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Noted . Notable . Noteworthy . LGBT News & Views

Volume 23 . Number 22 March 7 . 2009 Printed on Recycled Paper FREE


at t a



page 19

page 15

Queer February

National groups

descend on Charlotte

page 7

Gay elected

College junior a first

in S.C.

page 12

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2 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

Not for Reproduction Volume 23 Number 22 March 7, 2009

PO Box 221841 • Charlotte, NC 28222 • 704.531.9988 . 704.531.1361 FAX

To find a copy, go to

Publisher: Jim Yarbrough

Editor/New Media: Matt Comer

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issue: 03-21 deadline: 03-11

issue: 04-04 deadline: 03-25

issue: 04-18 deadline: 04-08

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Front and center:

A mid-Nightlife Crisis 1

Charlotte at a crossroads 19


Bridging the community with bingo 23

Dobson leaves Focus leadership 14

Junior becomes official 12

Marriage amendment introduced 06

New LGBT author releases 27

New online features unveiled 04

Queer February 07


Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie 21


Anything But Straight 26

Audiophile 24

Community Cards 24/25/26/27

IN OUR NEXT ISSUE: Real Estate: Metro Life

To advertise, call 704.531.9988 or email

Editor’s Note 04

General Gayety 25

Lockdown 22

News Notes: Domestic 10

News Notes: Global 08

News Notes: NC 10

Out & About 30

Out in the Stars 29

Q-Poll 04

T-Notes 31

TalkBack 05

Tell Trinity 28

Editorial Contributors:

Wayne Besen, Robbi Cohn, Matt Comer,

Andy Harley, Charlene Lichtenstein, Lainey

Millen, Leslie Robinson, Dolly R. Sickles,

David Stout, Trinity, Joseph Urbaniak

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 3

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Editor’s Note

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

February extravaganza

Queer February. It happens every year.

There’s always so much to do and so little time

with which to get it all accomplished. It seems

I’m forced to go into a state of sheer mania just

so I can check off everything on my to do list.

This year’s queer extravaganza was definitely

magnified, and for the better. It was amazing

to see the LGBT community of the greater

Charlotte area and the Carolinas come together

as a truly united front against the antics of our

area’s anti-gay, fundamentalist radical right.

Every year for the past four, the Human

Rights Campaign has held their Carolinas

Gala in the Queen City. The radical right

never fails to find some way to counter an

event designed to celebrate our community’s

achievements and successes. At first, the antigay

countering showed up in the form of loud

and obnoxious protests outside the Charlotte

Convention Center by the radical street

preaching group Operation Save America —

the same folks who find it necessary to grace

our community with their presence at the

Pride Charlotte and NC Pride Festivals. It

wasn’t long until one of Charlotte’s most outspoken

anti-gay religious leaders, Dr. Michael

Brown of the Coalition of Conscience, decided

he’d gain a little publicity with his week-long

lecture series on homosexuality.

For a couple of years, the LGBT community

ignored Operation Save America’s antics and

Brown’s lectures and media stunts. In 2008, the

Human Rights Campaign sent their religion

and faith director, the Rev. Harry Knox, down

to Charlotte for a debate with Brown.

But it took the radical right upping the

ante ten-fold in order for the local LGBT community

to organize and ensure fair, equitable

media coverage and discussion of our issues.

I was one of the community members helping

to organize the new group, Charlotte

Rainbow Action Network for Equality. I thought

it was extremely important for the community

❛speakout ❜

Send your letter to the editor or any

other thoughts to or click on over to

our website at and

join the conversation there.

Web comments will be featured in each

issue. Limit letters to the editor to 150

words or less and include

your name, city and state and a phone

number where you can be reached.


to have a vocal and visible presence,

especially as the media turned their

attention to the curious,“happenstance”

placement of the anti-gay,“exgay”

Focus on the Family conference

Love Won Out on the same day as the

annual Human Rights Campaign Gala.

A local blogger on Brown’s website,Voice of

Revolution, told me that the Love Won Out conference’s

placement on the same day as the Gala

was purely “coincidental.” I’m not going to

assume Brown, a speaker with Love Won Out

and the Charlotte area’s premier perennial HRC

challenger, is that stupid or naïve.

The unity of our local, state and national

LGBT and progressive communities was

amazing. Local groups like the University of

North Carolina-Charlotte’s LGBT student

group, Gay Men’s Chorus, One Voice Chorus,

the Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice and

the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte

officially teamed up with state and national

groups like EqualityNC, Truth Wins Out, the

Human Rights Campaign and Faith in

America to promote a non-violent, peaceful

counter to the harmful “alternative” Focus on

the Family claims to offer those “suffering”

with “same-sex attractions.” Individual members

from several other Carolinas community

organizations, including the Lesbian & Gay

Community Center of Charlotte, SC Pride

Movement, the Charlotte Gender Alliance,

Unity Fellowship Church, Raleigh St. John’s

MCC and the Charlotte Interfaith Network

also lent their helping hands.

Through mid-February, as the obligations

continued to pile up, burn out became more and

more of a reality for me. But, looking back at all

the amazing action taken by our LGBT and progressive

community members, I’m inspired and

filled with hope for the future of this city and

this state. I’m proud to work at this paper, proud

to be your editor and servant and proud to call

Charlotte and the Carolinas my home.

I hope you’ll read the wrap up of all the

wonderful Queer February events in this issue

(page 7) and check out Q-Notes Online for the

fabulous photo and video coverage from several

of the events. ◗

Q-Notes unveils new online features

The staff of Q-Notes is proud to unveil two new online tools to better serve our LGBT and

straight ally readers.

Organizations, businesses and other groups can now submit their event listings for our Out &

About calendar through a quick, easy to use online form.

Log on to to send your events to our staff. As always,

you can still send your event information and press releases to

Q-Notes is also moving forward with our online and multimedia reporting. A microsite has

been created at to showcase our staff ’s audio and video reporting.

Click over to the Multimedia site often to see new videos and new multimedia stories.

The Q-Notes blog, assembloge, is still rolling along and accepting free registration! Sign up for

an account at today and start posting your comments and submitting posts. ◗

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Do you think the era of the

gay bar/club is ending

See the options and vote at

4 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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Letters to the editor and comments from

Q-Notes Online.Web comments are not

edited for grammar or punctuation.

HRC article: Missed points

Great piece on HRC and I thank you for the

balanced points of view. Three quick points:

1.We do have a statewide LGBT political

presence via Equality North Carolina PAC

which is the direct outgrowth of North Carolina

Senate Vote ‘90.When that campaign was over

we said that it was important to have an ongoing

presence in the state precisely because HRC

doesn’t do state lobbying work. Next year

marks the 20th anniversary of NC Senate Vote

‘90 and plans are already underway for a yearlong

series of events to mark the occasion.

2.What I didn’t see in the story about the

annual HRC Carolina’s Gala (that covers North

Carolina and South Carolina) is how much

money is raised each year that goes to

Washington,DC and how much,ifany,is given to

North Carolina and South Carolina LGBT groups.

3.While I do surely appreciate the efforts of

the HBCU program work that HRC does I’m

also invested in the in-state, on the ground work

of working with our eleven North Carolina

HBCU’s via the newly formed statewide North

Carolina People Of Color LGBT & Allies

Network that I’m honored to be coordinating on

a volunteer basis. Interested folks can email me

for more information,

Subject line: NC POC LGBTA Network.

— Mandy Carter, Durham, NC, Feb. 21, web

[Ed. Note: Carter is a former HRC Board of

Directors and HRC staff member.]

HRC Gala not inclusive of S.C.

For those who attended the Gala, there was

little to no mention of South Carolina during

the gala program, much to the disappointment

of state leaders from SC in attendance

who have put blood, sweat, and tears into the

work in our community with no acknowledgement

from HRC. Elke Kennedy received

mention for her important work on Hate

Crimes but she isn’t the only activist in SC and

Sean’s Last Wish is part of a network of

extremely active SC organizations.

Joe Solmonese mentioned the LGBT Center

of Charlotte, but failed to mention the now 15

year old Harriet Hancock Community Center in

Columbia or the well established Center Project

of Myrtle Beach. Joe applauded Equality NC’s

work but failed to mention the existence of SC

Equality or SC Pride, or our work to pass inclusive

bills in 2008 including the City of Columbia

Human Rights Ordinance which included

Sexual Orientation AND Gender Identity.

Additionally, the greetings from politicians

only included NC representatives while we know

full well that Columbia’s entire City Council and

Mayor Bob Coble (who attended several past

Gala events) would have sent Greetings, as well as

the GLBT supportive Mayor Riley of Charleston.

For a “Carolinas”gala, South Carolina was certainly

treated like a forgotten black sheep of the

family, but some day when SC has surprised the

national organizations with our renewed energy

and strength, it won’t be so easy to overlook our

many and various accomplishments.

For examples of the work being done in

SC, visit and download our 2008

Annual Report.

— Ryan C. Wilson, Columbia, SC, Feb. 23, web

[Ed. Note: Wilson is president of the SC

Pride Movement and a former member of

the HRC Carolinas Gala Committee.]

Not a South Carolina slight

While hearing and acknowledging the

above desire for recognition at this particular

event, this year’s program was reasonably

heavy on NC as both award winners were

from NC and the keynote was an NC Senator.

As mentioned, the SC award winner from

last year was mentioned this year by several

program speakers. In years past, Columbia’s

Mayor was welcomed with applause, whoops,

and hollers, by all when he came to the stage

promoting Columbia as LGBT-friendly.

However, note that this year’s welcome was

shortened to be from Charlotte-Mecklenburg

officials (county commissioners, city council

members, Charlotte-Meck state reps, and

Congressman Mel Watt whose district holds

the convention center).

There are many other LGBT-friendly officials

in NC and SC that weren’t included in the

video welcome. It wasn’t a state issue; it was a

host city issue, and there’s nothing wrong with

that. Other LGBT-friendly Congress members

and mayors from NC weren’t in welcome video

portion either. It was just a “host community”

welcome with no nefarious intent.

SC can rightfully be proud at the quick

progress happening with the hospital protections

last year and organizing focusing on the

SC legislature.

— appellation, Feb. 23, web

HRC’s accomplishments

Here’s something I don’t know about the

Human Rights Campaign that I’d like to: what

have they actually gotten done As in, what

specific legislation have they gotten passed,

stopped from getting passed or otherwise

done to further LGBT rights on a federal level

In the time since they were founded, scores

of state groups have gotten pro-LGBT state

laws passed (some with an assist from the

Task Force) and defeated anti-LGBT legislation.

Lambda Legal, GLAD and the ACLU have

won lawsuits that have established rights and

struck down bad laws (e.g. Lawrence v. Texas).

GLAAD has relentlessly defended against

homophobia and transphobia in the media.

GLSEN has passed state laws protecting LGBT

students. I could keep going…

HRC raises more gay dollars than any of

these orgs, supposedly to be our representatives

in Washington. Well, they’ve got a fancy

building in Washington. Have they gotten us

any federal rights Or anything

I’m still waiting for an answer.

— saguaroson, Feb. 24, web

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 5

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Marriage amendment


Palmquist: ‘Greater push from right

wing than ever before’

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

RALEIGH — Several key pieces of legislation

— both anti-gay and pro-equality —

have been filed as the North Carolina General

Assembly dives deep into its 2009-2010 legislative



lawmakers introduced

an anti-

LGBT, anti-family

state constitutional

amendment on

marriage at a

press conference

on Feb. 24. State

Sen. Jim Forrester,

the chief sponsor

of the amendment

in the N.C. Senate,

said the amendment

would “protect

our children

and our grandchildren.”

N.C. State Sen. Jim Forrester

“It would protect them from being taught

in public schools that same-sex marriage is

the same as traditional marriage,” he said.“It

would protect children from being raised in

unhealthy homes.”

EqualityNC Executive Director Ian

Palmquist said conservative lawmakers and the

right wing are using “scare tactics” to advance

their amendment. He said there was “absolutely

no evidence” to support their claims.

This year marks the sixth year in a row

that Forrester and other conservative

Republicans and Democrats have introduced

the amendment. For the past five years, the

Democratic leadership in both the N.C.

House and Senate have blocked the the

amendment’s progress.

“Our leadership has refused to act, has

refused to have the bill heard in committee

and giving the citizens in our state the right

and opportunity to vote on this issue as 30

other states have,” said Forrester.“It takes only

one liberal judge to overturn our statutes and

usher in gay marriage.”

