April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 1
2 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
April 2-15, 2021
Vol 35 No 25
contributors this issue
Rev. Emily Hartner, Kendra R. Johnson,
L’Monique King, Jack Kirven,
Natasha Morehouse, Julianna Peres,
Gregg Shapiro, Trinity
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a local news partner of
The Charlotte Observer
inside this issue
10 Transgender Student
Athletes Unfairly Benched
by House Bills
6 Providing Safety for
6 Transgender Assistant
Secretary for Health
7 SAGE Central North
Carolina to Utilize CARES
7 Time Out Youth Searching
for New Executive Director
12 Tell Trinity
14 Screen Savor: French Kiss
8 HIV & COVID
11 The Largest LGBTQ Sports
13 No Pain, No Gain? No Way!
15 Our People: Roger
5 Five Years Later... And
We’re Still Fighting
13 Feeling Alive With Exercise
For event listings, visit
Roger J. Howard
Get to know the Charlotte local and
his involvement with Stonewall Sports
Charlotte. Howard graduated from
North Carolina State and is a new
construction property manager.
Secretary for Health
Dr. Levine is the first openly
transgender person to become a
federal official that has been confirmed
by the Senate. She will be a strong
advocate for LGBTQ health care.
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April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 3
4 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
Five Years Later… And We’re Still Fighting
BY KENDRA R. JOHNSON, EQUALITY NORTH CAROLINA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
March 23 marked a still
that I’m sure many North
Carolinians would like to
forget: it had officially been
five years since House Bill 2
(HB 2) was signed into law.
Although HB2 — later HB
142 — has since been partially
repealed, here in North
Carolina and all across to
the south and midwest,
advocates are still fighting
horrible battles against legislated
passing is a grim milestone
not only because of what it
meant for North Carolina,
but for the larger political
backlash against trans rights
that we’ve seen all across
America in the years since.
Five years ago, the N.C.
General Assembly passed
the Public Facilities Privacy
& Security Act, commonly
known as House Bill 2,
an extreme attack on this
state’s trans and gendernonconforming
The bill banned
trans people from using
the restroom that aligned
with their gender identity,
invalidated local LGBTQinclusive
protects and prohibited the passage of
new local nondiscrimination ordinances.
Advocates marshaled their strength to
overcome the bill, organizing and taking to
the streets to fight against the law. Many
major corporations and states boycotted
the state, causing devastating economic
losses for North Carolina’s economy.
Eventually, the pressure from advocates
and major corporations forced the
General Assembly to change its tune. In
2017, the state legislature passed House
Bill 142, a bill which repealed some of
HB2’s most notorious provisions, but
which kept in place many of the worst
parts of the bill, including exclusively
bestowing power to regulate restrooms
on the NCGA. HB142 also kept some other
The battle continues against transphobic legislation in the United States. (Photo Credit: ink drop via Adobe Stock)
provisions from HB2 but put a time limit
on them, such as the ban on passing new
local nondiscrimination protections until
Since the ban on LGBTQ-inclusive
nondiscrimination ordinances expired last
December, we’ve been leading a campaign
called #NCIsReady alongside Campaign for
Southern Equality and a coalition of other
organizations. Since then, we’ve seen five
cities and one county pass LGBTQ protections,
with more on the way.
Unfortunately, outside of North Carolina
a wave of transphobic legislation has swept
the country, primarily targeting trans and
gender-nonconforming youth. At the time of
this article’s production, over 80 anti-trans
bills have been introduced in states across
America this legislative session.
Some states have introduced laws that
outlaw providing gender-affirming care for
minors, including puberty blockers, which
have no permanent effects and simply delay
the onset of puberty. Moreover, many
of these laws would give criminal penalties
to doctors who provide trans-affirming
care for minors. All of these bills are dangerous,
harmful and ultimately rooted in
fear and misinformation.
State legislators in many states have
also introduced laws that would restrict
trans athletes from competing in sports
programs that align with their gender
identity. These bills exclude trans kids
from the benefits of sports, like a supportive
community, camaraderie and
greater physical fitness. Instead, it singles
them out, isolating already vulnerable
kids by treating them with
disrespect. Research has
found that when trans
students are included in
sports, they have higher
self-esteem, better grades
and feel safer. These bills
have passed in Mississippi
and in South Dakota.
Five years after HB2,
we’re still entrenched in
the struggle for equity and
justice for the transgender
community. But we believe
that we can prevail over
these powerful forces that
have done so much harm to
the most vulnerable members
of our communities.
That is why, here at
Equality NC, we’re deeply
committed to protecting
and uplifting trans rights
and trans people at all levels.
We chose to highlight
four powerful trans politicians
for Women’s History
Month — Andrea Jenkins,
Stephanie Byers, Sarah
McBride and Kim Coco
Iwamoto — who have
made powerful contributions
to American culture.
And we’re dedicated to
helping advance local
nondiscrimination ordinances, which are
now possible again after the sunset of
HB142, and fighting for a world where
the trans community is protected at
every level of government.
You can help too. You can go to
NCIsReady.org and contact your local
elected officials about the importance
of nondiscrimination. You can raise your
voice against transphobic bills, whether
they’re here or in another state. And
finally, you can contact your elected officials
in the NC General Assembly, via our
Advocacy Day on March 30.
We may still be fighting the same
battles of five years ago on a greater scale,
but we firmly believe that justice, liberation
and compassion will win in the end. : :
April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 5
Providing Safety for Transgender Women of Color
The Lionel Lee Jr. Center for Wellness (LLCWellness) was founded by Rev. Sonja Lee
in 2006. Since it was created, LLCWellness has worked hard to educate Charlotteans on
mental health, community outreach and methods for providing basic needs assistance.
