, she says she never
intended or planned on becoming an activist, Dunn simply couldn’t
help herself. After years of work in Charlotte’s transgender and larger
LGBT community, Dunn’s activism was recognized by Equality North
Carolina among the work of five other Carolina LGBT and straight ally
The Equality Champion Award, presented for the first time this
year by Equality NC to six leaders across the state, seeks to recognize
the hard work of community activists and advocates working
for change in their local communities. Dunn received the Charlotte
region Equality Champion Award for her work with local organizations
and for successfully making
important inroads with
Other award winners
included: Ellen W. Gerber
(Triad), the Rev. Joe
Hoffman and Noel Nickle
(Western), Aaron Lucier
(Eastern) and Joshua Lee
Weaver (Triangle). [For
more about each of the
award winners, see our
past coverage, “Equality
NC recognizes 2010
More than five years
ago, Dunn came to the
Charlotte area and soon
became active with Kappa
Beta, a transgender support and social group now known as Carolina
Transgender Society. She also later joined another transgender
group, the Charlotte Gender Alliance.
But what first started out as simple and occasional volunteer
work soon turned into full-blown political advocacy. The debate over
the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 2007 was
the initial spark to Dunn’s political involvement. That year, legislators
in the U.S. House decided to cut language that would have
protected employees on the basis of gender identity. Dunn decided
to join Charlotte’s local Human Rights Campaign steering committee.
Following pro-transgender public restroom accommodations being
made in Washington, D.C., Dunn wanted to bring something similar
to the Queen City. She soon teamed up with the Mecklenburg Gay
& Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC). [Ed. Note – This
writer is a MeckPAC steering committee member.]
A three-year “Soul of the Community”
poll released Nov. 15 by the Knight
Foundation and Gallop has found that gays
and lesbians are perceived as the least
welcome social group in Charlotte.
The survey, conducted from 2008 to 2010,
sought to correlate community attachment
and loyalty with several factors, including
economic growth, civic involvement, openness
to various social groups and community
and social offerings like nightlife and
Residents rating Charlotte highly as
a community open to gays and lesbians
decreased slightly each year the survey was
conducted. In 2008, 16 percent rated the city
highly. That dropped to 15 percent in 2009
and finally to 14 percent this year. Gays and
lesbians were the least welcomed of all social
groups included in the survey each year.
18 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
“None of this would have been possible without MeckPAC,” Dunn
The work by the group and its members have led to many successes,
Dunn adds, but she also says there have been political
let-downs in Charlotte. Dunn says it was particularly difficult to deal
personally with the city’s decision to enact non-discrimination policies
excluding transgender people. More devastating, however, was
the murder of transgender Charlottean Toni Alston.
Alston’s April murder and the public follow-up by police and
media immediately shifted Dunn’s focus away from city policies. Her
passion for a woman she never met, but many believe was the victim
of a hate crime, is immediately apparent. Through advocating for
Alston, Dunn said she
has come to feel like she
knew Alston in life.
Dunn says she had
three goals related to
Alston’s murder. The
first was to educate the
about the language they
and the media used to
describe Alston, including
terms like “alternative
lifestyle” and “crossdresser.”
wanted the local police
to create an LGBT liaison
office, to serve as a
go-between for police
officials and LGBT community
members. Finally, she wanted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police
Chief Rodney Monroe to hold an open forum with the community. All
three goals have been accomplished — the chief held his forum at
the Lesbian & Gay Community Center on Oct. 12. Dunn feels progress
with the police department is at least as good or even better than she
could have expected.
Despite her already many accomplishments, Dunn has no intention
of slowing down and expects to have a hand in effecting even
more progress in Charlotte. She plans on continuing conversations
with the police department and other city and county leaders — a
task that might be easier after her unanimous election to the Lesbian
& Gay Community Center Board of Trustees on Nov. 10.
Of the board’s decision to bring her on, Dunn says in her trademark
humble style, “It’s a phenomenal honor.” : :
— Matt Comer contributed.
Roberta Dunn (right) received the Charlotte region Equality Champion Award on Nov. 13.
Gays, lesbians least welcome group in Charlotte
Other social groups included older people,
racial and ethnic minorities, families with
kids, college graduates and immigrants.
According to results of the 2010 survey,
55 percent of respondents perceived
Charlotte as having a low openness to
gays and lesbians. Thirty-one percent said
the city had a medium openness. Only 14
percent rated the city as having a high openness
to gays and lesbians.
Katherine Loflin, Soul of the Community’s
lead consultant, said openness to each of
the social groups included in the survey
trended downward each year, but cautioned
those results might be caused by the way
the questions were asked.
“I think we are particularly specific
when we don’t ask about tolerance, we
don’t say, ‘Does this community tolerate this
group well?’” Loflin said. “We really ask, ‘Is
this a good and welcoming place for these
different groups?’ and I think that is a higher
level of achievement.”