Chiefly sponsored by State Sen. Jim

Forrester and Rep. Paul Stam, the “North

Carolina Defense of Marriage Amendment”

would ban all recognition of same-sex marriages,

domestic partnerships or other civil,

domestic unions.

Roman Catholic Bishops Michael Burbidge

of Raleigh and Peter Jugis of Charlotte joined

Forrester, Stam and other legislators and conservative

activists from the anti-gay coalition

NC4Marriage at the press conference in the

only online

N.C. Legislative Building.

“We are seeing a greater push from the

right wing than ever before,” Palmquist told Q-

Notes.“Because of that we really need to be

organized and vocal in our opposition to

ensure that it does not come up. I’m hopeful

that we’ll be able to do it but we need to recognize

that there is more pressure from the right

than we’ve seen in the past.”

Palmquist added that he believes

state legislative leadership will “focus

their chambers’ work on issues like

solving the state budget and addressing

unemployment rather than on the

constitutional amendment.”

Several county governments have

passed resolutions supporting the

passage of the proposed amendment,

which would ban marriage as well as

state and local benefits in the form of

domestic partner health policies.

Those counties include Lincoln, Ashe,

Avery, Rowan, Transylvania and

Moore, among others.

Palmquist encouraged community

members to check the agendas of

their county and city governments, to

help keep track of the progressing

anti-gay movement across the state.

“Agendas often aren’t posted until a day

or two before meetings,” Palmquist said.

“Our interns are scanning sites every few

days. We encourage all our supporters to

monitor their local county commissions for

these issues and to talk to their commissioners

in opposition.”

Forrester and State Sen. Jim Jacumin have

asked local county leaders to pass resolutions

in support of the amendment.

Their request was more than enough for

the chairman of the Rowan County

Commissioners, Carl Ford, to take the measure

up at his meeting.“I couldn’t ignore that,” Ford

said of the senators’ request before voting to

pass the resolution at the Feb. 16 Rowan

County board meeting.

“As we learn about resolutions coming up

in local governments we are alerting people in

those areas to contact their elected officials

and to attend the meetings and speak out

against them,” Palmquist said.

Among the pro-equality bills introduced

are a comprehensive sex education bill, a

repeal of the state’s Crime Against Nature law

and a hate crimes bill. The School Violence

Prevention Act, an anti-bullying bill, had yet to

be introduced by Q-Notes’press time.

Palmquist said he expected the bill to be

introduced in early- to mid-March.

EqualityNC will hold a lobbying Day of

Action at the N.C. Legislative Building on

March 24. To register or for more information,

visit ◗

• February photos & videos

• Video montage: ‘Queer February’

• EarthTalk, South Carolina News Notes

more at!

6 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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Queer February

Gay, anti-gay groups events

culminate in week full of activity

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

CHARLOTTE — A crazy month full of

LGBT activity in the Queen City has come and

gone. For LGBT activists and community

members, February was nothing short of a

full-fledged queer extravaganza, including a

LGBT and straight ally community

members protest outside Central

Church of God.

glitzy, glamorous awards gala, LGBT activism

awareness events and challenges to local and

national anti-gay organizations.


National organizations — gay and anti-gay

— descended on Charlotte in mid-February

for a series of events culminating in a weekend

of frenzied activity. Community members

heavily involved in several organizations found

themselves dashing about town attending to

several events, many of them overlapping.

The Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for

Equality (CRANE), a newly-established LGBT

grassroots activism group, kicked things off

with a Valentine’s Day Uptown awareness event.

[Ed. Note — This writer is an organizer with


About two dozen community members,

mostly youth and students, gathered at Trade

and Tryon Sts. to pass out literature on LGBT

equality and speak to passers-by.

“We’re here tonight to raise awareness

about relationship equality and our equal

rights,” said Lacey Williams, a CRANE organizer

who also works for the Charlotte Coalition

for Social Justice.

Only a few days later, a joint leadership

conference with the Universal Fellowship of

Metropolitan Community Churches and two

primarily African-American LGBT Christian

denominations set up shop in Uptown’s Omni

Hotel. Their conference brought together

LGBT and gay-friendly religious leaders from

across the nation. North Carolina congregations

like Charlotte’s Unity Fellowship Church

and the Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship

in Winston-Salem participated.

At the same time as the LGBT-friendly relgious

conference, the anti-gay national group

Focus on the Family brought their “ex-gay” conference,

Love Won Out, to Charlotte. On

Saturday, Feb. 21 — the same day as the

Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala

— the anti-gay group drew out close to

1,000 people to Central Church of God

for a full day of teaching on so-called

religious “conversion” and “reparative”

therapies and ministries for people they

say “suffer” from same-sex attractions.

Through several events organized

by CRANE and other local and national

organizations including HRC,

EqualityNC and others, community

members spent the days prior to the

conference debunking the lies and

myths of “ex-gay” therapy.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, CRANE hosted

author and syndicated columnist

Wayne Besen at the Lesbian & Gay

Community Center of Charlotte. Besen, executive

director of the national group Truth Wins

Out, spoke on the dangers of the ministries

supported by Focus on the Family.

On the day of the conference, CRANE

organized more than 50 community members

who gathered outside Central Church of God

to protest the conference and raise public

awareness on the harms of religion-based bigotry

and prejudice.

Love Won Out, featuring “ex-gay” speakers

like Joe Dallas and Focus on the Family officer

Melissa Fryrear, supports the notion that LGBT

people can “change” from gay to straight.

Critics, like Besen, charge that the group relies

Ex-gay leader Joe Dallas speaks in the sanctuary

of Central Church of God at the Focus on the

Family conference, Love Won Out.

on false and debunked science, promotes illfated

“conversion” programs and can lead to

increased anxiety, depression and suicide.

Inside the church, speakers like Dallas discussed

theories that claimed to explore the

various causes of LGBT sexual orientations

and gender identities. In a morning presentation,

Dallas cited 19th century psychoanalyst

Sigmund Freud and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the

former president of the National Association

for the Research and Therapy of

Homosexuality (NARTH).

see Flurry on 8

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 7

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Flurry of events blanket area

from page 7

In recent years, NARTH has come under

fire for racist and other seemingly prejudiced

positions and statements made by

their staff and other leaders affiliated with

the group.

Besen said that he witnessed

more youth present

at the Charlotte Love Won

Out conference than he had

at any other he’d attended.

“It was heartbreaking to

see more young people

than I ever had before at

this traveling ‘ex-gay’ road

show,” he writes in his latest

syndicated column (read it

in this issue, page 26).

“There was a cardboard

sign that read ‘Youth Track’

[inside the conference] and

several teenagers — some

that appeared not much

older than 13 — were

being taken inside by their

desperate and confused


That evening, 900 LGBT community members

from across the Carolinas gathered at the

Charlotte Convention Center for the 14th Annual

Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) was the

keynote speaker for the event. HRC President

Joe Solmonese also spoke. EqualityNC and

Lesbian & Gay Community Center of

Charlotte Board Chair Denise Palm-Beck were

honored with the 2009 Equality Awards.

Volunteer LaWana Slack-Mayfield received the

group’s 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award.

HRC Gala co-chair Michael Holmes said

they had not yet finalized the numbers for the

amount raised at the benefit dinner, but said the

group was “on track” with all the other dinners

in the nation,“given the state of the economy.”

International News

by Andy Harley . UKGayNews

Praise for Phelps ban

LONDON — British Immigration

Minister Phil Woolas publicly thanked the

Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay

Bisexual and Trans Rights (LGBT Labour)

organization on Feb. 25 for their campaign

against the homophobic group Westboro

Baptist Church.

The campaign led to a ban on Fred Phelps

and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from

entering the U.K. by Home Secretary Jacqui


“The Home Secretary responded to calls

from LGBT Labour — and others — to ban

the hateful preachers who run the homophobic

website,,” he said in a

statement issued at lunchtime by his House of

Commons office.

“Thank you to the LGBT Labour — the

Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual

and Trans Rights — for their persistence

and vigilance,” Woolas said.“The lobbying

on the Westboro Baptist Church was timely

and precise. The Home Secretary has confirmed

the exclusion order.

“I am grateful to the group whose arguments

were strong and convincing. The

Labour Government will always oppose

homophobia,” he pledged.

Simon Wright, co-chair of LGBT Labour

had written to Woolas about the Westboro

Baptist Church’s planned visit to the U.K.

Subsequently, the group met with Woolas and

spoke regularly on the phone about the issues

as they developed.

Fred Phelps had announced that his

“church,” which is not part of the Southern

Baptist Convention, would be picketing a production

of “The Laramie Project” on Feb. 20

by a theatre group at a Basingstoke school. In

his press release Phelps attacked the Queen,

using a derogatory remark.

Following the announcement that the

Westboro Baptist Church had been banned

from entering the country, Wright said that the

ban showed that the government was taking

homophobia very seriously.

“We are very pleased that the Home

Secretary has barred these preachers of

homophobic hatred from our country. It

sends a strong message that homophobia,

“We just slightly exceeded what we made last

year on sponsorships,”he said.“Overall, we are

all very pleased with where we have ended up.”

Outside the Gala, members of the transgender


protested HRC

alongside anti-gay

group Operation

Save America.

Janice Covington,

chair of

TransCarolina, said

her members

wanted HRC to

know about their

displeasure with

the group’s decision

to exclude

them from the

Employment Non-

Discrimination Act

in the fall of 2007.

Covington said

she and another

transgender activist

were able to meet with HRC President Joe

Solmonese the day before the Gala.

The flurry of activity in February — and

the combination of several high profile events

— sparked intense community discussion

and heavy media coverage. Through mid-

February, every TV news station and The

Charlotte Observer covered the LGBT and antigay

events at least once. ◗

Lesbian & Gay Community Center of

Charlotte board chair Denise Palm Beck

accepts the 2009 HRC Equality Award.

see next page >

Online extras:

Log on to Q-Notes Online at to see photos and

videos of the various LGBT and anti-gay

events, including the video montage,

“Queer February.”

8 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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continued from previous page

like other forms of hatred, are not welcome

in the U.K.”

In the last weekend in February, the

Westboro Baptist Church was due to

picket another production of “The

Laramie Project,” the widely acclaimed

documentary play about the brutal

murder of gay student Matthew


The production was being staged at

the Performing Arts Center at

Dominican University in River Forest, a

suburb of Chicago. Students at the university

had vowed to stage a “silent”


“[All the students] have been sick

since they first heard about the Phelps’

plans and saw their website to check it

out. They couldn’t believe the hateful talk

on it,” a spokesperson told UK Gay News

by email.

The Westboro Baptist Church congregation

is made-up from the extended

Phelps family — Fred Phelps has 12 children

who are all adults. The group is

based in Topeka, Kan.

In addition to their notorious pickets

at productions of “The Laramie Project,”

they also demonstrate at funerals of those

who die from AIDS. The church’s most

infamous demonstrations are at funerals

of military personnel who have been

killed while serving their country in Iraq

and Afghanistan.

— by Andy Harley .

National News

by David Stout Q-Notes staff

Mayor sued for anti-gay bias

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Lambda Legal has

joined a First Amendment lawsuit filed by

Central Alabama Pride (CAP) against Mayor

Larry Langford, who interfered with the

group’s right to free speech last summer when

he directed city workers

to treat CAP differently

than other

groups are treated.

CAP has held a gay

pride parade through

the streets of

Birmingham every

year since 1987, and its

Pride banners have

been displayed on city

poles in accordance

with municipal policy

that extends this

opportunity to a variety

of organizations

when they have events

taking place in the city. However, in May of

2008, the mayor announced that he would neither

sign a proclamation nor provide a permit

for gay pride based on his religious beliefs that

do not “condone that lifestyle choice.”

Obama selects his AIDS Czar

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack

Obama has tapped Jeffrey S. Crowley to head

the Office of National AIDS Policy. Crowley, a

Senior Research Scholar at Georgetown


Center for Lesbian

Rights (NCLR) Legal

Director Shannon

Price Minter

Not for Reproduction

University’s Health Policy Institute and an

openly gay man, will coordinate the federal

government’s efforts on HIV/AIDS policy and

will help guide the administration’s development

of disability policies. Prior to his time at

Georgetown, Mr. Crowley served as the Deputy

Executive Director for Programs at the National

Association of People with AIDS, overseeing the

organization’s public education, community

development and training activities.

Lawyer awarded for marriage win

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — National

Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal

Director Shannon Price Minter and San

Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese

M. Stewart have been recognized as Attorneys

of the Year by California Lawyer magazine.

Stewart and Minter were recognized for their

achievements in the fight for marriage equality

in California. Minter has guided NCLR’s litigation

and program work for over 10 years. He

has been lead counsel in dozens of groundbreaking

legal victories, including the

California gay marriage case.