The State of Emergency (SOE) program was formed in collaboration with
LLCWellness by owner of the Poor No More Store, Jermaine Nakia Lee, in 2019. SOE
is co-led by the Transwomen of Color advisory team, which meets both online and inperson
to assess the needs of transgender women of color in Charlotte. This program
is funded in part by the United Way of Central Carolinas Unite Charlotte grant and
donations from the community.
“The grant is geared towards creating a safer environment for transgender women
of color through education, visibility and advocacy,” Lee explains. “Unite Charlotte
reaches out to grassroots organizations typically overlooked for funding, and The
United Way of Central Carolinas is extremely helpful providing support throughout the
The State of Emergency program has issued an all-call
Another goal of SOE is to create an emergency assistance fund that supports transwomen
of color in critical situations. The funds will be used to secure basic needs such
for donations. (Photo Credit: ink drop via Adobe Stock)
as food, clothing, medications, emergency lodging, security deposits for utilities or to offset the costs of securing permanent housing.
Research was conducted by HRC, which found that at least forty-four gender expansive individuals were violently killed in 2020
“Data about violence against transgender women can be difficult to find,” says Lee, “because it is often not recorded as being perpetuated
against women but, rather, against ‘men.’”
Most of the transgender and non-binary persons murdered in 2020 were people of color and, even more predominantly, women of color.
Visibility is a cornerstone of the State of Emergency program. Says Lee: “People are not responsive if they don’t see you, if they don’t hear you.”
To further emphasize visibility, SOE is creating a website and a magazine that will feature transgender women of color. These resources
will be vastly celebratory, introducing women who have made strides for the LGBTQ and POC communities. Tremendous support in editing
and designing these developments has made the goals of SOE much more tangible, according to Rev. Lee. The website and magazine are
in the planning and designing stage, but the projected release date is sometime in mid-2021.
To donate to SOE, go to the Lionel Lee Jr. Wellness Center website (llcwellness.org), pay via Paypal and indicate in the notes that
the funds are meant for the SOE program. Donations may also be sent via CashApp @$llcwellness2 or sent directly to the Lionel Lee Jr.
Wellness Center at P.O. Box 242592, Charlotte, NC 28224.
Rev. Lee acknowledges the allies who have stepped up to aid the effort, confirming how integral they are to the process. “Their participation
is greatly appreciated and incredibly necessary. Support is needed from the entire community, [from] both allies and our LGBTQ
community to step up and answer this call to action.” : :
— Julianna Peres
Transgender Assistant Secretary for Health Appointed
On March 26, Dr. Rachel Levine was appointed the Assistant Secretary for Health
in the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to this position,
Dr. Levine held the title of Secretary within the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
This national station means that Dr. Levine is the first openly transgender person to
become a federal official that has been confirmed by the Senate.
Levine’s confirmation was, as expected, almost exclusively along party lines, although
two non-Democratic party members did vote to confirm. Moderate Senators
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted in her favor.
Since the announcement of the Senate’s decision (52-48 votes in Levine’s favor),
there has been celebration as well as condemnation from the opposing political
parties. Levine’s official Twitter account has been bombarded with messages following
her Jan. 19 announcement that she would be stepping down as Pennsylvania’s
Dr. Rachel Levine will advocate for LGBTQ health care.
(Photo Credit: Triblive.com)
6 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
These messages have been extremely mixed in tone, but not so in subject matter.
Most of the Tweets regarding Levine’s work during COVID-19 are positive, one
even claiming that Levine has been “a fierce warrior in the battle against COVID-19 for
Pennsylvanians” (bit.ly/3u73p2B). The other Tweets have taken aim at Levine’s appearance or gender identity rather than her career. Many
Tweets use Levine’s dead (prior to transitioning) name, Richard, or simply disrespect her pronouns and gender identity such as the Tweet “she
is a man” (bit.ly/3w9wyfp). Levine has not engaged with these negative comments.
Upon nominating Levine for Assistant Secretary for Health in January of this year, President Biden said she “will bring the steady leadership
and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender
identity or disability – and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond” (wapo.st/3rteQ2D).
The fact that Levine is an openly transgender individual has created tension between members of the Senate. One such federal official
is Sen. Rand Paul, who questioned Levine on her support of minors in their decisions to transition via hormone blockers or gender-confirming
surgery. Levine stated that she would be willing to further discuss her views on transgender medicine as it is “a very complex and
nuanced field” (bit.ly/3sAmUQO).
During her time as Pennsylvania’s Physician General, Levine was responsible for providing aid to opioid users as well as dealing with the
COVID-19 pandemic. Levine utilized both of these issues as a launching pad into discussing equity within the American health care system.
She identifies as Jewish and has been a strong advocate for all people of color before, as well as during, the pandemic. “COVID-19
has shown us the tip of the iceberg of the lack of health equity,” Levine explained. “Socioeconomic status, food security, affordable
housing, access to childcare and healthcare, systemic racism and discrimination all contribute to the disparities in COVID-19 and other
Levine has worked hard to prove herself as an academic while vying for her undergraduate degree at Harvard and her medical degree
at Tulane University School of Medicine. She feels she has also had to take extra steps to prove herself as an employee during her residency
at Mount Sinai Medical Center and again during her teaching position at Pennsylvania State Hershey Medical Center.
She has made it clear that she will continue to pursue justice for all throughout the remainder of her career. Also serving as a board
member of Equality Pennsylvania, Levine has no qualms with sharing her passionate support for the LGBTQ community. : :
— Julianna Peres
AFTER WORK SOCIAL
Wednesday, April 7 from 6 p.m. to 9
p.m. the Queer Society Charlotte will
be hosting a meet and greet at the
Resident Culture Brewing Company. A
live performance to take place by drag
artist, Roxanne Debri. There will be a
special for Society members to receive
$1 off draughts during the event.
RSVPs are required.