She said survey respondents might
have a hard time honestly saying a community
is “welcoming” if it only happens
to be tolerant. “I think that helps to explain
some of the things we are seeing,” she said.
“Communities are being pretty honest with
us, saying, ‘You know, this is something we
can all do a little better at.’”
Charlotte’s downward trend in perceptions
of openness toward gays and lesbians
has occurred simultaneously with some
forward movement on official LGBT inclusion.
In 2008, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
passed a comprehensive anti-bullying policy
inclusive of “sexual orientation” and “gender
see CLT Poll on 21
Charlotte center to host mayor
CHARLOTTE — The Lesbian & Gay
Community Center of Charlotte has announced
it will hold an open forum with Charlotte Mayor
Anthony Foxx on Dec. 9. The event is slated to
begin at 7 p.m. at the center, 820 Hamilton St.,
Foxx’s event with the LGBT community follows
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney
Monroe’s open forum at the center on Oct. 12.
Monroe’s presence there marked the first time
a local police chief spoke publicly to the LGBT
community. Foxx’s appearance marks a similarly
historic occasion. Foxx was elected mayor in
2009, succeeding longtime Republican Mayor Pat
McCrory. Many LGBT community members had
criticized McCrory’s lack of support for the local
Advocates stress strategy at
GREENSBORO — Ian Palmquist, executive
director of the statewide LGBT advocacy
group Equality North Carolina, spoke frankly
with those attending his organization’s annual
conference on Nov. 13 at the University of North
Carolina-Greensboro. Usually, the event is a
time for celebration — Equality NC has been
largely successful on a host of pro-equality
issues, policies and legislation. But, the mood
was much more somber after this year’s election
gave Republicans control of both houses of
the state legislature.
Republican legislators might attempt to pass
an anti-gay constitutional amendment on marriage,
but Equality NC hopes they can appeal to
fiscal conservatives within the GOP who might
be uncomfortable spending $5 million in such a
tight economic climate.
Palmquist said the new political landscape
provides new opportunities to reach across
His group has spent years building relationships
with GOP lawmakers and constituents. A
former executive director of the group identifies
as a Republican, and the current Equality NC
Board chair, Dan Gurley, is a former executive
director of the North Carolina Republican Party.
United Way exec speaks to guild
CHARLOTTE — Jane McIntyre, executive
director of the United Way of Central Carolinas,
spoke to a couple dozen members of the
Charlotte Business Guild on Nov. 16. Her message
of inclusive community involvement is a
personal one she’s lived by for years.
In her opening remarks to the group,
McIntyre told the story of her Rock Hill, S.C., high
school friend, Charlie, who came out as a youth.
Her friends and his parents were supportive, she
said. Such a positive coming out was certainly
rare years ago, and especially so in small towns.
Nonetheless, Charlie eventually took his own life.
“Our high school class, none of us are over
it,” she said. “We’ve never gotten over it.”
Every time her high school class comes
together, she said, they take time to remember
McIntyre’s inclusive vision and leadership
began when times were incredibly different
from today. As the world has changed, LGBT
people have become more welcomed. Not all
change moves at the same pace, however. Poll
results released Nov. 15, for example, show
that gays and lesbians are perceived as the
least welcome of several social groups in the
Charlotte metro area. [See story this page.]
table, that is!
Let’s pour tea
about some contests that have taken place
recently, but I’ll also mention some shows
that I’ve seen, too. As time goes by, I still
keep thinking back to that trip to Chicago a
few months ago for Miss Continental. Our
reigning Miss, Mokha Montrese, is looking
to make a trip through NC soon to entertain
and be with the kids. I can hardly wait, but I
have to do my part now and get her in touch
with some folks, which is easy enough. I am
still in shock over the
big names that did not
make finals this year
— some usual heavyhitters,
Iman and the dancing
diva, Josephine O’Hara
always a surprise if
you’re paying attention!
I remember running
into Chilli Pepper,
your very first Miss, as
I was leaving town that
day — she proudly
showed me a pic of
her modeling this
gorgeous fur that cost
almost a half million
dollars and mentioned
that she’d recently
been to the White
House for dinner. Don’t
forget — Miss Chilli is
the toast of the town
and the Obamas did
call Chicago home
before moving to 1600
Don’t hate — congratulate!
In local pageants, we have a new Miss
Legends — former Miss America, Luscious,
Her runners-up were Lindsay Starr and
Cierra Nichole. I forgot to mention in the last
Rag that Tia Douglas made an appearance at
this last Miss Hide-A-Way and was looking
great, I’m told, and also that Angelica Bauer
judged, which is somewhat unusual, as formers
do not typically sit on the panel. Glad they
had her there. Angelica is still stitching away
for the girls and her work is better than ever.