Gay immigration bill reintroduced

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gay and civil

rights groups applauded the reintroduction of

the Uniting American Families Act, which

would grant binational same-sex couples

equal treatment under immigration laws by

allowing them to sponsor their partner for

immigration purposes. The bill is sponsored

by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Sen.

Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Task Force Action

Fund, a longtime supporter of the measure, is

working closely with Immigration Equality

and other ally organizations to garner congressional

and presidential support for the


Dad fights court’s gay restriction

ATLANTA, Ga. — In a case currently

before the Georgia Supreme Court, gay dad

Eric Mongerson is disputing a child custody

agreement restriction which prohibits him

from “exposing his children to his homosexual

partners and friends.”“The Court should do

what it always does in divorce cases with custody

issues, which is to focus on the needs of

the children — placing a blanket ban on ‘exposure’

to gay people hardly helps a gay dad

maintain his relationship with his children,”

said Beth Littrell, Staff Attorney in Lambda

Legal’s Southern Regional Office based in

Atlanta.“What the ban does do is perpetuate

prejudice and stigma against an entire group

of people based solely on their sexual orientation,

and that is just plain wrong.”

Family court must decide custody

DETROIT, Mich. — The Michigan State

Court of Appeals has held that a Michigan

family court cannot refuse to hear a child custody

case simply because it involves children

whose parents are lesbians and the state has a

constitutional amendment barring recognition

of same-sex relationships. The adoption

was completed when then-couple Diane

Giancaspro and Lisa Ann Congleton lived in

Illinois. They split after moving to Michigan.

The family court’s ruling left both party’s

parental rights unenforceable in Michigan,

calling into question whether the children

were effectively orphans in the state. ◗

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Book signing on agenda

CHARLOTTE — Author Frances Richter is

scheduled to appear at the CBG Business Expo

on March 21, where she will autograph copies

of her LGBT mystery novel,“Friend of the

Firm,” featuring lesbian homicide defense

attorney Sheldon Bailey.

The book is Richter’s introductory novel,

but the second of the series.“Love Valley” is

due out later this year.

Bailey, an unconventional protagonist, not

only has time to solve murders and maintain

an active personal life, but has begun to publish

a monthly column for LGBT ezines, newspapers,

newsletters and magazines under the


For more information, call Renae Elam,

Moonfest Publishing, at 704-502-2415 or visit

Sing it out!

CHARLOTTE — The spring concert of

One Voice Chorus will be held on March 14 at

7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church,

501 N. Tryon St.

The theme is “Within Me,” a recognition

and celebration of the civil and LGBT rights

movements in America in song and spoken

word. It is being produced in cooperation with

the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network.

A reception will follow the concert. There

will be a drawing of a signed and numbered

piece by photographer Jon Bidwell.

Tickets are $20 and will benefit the Chorus

and RAIN and are available at White Rabbit,

920 Central Ave., Paper Skyscraper, 330 East

Blvd. and at

Lend a hand

CHARLOTTE — Pride Charlotte is looking

for two ambitious folks to head up volunteer

and vendor coordination for this year’s

event on July 25 at Gateway Village.

The following entertainers havw been

booked for this year’s event Amy Steinberg,

Joshua Klipp, Crys Matthews, Rodie Ray, Jill

Austin Band, Beledi Beat Dancers, One Voice

Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus and more to be

announced at a later date.

For more information about these volunteer

committee positions, contact Jeff Schmehl

at or visit

Survey seeks participants

CHARLOTTE — The Task Force on Gay,

Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Inclusion, an

initiative of Temple Beth El, is asking its members,

as well as those in the Jewish community

at large, to join in its survey to determine how

to best meet the needs of the congregation.

They want to gather information to better

serve the community.

Also, the task force is seeking volunteers

who would like to help with the survey, organize

a focus group and aid in research.

The Temple’s Chavurah Keshet (Rainbow

Friends) has been a safe place for LGBT congregants

to gather for lifecycle, holiday and other

events for over a decade. It was started by the late

Alan Rosenberg who served as an advocate for

the Queen City community through his work


North Carolina News Notes

by Lainey Millen & Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

with the Temple, the Gay

and Lesbian Switchboard

and others. It has recently sold

pastries to benefit social action

needs in the community.

To participate, visit

For more information, call Rabbi Micah

Streiffer at 704-366-1948 or email


Rowan board votes for resolution

SALISBURY — More than 100 people turned

out to the Feb. 16 evening meeting of the Rowan

County Board of Commissioners as elected officials

took up the issue of same-sex marriage.

In a standing-room-only board chambers,

members of the board voted unanimously to

approve a resolution urging the North

Carolina General Assembly to pass a state constitutional

amendment banning any relationship

recognition for same-sex couples.

All board members, including the two

Democratic members Raymond Coltrain and

Tina Hall, said they were in favor of the resolution

only because it urges state legislators to

allow citizens to vote on the contentious issue

of gay marriage.

The resolution had originally been placed

on the board’s consent agenda, which falls

immediately prior to the public comment

period. As the meeting started, the board

voted unanimously to remove the resolution

from the consent agenda. It was made the first

item on the board’s regular agenda, immediately

following public comment.

Despite having a massive list of citizens desiring

to address the board during public comment,

County Board Chairman Carl Ford cut off the

public comment period after only 18 citizens had

spoken. Speakers were evenly split between those

against the resolution and those for it.

“Putting the rights of a minority to the vote

of the majority defies the very essence of our

republic,” EqualityNC board member and

Salisbury resident Rod Goins said during the

public comment period.“The Founding Fathers

set up our constitutional democracy to protect

the minority from the tyranny of the majority.”

Chairman Carl Ford said that two state

senators — James Forrester and Jim Jacumin

— had asked every county commission to

draft resolutions in favor of the marriage

amendment.“I couldn’t ignore that,” he said.

The board’s resolution will be forwarded to

members of the North Carolina General


To read the full story online , visit


Mark your calendars!

RALEIGH — The Triangle Families/Gay

Dad’s Group Potluck Picnic will be held at

Pullen Park at Shelter #1 on June 20 at 1 p.m.

Gay parents, kids, family, friends and allies

are invited to attend and bring food to share.

The shelter is tucked away at the far end of

the pond inside the train tracks. Park rides

and concessions will be open.

Be sure to toss a Frisbee, ball or other toys

in your car to help make the day playful.

If interested, visit The Raleigh Area Gay

Parents Meetup Group at gayparents.meetup.

com/78/calendar/9831360 and sign up, along

see next page >

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with what you’d like to bring. Note: if you have

food limitations, be sure to include that information

so others are aware of these concerns.


Prayer week held

HICKORY — The 20th Annual Black

Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS

was held from March 1-7.

The observance was a collaborative effort

between ALFA, formerly known as AIDS

Leadership Foothills-Area Alliance, Inc., and

several organizations in the Unifour counties.

This national mobilization effort was designed

to encourage and mobilize faith-based organizations

to get involved locally and across the

U.S. and its territories.

Special events such as free HIV testing,

prayer breakfasts, town hall meetings, memorial

services, seminars, prayer vigils and simple

distribution of information took place

across the country.

HIV/AIDS continues to devastate African-

American communities. While African-

Americans represent approximately 13 percent

of the U.S. population, the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the

group accounts for almost half (49 percent) of

the nation’s AIDS cases. According to State

Health Facts ( 2007

Report, North Carolina had a total of 14,915

cumulative HIV/AIDS cases with 9,962 of

them being in the African-American community.

It also stated that there were 945 new

HIV/AIDS cases in North Carolina last year

and of that, 657 were African-American.


March 2 — Morning Star Baptist Church held

a special worship service that included free

HIV testing afterwards.

March 6 — Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in

Lenoir held a special worship service that

includes free HIV testing prior to the service.

March 8 at 4 p.m., Shiloh AME Zion, 1115

Salisbury Rd., Statesville, will hold a gospel


March 14 at 10 a.m., a health fair will be held

at Catawba Elementary School,5415 Hudson

Chapel Rd. in Catawba.

These events are open to the public,

regardless of race or ethnicity. The public is

encouraged to attend.

For more information, call Cecilio Orta at

800-473-1447, email

or visit ALFA’s new website at


Calling all intern wannabes!

RALEIGH — Equality NC (ENC) is seeking

several summer and fall interns. This is a

great opportunity to become involved and

gain experience with North Carolina's

statewide LGBT-activist nonprofit.

ENC wants outstanding students who are

committed to winning equal rights and justice

for LGBT North Carolinians. Interns will gain

valuable experience working for a non-profit

advocacy organization. Stipends are not available,

but ENC will work with university officials

to aid in securing course credit.

These are the intern spots that need to be

filled: Database; Advocacy; Development;

Communications; Conference Planning;

Volunteer Management/Outreach; and

Transgender Issues.

For a full description of each internship

and to learn how to apply, visit

Task force launched

RALEIGH — The Transgender Policy Task

Force of ENC met for the first time during the

week of Feb. 23. The task force consists of

transgender/gender nonconforming identified

individuals and allies from around the state

who are interested in advocacy. The group

grew out of the Transgender Policy Summit

that convened last fall during the weekend of

the Equality NC Conference and will work to

help ENC better address the needs of the

transgender community and engage transgender

North Carolinians in its work.

Participants of the policy summit along

with Ian Palmquist, executive director of ENC,

and Stephen Wiseman, intern, worked to

develop the task force.

The essential job of the task force is to

serve as a means to advise the executive director,

staff and board of ENC on policy issues

affecting the transgender community. During

the first meeting participants brainstormed

on ideas of what they would like the Task

Force to accomplish and how best to address

the needs of the transgender/gender non-conforming

community in North Carolina.

Participants spoke about many issues

including the need for greater visibility of the

community in advocacy work, how to forge

connections with ENC, identifying existing

policies within the state that affect the transgender

community and building a more unified

LGBT movement.

“The creation of this task force is an important

part of Equality NC’s commitment to winning

policy victories that meet the needs of the

entire LGBT community," Palmquist said.“This

is an incredibly talented, savvy group that will

help us address the needs of transgender individuals

through advocacy and policy and build

a state of equality in North Carolina.”

The task force will work during the

upcoming month to increase participation

from trans-identified individuals at the

Equality NC Day of Action on March 24. It is

increasingly important for legislators to hear

from people in their community who identify

as transgender and the task force hopes to

work to address that need.

Pack it up, it’s camp time!

STATEWIDE — The LGBT & Ally Summer

Leadership Camp will be held from July 21-26 at

Towson University’s Glen Complex in Maryland.

The five-day camp experience works to

develop stronger undergraduate student leaders

and safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and

universities. Participants have the opportunity

to learn valuable campus organizing skills,

coalition building and strategies for creating

change at colleges and universities. Space is

limited, so register early. Deadline for Happy

Camper rates is April 17.

Enjoy this growth opportunity as you learn

how to access premiere faculty and national

leaders in social justice, human rights and

civil rights advocacy. All this can be achieved

in an environment inclusive of identity/

expression and sexual orientation.

To register or for more information, visit ◗

info: Announce your community event in NC News Notes.


MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 11

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College junior becomes S.C.’s

first openly gay official

Nick Shalosky, 21, nets seat on

Charleston school board

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Last October, Nick

Shalosky was just your average 21-year-old

college student studying political science.

Involved in local LGBT advocacy and political

circles, Shalosky was certainly aware of those

running for office — in fact, he was working

to help get some folks

elected. No one could

have known, including

him, that in just a few

weeks time, Shalosky

would become South

Carolina’s first openly

LGBT elected official.

Shalosky’s feat was

made public in a mid-

February guest commentary

on the LGBT

blog, In the

piece, Shalosky discussed

his election for

the first time with a

national audience. Many

LGBT people had no clue

that he’d been elected to the Charleston County

Constituent School Board. The Victory Fund,

Stonewall Democrats and even the writers here at

the Q-Notes office — everyone was in the dark.

“I didn’t even know until [Stonewall

Democrat communications director] John

Marble told me,” Shalosky told Q-Notes of his

status as his state’s only openly gay official.“I

just hadn’t put two and two together.”

The College of Charleston junior, who

serves as the S.C. Stonewall Democrats chapter

secretary, decided to run for his school

board seat when we was early voting in

October. Looking at the ballot, he saw no one

had signed up to run. He turned to and organized a write-in campaign.

Other than the little online organizing

he did, Shalosky spent hardly any time campaigning

for the position. Come election day,

he was out working for other candidates.