CHILDREN’S SERIES RELEASED
“Perfectly Me” by Swedish filmmaker
Camilla Gisslow showcases several
transgender youths as they celebrate
who they are in all facets of life. The
series includes Perfectly Linus, Perfectly
Bella, and Perfectly Charlie. Gisslow herself
has a transgender son and wrote
these books for children to have the opportunity
to be able to see themselves
reflected in literature. These books are
available for purchase on Amazon and
Barnes and Noble.
VICTORY INSTITUTE OFFERING
Offered to LGBTQ people of color, the
purpose of this fellowship is to strength
those who aim to become policymakers
and movement leaders in the
near future. This program requires that
recipients are available for Canditate &
Campaign Traning from Oct. 14 to Oct.
17. This training will train Fellows in
campaign-related scenarios and situations.
Future participants of the Victory
Institute Fellowship have become
involved in city council and the House
of Representatives. Applications are
due April 11.
CAMPUS PRIDE MINI-GRANT
A donation from HBO Max has allowed
for $600 to be offered to students
across the nation who are working
towards social reform. Grassroots
organizations and individual activists
should apply with a specific goal
in mind and a detailed plan for fund
allocation. The focus of these should
be the LGBTQ and POC communities.
Activists between the ages of 18 and 26
will receive priority consideration.
VATICAN PUBLISHES DECREE AGAINST
One of the biggest questions concerning
the Vatican’s decree is about Pope
Francis’ 2013 statement that the Catholic
church should not judge those who
are LGBTQ. According to the National
Catholic Reporter, this Decree is especially
harmful to those in extremely
Catholic households who have since
been forced to remain in the closet
due to fear of acceptance by family and
peers. In Greensboro, LGBTQ Catholics
have begun questioning their stance on
the Catholic church and its presence in
North Carolina (bit.ly/3d7LF05).
— Compiled by Julianna Peres
SAGE Central North Carolina
to Utilize CARES Act Funds
SAGE Central North Carolina (SAGE) is offering a grant for the betterment of
LGBTQ seniors in Wake County. Doled out via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and
Economic Security (CARES) Act the funds will be allocated to those in need of economic
aid. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the CARES Act
is being offered to LGBTQ caregivers and care recipients who have been both directly
and indirectly affected by COVID-19.
To apply for these grants, either the healthcare worker or the individual receiving
assistance must identify as LGBTQ. To qualify, the grantee must be over 18 years of
age and providing aid to an adult who is over the age of 60. The only exceptions to
these regulations are those with dementia or those with severe disabilities.
SAGE’s announcement also indicates that those who do not reside in Wake County
may be eligible for some opportunities, which would include support groups and
LGBTQ elder trainings. Through the CARES Act grant itself, recipients will be afforded
maintenance of their homes, healthcare supplies and meal delivery.
This grant will be especially impactful for those living in the more rural areas of
Wake County. COVID-19 has affected residents in the secluded areas of North Carolina
extensively over the past several months.
launched a campaign
These grants will
be absolutely vital
in maintaining the
health of elder
Wake County locals
and beyond. The
Organization is accepting grant applications to aid LGBTQ elders. deadline for grant
(Photo Credit: scaliger via Adobe Stock)
applications is the
end of September.
For questions regarding the CARES grant, or to apply, contact Sharon Kilpatrick
at firstname.lastname@example.org. : :
— Julianna Peres
Time Out Youth Searching
for New Executive Director
Time Out Youth (TOY) is currently accepting applications for a new Executive
Director (ED). Applicants will be reviewed by the Kevin Chase Executive Search Group.
The new ED will be instrumental in the allocation of funds to TOY clientele and oversee
a team of interns
and a staff of nine
and staffers will
work in conjunction
with the ED in all
events, as well as donation
the team will work
LGBTQ youth in
need to help provide
assistance with basic
Time Out Youth is looking for a LGBTQ-sensitive applicant
(Photo Credit: mvcaspel via Adobe Stock)
with the TOY Recruitment Profile, applicants must have five years of senior management
experience, a background in fundraising and an in-depth understanding of budgeting.
In addition to those qualifications, potential candidates should be capable of
connecting with LGBTQ individuals on a professional level and in a personable manner.
Not only should a potential applicant be knowledgeable of all LGBTQ identities,
but they should also have a clear understanding of health and wellness programs
provided by TOY.
The current Interim Executive Director, O’Neal Atkinson, has been a leader for
improving social awareness of the LGBTQ community. His background in social work
has been a pivotal point of his work with TOY. Atkinson recently spoke about LGBTQ
youth who have found themselves homeless or in stressful home situations because
of COVID-19 restrictions (https://bit.ly/3r1FjV0).
During the pandemic, TOY began offering mental health counseling online.
Expanding that aspect of the organiation’s services will be another part of the
new ED’s responsibilities.
To apply, send an email to: email@example.com. : :
— Julianna Peres
April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 7
HIV & COVID-19
Isolation Created by One Virus Causes the Spread of Another
BY L’MONIQUE KING |QNOTES STAFF WRITER
Those of us who were of age in the
1980s remember all too well how
a devastating virus ravaged the
gay community. On June 5, 1981, the
U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC)
published an article describing cases of
Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP),
a rare lung infection found in five unacquainted
young white gay men in Los
Angeles, all of them previously healthy.
The CDC’s Dr. Wayne Shandera,
immunologist Dr. Michael Gottlieb and
their colleagues reported that the five
young men had other unusual infections
as well. The infections, they explained,
were indicators of weakened
By the time the article was published
in the CDC’s Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR),
two of the young men (believed to be
symptomatic between October 1980 –
May 1981) had already died. The infection
they died from shortly became
known as Acquired Immune Deficiency
After nearly two decades of initial
research and development (which
continues today), intervention and
prevention methods and medication
that has evolved from those combined
efforts, AIDS is now an acronym rarely
heard or utilized.