My friend Carmendy (or the artist formerly
known as) was in Charleston not too long
ago and tells me she saw a great show including
Patty O’Furniture, Chyna and former
NC U.S.ofA. at Large Coco Couture who now
makes her home in Atlanta.
I had a chance a few weeks ago to
attend Miss Oktoberfest at Babylon in
Salisbury and what a pageant it was. Rowan
County natives Jamie Monroe and Kysha L.
Wellington were in the show, in addition to
Cinnamen St. James. They were joined by
Brionna Davis, Devonte Jackson and a lovely
queen named Bella Jade (my first time seeing
her). Big Shirli “Painted As Ever” Stevenz
won. My little sis Brandonna Dupri was 1st
RU and Jayda Cline was 2nd RU. Many nights
later, I saw Brandonna in a show at Central
Station along with Janice Covington, Brooke
by miss della :: qnotes contributor
Sure are a bunch of ‘pretty ladies!”
Divine LaReese, Danielle Nicole (visiting from
Buffalo), Ashley Jordan and Monica Lovette.
The very next day, a bunch of us had way
too much fun at brunch at Bistro LaBon on
Central Avenue — a new favorite on Sunday
afternoons. It was a Who’s Who, I guess
you could say — myself, Renee Rollins, Big
Mama B, Brooke, Brandonna, Shae Shae
LaReese, along with friends Richard, Drew
and Stephen. Shae Shae had flown in to
be in the show that night at Scorpio along
with Buff Faye and BethAnn Phetamine.
The famous costume contest was held in
between numbers. Speaking of Buff, that is
one busy queen, between her brunches at
Hartigan’s, doing the shows at downtown’s
Crave dessert bar
and getting ready
for another party
bus. All aboard!
the first prelim to
Miss NC EOY, Miss
Dragula — Envee
Sinz won and
was 1st RU. Envee
also just won
Witch contest with
as 1st RU. Paisley
the second Miss
Global Glam Plus
Alexis and Neely
Jade just recently
won the Queen
The newly crowned Miss Unlimited Arabia of Clubs contest,
also held at
Knight-Addams of High Point, NC.
Her RU was Malaya Chanel Iman. In other
news, the Queen City NC U.S.ofA. prelim that
I mentioned that I’d be at last time has been
changed and Miss Della will have to miss
it, but I told the promoter that I would make
good on getting her news out — it will now
be at Gastonia’s Night Owls on Dec. 3.
In closing, it is with heavy heart that
I dedicate this column to a diva if there
ever was one — former Miss Continental,
Cherine Alexander. I never had the privilege
of meeting her before her recent passing,
but if you’ve seen the old tapes, you know
they used to beat the walls when she’d
come out, much like they do now for Erica
Andrews or Chanel Dupree. A fallen star, a
risen angel as the saying goes. Show owner
and founder Jim Flint shared with me that
Cherine was originally from Honolulu, HI,
where she was a graduate of McKinley High
School and captain of the swimming team,
moving to Chicago in 1975. She was one of
the greatest and admired entertainers that
had ever worked at the Baton Show Lounge
and certainly a former Miss Continental that
will be talked about forever. Cremation was
her request and her ashes were to be buried
with or alongside her partner, Phil, who
preceeded her in death. : :
info: Drop me a line, OK?
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 19
‘White Christmas’ tapper Matthew Kirk
dishes on his training, his musical and its
holiday messages to audiences
by Matt Comer :: email@example.com
The holidays are here. Thanksgiving is over and you’re still full of
turkey (or tofu), but that doesn’t mean you can stop. The holidays are
here! And, it’s time to get out and see all the beautiful, wintry sights.
That includes holiday classics like Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”
The musical, based on the hit 1945 film staring Bing Crosby and Danny
Kaye, includes many of the Christmas favorites you’ve come to know
by heart. The production hits Charlotte’s Blumenthal Performing Arts
Center Dec. 7-12.
qnotes got the chance to speak briefly with “White Christmas”
ensemble member Matthew Kirk. In his 20s, Kirk has been performing
musical theater since he was child, and was cast in the original
Broadway production of the musical.
So, you’re in Hartford, Conn., right now?
And, you all started Nov. 9 in Greenville, S.C.?
Actually, we started the tour in Atlanta and previewed it in
Chattanooga. So, Greenville was the third city in the tour.
Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Houston and Oklahoma City.
When were you first introduced to theater, and
when did you know this was something you
wanted for a career?
My mom put me into a performing arts academy
for kids when I was seven. She could see I had a
flare for acting and performing and it was what just
came natural to me. I loved it. I started taking voice
lessons and later on dance and put the all together
and decided musical theatre was really what I
wanted to do.
Did you go to college for theater?