Sworn in to the position in December,

Shalosky said he’s beginning to get situated

and work with other members of the board.

Nick Shalosky, 21, is the first

openly gay elected official in

the State of South Carolina.

He says he’s surprised at just what his election

has meant — personally and publicly.

“When I came on the board, I shifted the

majority. I’m actually the swing vote,” he said.

“It has been interesting now to see the other

side of politics — after the campaign and how

that changes.”

He’s enjoyed working with constituents and

reassuring them that his age and relative inexperience

won’t affect his ability to lead. Not

only is he the youngest member of the board,

he’s the only one under 40, not from

Charleston and gay.

“I’ve been contacted by constituents

because of the unconventionalness

of my position,” he said.

“I’m definitely an outsider, but I’m

starting to work my way into the

alliances on the board. I think I’ve

persuaded a lot of people that I’m a

good person to hold the position.”

Shalosky said he hopes to bring

a younger, fresher and student-oriented

perspective to the board.“I’m

from Conway, S.C. — 15 miles from

Myrtle Beach — and I’m a recent

graduate of the public schools.”

Shalosky’s particular board represents

a smaller constituent district.

While he doesn’t serve on the primary

board of education — the body with actual

policy-making power — he says he hopes to

Nick Shalosky and sister, Emily.

work with other constituent board members to

advance safety for LGBT students.

The Charleston County Schools do not

include sexual orientation or gender-identity in

anti-bullying or non-discrimination policies.◗

12 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 13

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F A I T H & V A L U E S

Dobson leaves leadership role at Focus

Anti-gay leader will keep radio show,

speaking appearances

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

It could be the end of an era, as evangelical

leader James Dobson leaves his post at the

anti-gay Focus on the Family.

On Friday, Feb. 27, the Colorado Springs,

Colo.-based fundamentalist group announced

Dobson’s resignation in a monthly worship

service for their 950 employees.

Dobson, 72, will step down as chairman of

the Focus on the Family board, but will remain

as host of group’s popular radio show. He’ll also

write a monthly newsletter and be available for

speaking opportunities, according to Jim Daly,

Focus president and chief executive officer.

The resignation is the latest in a series of

events in a succession plan that began more

than six years ago when Dobson stepped

down as president and CEO. Dobson’s wife,

Shirley, will also step down from her post on

Focus on the Family’s board of directors.

“One of the common errors of founder-presidents

is to hold to the reins of leadership too

long, thereby preventing the next generation from

being prepared for executive authority,”Dobson

said in a statement, published by The AP.“…

Though letting go is difficult after three decades

of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do.”

LGBT leaders and activists were quick to

praise Dobson’s departure.

“James Dobson’s legacy of lies has caused

significant pain for gay and lesbian people and

their families,” said author and syndicated

columnist Wayne Besen, executive director of

Truth Wins Out.“We hope his departure will

eventually signal a shift in tone and end Focus

on the Family’s destructive attacks against gay

and lesbian Americans.”

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and

Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said it

is “important to remember [Dobson’s] history

of false and defamatory claims about our


He added,“For more than 20 years, James

Dobson has used his expansive, well-funded

media platform to promote defamatory and

false information about the lives of lesbian,

gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Giuliano urged the media to “not allow

Dobson to turn [the news of his departure]

into yet another media platform for him to

advance his intolerant divisive attacks on gay

and lesbian Americans and their families.”

Besen said it is time for Focus on the

Family to abandon their anti-gay programs,

including the “ex-gay” Love Won Out conference,

which recently stopped in Charlotte for a

one-day event (see story on page 7).

In a humorous response to the news,

Durham, N.C.-based blogger Pam Spaulding

posted a YouTube video of the one-hit wonder

band, Steam, singing the 1969 hit “Na Na Hey

Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

“The old man who has spent his adult life

trying to turn the U.S. into a theocracy is

finally throwing in the towel,” she

wrote.“I guess after blowing the

coffers on Prop 8 and having to

lay off staff, it’s time to exit. It’s

just a part of the ‘succession plan’

they say.”

Progressive leader, Rev. Barry

W. Lynn of Americans United for

the Separation of Church and

State, said he doubted Dobson’s

resignation would “make much of

a difference in the day-to-day

operations of that organization.

“For years, FOF has been the

leading voice of religious extremism

and intolerance in America. It

has led the attack on the legal

rights of gay and lesbian Americans, worked

assiduously to undermine reproductive rights,

assaulted the religious neutrality of public

schools and labored to replace science with farright,

fundamentalist dogma,”Lynn said.

“Despite my differences with him, if Dobson

were truly retiring, I would wish him well. But I

know that Dobson and so many other leaders of

the Religious Right intend to remain active,

working to force their exclusionary worldview

onto the rest of us.”

Lynn said that Focus on the Family “is

merely rearranging the deck chairs on its big,

intolerant ship.”

Dobson’s departure comes at a time when

Focus on the Family finds itself at a crossroads.

According to The AP, Focus on the Family officials

have admitted the

group is facing difficulty

raising money and

support from young

families, a key constituency

if Focus is to

remain active and solvent.

Just last fall, Focus

on the Family laid off

200 employees, the

group’s largest employee

cutback ever.

Retired Air Force



Lt. Gen. Patrick P.

Caruana, a longtime

Focus board member

and a former executive

with defense contractor Northrup Grumman,

will replace Dobson as chairman of the board.

“I don’t see any dramatic departure from

what Focus stands for,” Caruana told The AP

of Dobson’s leaving the board.“There are

obviously younger people the ministry would

like to reach, and we’re on track to do that.”◗

14 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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A mid-Nightlife Crisis

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff



still remember my first night in a gay

club like it was yesterday. I guess it helps

that night was only five years ago. On the

Friday after I turned 18, I hurriedly readied

myself and got dressed in my small bedroom

at my mom’s house in Winston-Salem. Once

the clock struck 10, I hit the door and jumped

in my car, heading just minutes away from

home to Club Odyssey.

The club certainly has its own little charm.

A place where all sorts of people — black,

white, gay, straight, rich and poor — can mix

and mingle without judgment. I’ve spent

many a night at Odyssey, before going to

Greensboro for college and even after moving

to Charlotte for work. When I go home to visit

family and need a way to remove myself from

the natural drama that seems to invade the

lives of all stereotypically Southern families,

Odyssey is my escape.

In the few years I’ve been old enough to

be inside a nightclub or a bar (and even

fewer since I’ve been old enough to drink

inside them), I’ve found I’m really not all

that much a “clubber.” It isn’t really my

scene. I love small bars — places where you

can lay back after work with a drink, talk

with friends and actually hear what they

have to say. Catch me out of town, though,

on a business trip or a vacation, and the

first place I’ll be is the local gay club, especially

if I’m in a big city. There’s so much

excitement and energy, it seems, in nightclubs

in cities like New York and D.C. But

with all that said, I can’t say I know all that

much about gay nightlife here in the

Carolinas, or elsewhere.

For weeks I thought about this

essay/perspective piece/article/whatever

you’d like to call it. I spent hours talking to

friends and colleagues and folks I met at

local coffee shops. As a self-admitted non-

“club kid,” I’m out of my realm when it

comes to something like this. My opinions

of Carolinas nightlife are cloudy and based

probably more on perception than fact. But,

every person I talked to had more than

enough of their own opinion to make up for

my lack of nightlife experience.

Die-hard club and bar supporters told me

the time of the gay bar would never end.

Folks in the middle were, well, in the middle

and completely ambivalent. Among others,

especially young people, I heard a common

theme: “The gay clubs here are boring.”“We

want more variety.”“We want something different.”“It’s

always the same thing, over and

over again.”

Changing times

The history of gay clubs and bars is closely

intertwined with the past of the LGBT community.

To ignore the significant impact

they’ve had on our movement is to ignore a

vital part of our history. Some of the first

direct actions in LGBT activism came in 1950s

New York. Members of the Mattachine Society

fought discriminatory liquor laws that were

used to forbid bartenders from serving

“known homosexuals.”

Even our annual Pride festivals wouldn’t

exist without the gay bar. In June, millions of

LGBT people around the globe commemorate

the Stonewall Riots — the historic night when

drag queens, transgender folk and poor, queer

street kids stood up against the harassment

and abuse of New York City police.

But a lot has changed in the 40 years since

Stonewall — when gay bars were pretty much

all we had. Gay bars and clubs are finding it

harder and harder to survive in places like the

Carolinas. Some folks have even been bold

enough to ask the question: “Is the end of the

‘gay bar’ drawing nigh”

Clay Smith, who performs as Roxy C.

Moorecox in clubs across the Carolinas, says

LGBT-oriented establishments, while in a state

of change and flux, will be around for years to

come and are a needed part of the community.

“I think they are in transition,” he says.“I

think there are a lot of new owners and there

are a lot of new, refreshing takes on bars that’s

happening now.”

Smith says he thinks every business owner

— whether talking about a gay bar or some

other type of business — is always going to be

see Carolinas on 16

MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 15

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Carolinas keeps it turned up

from page 15

faced with challenges and the changing wants

and desires of their clientele.

“Trends change and they always will,”

Smith says.“A person with a strong business

mind will watch those trends and either hop

on the bus or not.”

Smith says that some gay bar owners can

become victims of a “mindset of complacency”

— succumbing to the idea that

“because we are a gay bar, people will come

to us.” The bad news for some gay bar owners

is that the old paradigm might be shifting

as gay trends move from the gay ghetto

into mainstream America.

Moving into the mainstream

Dan Mauney, one of the original founders

of Charlotte’s “Takeover Friday,” says more and

more people are “crossing over” from exclusively

“gay bars” to more popular, mainstream

establishments that label themselves neither

straight nor gay.

“As we strive to gain more mainstream

acceptance and we cross over, we don’t have to

go to A, B or C anymore,” he says.“We can go

to A, B, C, D, E and F, and its definitely because

of the strides our gay advocates have made.”

Takeover, which started more than four

years ago with a small group of friends,

turns out countless gay and lesbian customers

to restaurants, bars and other

nightlife establishments that aren’t necessarily

known as “gay” places. In fact, many

of the mainstream establishments they visit

have never labeled or marketed themselves

as exclusively or even partly “gay.” In fact,

some of them are known for their affluent,

mostly heterosexual crowd.

Some LGBT community members have

said the Takeover events steal away business

from traditionally gay and gay-owned

establishments — that they introduce new

bars and clubs to gay customers who eventually

abandon the tried and true establishments

of old.

“I usually laugh when people say that,

because … we support the gay bars as often

as we support anything else,” Mauney says.

“We might have criticism that we are competing

with others’ Friday night drinking time,

but usually our crowd ends up at those places

any way.”

But what if the criticisms of Takeover have

some merit Where does the responsibility lie

Are Takeover organizers to blame, or does it

lie with gay clubs and their owners Isn’t

responding to changing trends supposed to be

a part of the business If the clientele keep

missing what they’re looking for in older gay

bars, doesn’t it make legitimate business sense

for them to take their money elsewhere

Whether we like it or not, that’s kind of the

rule of the game in a capitalist society.

Leland Garrett, a 24-year-old college

student living in Durham, says that his

favorite nighttime hangout, the Pinhook,

isn’t a gay bar, even though it is extremely

gay friendly.

“They sometimes have gay-themed

events, but it is also a low-key place,” he says.

“It isn’t strictly a gay bar and it is a place

where you can talk with your friends and be

able to hear them.”

Garrett says he avoids clubs as much as

possible — much like me, he’s not a club person.

But he also says he’s always disappointed

in the lack of variety the gay clubs offer.“I hate

the gay clubs in North Carolina; they are all

basically the same — loud techno music,

smoking, drinking and people hooking up in

the bathrooms.”

He says he wishes there was a club that

wasn’t so “stereotypical.”

But Smith isn’t so sure about all the “mainstreaming”

some folks say are happening

inside gay nightlife circles. If gay people are

“moving Uptown,” he asks, what about all the

straight people coming out to the gay bars

“I’d venture to say that if you walk into

Scorpio, or clubs like Scorpio, it’s not 100 percent


Still, it’s pretty clear, at least to the folks I

talked to, that many “non-gay,” yet gayfriendly

establishments —like Petra’s Piano

Bar in Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood

and the Garden & Gun Club at the N.C.

Music Factory — are becoming popular with

LGBT clientele.

Supporting what we’ve got

Smith says it he thinks it is important for

the LGBT community to continue to support

the businesses that have supported them.

“There is something to say for those folks

who have lived through the battles of gay bars

even existing and keeping them open, providing

a safe haven for people to come,” he says.

“We need to continue to support those businesses

before they fade away.”