In 2021, after millions of AIDS-related
deaths in the past and vast medical
advances, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency
Virus) continues to infect people, but far
fewer cases grow to full-blown AIDS.
AIDS occurs when an HIV positive
individual has gone without proper
treatment and care. Both HIV and AIDS
damage an individual’s immune system,
interfering with the body’s ability to fight
off infection and disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the
progression from untreated HIV to AIDS
can take eight to 10 years. Along the way,
however, the body’s ability to fight off infection
and disease can be compromised
as HIV destroys CD4 cells (also known as
T cells and white blood cells) that greatly
assist in fighting disease. It becomes
more likely that an infected person
As COVID-19 numbers rose, so did HIV. Some organizations have partnered with COVID testing teams to also
provide HIV testing. (Photo Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection via VICE.com)
would develop opportunistic infections
and cancers, along with other diseases
that would generally not appear in a
person with a healthy immune system.
The fewer CD4 cells you have, the weaker
your immune system becomes.
It is a sexually transmitted infection
(STI) and can also be spread by contact
with infected blood or from mother
to child during pregnancy, childbirth
These days, the newest and most recent
viral culprit we hear so much about
isn’t HIV, it’s COVID-19.
Unlike HIV, COVID-19 isn’t defined as
a sexually transmitted infection, although
it can be passed from one person to
another through saliva during a kiss ,and
it has been found in semen of men who
have tested positive for COVID-19.
Predominantly, it is believed to be
transmitted through respiratory droplets
produced when an infected person
coughs or sneezes, creating a scenario
that makes the possibility of infection
even more frightening.
Although most people who have
COVID-19 have mild symptoms, it can
also cause severe illness and even death.
Despite the massive rollout of multiple
vaccines and the decline of deaths in
recent months, it’s important to note
2.76 million people have died globally
and nearly 550,000 of those individuals
perished here in the United States.
In the wake of all this, many people
have wondered how one virus impacts
the other when it comes to transmission,
infection rates and care.
With so much focus on COVID-19,
health care professionals and at-risk community
members are wondering if campaigns
like “Getting to Zero” and “Ending
the Epidemic of HIV” will lose traction in
the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like most things, there’s more than
one side to this nuanced issue; particularly
since those with weakened immune
systems are at greater risk for contracting
COVID-19. That being said,
healthcare organizations have had to
prioritize staffing and funding to keep
up with rising numbers in HIV and
COVID-19 while looking at and utilizing
innovative methods in meeting the
needs and demands HIV prevention
Some organizations, like The
PowerHouse Project (the intervention
and prevention division of Quality
Comprehensive Health Services), have
partnered with COVID-19 testing teams
(who made themselves available to
disadvantaged at risk communities) to
continue to provide free HIV testing
and referral resources.
This was especially necessary during
a time of business shutdowns and
state lockdowns, which often prevented
people from leaving their homes
to access services that may not have
been considered essential.
Larger organizations like the
Mecklenburg County Health
Department rolled out programs that
allowed residents to receive free HIV
home testing kits.
Others took to social media platfor
ms to bolster messages of safe-sex practices,
HIV testing and ways of accessing
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a
course of HIV drugs (generally one daily
pill) taken by HIV-negative people to
prevent HIV infection.
On March 25, the NC AIDS Action
Network (NCAAN) hosted a webinar: HIV
and the COVID Vaccine. NCAAN’s Health
Access Coordinator, J. Donte Prayer, discussed
the connection of the two viruses
and COVID-19’s impact on HIV.
“Even [with] COVID-19, we still need to
ensure there is adequate and continuous
awareness around HIV and HIV-impacted
communities. Health care agencies have
been so tapped into COVID testing and
vaccine administering that HIV prevention
has somehow been lost in the
fervor, which is odd because HIV is often
see next page u
8 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
The long-term isolation due to COVID-19 has increased desires to go out and socialize.
(Photo Credit: Maridav via Adobe Stock)
brought up in conversation by people
comparing COVID-19 with HIV.”
The comparisons Prayer spoke of
are often discussions on disparities. To
date, HIV impacts the Black gay and/or
Black men who have sex with men communities
more than any other. Like so
many other health conditions, the Black
community is often hit hardest, with HIV
carrying a stigma deeply rooted within
families and faith-based communities.
Adding insight to the issue of the
relationship between COVID-19 and HIV
is Patrice Marsh, a prevention case manager
for RAIN (Regional AIDS Inter-faith
Network). RAIN is an intervention and
prevention organization that aims to empower
persons living with HIV and those
at risk to be healthy and stigma-free.
Marsh confirms COVID-19’s impact on
HIV has directly resonated with communities
and health organizations. As a result
of COVID-19, her clients now have access
to software like Docusign, enabling them
to sign forms and other documents from
their homes. Marsh continues to take all
necessary precautions in accompanying
clients to initial clinic visits, but subsequent
visits, including mental health
appointments are held virtually.
The same is true for many organizations
in the wake of COVID-19. Marsh
believes this has “helped a lot of people
with the uncertainty, stress and anxiety”
the pandemic has produced.
While noting an uptick in PrEP enrollments
(from about May to November
2020), of particular concern was how
popular sex parties have become.
“[With] people being confined to their
homes, and limited social interaction, a
lot of single people who would normally
be dating [in person] and going out,
COVID sex parties have become popular,”
“Sex parties aren’t new, but what is
new is the desire to get out of the house
and have some social contact. As a result
we’ve seen an uptick in [HIV] positives.
So we started doing live streams, talking
about a little bit of everything – but primarily
to address this.”
While it is regrettable, COVID-19 precautions
are all too often being dismissed
and safer sex practices sometimes go
ignored by those using PrEP; there’s
no question that health workers and
members of the community are working
diligently to quell the spread of COVID-19
and HIV alike.