Yeah, I went to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
for musical theatre and graduated in 2004 and moved
directly to New York and started auditioning.
What was the first musical or show you auditioned for
and was cast in?
I auditioned for a lot of shows, but the first one I was cast
in was out of New York, a production of “Beauty and the
Beast” that played at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. It’s actually
the same producer who is producing this tour.
You performed with the North Carolina Theatre in
Raleigh. What for?
I was in the ensemble of “Wizard of Oz.” I think it was the summer
of 2006. It was a quick gig, just three weeks.
Did you get a chance to go out and see any bit of Raleigh?
We didn’t get out that much. There wasn’t that much time and
we shared rental cars (laughs). So, it wasn’t easy to go out and
explore, especially with no one to lead me around or show me
where I was going.
So, life on the road isn’t always glamorous is it?
20 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
It depends on the city you’re in. If you’re in a city and you
have everything you need within walking distance and a good
public transportation system it can be great. But, if you are in
a city where everything is far away from your hotel and you
are sharing a rental car with four other people, it can be pretty
I’ve seen the film “White
Christmas,” and it is
great and wonderful, but
I’ve always thought of
it as quite dated. What
exactly drew you to the
It is dated (laughs), but I was mostly drawn to it because of
its choreographer, Randy Skinner. I’m a tapper, and “White
Christmas” is a big tap show. I’d seen “42nd Street” on
Broadway and I loved his choreography. I wanted to do it, but it
closed before I got to New York. I found out Randy Skinner was
the choreographer for “White Christmas” and that they needed a
tap dancers. I’m a tap dancer and I really wanted to be a in a big
You are part of the ensemble, but have you played any other
roles or characters in your other tours?
I’ve always been in the ensemble of the show, but every year
my specialties change a bit. Everyone in the ensemble gets a
featured bit here and there, like a line or a feature dance part.
Every year, my role in the ensemble changes slightly but never
Is there a difference between being one of the main characters
and being part of the ensemble? Is one better than the
other, or just different in some ways?
I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. When you’re
playing a character, though, you have a bigger role and are
much more a part of the story telling. The ensemble does more
dancing and singing.
What do you think is special about White Christmas? Is it pure
entertainment or does it send another message to audiences?
I think the show has a spirit of generosity in its message and
story. I think it’s mainly a heartwarming spectacle. You enjoy
the songs and dances, but there is a heart to it and a message
With the economy so bad, and with the holidays rolling
around, a lot of people are having it tough. Do you think a
show like “White Christmas” gives people inspiration or gives
people an escape from whatever reality they are living?
I think “White Christmas” is pure escapist entertainment and it
is a way to get your mind off all the crazy things going on in our
world and just enjoy the beautiful music and dances.
What other shows or types of shows do you foresee doing in
I really feel like I fit well in traditional, classical musical theatre,
but I’m really wanting to play more roles and get into film and
TV as well. I’ve done musicals my whole life. I’d done some film
as a kid and I’d like to get back there and start as an adult getting
my feet wet again in film.
Well, if “Glee” is ever looking for tap dancers, will you
Of course! (laughs) That would be really fun. : :
Media pioneers Robert Freese, Dean Gaskey and
community leader Vickie Williford
Robert J. Freese, Jr.
Robert Freese, who passed away at age 61
in October, is best remembered as publisher
and editor of Charlotte Free Press, the first
LGBT newspaper in Charlotte and thought to
be the first such paper in North Carolina. Free
Press, established in 1975, was published every
other week and documented early and historic
LGBT victories in North Carolina and nationally.
Sustained news coverage included candidate
and later-President Jimmy Carter’s promises to
and interactions with the LGBT community.
In the late 1970s, Robert and his brother
opened Josh’s, the city’s first gay restaurant,
which operated for nearly 10 years on East
Blvd. Robert later owned RJ Publishing and
McGregors, a garden shop. Robert also
served in the Army as a helicopter pilot during
the Vietnam War.
Friend Greg Brafford, owner of Woodshed
Lounge, said Robert was a good person with a
dry sense of humor.
“He helped out a lot of people who needed
help over the years,” Brafford said. “He did a
lot for Charlotte.”
A couple years ago, Brafford, who had a
continued from page 18
identity/expression.” In 2009, the Mecklenburg
County Board of Commissioners passed domestic
partner health benefits for employees and
their same-sex partners. This March, Charlotte’s
city manager expanded city employment
non-discrimination policies to include “sexual
orientation.” In December, Mayor Anthony
Foxx is slated to hold an open forum with LGBT
citizens at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center
of Charlotte, a first for the city.
Despite those few progressive steps,
Charlotte remains behind-the-curve when it
comes to issues of LGBT equality when compared
to other North Carolina cities and towns.