He adds,“There is a need for gay bars. It

is important to be able to ‘come home’ for a

little bit.”

Despite his aversion to Carolinas gay clubs

and bars, Garrett at least admits that having

them available is good for the community.“I

think it is good we have a place to go and be

ourselves, whether you are more straight acting

or a flaming queen.You can go to a gay bar

and not have to deal with the judgment and

people staring at you and the crap you get

from people.”

Bambi Weavil, publisher of the

Wilmington, N.C.-based online LGBT publication, also thinks community

support of “family”-owned businesses is


“It is important to support the gay establishments,”

she says.“I think it can be a give

and take both ways [frequenting gay and nongay

clubs and bars], but it is important to support

gay establishments or they are definitely

going to go under.”

Keeping it fresh

If gay bar owners want to keep their cash

flow moving in a positive direction, they’ll

have to keep surprising their customers with

fresh and new ideas.

Takeover’s Mauney says the freshness of

his events and venues means people stay

interested and return to future events.“I think

people come to Takeover because of the different

venues we go to,” he says.“We keep changing

it up. One venue might be dressy, another

more casual. We try to venture into new places

that maybe people haven’t been to yet. I think

it keeps it fresh.”

Mauney adds that welcoming fresh ideas

and staying current with the trends can be

half the battle.“Unfortunately, the ‘build it

see next page >

continued from previous page

and they will come’ scenario doesn’t work

anymore,” he says.“You have to have a gimmick

to get people in. Keeping it fresh and

offering different perspectives will make people

want to come back.”

Smith agrees that “keeping it fresh” can

draw in more business.“Your core clientele

will always stay your core clientele,” he says.

“But trying new things to shake it up a little

bit can help.”

He says small things like a new coat of

paint and other occasional improvements can

sometimes “mean everything.”

“There’s that old saying,‘You have to spend

money to make money,’” Smith says.“Right

now the economy is tough. What can you do

Think outside of the box.”

Weavil says that diversity can make all the

difference.“The more diverse the club, the better,”Weavil

says.“That is the best plan for all

sorts of clubs, gay or straight or however they

label themselves.”

Diversity, at least, is something the

Carolinas can claim to have. Several femaleoriented

bars and clubs, like Steel Blue in

Durham, Hartigans in Charlotte and Time

Out Saloon in Greensboro, offer a place for

lesbians and other women who love women.

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Charlotte is home to Sidelines, the only gay

sports bar between D.C. and Atlanta. In

Greensboro, LGBT clientele can chill at The

Q, an after-work dive, pre-club dive. Club

Myxx, in Charlotte, caters to a primarily

African-American crowd. In Columbia, community

members can choose from the

grungy Art Bar, the strip joint PT’s 1109 or

drag palace Cabaret.

Please don’t stop the music

I don’t know if anyone can quite say what

the future might hold for gay nightlife.

Arguments that the era of the gay bar is coming

to an end are met with the stark reality

that we still live in a time and place where

queer folks aren’t always accepted in mainstream


With the exception of a few progressive

bars here and there, it seems the majority of

Carolinas towns and cities still have a need for

nightlife establishments where LGBT people

can be open and where they can freely express

themselves without fear.

Smith says he sees the future of gay nightlife

in friendly competition and cooperation.

“Healthy competition can be beneficial,” he

says.“Even pro-football teams scrimmage

against each other because it makes them

stronger. We’ve got a great community, but it is

so scattered right now.”

Smith, who claims no official “home

bar” for his Roxy C. Moorecox performances,

says he’ll continue to support all his

favorite gay establishments across the


“I’m so grateful I get to perform in all

these different venues,” he says. “I get to

see everything.”

Bars are like churches, Smith says.

Everyone has their own little denomination

— they’re Methodist or they’re Baptist or

Catholic. At the end of the day and despite

their differences, they’re all Christian, he

says. Like all those churches, every little bar

has its own flare and charm and no one can

deny how fun it can be to mix it up and head

out to place you haven’t visited for a while.

Is the time of the gay bar coming to an

end I don’t think so. Perhaps, 40 years after

Stonewall, they’re just in a mid-life crisis, of

sorts. Give them all a few years and there’s no

telling what we’ll see. Until then, just keep the

music, drinks, hot boys and girls and nighttime

fun flowing. ◗

• • • • •

Q-Notes wants you…

as a nightlife reporter

Q-Notes is looking for several nightlife

reporters around the Carolinas. These freelance

writers would be responsible for taking

photos and reporting on events at LGBT-oriented

nightclubs, bars and other establishments.

Ideal candidates are regular bar-goers

or staff who can work on a deadline and can

devote at least a few hours each month to

writing short, entertaining pieces for publication

in our print issues and online. And, the

best part of all: Freelance contributors get paid!

For more information, email

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 17

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18 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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Draggin’ it out, Bingo style

page 19

Charlotte at

a crossroads

New film explores four possible futures of Charlotte,

LGBT community included

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

Surrounded by the sights, sounds and

smells of a NoDa coffee shop,

Charlotteans Mitzi Corrigan and

Stephen Friedrich sip coffee and talk about

their experiences acting in “Crossroads

Charlotte: The Movie.”

“It is nice to see the performing arts

used in a way to serve the Charlotte

area,” Friedrich says. At 18, Friedrich is a

homeschooled senior ready to embark

on his journey to college, hoping to

enroll in the University of North Carolina

School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. In

the film, he plays the high school-aged

character “Sam,” who is openly gay to

classmates and friends, but closeted to

his mother.

He and Corrigan, who plays Sam’s

mother Julie, were just two of dozens of

Charlotte citizens chosen to act in the

film, a project of Crossroads Charlotte.

The community initiative began in 2001,

after the Queen City participated in a survey

of 40 cities, in which it was revealed

while the city had high levels of faithbased

involvement and philanthropy, it

ranked next to last in levels of social and

interracial trust.

In response to the data, the Foundation

for the Carolinas organized a meeting of

20 community leaders in 2004 to discuss

the causes of distrust, especially between

people of different races and ethnicities. As

the group of leaders grappled with the

issues, they found that the best way to

engage community members was through

the telling of stories. Thus was born

“Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie.”

The film includes four short vignettes,

each depicting a possible future for the

City of Charlotte. The stories run from

grim and bleak to upbeat and optimistic.

“I don’t think this is a town that always

honors the power of the arts as much as it

should,” says Corrigan, who’s casting

company, C&J Casting, volunteered to

choose the cast for the film. “To actually

say, ‘Let’s hand over some of this grant

money to the arts to make our case,’ is a

great honor. People are visual and to show

the stories in a visual way makes a

stronger impact.”

The film touches on almost every major

issue a city the size of Charlotte might

face. From gang violence and homelessness,

to world class sporting events and

booming business development, the film,

while short, leaves almost nothing out,

including discussions of LGBT issues.

In the film, Corrigan and Friedrich’s

characters explore a variety of issues —

sexual orientation, single parenting,

racism and privilege. Julie, a corporate,

Uptown executive,


late nights,

often leaving

‘My mom does not even know I’m gay.’

Photo Credit: Movie still, Crossroads Charlotte

Sam to fend for himself

at home.

In one of the four

vignettes, “The Beat

Goes On,” life in

Charlotte continues

pretty much the way it

always has. The economy

is strong, but still relies on banking

and finance. Under the surface of a seemingly

vibrant city lies racial tensions and



In a scene,

Julie and Sam

are readying

themselves for

work and

school, debating


Sam should go

to private


“It just

doesn’t seem

safe there anymore,”


says of Sam’s



Because not

everyone is

white like us”

Sam shoots


Mitzi Corrigan (Julie) and Stephen Friedrich (Sam) say the City of

Charlotte must move past its old bigotries and prejudices in order

to move forward.

Photo Credit: Matt Comer

Corrigan says she believes the character

Julie is representative of many people who

aren’t always aware of how racism and

stereotypes cloud their judgments.

“I don’t think she’s aware,” Corrigan

says. “A lot of people are prejudiced in

that way. They try to

justify their reasons

to be and for clumping

people into categories

and stereotypes.”

Friedrich says the

film isn’t just representative


Charlotte, but all of

America and agrees

that Julie represents

the racist attitudes

that linger in communities

of privilege.

“People will use

any excuse to be

biased,” he says.

Friedrich, who is

straight, says he

strove to portray

Sam as a normal

teenager, not a

stereotypically gay

one. In fact, viewers

don’t know of Sam’s

sexual orientation until close to the end of

the film.

“Something that rubs me the wrong

way is when straight people play gay characters

and they push it over the top,” he

says. “I don’t know and I’ve never met a

gay person who is like ‘Oh my gawd’ all

the time.”

In the last vignette, “Eye to Eye,” Sam

and his classmates are discussing diversity

as their teacher announces his decision to

run for city council.

“Try being gay in the South,” Sam says.

“My mom does not even know I’m gay.”

Friedrich says having friends and family

who are openly gay helped him to bring

perspective to his role in the film.

“I had a friend who recently came out

to me,” he says, adding that he knows

just how difficult the coming out process

can be. “When people come out they

totally have to put their heart out on the

table and be willing to let it be crushed

by anybody.”

Corrigan says Friedrich’s role in the film

is a positive sign.

“Sam is very open to his class, which

actually is a positive statement because,

of course, not all schools are like that,”

she says. “I think it is becoming possible

that kids in high school now can be

so supported by the whole group. I

don’t know how realistic that it is, but

it is possibly more realistic now than

ever before.”

In that last scene, viewers see Julie

walking through the high school’s hall.

see Film on 21

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Q - L I V I N G

Crossroads Charlotte:

The Movie

In “Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie,” four vignettes show four possible futures for the

Queen City by the year 2015.

Fortress Charlotte

In 10 short years, Charlotte’s quality of life has changed — for the worse. We have

become a community divided. The gap is widening between the “haves” and the “have-less”

and tension is building between racial and ethnic groups. Everyone fears or blames everyone

else, and folks have lost faith in leaders to find solutions. When you examine the situation, our

community failed to recognize the significant demographic and economic changes, deepening

hostilities and widening gaps that were happening — right under our noses.

Class Act

Charlotte is on top and all signs tell us we will stay there. Our economy is thriving. Jobs

are abundant. Our housing market soars, and tourist attractions are booming. Much of the

positive change in Charlotte is because diverse people – outside the traditional white corporate

powerbase – are becoming involved and being taken more seriously. Charlotte’s success

and fine reputation have been built with considerable commitment from our leaders and

influential institutions, which have been strong, visionary, cooperative and inclusive.

The Beat Goes On

Charlotte is still seeking “world class” status. Professional sports, theatres, museums,

banking and the airport keep it in the running. And while finance anchors our economy,

technology-based companies bypass the Queen City for more creative, progressive places.

Many people, particularly people of color and residents with modest and low incomes,

see the same stubborn problems and fear things are getting worse. So, as Charlotte merrily

continues on its path to greatness, below the surface is growing anger, resentment and

distrust between racial and ethnic groups and between those who “have” and those who

“have less.”

Eye to Eye

Charlotte is booming. Our economy is robust and talented people from diverse backgrounds

are locating here. Charlotte has a reputation as an open, tolerant and trusting

community, where diversity is welcomed and everyone has clear access to opportunity. The

banding together of people of color to assume more power and to work collectively has

peeled away layers of racism. We have now built trust where it did not exist before. More

work needs to be done, but the citizens of Charlotte have the will and tools to ensure

everyone can have a say and experience fair play in how decisions are made.

Read the full stories and watch each of the four vignettes at

Film explores community

from page 19

She stumbles upon Sam’s classroom just as he’s making his declaration. Julie

leans against the wall and cries. While the interpretation is left open to the

viewer, Corrigan says she played the role to be one of sadness not over Sam’s

sexual orientation, but rather that she was so disconnected as a mother that

she didn’t know and Sam couldn’t tell her.

If the film

could have

been longer,

Corrigan says,

viewers would

have seen Julie

accept her son.


mother wants

to love their

children, wants

that relationship

to be strong,”

she says. “What

other choice, if

you are a good

person, could

you have possibly



Friedrich and

‘Yeah, try being gay in the South.’

Photo Credit: Movie still, Crossroads Charlotte

Corrigan hope that the Crossroads Charlotte project can bring people together and

help to solve problems for which the city has yet to find solutions.

“We have some wonderful changes nationally and globally,” Corrigan says.

“What’s happening here seems so far removed from that right now.”

The Queen City, Friedrich says, needs to confront the problems and move forward.