Clearly, it’s important to remain
vigilant. By closing the gaps in health
care disparities through empathy, access
and education, we can hope for a future
where both viruses will remain controlled
and eventually eradicated. : :
April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 9
Transgender Student Athletes
Unfairly Benched by House Bills
Multiple States Introduce Legislation Impacting Trans Participation in Sports
BY JULIANNA PERES | QNOTES STAFF WRITER
More than 30 states have passed
bills relating to the “Save Women’s
Sports Act,” which would prohibit
transgender women from participating
in women’s sporting events. These bills
are targeting middle and high school
students across the United States, claiming
the exclusions will even the playing
field by keeping “men” from playing in
The criteria for students seeking to enroll
in sports will be as follows, according
to state representative Mark Brody (R-NC),
“In order to decide who is or isn’t a female,
we put a bright-line test, that says whatever
you were born biologically. Were you
an XX or an XY? That’s the test. It’s really as
simple as that.” (bit.ly/3rqGiyb).
According to the Ohio House of
Representatives, the introduction of
the Save Women’s Sport Act (House
Bill 527), would serve to protect female
athletes by creating regulations that
“biological males cannot play on female
During the press conference for HB
527, Ohio State Representative Reggie
Stolzfus was asked if he believed in
referring to transgender individuals with
their preferred pronouns. He refused to
provide an answer.
The bill goes on to claim that the
“Save Women’s Sports Act” also [specify]
biological men who identify as a female
cannot be categorized as a woman [in
order] to compete against women in
South Carolina, Kansas and Mississippi
are some of the other states that have
recently passed similar bills regarding
women’s sports. In Mississippi, Governor
Tate Reeves has publicly endorsed law
SB 2536, which will not allow for any
transgender participants in sporting
events. The law’s guidelines include using
students’ dead names (generally prior
to transitioning names), inappropriate
pronouns and enforcing they wear clothing
that is not gender-confirming (bit.
House Bill 1217, as enacted by South
Dakota, opens their legislative findings
with the determination that there is no
gray area or fluidity within the gender
binary (bit.ly/3rmYmJn). This bill states
that “one is either male or female,” allowing
no room for gender expansive
individuals, especially those who identify
as intersex, genderfluid or gender noncomforming,
in addition to those who
identify as transgender.
The bill goes on to cite Emma
Hilton, a developmental biologist, on
her piece titled “Transgender Women
in the Female Category of Sport:
24 Perspectives on Testosterone
Suppression and Performance
Advantage, Sports 25 Med” (2020). This
study details the assertion that transgender
women create situations for both
female and male sports teams that are
unfair to all participating parties and is
entirely based on biological factors, rather
than social factors and taking physical
fitness and cardiovascular endurance
into account without any in-field studies
to be cited.
Hilton’s findings state that children
display different athletic abilities as they
develop into puberty, but does not interact
with transgender or otherwise gender
expansive youths throughout the study.
The scientific aspects of this research are
not conducive with outliers such as cisgender
women who are larger and faster
than their male competitors; for example,
Kerri Walsh Jennings, Blanka Vlasic or
Filed on March 22, North Carolina’s
House Bill 358 makes the false claim that
The bills passed have transphobic guidelines used to determine whether or not a student is
allowed to play on a certain team. (Photo Credit: Orlando Florin Rosue via Adobe Stock)
School can be a challenging time for transgender students and these bills will not help.
(Photo Credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection via VICE.com)
10 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
cisgender women in high school are no
longer able to access scholarships or
achieve in athletics because transgender
women are allowed to participate in
Brody made his intentions with HB
358 clear, “I do not want to wait until biological
females are pushed out of female
sports.” These intentions were widely
backed by several Republican representatives
who voiced fears that cisgender
women in sports would become obsolete
if transgender women were included in
Several North Carolina based
organizations have come out publicly
against the bill, including Equality NC,
Transcend Charlotte and Time Out
LGBTQ youth have taken to social
media, as well, to protest the “Save
Women’s Sports Act.” Transgender
youth have been speaking out about the
obstacles they face attending middle
and high school, regardless of sports or
athletics. Several have shared that the
class they are most hesitant to attend is
indeed Physical Education, because of the
gendered assertions that P.E. teachers
Public supporters of HB 358 are
also showing up on Facebook, Instagram
In the comment section of the
Facebook page for WCNC-TV Charlotte,
response to their news report on HB 358
confirms there are several individuals
who feel that transgender youth are
not to be admitted into any existing
One person wrote, “I have no issue
with how a person identifies. I do, however,
have a huge problem with guys competing
in girls’ events. Give the people
who identify with another sex their own
sporting group,” (bit.ly/3sqSIre).
This rhetoric is almost identical to
that of those who strongly supported HB
2, instead suggesting that transgender
individuals have “their own bathroom”
without offering any suggestions as to
funding for such restrooms. : :
The Largest LGBTQ Sports Organization
in the Carolinas
Stonewall Sports Charlotte Offers Judgment-Free Team Sports and Events
BY NATASHA MOREHOUSE | QNOTES STAFF WRITER
For many people, when they were younger,
gym class was a miserable time full of overcompetitive
peers and an unwelcoming
atmosphere. Stonewall Sports Charlotte is the
antithesis of this experience. The LGBTQ (and
allies) organization offers an array of low-impact
sports and players of any skill level are able to
join. They believe that everyone should have the
ability to feel comfortable playing an organized
sport and they have a zero-tolerance policy for
bullying. Team sports are a great way to stay active
and meet new people in the community.
There are a range of sports to choose from
and there is sure to be something for everyone.
Stonewall Sports Charlotte offers bowling, cornhole,
dodgeball, kickball, softball, indoor volleyball
and sand volleyball. Registration for these teams
is currently on hold due to COVID-19. When it
reopens, When it reopens, registration will range
from $25 to $40, which will include a league shirt.