Durham and Raleigh, for example, passed
“sexual orientation”-inclusive non-discrimination
policies in 1987 and 1988, respectively,
by public, on-the-record votes of their city
councils. Small towns like Bessemer City and
Boone have included at least “sexual orientation”
in their policies for years. Charlotte also
has yet to expand health benefits coverage to
employees’ same-sex partners. Several towns,
cities and counties across the state have
already made such moves.
Charlotte also ranked lowest in openness
to gays and lesbians when compared to three
other cities grouped with Charlotte as “very
high urban — large population” areas. Those
metro areas included Palm Beach, Fla., St.
Paul, Minn., and San Jose, Calif.
Loflin said survey conductors are often less
interested in city-to-city comparisons than are
most cities and community members. She added,
however, that concerns regarding openness
were among the top-most concerns among
all 25 participating cities. Other top concerns
included social offerings and aesthetics.
The poll randomly surveyed a total 43,000
residents by phone in 26 cities and their metro
areas where brothers John S. and James L.
Knight owned newspapers. Knight Ridder,
Inc., formerly owned The Charlotte Observer.
A total of 1,000 Charlotte metro area residents
were surveyed in 2010. Other cities surveyed
included Columbia, S.C., Detroit, Philadelphia
and Myrtle Beach, S.C. : :
copy of each of Robert’s Free Press editions,
donated all of his copies to the LGBT collections
at Duke University’s library.
Vickie Booth Williford
On Nov. 5, 2010, community leader Vickie
Williford lost a long battle with breast cancer.
A nurse anesthetist and employee of Carolina
Anesthesia Associates, Vickie was also
involved in the LGBT community, including as
a member of the Charlotte Business Guild and
Circle Up Team for Race for the Cure. Vickie is
survived by her partner, Sheryl Manning, and
mother, Dr. Jane Knight. Vickie, a mother, had
a son and a daughter.
Dean Alan Gaskey
Dean Gaskey, 57, died Nov. 17, 2010, succumbing
to a years-long battle with kidney
cancer. A native of Kannapolis and former
member of the National Press Photographers
Association, Dean was a former employee of
The Charlotte Observer and several Charlottearea
During the late 1970s and most of the
1980s, Dean was a fixture in Charlotte’s gay
bars, offering a willing ear to anyone who
needed to share problems and joys ranging
from parental rejection to budding romance.
In the 1980s, Dean became a part owner of
qnotes. He served as the second editor of the
publication from Jan. 1988-May 1989.
A celebration and scattering of ashes will
be held on Dec. 5, 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran
Church, 3747 Trinity Church Rd., in Concord.
— Don King contributed.
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 21
22 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
on being a gay parent
by brett webb-mitchell :: qnotes contributor
College application letter
It is the season for high
school seniors to begin thinking
seriously about applying
for college or university
admissions. Grades from
years’ past, all the activities
of students engaged in
— from student government
and plays, to sports and civic
service credits — are being counted. Credit for these activities
are neatly placed into application forms. SAT and ACT tests
are taken at least once, if not twice. And, letters of reference
are being gathered, proof of a student’s ability to relate well
And, then there is the letter for application to the college or
university’s office of admission. Having worked in institutions of
higher education as a faculty member, I know that this is often
the “make or break” for many high school seniors: if the essay
is interesting and novel, standing out from among the pack of
other applicants, even students with lower GPAs have a shot in
some schools for high achievers…or, at least, that’s the hope.
This hope was recently discovered when I found out that
my son’s college-university essay is about growing up with a
gay dad. Like his sister before him, his essay is about the joys
and challenges of growing up with a gay dad. My daughter’s
essay detailed the interaction she had with a family member
who attends an evangelical church and is opposed to the ordination
of gays and lesbians in ministerial positions. In gentle
prose, my daughter carefully outlined the conversation, sticking
up for dear ol’ dad. She ended her letter with the acknowledgement
that she is a stronger person, a person whose very
character embodies both charity and honesty.
My son’s essay is different: he and I play the dance of male
egos in a culture that demands that we, who are men, are naturally
competitive and tout our masculinity in ways that keeps us
apart. Individuation is a must in order to survive and more importantly,
thrive. His essay speaks of the challenge of living with
a dad whom he loves, who happens to be gay, in a culture of
high school machismo, in which being gay is not a virtue among
his peers. An athlete, with charisma oozing from every pore of
his skin, a natural-born leader, active in student government,
a willing volunteer for those in need, high school culture has
been challenging for him with his gay dad. As he has said to me
numerous times, “You don’t know what it’s like to have a gay dad
in high school!” He is correct. The burden that he carries is not
one that I shouldered. I am quiet. I am learning from him about
the joys and challenges
of having a dad who is
gay. He is my teacher.