“Charlotte has gotten very, very comfortable, to a point where we’ve worn

ourselves down into a little rut, stuck in the same old bigotry, financial problems

and housing problems,” he says. “It is getting worse and there’s no government

bailout that can work our community into a place of solidity. It has to

happen in the community and it has to be unification. It’s not anything that

money can do.” ◗

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 21

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22 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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by Joseph Urbaniak . exQlusive

Love Feast

[Ed. Note — This column marks the last in

Joseph Urbaniak’s limited-run column. We hope

our readers had a chance to read Urbaniak’s

writings with an open mind and eyes. We thank

Joe for the chance to publish his columns.]

I saw the notice on the bulletin board in

the dormitory. The annual Love Feast, a celebration

of Easter with singing, worship and

lots of home-cooked food prepared by several

of the local churches.

This was my fourth year at this facility and

in all that time I had never gone to the Love

Feast. I tend to stay away from evangelical

Christian gatherings. For one thing, who

wants to go and be ridiculed and looked down

on for being in the “sin” of homosexuality

But, now it was time again for the Love

Feast. Guys who had gone to it in previous

years described mountains of food — more

than anyone could eat. Real food made by people

who didn’t work for the prison. So, I decided

that this year I was going to crash the party.

But, there was a prerequisite for going to

the Love Feat. It was in small print at the bottom

of the notice: “To participate in the Love

Feast, inmates must attend at least three evangelical

Christian worship services.”

Three services Were they crazy This made

me angry. It’s just like a bunch of evangelical

Christians to offer up a party and have torturous

conditions to attend. What kind of

“Christian Love” was this I thought the love of

Jesus was for everyone. I don’t remember reading

in the Bible, when Jesus fed the multitudes

with a handful of bread and fish, that the disciples

went around asking for professions of

faith or telling people they had to sit through

six hours of redneck mountain preaching

before they could eat. Of course, this could

explain the miracle: “Gee, Jesus, we’ve only got

three people left. Everyone else went home.”

So, I talked a friend of mine, Sean, into suffering

through it with me. Together we decided

it might fun. Sean was a short 27-year-old

Jew who practiced the Wiccan religion.

Between the two of us we figured that, if anyone

came up to us to convert us during the

meal, we’d have no trouble de-verting them:

“Do you boys have Jesus as your personal


“Well, actually I’m a Buddhist and my

friend here is a Satanist and we just came for

the food. The fried chicken is really good, by

the way.”

We went together to our first service. The

Great and Honorable Reverend Bellows

presided — a man who stood six foot four

and weighed about 270 pounds. He started

out asking the crowd of about 30 inmates for

testimony. A young black man who was missing

two front teeth stood up and told how God

helped him overcome his lust for women; he

was now a changed person and praised the

Lord. He didn’t mention how he’d come to me

two days earlier to ask if we could get together

so I could give him some “relief.” I fought off

the urge to remind him.

Next, an older black man with gray hair

gave a 10-minute monologue about how Jesus

saved him and how, when he gets out of

prison, he’ll be a changed man. Then a 30-

something white guy stood up and started

Q - L I V I N G

shouting “God is good, God is

great,” and each time he did it, the

rest of the guys yelled in unison.

It reminded me of being on a

turkey farm, where if you make a

noise like a turkey, all the turkeys

will reply with a gobble of their own.

After that, a six-foot-eight, light-skinned

guy who was “on fire for the Lord” — which

meant he punctuated each sentence with the

words “Praise God” — got up to sing. He must

have thought he was auditioning for American

Idol, because he not only sang, he performed.

He danced and shook across the room, hands

waving in the air, with a big toothy smile. He

bellowed out the song with such force and

feeling that it must have sent shock waves

across the space/time continuum all the way

back to 1983. When he finished, I was looking

for the score from the judges and I knew I

would have given him a 10 out of sheer terror.

The preacher asked if anyone needed a

prayer and got the standard requests for prayers

for sick family members, prayers for strength

against attacks by the devil and prayers for hope

and peace. Then a strange-looking man with a

long, red biker beard streaked with gray and

wearing sunglasses asked that we pray for his

baby girls and all the other young girls out there

who need someone to love and understand

them. Sean and I turned to each other with the

same look of shock and revulsion — eyes wide,

mouths hanging open.

Finally, it was time for the preacher.

Reverend Bellows screamed and yelled from

the pulpit for the next 35 minutes about how

sinners would burn in hell if they didn’t

change their evil ways and accept the Lord as

their savior. He trotted back and forth in front

of everyone, spewing about wages of sin,

stressing that the only way to heaven was

through the Bible’s teaching and basically imitating

almost every TV evangelist who ever

had his own Gospel hour. The only thing the

Reverend didn’t do was pass the plate; prisoners

don’t have any money.

When he finished, he closed his Bible with

dramatic flair and called to the front of the

room anyone who wanted Jesus to come into

his life and fix all the wrongs. Several men

made their way to the front, including the

toothless guy, the gray-headed one and the

biker with affection for lonely young girls. All

of them asked Jesus to come fix them. Finally,

it was over and Sean and I felt like we’d been

put through some sort of alien brainwashing

session. We both felt slimed.

The next two services were just as agonizing

and basically were carbon copies of the

first. The same testimonies, the same prayer

requests (including the biker beard’s expression

of love for young girls), the same thunderous

singing that might have been heard as

far away as Canada, the same “wages of sin”

preaching and the same guys filing up to the

front to ask Jesus to fix them. When we saw

the same ones going up for the third time,

Sean said to me,“The first two times I guess it

didn’t take.”

At last it was over. We had fulfilled our

requirement, suffered and sacrificed through

six hours of prison church. Now, we could go

to the Love Feast. And what a feast it was!

There were tables and tables loaded with food:

fried chicken, ham, roast beef, a half dozen

different salads, mounds of fresh vegetables,

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rolls and breads of every shape and size.

When I saw all that food in all its splendor, I

thought I’d cry. I went back three times.

Then there was the dessert table. More

kinds of pies, cakes, puddings and sweet

delights than I had ever known could exist in

one hemisphere. I had a slice of chocolate

cake, one of chocolate cream pie, a chocolate

brownie, some kind of whipped chocolate

pudding that was like eating a cloud. I felt like

I had died and gone to chocolate heaven.

When it was over, we all carried ourselves

slowly back to our dorms, bellies protruding

and the tops of our pants loosened. I had

eaten so much that I thought I was going to be

sick. When I got back to my room and lay

down on my bed, I hurt. No matter how I lay, I

couldn’t get comfortable. It felt like a 20-

pound bowling ball inside me. I had a new

appreciation for pregnant women.

As I lay on my bed trying to get comfortable,

I wondered how many of the other guys

were just as achingly full. How many of them

would pray to Jesus to fix them After all, gluttony

is a sin, isn’t it ◗

— Joe Urbaniak was sentenced in 1995 to

20 years imprisonment for indecent liberties

with a child and crime against nature.

He hopes to be released in 2010. He was

awarded Second Place for Memoir in the 2003

PEN Prison Writing Awards and has recently

earned his B.A. in Business Administration.

He has requested that Q-Notes publish his

contact information in hopes of finding

penpals. Write him at P.O. Box 1569, Lillington,

NC 27546. All correspondence should include

his inmate number: 0415899.

Q - L I V I N G

Bridging the community with Drag Bingo

Triangle HIV/AIDS fundraising

event set for March 28

by Dolly R. Sickles

Special to Q-Notes

Across the Triangle, families scramble to

stand and cheer when Mary K Mart calls “O-

69” in her sing-song voice. Non-compliance is

a risk they’re unwilling to take.

“There are always folks who have to parade

on-stage,” laughs John Paul Womble, director

of development and public affairs for the

Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina — and

host for Drag Bingo, one of the Triangle’s most

entertaining fundraisers for HIV/AIDS.

“And they have to pay the piper,” he continued.“Not

only do our Bingo Verifying Divas —

the BVDs — make you stand up and do the

shimmy again … they make you do it on stage.

You can’t be shy at Drag Bingo, that’s for sure.”

And while Drag Bingo may seem like it’s

all fun and games, it has proven to be the perfect

bridge-building event between the LGBT

and heterosexual communities.

“I’ve been to bingo fundraisers across the

state,” said Rita Dozier, a longtime Drag Bingo

player,“and no other event is as fun and

affordable as Drag Bingo. I can even bring my

10-year-old grandson. There’s nowhere else

where we can spend $40 for two tickets and

dinner, while simultaneously making a difference

in someone’s lives.”

Ms. Dozier, who is also a regular volunteer

with the Alliance, discovered both the event

and the agency through her community volunteering

efforts. Neither she nor her grandson

— nor any of her immediate family —

are living with HIV or AIDS.“I read the paper;

I watch the news,” she said.“Anybody…anybody

can become infected with HIV. In this

day and age, it’s shocking to me to see that the

numbers continue to increase. It

breaks my heart, really. So, I

decided that I needed to

put my money where

my mouth was, and

figured out a way to

work in my community

to educate myself

and my family.”

Through the

years, the Alliance

has been quite successful in

forging a strong relationship

across the lines, so to speak. And like Ms.

Dozier said, the face of HIV has changed

though the decades, and so has its impact on

the community-at-large.

“We still have a large percentage of clients

who are gay men,” said Womble,“but our

client demographics have shifted over the past

four or five years. We have seen an increase in

heterosexual women and men, from all races,

cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Since opening its doors, the Alliance has

been proactive in meeting the needs of the

community. It recognizes the importance of

placing value and responsibility on the shoulders

of those affected — which is all of us.With

45 employees and over 700 volunteers working

through its client services, prevention education,

housing, and faith ministries programs,

the needs of over 1,000 North

Carolinians living with HIV disease in

the Triangle area are met.

“Drag Bingo,” said Womble,“provides

the perfect conduit to the community.

We’ve found that people are just far more

receptive to the idea of learning about

HIV disease in the silly Drag Bingo setting.

We’re not preachy or judgmental.

There are no quizzes and no interventions.

It’s just a fun night of laughter

and participation, with dinner and a

show. And, when you smile and meet a

new person across the table from you, you

realize that gay or straight, man or woman,

positive or negative, they’re having just as

much fun as you are.”

So if a fun evening of Drag Bingo can

bridge the community, imagine how far we’d

be if we all got serious ◗

— The next Drag Bingo, “March Madness

Drag Bingo,” will be Saturday, March 28

at the Durham Armory. The doors open at 6

p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

For more information and for the annual

schedule, visit

More information about the Alliance of AIDS

Services-Carolina can be found at

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 23

24 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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Q - L I V I N G


by David Stout . Q-Notes staff

I love the nightlife, baby

It’s great timing for our issue on gay

nightlife because I’ve just become a professional part of it. In

the last Audiophile I mentioned that I was booked to DJ a

party at Central Station. Would you believe that my set went

over so well I was offered a Saturday night residency Well,

it’s true — so starting March 7, the date this issue hits the

street, I’ll be at the club serving a heaping helping of House

beats. Come out and party with me if you can.

I’ll do my best to provide you the same energy and excitement

I have received over the

years from my favorite DJs and

nightclubs. And, looking back,

there are definitely a few periods

of my club-going life that

stand out from the pack.

The earliest of these watershed

eras is going to Power

Company in Winston-Salem

while I was still in high school.

My best friend, Anthony, and I Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam

would make the 20-minute drive where dancefloor faves

from Lexington on the weekends

in the mid-80s.

to hang out in the parking lot during operating hours.

Sometimes the doorman would be in just the right mood and

let us in when alcohol sales were over.We loved those nights on

the dancefloor — free from the strictures of our small-town

existence. This is without a doubt what cemented the enduring

love affair we both have with dance music.

Five great songs of the era

“Can You Feel The Beat” — Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam

With Full Force

“How To Be A Zillionaire” — ABC

“I Like You” — Phyllis Nelson

“Point Of No Return” — Exposé

“Say It, Say It” — E.G. Daily

I went to college in Greensboro and immediately leaped out

of the closet. Clubbing was a weekly ritual for the gay crowd I

ran with. However, we were far too grand for any of the three gay

spots in the city. No, we had to trek to Durham every Thursday

night for College Night at Power Company. Back then, the place

was like Mecca for 18-24 year olds.You’d rub elbows — and

more if it was a good night — with students from Carolina,

State, Duke and points all across the map. On occasion guys

from as far away as UNC-Wilmington would make the trip to

see what the hype was about. Most nights, it was justified.