For those interested in virtual games,
Stonewall Sports Charlotte has a variety of
esports teams, including Mario Kart, Rocket
League and Fortnite. They also offer a casual
weekly Jackbox game night, in which participants only
need a web-enabled device to play. This allows people to
social-distance while still being active in the community.
Stonewall Sports Charlotte has a variety of sports leagues to join.
(Photo Credit: Stonewall Sports Charlotte)
Registration for these events is currently free and can be
done at stonewallcharlotte.org/esports. Those interested
are encouraged to join the Discord server to communicate
with fellow members.
Stonewall Sports Charlotte also puts a heavy
emphasis on community and hosts charity
events throughout the year. Since forming in
2014, they have donated over $150,000 to charities
in the Charlotte region. These range from
youth services to pet charities to counseling
centers and more. In addition to this, they have
distributed over 8,000 blankets and 200 bagged
lunches to the homeless community. Even if
someone is not a member of any of the sports
teams, they are still welcome to volunteer in the
community with Stonewall Sports Charlotte.
Stonewall Sports organizations are located all
across the United States. For those who do not
live in Charlotte, go to stonewallsports.leagueapps.com
to see all leagues or even start a new
one. Jason Boone, the founder of Stonewall
Sports Charlotte, was inspired to create this division
after his friend introduced him to Stonewall
Sports Raleigh. It began as a kickball league
with 90 people and has grown to an average of
1,600 players per year. Boone states, “No matter
your background. No matter, well, anything,
Stonewall is a place where you can meet new
friends and have fun.”
To learn more about Stonewall Sports Charlotte, go to
stonewallcharlotte.org. : :
April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 11
Leaving On a Jet Plane,
Don’t Know When…
My woman and I broke up. It got so sour
that we ended up in court. Now she’s dishing
my name all over town. How do I stay where I
am ‘til all the gossip stops?
Yours truly, Broken Hearted, Provincetown, MA
Hello Broken Hearted,
First, lets start by practicing forgiveness.
Forgiveness is key to everything.
Second, lets start practicing good selfesteem.
Loving yourself makes everything
secondary. And lastly, lets start
When my name
goes bad all over
town, I take a vacation
until the gossip dies
is also very popular in
Hollywood and D.C.
time heals everything!
Good luck, Trinity
Many years back you
used to always mention
Bill Goldberg of
BY TRINITY | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
the WCW (World Championship Wrestling).
I finally had a look at him. He’s a great
looking older man, but I don’t see a halo
around him. Don’t you think you were obsessing?
Don’t you think you should leave
him alone? He’s already in a relationship.
Yours, Practical, Dallas, TX
I’m sorry you couldn’t see the halo.
Maybe you need glasses. I see the halo
every time I look at his big, muscular...
And yes, I know he’s involved. I have
had my lawyers working
on it for years.
Please, let me, the
world around you
and yourself have
Maybe he’s not monogamous.
is. Now pumpkin,
sing along with me,
“Goin’ to the chapel
and I’m gonna get maa-a-ried.
Goin’ to the
chapel of love.”
I’m an adult, professional, masculine
and gay. Wearing fine lingerie, silk, satin,
nylon and lace are a great turn on for me.
I wear lace panties under my business suits
and Levi’s. I don’t consider myself a drag
queen or a member of the trans community.
Are there any groups or societies of gay men
who think as I do?
Yours, Masculine Panties, Minneapolis, MN
Dear Masculine Panties,
The internet is full of groups that
will fit your needs. This feeling or fetish
crosses all straight, bisexual, trans and
gay lines. So if you like the sensual feeling
of lingerie, the soft, sliding essence of silk
or the lusty designs of lace then enjoy it
for what it is. Because it’s your God-given
gift to express your femininity. So, you go,
honey, and be proud!
A while back you did a top ten tips on
how to scan someone’s home to tell if they’re
not gay. I thought it was great but what
about how to tell if they ARE gay?
Sincerely, Clueless, Atlanta, GA
Dearest Gay Clueless,
Sorry, I didn’t mean to leave anyone
out. This is something everyone should
know. So baby, here are:
Trinity’s Undercover Tips For Telling If Someone Is Gay
By Searching For Clues In Their Home
1. Living room: no oversized pool table, flashing beer signs or wall-to-wall wood paneling. Gay!
2. Kitchen: no rusty Teflon pots, generic saltine crackers or dead floral arrangements. Gay!
3. Bedroom: no unmatched (period) furniture, stained bedspreads or Rockwell knockoffs. Gay!
4. Bathroom: no towels with an odor, toilet seats with a crack or tacky seashells everywhere. Gay!
5. Video Collection: no “Baseball’s Greatest Hits,” “Habits of an Orangutan” or “Biography
presents Dr. Laura Schlesinger.” Gay!
6. Wall Decor: rainbow-anything, Herb Ritts or Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Gay. (Thank God!)
7. The bar: does not have Stouts or Pilsners, but does have the finest of Vodkas. Gay!
8. Answering machine: uses phrases like; “Whatever your pleasure. Life can’t be measured.
But let’s first see your treasures!” Definitely gay!
9. Cutlery drawer: the finest of cutlery, from the most renowned designers, with a separate
drawer for matching cloth napkins. Gay!
10. Lastly: no signs of anything with John Wayne mounted on a horse, singing a county version
of the “Republican National Anthem.” Then, absolutely gay!
With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity hosted “Spiritually Speaking,” a weekly radio drama performed
globally, and is now minister of sponsor, WIG: Wild Inspirational Gatherings, wigministries.
org, Gay Spirituality for the Next Generation! Learn more at telltrinity.com.
Send emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
space starting at $22:
call qnotes for details
12 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
So, we have nearly made it! The options
for vaccines against COVID-19
are coming available, and more people
are getting inoculated. That is awesome
news, and I am really happy so many
people are getting the shots. However,
there is one glaring concern I have:
people rushing back to the gym or group
classes after protracted absences.