I am his student. And,
that has made all the
I think he’ll be fine
in college. Much of
what he has learned
that will bode him well
he learned not in high
school per se, but from
the great classroom
of life well and deeply
lived…especially with a
dad who is gay. : :
Sign up for
qomunity qonexions u
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 23
Living in a foreign
country often creates
But, in any country
meeting potential dates is still a
one in 10 “numbers game.” That’s right,
sweetie, even if nine froggies are shocked
off their lily pads because one American is
a little pushy about finding that one French
prince, don’t be afraid! Just be your good
ole, friendly American self. Hey, they have
free health care, they can handle it!
by trinity :: qnotes contributor
It’s all a numbers game!
As an American living in Montreal, I’m
finding gay men not nearly as
friendly here as in the States. How do I
get these self-absorbed gays
to talk and/or eventually date me?
The French DisConnection
My boyfriend’s great, but he is so needy, it’s
often overwhelming. How do I tell him that
sometimes he’s too much?
Too Much, Austin, TX
Hey Too Much,
Most men are needy! Maybe it’s the milk! So, lets have you
open a bottle of wine together, make a few toasts and then,
pumpkin, let him know that it’s time to hire himself a secretary,
a maid or a therapist because (repeat after me) “You are
my boyfriend, not my responsibility.” (My cartoon can
give you some guidance.)
Recently, I dated a woman who introduced me to another
woman shortly before we broke up. This woman has now
been asking me out. I feel guilty knowing she knows my ex who
also introduced us. Help!
Guilty, Green Bay, WI
If you both like each other and at least one month has passed
after the breakup, then as a single woman there’s no reason
why you shouldn’t go out with her.
Honey, it’s not like she’s your ex’s
ex…or is she?
My boyfriend of 11 months recently
dumped me via the phone. Doesn’t
anyone in the gay world realize just
how much work goes into a relationship?
Isn’t it unfair?
Unfair, Boulder, CO
You mean after 11 months on one
full moon the phone rings and he
says, “You’re not what I wanted.”
And, puff, you’re left alone to think,
“What, after all this you’re ending it on the phone?” That’s
when it’s time to send:
Trinity’s In-Your-Face Reasons Why You Must
Be Present With Someone When Breaking
Up With Them (Especially After A Month)
1. Because I waited patiently for your calls, emails, late
arrivals, early departures and your endless voicemails.
2. Because I cooked you dinner, lunch and breakfast and ate
15 of your weird concoctions just because you asked me to.
3. Because I helped move your old stove, old boxes, old tires
and old relatives, besides fixing your toilet, stove, air conditioner
and your hairpiece.
4. Because I woke up early, went to bed late, changed my
plans, my times and my own work schedule just to fit
5. Because I listened to your infinite complaints about work,
family, life and politics plus listened to your music, watched
your TV shows and went to your family outings, never mind
listening to you burp, fart, sneeze and snore.
6. Because I dealt with your smoking, drinking, shyness and
jealousy, besides your addictions to late-night eating, insecurity,
work and “Sex In The City.”
7. Because I went to bad movies, loud concerts, lousy plays
and boring art openings just because you asked me to.
8. Because I massaged your tired back, wiped your crying
eyes, cleaned your dirty house and washed your smelly
9. Because I tried tirelessly to say, feel and do the right thing,
wear the right clothes and sleep in the right position while
never complaining once!
10. Lastly, because I let you teach me, train me, manipulate
me and persuade me into believing how much you loved,
cherished and cared about me. That’s why you need to be
there when you break up with me! : :
— With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity was
host of “Spiritually Speaking,” a weekly radio drama,
and now performs globally.
info: www.telltrinity.com . Trinity@telltrinity.com
Tell Trinity, P.O. Box 23861 . Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33307
Sponsored by: Provincetown Business Guild
800-637-8696 . www.ptown.org
24 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
and the array of
planets that dance in
and out of Capricorn
and Sagittarius. Let
the energies flow as
easily as the egg nog. Santa wants to know
if you’ve been naughty or nice. Think before
responding — you know sometime naughties
get the better gift.
SAGITTARIUS (11.23-12.22) Can money buy
happiness? You’re tempted to buy gifts galore
now. Gay Archers may alienate partners with
their mercenary meanderings if they exceed
the spending limit. Demonstrate your devotion
in time for the New Year’s festivities or risk
spending that evening with your auntie instead
of your sugar daddy or red hot momma.
CAPRICORN (12.23-01.20) This is the perfect
time to reconnect with friends and get involved
in group activities. Pink Caps are going
through a transitional phase in their careers
and can gain great insight and direction from
others during this tumultuous time. Money is
a source of surprises and excess. Try to rein it
in so you have enough dough for some really
AQUARIUS (01.21-02.19) What’s mine is mine
and what’s yours is mine. Isn’t that the way
things work? Aqueerians learn the hard way
that the more they give the more they get.