Five great songs of the era

“Express Yourself ” — Madonna

“Left To My Own Devices” — Pet Shop Boys

“Theme from S’Express” — S’Express

“This Time I Know It’s For Real” — Donna Summer

“What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” — Information Society

After settling in Charlotte, I was fortunate to experience the

third great renaissance of Scorpio in the mid-90s. The place was

a melting pot of all ages, income levels and scenes. From young

crossdressed hookers to AARP-qualified bank execs, everybody

could be found in the place on a Saturday night. The more


guys started


with their

shirts off to

show off their tats and nipple piercings, which were just starting

to enter the gay mainstream. Nightclubbing in this era felt like

an act of gay activism as we celebrated ourselves, our bodies and

our sexuality. I wish we could bring that feeling back.

Five great songs of the era

“Fired Up” — Funky Green Dogs

“Magic Carpet Ride” — Mighty Dub Katz

“Professional Widow” — Tori Amos

“Sugar Is Sweeter” — C.J. Bolland

“The Bomb” — Bucketheads ◗


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Q - L I V I N G

General Gayety

by Leslie Robinson

Contributing Writer

A womyn’s diary

The New York Times recently ran a story about Alapine,

a lesbian community in rural Alabama. Home to 20 women

ranging in age from 50 to 75, Alapine is truly womyn’s

land. Men may only visit. Moreover, straight women may

not live there. The story highlighted how critical a matriarchal

way of life is to these residents and how such communities

could be doomed since they appeal much less to

younger lesbians.

After reading the piece, I was moved to imagine a day in

the life of an Alapine gal. Here’s a diary entry I rustled up:

11 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

I woke up at 6 this morning, which is a damn sight better

than 4 like I’ve been doing. Looks like Sylvia really knows her

way around those homeopathic remedies. I’ll ask her if she

has anything for corns.

Took a long walk through the woods with Gertrude

and Alice B. (corns be damned). Gertrude would chase

squirrels all day if she could. We ran into Joyce walking

Cleopatra and Boadicea. It’s dogs that have it the best

around here! All that room to run and all of us old dykes

to fawn over them.

On our way home Gertrude spotted one of the chickens

and that was all she wrote. She chased it up Diana Dr.

and down Athena Ave. Well, did Cynthia have something

to say about that! It took me a century to calm her down.

Told her Gertrude had just put the “free range” in freerange


Beth came out to see what the fuss was about. Damned if

she wasn’t toting a shotgun. What a mistake the Army made

kicking her out in the ’60s for being a lesbian. She could’ve

won the Cold War by herself.

Beth took the opportunity to tell us she’d changed the

gate security code again. I’d like to know how a bunch of seniors

can be expected to remember a new code every week!

This afternoon I got brave. I sat down to write a poem for

tomorrow’s community full moon circle. After an hour I gave

up on anything rhyming. The free verse I wrote, well, I hope

it’s good. I’ve never read a poem out loud before! I’m as nervous

as Cynthia’s chicken! Of course, everyone will be supportive

to the teeth, but still.

Sandy announced the topic for discussion at the circle

will be “Menstruation—Do We Miss It” Not sure what I

think of that, but it makes a change from discussing communication

styles and past lives.

I got emails from both Andrew and David today. They

sound like they’re both hurting in this economy. I’ll say this

for our no-males policy. It’s gonna keep my sons from moving

back in with Mom!

Betty told me her daughters complain that she isn’t a

“normal lesbian,” whatever that is. They hate saying that

their mother lives in a lesbian commune. They don’t

understand her attachment to nature. She doesn’t understand

their attachment to money, so I guess everyone’s

good and confused.

Thank the goddess that Ruthie works in town. She brought

me some more Krispy Kremes today. Manna from heaven.

I tried a new recipe for this evening’s potluck. Shrimp

and grits. The girls seemed to like it, those that eat shellfish.

Bernie’s fig bars were out of this world. I swear, if she didn’t

cheat at canasta, she and I could get involved. She can bake

and build houses. What’s not to love

It’s 11 at night. An hour ago Shirley and Charmaine next

door were arguing. Now they’re making up. Gotta ask Bernie

if she knows how to soundproof a double-wide. ◗

info: .

For up-to-date coverage visit:

the Carolinas’ multimedia LGBT news source

MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 25

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Anything But Straight

by Wayne Besen . Contributing Writer

A winning script

It is an odd time to be gay in America.

Whether you are celebrated or despised

depends on where you stand at any given


The most dramatic example of this dichotomy

occurred on Sunday, Feb. 22 at the Academy

Awards. To attend the glamorous event, one had

to drive past anti-gay protesters shouting vile

condemnations of homosexuality. Once inside,

guests were treated to perhaps the most progay

Oscar extravaganza in history.

First, openly gay Dustin Lance Black won

Best Original Screenplay for “Milk.” Black gave

a moving acceptance speech to thunderous

applause and told LGBT youth that they were

“beautiful, wonderful creatures of value…no

matter what anyone tells you.”

The icing on the cake was superstar Sean

Penn’s remarks after winning an Oscar for his

role as Harvey Milk.

“For those who saw the signs of hatred as

our cars drove in tonight, and, I think that it is

a good time for those who voted for the ban

against gay marriage to sit and reflect and

anticipate their great shame and the shame in

their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that

way of support.”

The LGBT community has come a long

way. It is now acceptable for top tier, straight

men to play gay roles without it negatively

impacting their careers.

This is no small

achievement and we

should be quite grateful

to have obliterated this

barrier that once

seemed insurmountable.

(Let’s not forget Tom Hanks who played a

gay man with AIDS in “Philadelphia.”)

Before we sip the champagne, we should

remember that there is still an ongoing taboo

against openly gay actors playing leading men

in Hollywood. On the morning of the Oscars,

New York Times Magazine wrote a profile on

actor Rupert Everett discussing the obstacles

he faced as a result of coming out. The article

spoke of the time he was turned down for a

major movie role because of his sexual orientation.

An MGM executive told his agent,“to

all intents and purposes, a homosexual was a

pervert in the eyes of America.”

Clearly, some glass ceilings still need to be

shattered. It should be a major priority among

LGBT activists to make sure this breakthrough

in Hollywood comes to fruition.

Equally jarring was my experience in

Charlotte, N.C., during the week of Feb. 15. My

organization, Truth Wins Out, traveled there to

counter Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

conference, where they teach people to “pray

away the gay.”

On a beautiful Saturday morning, I broke

away from our protest group to attend a seminar

at Love Won Out. It was heartbreaking to

see more young people than I ever had before

at this traveling “ex-gay” road show. There was a

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Q - L I V I N G

cardboard sign that read “Youth Track” and several

teenagers — some that appeared not

much older than 13 — were being taken inside

by their desperate and confused parents.

Outside the conference were many dedicated

local activists, such as Matt Comer, who

organized our

protest. [Ed. Note:

Matt Comer is editor

of Q-Notes.]


from Operation

Save America

greeted us. They

preached that in

1973 the Lord

turned against

America. In this

year,they said,God

was angered by

Roe v. Wade,the




removing homosexuality

from its

list of mental disorders

and Israel’s

war with the Arabs.Yeah — this is a bizarre

conclusion to draw, but one that compelled

about one dozen troglodytes to bring signs

calling us “whoremongers.”

On the other side of town, the Human

Rights Campaign held its annual North

Carolina dinner. Much like those who attended

the Academy Awards, attendees were greeted

Community members protest Focus on the

Family and Love Won Out in front of Central

Church of God in Charlotte.

Photo Credit: Matt Comer

by belligerent Bible-thumpers who shouted

Scripture into megaphones.

The dinner itself was an elegant affair that

featured an excellent motivational speech by

HRC President Joe Solmonese and a keynote

address by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC). It was

truly inspiring to

hear Sen. Hagan, who

now occupies the seat

once held by the

notorious Jesse

Helms (R-NC).

The week ended

with a hateful ad by

The Policy Council of

West Virginia, which

compares same-sex

marriage supporters

to snipers targeting

families. The more

we progress, it seems

the more our opponents

regress and

resort to shrill and

bombastic attacks.

At any given

moment, LGBT people

are portrayed as

either wonderful or wicked. While it is still

painful to be put down, I can’t help but notice

that when it counts — whether in Hollywood

or Charlotte — it is we who are increasingly

on the inside. While our opponents could win

Oscars for their dramatic protest performances,

they certainly can’t like the way the script

is unfolding. ◗

26 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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New LGBT author releases

Hard times

With everyone battling the recession

and folks losing their jobs, what better time

for a new book full of great tips and hints

for job seekers.

“Cut The Fluff For Job Seekers: Just Tell Me

What I Don’t Already Know” by openly gay J.

G. Woodward is out on shelves now.

This “how to” job hunting manual comes

at a desperately needed time in our economy

from a seasoned vocational expert. The beauty

of this book is that it “cuts the fluff, and just

tells you what you don’t already know” about

how to find a job. It gives the details of how to

be competitive in job search without wasting

your time on obvious points. The book delivers

“just the facts” needed to outperform every

other candidate while competing for the job

you want.


Don’t ask, just read

Just released is Nathaniel Frank’s passionate

and compelling new book on the

anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of

the U.S. military,“Unfriendly Fire: How the

Gay Ban Undermines the Military and

Weakens America” (St. Martin’s Press).

Drawing on decades of research on gay

service and hundreds of exclusive interviews

with policymakers, government officials,

academics and service members, the

book shows the cruel and unaffordable

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Q - L I V I N G

costs of the current gay ban.

While The Palm Center is ramping up a

campaign to send the book to members of

Congress, Frank is racking up heaps of

praise from military and LGBT leaders.

“Frank makes a compelling case not only

that there has been a shift within our society,

but that the time has come to look beyond

our preconceptions and focus on capabilities,”

says Gen. John Shalikashvili, former

Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Armed

Forces.“This book should be mandatory

reading for anyone with an interest in the

state of our society or the readiness of our


The Advocate calls the book “A bracing new

account” of the military’s gay ban with “gripping

detail” and “amazing revelation[s].”


— compiled by Q-Notes staff

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 27

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Dear Trinity,

Maybe it’s normal over time, but sex with my

partner has gown from daily and weekly to barely

once a month and we’ve only been together for

two years. I don’t like the direction our sex life is

headed. Is once every three or four weeks normal

for a gay couple (late 30s) or is there a problem

and what can be done

Sex Less,Detroit,Mich.

Dear Sex Less,

When you want to enhance the sexual

appetite of your partner, you’ve gotta

trick him into getting hungry. So, after

you first try periodically leaving him

alone for a few days and then returning

all fresh and new; taking a romantic

vacation, even for just the weekend

together; and turning the house into a

love den with a romantic dinner, candles

and music — then try, joining a gym

and looking too good to turn down;

and, lastly, allowing yourselves to have

that “huge fight” so after you can have

make-up sex or what’s been called “the

best sex we’ve ever had!” Now, pumpkin,

if all those don’t add up to a fuller plate

of sex in a few months then get him

drunk and on his knees, I mean get him

to sit down and listen to your needs!

Dearest Trinity,

I have been going out with the same girl for

three years, but she still doesn’t fulfill my expectations

of her. Am I wrong to expect her to

understand me

Expecting More, St. Louis, Mo.

Dearest Expecting More,

In most relationships someone is always

fulfilling one desire while unfulfilling other

desires. This is normal. Now to expect someone

to keep their word, to be kind, understanding

and to be as honest as they can be

is very normal, healthy and smart. However,

honey, to expect someone to predict your

thoughts, remember your needs and fulfill

your desires are… for Stone Age relationships

not modern ones. (My cartoon can be

a tell-all for a history lesson, for sure!)

Hey Trinity,

I’m 32 and dating a 23 year old. My problem

Q - L I V I N G

Tell Trinity

by Trinity . Contributing Writer

Five easy steps for turning up the

flame of your lover’s sexual appetite

is not the age difference,

but that he is

still a virgin. Help

Virgin Trap,



Hey Virgin Trap,

What you should not do is force sex, over

emphasize his virginity status or push your

own sexual desires. Yet, what you should do is

have fun, be understanding and be very

accepting of the gift that lies, I mean stands,

before you. If you want to get him “warmed

up” then, baby, be seductive, sweet and give it

time, not two years, but have patience and

wait it out a while. He may be a virgin, but

he’s not 12.

Hello Trinity,

Do you have any advice for someone who

is thinking about having a threeway sexual


One Blind Mouse, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hello One Blind Mouse,

Since you already know that threeways can

be wonderful as long as you’re all attracted to

each other then,sweetie,here are:

Trinity’s Timely Tips

For Having A Threeway

1. This is not the time to be in a hurry!

2. This is not the time to leave the windows

open (if you plan on making noise).