First, I strongly urge you not to go
maskless. Reputable establishments
should still be requiring face coverings,
even if limitations on hours and capacity
are being loosened. In my opinion, it is
happening too quickly, but one must go
with the flow, I guess. Aside from continuing
the general protocols, I guess there
isn’t much to add on this front.
However, if you have not been active
for the last year, do be careful about how
your enthusiasm drags you into Beast
Mode prematurely. It’s quite likely you will
need to build back up to what you were
doing before, regardless of the activities
you prefer. Something I have been hearing
with alarming regularity is a terrible turn
of phrase from the ’80s: No Pain, No Gain.
Just stop right there. No, no, no. Reject
that outright. First, let’s examine the concept
of discomfort, especially if you insist
on attending ridiculously and notoriously
destructive group classes in the Crossfit
style. I would whole heartedly push you
to do practically anything else, particularly
if you are new to or recently returning to
fitness training. Crossfit in general does
No Pain, No Gain? No Way!
Health & Wellness: Gauging Discomfort During Exercise
not teach or
nature leads to
Just consider it.
exists in degrees.
we go further,
feel effort in
joints. Discomfort in your neck, shoulders,
elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles,
toes and spine is not healthful and should
be addressed immediately. Something
is amiss with your alignment and/or the direction
of the action and/or the amount of
resistance. Always protect your joints.
With that in mind, it isn’t pain you
should be feeling. When you exercise
correctly, there is a burn associated with
it. That degree of discomfort is continuous
and grows steadily as you approach
temporary exhaustion. When you stop, you
should feel yourself begin to recover from
it immediately. Again, it should be felt in the
muscles themselves. Is it a little alarming at
first? Sure. But stressing your frame in this
way is what will improve your fitness. Your
tolerance for it will very quickly adapt.
BY JACK KIRVEN | QNOTES CONTRIBUTOR
not want to
feel is sudden
to that should
be surprise and
fear. That is
mounting burn. You expect the burn, but
pain should always be a shock. There is a
difference between wondering if the burn
is correct and knowing the pain is not.
There is a difference between ending and
the burning instantly subsiding, and the
pain lingering on past the finish. Do not
ignore that, and do not work through it.
What I am about to describe is totally
subjective and in no way is meant to be a
specific measure of discomfort. It’s a clue
meant to remind you to pay attention. Your
face: What is it doing? If you are making crazy
contortions with your eyes, nostrils, mouth
or neck, it can indicate that you are working
past a safe zone of effort. If you cannot keep
your face relatively relaxed, consider where
your exertion is actually going. Are you trying
to grow your booty or your frown lines?
Take caution not to overexert yourself during a workout.
(Photo Credit: NDABCREATIVITY via Adobe Stock)
Also, are you using controlled motion
in all directions that focuses on stressing
the muscles only? If you are heaving,
throwing, rocking, jerking, sliding, mooshing,
collapsing, dropping or in any way
using momentum or gravity to assist your
work, you are likely doing too much. This is
nearly always accompanied by poor alignment
and increases your risk of injury.
Work up to the moment that sits just short
of failure, not beyond it.
You should feel gratified on some
level when you finish, perhaps relieved.
Definitely accomplished. You should not
feel destroyed. Definitely not defeated.
There may be some swelling and plumping
after you are done, but it shouldn’t be
throbbing or debilitating.
As you regain your footing, all of this
will return and improve. What matters
most is that you respond to what your
body is telling you. Distinguish in your
mind what you mean when you think or
say, “This hurts!” Does it hurt? Or does it
burn? Is it uncomfortable, or is it painful?
Discomfort is growth, but pain is destructive.
If I were to offer an antidote to No
Pain, No Gain, I would suggest this: No
Burn, No Earn. : :
Jack Kirven completed the MFA in Dance at
UCLA, and earned certification as a personal
trainer through NASM. His wellness philosophy
is founded upon integrated lifestyles as
opposed to isolated workouts. Visit him at
jackkirven.com and INTEGRE8Twellness.com.
Well, I bit the bullet and bought a
stationary bike. I used to take spin
classes at the YMCA pre-COVID, but then,
when COVID hit, our family dropped our
gym membership. Last spring, I started
walking or jogging outside when the
weather was nice, but then the weather
turned not-so-nice and any exercise I was
getting came to a screeching halt.
My body felt it as I started putting on
the weight that others have called the
“COVID 19.” My mind morphed into the
“pandemic brain.” I had troubled making
decisions and getting small tasks
completed in a timely manner. My body
needed a nap every day, sometimes two
naps a day. Like lots of other people, I
was struggling to make it through this
pandemic. I felt half dead, and I knew that
something had to change. So I bought
the bike. It was one change I could make
without risking exposure to COVID and
while remaining quarantined in home.
Since then, I’ve gotten up between 5:30
and 6:30 A.M. six days a week to ride 30-
45 minutes at a time.
Feeling Alive With Exercise
I have fallen into a new morning
routine. I get up before anyone else in
my house is awake. It’s still dark outside,
though I can occasionally see a light on at
our neighbor’s house across the street,
a sign that the world is gradually waking
up with me to a new day. I quickly change
into the workout gear that I’ve laid out the
night before. I don’t bother turning on my
own lights; I just ride in the dark. I don’t
need to see where I’m going. I don’t bother
brushing my teeth or my hair; no one can
see (or, thank God, smell) me. I push my
ear buds in, crank up both the volume and
the beat, clip into the pedals and go.
The warmth in my body builds quickly,
as do the beads of sweat on my skin. My
heartrate rises and rises and rises, sometimes
until the point when I think I might
die clipped into that bike. But I don’t die.
Instead, something miraculous happens.