Karmic compensation demands that you
dedicate holiday time to improving conditions
in our community. I suspect that all your good
gay deeds will be amply rewarded. No, not
with cold cash, dear.
PISCES (02.20-03.20) Guppies may experience
a spark of romance on the job now. But,
beware of hanging around under the mistletoe
at the office party. It may sweep you off your
feet and cloud your better judgment. There
are a few hidden things that demand inspection
and clarification. Look before you leap,
however. Then, if the world is still your oyster,
slurp it up!
ARIES (03.21-04.20) Gay Rams might be on the
verge of a major professional breakthrough.
Grab for the corner office as new opportunities
present themselves. Try to take a calculated
risk. You may experience a temporary
financial zetz in the process, but it is worth the
cost. Often, giving up a little on the front end
reaps bigger rewards on the back end, or so
TAURUS (04.21-05.21) Travel may have its
challenges, but don’t let these small bumps
in the road run you off the highway. The next
weeks promise to be a time to remember for
queer Bulls with a bawdy sense of adventure.
I predict either a randy Roman holiday with
a few young buckaroos or an unforgettable
evening with “roaming Randy” that costs a
few buckaroos. Whatta choice!
GEMINI (05.22-06.21) Pink Twins may be faced
with the daunting task of having to choose
between the tried and true or the new and
exciting in love. Which way will your heart
and your other parts go? The fates spur you to
an ultimate decision by electrifying your every
word and creating monumental changes in
your life with every slip of the tongue. Hmmm,
CANCER (06.22-07.23) An old broom sweeps
clean for all meticulous gay Crabs. You
secretly yearn for changes in your home life
and are now ready to take action. Whether
this means a change of residential venue or a
frank discussion with a certain family member,
is up to you. Whatever project you undertake,
tackle it sooner than later. After that, it’s party
time and domestic harmony be damned.
LEO (07.24-08.23) Most of the upcoming time
period seems to revolve around your job, but
even plucky, proud Lions can’t concentrate on
the day-to-day for long. Finish up old projects
out in the stars
by charlene lichtenstein :: qnotes contributor
November 27 - December 10
and close out the old year. Then draw your
attention to mergers and acquisitions…in
partnerships. If you are still trawling for a big
catch, use this time to bait your hook and stick
your pole in the water. Feel a nibble?
VIRGO (08.24-09.23) Anything having to do
with creative pastimes should be pursued
with vigor. Transformative, personal changes
take place as your great, gay muse goes
into overdrive. Queer Virgins capture the
imaginations of millions, but may be reined in
by time constraints between work and play.
Remember that sometimes even divas must
scrub the bathroom and do laundry.
LIBRA (09.24-10.23) Even though your selfconfidence
might have taken a bit of a beating,
gay Libras are full of plucky holiday spirit.
Good luck is at hand throughout the month,
so ring Out with the old and chime in with
the new! Clear away the cosmic debris and
welcome the new year like a newborn babe
— with a bottle in your mouth and in need of a
change of underwear.
SCORPIO (10.24-11.22) Queer Scorps manage
to party hearty this party-hearty season.
You’re destined to make a big social splash so
dress appropriately (no cellophane underwear
unless requested…). At the same time,
there may be a few stones tossed in your job
path. Keep up on the day-to-day so you don’t
get bouldered over or dissipated. But, getting
stoned might be an option. : :
© 2010 Madam Lichtenstein, LLC. All Rights
info: Visit www.TheStarryEye.com for
e-greetings, horoscopes and Pride jewelry.
My book “HerScopes: A Guide To Astrology
For Lesbians” from Simon & Schuster is
available at bookstores and major booksites.
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 25
26 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010
Center forum with Mayor Anthony Foxx
Dec. 9 • Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte
Following the successful open forum with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe, Charlotte
Mayor Anthony Foxx comes to the center to speak to the LGBT community, take questions and address concerns.
The event, free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. 820 Hamilton St., Suite B11. For more information,
Dec. 1-18 • Charlotte
Every Christmas story
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte will host the
regional debut of “Every Christmas Story
Ever Told.” In the same vein as The Reduced
Shakespeare Company’s abridged plays, this
hilarious new classic crams a season’s worth
of stories, carols and TV specials into an evening
of never-ending laughs! Actor’s Theatre
of Charlotte, 650 E. Stonewall St. Various dates
and times. Various prices. 704-342-2251, x21.