3. This is not the time to have a single bed.

4. This is not the time to worry about stains

on the sheets.

5. And, this is not the time to have strep

throat, a cold sore or poison ivy.

6. This, however, is the time to turn on the

fans or air conditioning.

7. This is the time to have plenty of lubrication,

contraception and hand towels.

8. This is the time to practice smart and

safe sex.

9. This is the time to make sure your roommates

are passed out, the dogs are put out

and there is background music to drown

out the noise.

10. And, lastly, this is the time to practice

unselfishness, attentiveness and multitasking.

— With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity

was host of “Spiritually Speaking,” a weekly

radio drama, and now performs globally.

info: .

Tell Trinity, P.O. Box 23861 . Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33307

Sponsored by: Provincetown Business Guild

800-637-8696 .

28 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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Not for Reproduction

Out in the Stars

by Charlene Lichtenstein . Contributing Writer

March 7-20

Venus retrogrades and upends our best laid

plans. Will our love be returned unopened or just

fall into a spam folder Hold onto your heart and

save your juice to be squeezed later.

PISCES (02.20-03.20) Hold tight to your wallet.

Guppies may be tempted to spend with reckless

abandon and waste money. You may get

caught up in an emotional tear and think that you

can buy what you want. Wait. Things are still

evolving and you must not jump to conclusions.

There are some things money just can’t buy. Give

me a few minutes and I will tell you what they are.

ARIES (03.21-04.20) Your need to reach out

and touch someone, anyone, who knows no

bounds. Proud Rams will try to press the flesh in

new circles, but may find that their best moves are

missing the mark. You are just trying too hard to

please. Give it a rest and surround yourself with

those who know you well and love you despite

everything. Hmm, how large is that group anyway

TAURUS (04.21-05.21) The rumblings of lost

loves past begin to grumble into thunder level

noise. How many hearts have you broken, either

knowingly or unknowingly, queer Bull This is

time to make amends to those who feel

aggrieved…well, at least, appear to be contrite.

Resolve not to kiss and tell, unless you want a few

of your particulars plastered on walls. Do tell!

GEMINI (05.22-06.21) Pink Twins may enjoy

some solitude when friends become a little too

nosy and a little too pointed. It may become

annoying,but you can chalk it up to their desire to

see that you are happy — no matter what. Exert

patience. After all,

they only want to

help. Of course, the

smarter move is to

find some calming alone time and just chill out.

Just don’t become frosty.

CANCER (06.22-07.23) Your shining, corporate

star needs a rest. Gay Crabs might misstep

around the hallowed corridors of power. But, that

shouldn’t mean that you blend into the background

and accept anything bosses dole out. Find

roundabout ways to push your agenda and rely

more on detail and smarts rather than lofty emotion.

They will cheer for you later.

LEO (07.24-08.23) Does your reach exceed

your grasp Proud Lions are known for sometimes

going overboard in their quest to be recognized

and admired. It is advisable for you to give

your leash some slack and find ways to calmly

wend your way through any new adventure. Too

much push and pull will tip over the boat. There

is nothing wrong with letting others steer briefly.

VIRGO (08.24-09.23) Your razzle may not dazzle

around lovers.Your timing may be off or both

of you could just be too tired to go through the

dance. So, why waste your best moves now Take

some time out and recharge your batteries, queer

Virgin.Tomorrow is another day and you will find

that your personal charisma is back at peak form.

Then stand back world.

LIBRA (09.24-10.23) You are putting a great

deal of effort into certain partnerships, perhaps

more than they deserve right now. Proud Libras

seek harmony and balance, often at any cost. But,

I suggest that you calm down and take things

slowly.You will have plenty of time to bowl them

over and get them to see things your way as the

weeks progress. Timing is everything.

SCORPIO (10.24-11.22) Try as you might, you

Q - L I V I N G

may be unable to get co-workers in line. It may

feel frustrating to you, but if you are able to see

things from their perspective, you may notice

how overbearing you can be. Why try to boss the

course now It is better to allow others to find

their own way and make their own mistakes.Yes,

you can eventually say,“I told you so.”

SAGITTARIUS (11.23-12.22) Gay Archers are

in creative overload as all their pet projects begin to

nip at their heels. Too much fun can begin to feel

like work if you can’t find a good way to prioritize.

When in doubt, allow yourself to get caught up in

the moment and have a flight of fancy. But, don’t

soar too high or your eventual descent back to earth

(and the practical things in life) will be a doozy.

CAPRICORN (12.23-01.20) Pink Caps might

be content to loll around the house, but fight the

urge. Your time will be better spent planting the

seeds of future home-based or home-improvement

projects. Also, avoid any important discussions

with relatives since you may become over

emotional. Of course, that may not be a bad thing

if it gets you what you want.

AQUARIUS (01.21-02.19) You have a way with

words and Aqueerians are apt to say much more

than they need to or want to.You speak from the

heart and can become more emotional.This out of

character behavior may confuse people and make

them cautious in any negotiations with you. So,

before you melt into a pool of your own making,

think first and speak later. Much much later. ◗

© 2008 Madam Lichtenstein, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Entertainment.

info: Visit 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.

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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 29

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Q - L I V I N G

Out and About . compiled by Q-Notes staff

Events and happenings across the Carolinas

Community Centers &


Charlotte Lesbian & Gay

Community Center


820 Hamilton St., Suite B11

Charlotte, NC 28206

Harriet Hancock Center


1108 Woodrow St.

Columbia, SC 29205

OutWilmington GLCC


Wilmington, NC 28401

The Center Project


736 8th Ave. N.

Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Triangle Community Works

Gay and Lesbian Helpline

Raleigh, NC 919-821-0055

Alternative Resources of the Triad

Community resources and referrals

Greensboro, Winston-Salem & High Point, NC .

Mar. 7 • Charlotte


The Actors’ Theatre of Charlotte presents “Blue,” a

tale from the fictional Kent, S.C., and the life of the

Clarks, an affluent African-American family who

runs the local funeral home. Ultimately, a story of

family, music and the experience of both together

in a show that wraps you up in a warm theatrical

blanket. 650 E. Stonewall St. Various times.

Various prices. 704-342-2251.

Mar. 7 • Greensboro

Suzanne Westenhoefer

For one night only, JABS Ultra Bar will turn it over

to the women. Join with friends and new faces to

hear the fearless, bold, unapologetic and “freakin’

hilarious” comedienne Suzanne Westenhoefer.

Raleigh’s DJ Awsum will be spinning the beats afterward.

JABS Ultra Bar, 1600 W. Lee St., Suite J.

For more information on tickets visit

Mar. 11 • Charlotte

Healing movie night

Join us for a “You can heal your life” movie night

with Louise Hay, metaphysical lecturer and teacher.

Hay is the author of numerous books and has assisted

millions of people in discovering and using the

full potential of their own creative powers for personal

growth and self-healing. Film is 90 minutes

and will be followed by a discussion with Janet

Jetsen Lama, certified Heal Your Life workshop

leader. Morrison Regional Library, 7015 Morrison

Blvd. 6:30 p.m. For more information email

Don’t Miss This

Mar. 14 • Greensboro

GGF Gala 2009

The Guilford Green Foundation presents its 2009 Gala and

Auction, an integrated evening of fine food, performance and

uniting community. Join community members and leaders for a

special evening benefitting the work of the Foundation. Proximity

Hotel, 704 Green Valley Rd. 6 p.m. $175.

Submit your events at

Q-Notes Online!

You can now easily submit all your events at Q-Notes Online.

Surf over to

and complete the form.

Click the submit button and our staff will receive your event.

It is that easy!

Bookmark it in your browser!

Mar. 14 • Charlotte

Within Me

One Voice Chorus presents its spring concert,

“Within Me: a celebration of civil rights in the

U.S.,” with special guest, poet Georgia Banks-

Martin. First United Methodist Church, 501

N. Tryon St. 7:30 p.m. $20.

Mar. 17 • Charlotte

Guild meeting

Join the Charlotte Business Guild as it welcomes

EqualityNC executive director Ian Palmquist,

who will present an overview of the state of equality

in North Carolina. Palmquist will also offer an

overview of this year’s critical pieces of legislation.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. McDowell St. 5:30 p.m. $15

members/$25 guests and non-members ($5 added for

members without reservations).

Mar. 24 • Raleigh

Day of Action

Join EqualityNC and its supporters for their annual

Lobby Day at the N.C. Legislature. Talk to your state

senators and representatives about the issues and legislation

that matter to you and your community. N.C.

Legislative Building, 16 W. Jones St. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Apr. 2-5 • Charlotte

Film Festival

The Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte

has rescheduled the Film Festival, previously

planned for the end of January. Apr. 2, opening

night gala; Apr. 3, audience votes on favorite features

and shorts; Apr. 4, awards ceremony. ◗

info: Announce your community event in Out & About.


30 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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by Robbi Cohn . Contributing Writer

Yin and Yang

I am a subscriber to Parabola Magazine.I

recently read an article by Patrick Laude published

in summer 2008. Laude offered an interesting

perspective on the question of how we, as

trans individuals, define ourselves and how we

are defined by the rest of the world. Is there really

a rigid male/female dichotomy Are we forever

bound solely by binaries How do we transcend

this obsession for categorization and labels

Ontology, the philosophy of what it means to

be, suggests that the instant the primordial one

split into two represents the beginning of duality:

question and answer, dark and light, on and

off, male and female. The myriad possibilities of

how existence manifests often appears paradoxical.

Is there any such thing as an absolute Do

we use the inherent opposites of dualism as a

means for definition Or, is existence more

accurately apprehended through the lens of infinite

possibilities Maybe the paradox is that the

absolute, the dual and the infinite coexist.

Dualities define the upper and lower limits

of whatever we are describing. For example, the

duality of dark and light implies complete dark

at one end and complete light at the other, were

such a thing possible. Degrees in between which

manifest a combination of light and dark are

what we generally experience. Same thing with

black and white: they represent pure, radiant

white and total inky black.Yet, there is much in

between — all those shades of gray. Our light

Q - L I V I N G

dimmers show us that there is

an alternative to just “on and

off ” in the real world.

In the Parabola piece, Laude

writes of our understanding of

the yin-yang icon,“If yin and

yang are in constant motion and

alternation in this world, and if yin is in yang,

and yang in yin, as illustrated by the black and

white disk line symbol, it is because Reality

both transcends and comprehends all dualities.”

By way of analogy, might we not superimpose

this concept of qualified duality upon our

understanding of gender To be sure, the implications

are paradoxical. Unity, duality and infinity

all seem to coexist; they simultaneously imply

and deny the other. How does this qualified

binary model work for gender If, as Laude suggests,

yin is within yang, and yang within yin,

then does it also not follow that male exists within

female, and that female exists within male

Customary binary division of the sexes often

breaks down; each may be infused in the other;

or with each other. Reality often undercuts theory.

It may be that a binary model, by itself, is

inadequate for comprehending how people selfperceive

their gender. Many individuals appear

to manifest yin within yang, or yang within yin

— male within female, or female within male.

Others, perhaps more, are comfortable with a

more traditional understanding of gender.

It is human nature to label and categorize;

it’s part of our quest for knowledge.Actions of

naming and sorting grant us either some kind

of control or some kind of protection, or both,

over what it is we have defined. Labels, however,

have a dual nature. They are all too convenient,

at best, and incitefully dangerous, at worst.

Attempts to reduce human nature and the myriad

modalities of expression to categories and

labels are pathways down the proverbial slippery

slope. Unless and until individuals and

societies accept the coexistence of multifaceted

ways of self-perceiving gender, the jeopardy of

sliding down that slope will always remain.

Furthermore, if we accept the kind of divisiveness

labeling breeds, we not only allow the

rest of the world to define and thereby judge

us, but we give them the means with which to

attack us. The current status of the American

Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and

Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (IV) is a

perfect case in point. If gender identity disorder

is accepted as a valid diagnosis, an incorrect

medical determination will have been

made that implies gender diversity is a form

of mental illness. Transphobic organizations

are all too ready to use weapons like this

against us (they already are).

Laude said that Reality both transcends

and comprehends all dualities. So it is with

yin and yang, white and black, light and dark,

male and female, straight and gay, transgender

and transsexual. However we manifest gender

is solely ours to determine. We may embrace a

conventional male/female binary, or believe

that our expression is something different. Or,

that we are either all non-gendered or omnigendered.

Or, none of the above.

With a paradox like yin and yang, it all

depends upon the individual. ◗

— Comments and corrections can be sent to To contact Robbi Cohn,


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MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes 31

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32 MARCH 7 . 2009 • QNotes

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