Dec. 2 • Carrboro
HearNC, a new arts organization, will present
the inaugural HearNC Music Video Award
Ceremony and Festival. In addition to awards,
the evening will include live performances by
powerhouse singer, Bibis Ellison and improvisational
dance troupe, Flashback. In honor of
the first music video played on MTV, there will
also be a reenactment of The Buggle’s “Video
Killed the Radio Star” video. Cat’s Cradle, 300
E. Main St.
Dec. 3-4 • Charlotte
Shine Your Light
Charlotte’s One Voice Chorus presents their
holiday concert, “Shine Your Light.” Kick off
the holidays in style with friends, family, fun
and song. Unitarian Universalist Church of
Charlotte, 234 N. Sharon Amity Rd. Dec. 3,
7:30 p.m., $20/general, $15/students. Dec. 4,
2 p.m., $15/general, $10/student. Dec. 4,
7:30 p.m., $20/general, $15/student.
Dec. 3-4 • Charlotte
Magic of Christmas
The Charlotte Symphony presents a concert
full of your traditional holiday favoritees, with
guest appearances from the Oratorio Singers
of Charlotte, Charlotte Children’s Choir, Ivey
Handbell Ringers and Noel Freidline Trio.
Various Times. Various Prices. 704-972-2000.
Dec. 3-5 • Charlotte
A weekend-long leather and fetish lifestyle
event with contests, classes, vendors and
parties. A silent auction to benefit House of
Mercy will be held. For more information or to
register, visit leatherfet.com.
Dec. 4 • Charlotte
Employment Boot Camp
The Lesbian & Gay Community Center
of Charlotte presents a special “LGBT
Employment Boot Camp,” with tips, tricks,
workshops and seminars for beating the
economic downturn and getting back to work.
Attendance and lunch are free, but registration
is required at employmentbootcamp.org.
Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte,
820 Hamilton St., Suite B11. 704-333-0144.
Dec. 4 • Greensboro
Where the Heart is
Triad Pride Men’s Chorus presents “Where
the Heart is,” their annual holiday concert.
Greensboro Day School Sloan Theatre,
5401 Lawndale Dr. 8 p.m. $15/advance.
Dec. 5 • Durham
Triangle Pride Men’s Chorus presents their
annual holiday concert, “Warmest Wishes.”
Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of
Durham, 4907 Garrett Rd. 3 p.m.
Dec. 8-19 • Raleigh
Doc Hanley, a Harlem jazz club owner, reminisces
about the jazz greats who played his
hotspot including his good friend, Art Tatum.
As Hanley spins colorful yarns about the good
old days, a custom-built, state-of-the-art piano
performs more than a dozen Tatum songs
from one of the most revered jazz recordings
ever made, “Piano Starts Here.” This one-man
show is a time-travel journey back to the days
of smoky juke joints, cutting contests, and
blistering hot jazz. Kennedy Theatre,
2 E. South St. 919-831-6011.
Dec. 10-11 • Charlotte
All On A Winter Night
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and
Charlotte Pride Band join forces to present
a special holiday extravaganza. St. Martin’s
Episcopal Church, 1510 E. 7th St.
8:04 p.m. $15.
Dec. 11 • Charlotte
Twirl to the World
Just Twirl hosts their annual “Twirl to the
World” dance party with DJ David Marc
returning for a second year. A portion of
proceeds will benefit Time Out Youth. Tickets,
event locations and other details available at
Dec. 11 • Charlotte
Men of Petra’s
Petra’s continues its ongoing Men of Petra’s
contests, this time narrowing the field from
the top eight to the final four. Petra’s Piano
Bar and Cabaret, 1919 Commonwealth Ave.
10 p.m. 704-332-6608.
Dec. 11 • Raleigh
Triangle Pride Men’s Chorus presents a
second performance of their annual holiday
concert, “Warmest Wishes.” Unitarian
arts. entertainment. news. views.
Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh,
3313 Wade Ave. 8 p.m.
Dec. 11 • Winston-Salem
Where the Heart is
Triad Pride Men’s Chorus presents a second
performance of “Where the Heart is,” their
annual holiday concert. UNC School of the
Arts Watson Chamber Music Hall, 1533 S.
Main St. 8 p.m. $15/advance. $20/door.
Dec. 16 • Charlotte
The Charlotte Symphony and Oratorio Singers
present their annual production of Handel’s
“Messiah,” from “For Unto Us a Child is Born”
to the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Knight Theater.
7:30 p.m. Various Prices. 704-972-2000.
Dec. 16 • Asheville
Asheville’s Cantaria presents their annual
holiday concert, “Ave Maria.” Location and
time to be announced. Visit cantariaasheville.
org or check back in with next issue’s Q
Events Calendar for more.
Dec. 21 • Charlotte
The Charlotte Symphony and Oratorio Singers
present their annual production of Handel’s
“Messiah,” from “For Unto Us a Child is Born”
to the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Knight Theater.
7:30 p.m. Various Prices. 704-972-2000.
we want your who/what/where
Submitting an event for inclusion in our calendar
has never been easier:
Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010 qnotes 27
28 qnotes Nov. 27-Dec. 10 . 2010