Instead, my heart pumps rich, oxygenated
blood throughout my body, to both my toes
and my brain. I can feel my muscles working,
pushing with every pedal stroke, becoming
stronger. And the miracle I experience
BY REV. EMILY HARTNER | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
is that of simply feeling, once again, alive. I.
Am. Alive. I can make decisions again. I can
complete tasks. I have more energy.
Yes, I am alive. And so are you. We are
living beings, interconnected to one another
and to this world of which we are a part.
My faith tradition — Christianity — has
a lot to say about life and death, or rather
(let’s get the order straight) about death
and life. This is the time of the year when
we place the greatest emphasis on that
pattern. This is the time of the year when
we are surrounded by signs of life—flowers
blooming, trees budding, longer days and
the return of birds, bunnies and butterflies.
In a remarkable move, Christianity took
this season of life and layered on top of it
the story of resurrection, of death losing its
sting, of life prevailing once and for all.
My exercise regime is not about
becoming the most fit person, or about
fitting my body into societal norms that
harm so many people. It’s not even about
losing weight. I exercise in order to feel
my heart beating and to get the blood
pumping throughout my body. I exercise
in order to remind myself of the gift of
life. And the bike sits in my guest room, an
invitation on the days when I feel less than
alive, to clip in and remember that life
always follows death.
Life follows death. Yes, at that moment
when these finicky bodies of ours finally
give out and we breathe our last breaths.
But life follows death in so many other
ways until we get to this point. I pray that,
in this season, each of you can move your
bodies so that your heart rate rises just
enough to remind you that you are alive,
and then, that you live into that life and all
its many gifts. : :
The Rev. Emily K. Hartner is a North
Carolina native and has lived in Charlotte
for over 10 years. She is the Pastor at Holy
Trinity Lutheran Church, a Reconciling in
Christ (RIC) congregation of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with a
mission of “Loving Not Judging.” In her spare
time, she enjoys riding her exercise bike,
laughing with her five-year-old son
and experimenting with watercolors.
April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 13
Can you believe that Michelle Pfeiffer has
never won an Academy Award? She’s been
nominated three times but has never taken
home an Oscar. Her “Best Performance by
an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or
Comedy” Golden Globe Award nomination
for French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics/Stage
6) is her eighth (she won for The Fabulous
Baker Boys), but with fierce competition
from Frances McDormand in “Nomadland”
and Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black
Bottom,” she’s been shut out again.
In Azazel Jacobs’ “French Exit,” Pfeiffer
draws on all her comedic gifts (and some
of her dramatic ones, too) to make Frances,
a deeply unsympathetic woman, worthy
of our time and attention. Think Cate
Blanchett’s character in Blue Jasmine (which
earned Blanchett an Oscar, a Golden Globe
and a BAFTA).
Recently widowed, Frances is an itinerant
mother and New York socialite who
shows up at her son’s prep school on
the day he’s about to be kicked out and
sweeps him out the door with her. It’s the
first time they’ve seen each other in a long
time, and this kind of event sets the tone
for the rest of the movie.
Over breakfast in their Manhattan townhouse
a few years later, Frances reveals to
her son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), that she
Screen Savor: French Kiss
A Review of Azazel Jacobs’ “French Exit”
has a meeting
with her financial
guy and it doesn’t
“Every penny” in
as well as her
belong to the
bank. She was
before but didn’t
listen. Now she’s
being advised to sell everything — jewelry,
art and books — privately. You see, Frances’
plan was to die before the money ran out,
but she “kept not dying.”
Malcolm has his own drama to deal with.
He’s engaged to Susan (Imogen Poots), but
he still hasn’t told Frances. On the night he
decides to do so, Frances shares her news
with him first — “we’re insolvent.”
There are signs of hope. Frances successfully
sells everything and ends up
with a good sum of cash. Her best friend,
Joan (Susan Coyne), offers to let her and
Malcolm move into her unoccupied Paris
apartment. Having converted her dollars
into euros, she announces to Malcolm
BY GREGG SHAPIRO | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Protagonist Frances, her cat, Small Frank and her
son, Malcolm. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics)
that they are
going to France.
Malcolm, in turn,
breaks the news
to Susan, who
travel in style, of
cruise. Along with
the family cat,
Small Frank. On
the luxury liner, Malcolm meets and hooks
up with Madeleine (Danielle Macdonald),
a fortune teller in a tent who is too good
at her job. Not only does she predict the
death of one of the passengers, but she also
recognizes something special about Small
Frank (more about that later).
Frances and Malcolm settle into their
Paris life. A confrontation with a rude waiter
in a café has a fiery conclusion. A dinner
invitation from expat Mme. Reynard (scenestealer
Valerie Mahaffey) gets off on the
wrong foot but soon corrects itself in the
best way possible. But the good feeling is
short-lived when Small Frank runs out of the
flat and into the unfamiliar streets. Mme.
Reynard comes to the apartment to comfort
Frances, but she’s inconsolable. That is until
she remembers Madeleine also disembarked
in Paris, and they need to find her
because of her connection to the cat.
Frances hires Julius (Isaach De Bankolé),
a private investigator, to track down
Madeleine who in turn will track down Small
Frank. Why the obsession with the cat?
Because the soul of Frances’ late husband
Franklin is in Small Frank. Once Madeleine
is located, there’s a séance where they talk
to Small Frank (voiced by Tracy Letts) and
attempt to establish a kind of closure.
Before you know it, Joan’s apartment is
suddenly crowded. Joan shows up because
she thinks Frances will self-harm. Susan
and her fiancée Tom (Daniel di Tomasso)
arrive because Susan is likely still in love with
Malcolm. The only thing taking up less space
is Frances’ stash of cash which dwindles daily.
If that seems like a lot to keep track of, it
is. But here’s what keeps the offbeat “French
Exit” afloat: Jacobs and screenwriter Patrick
DeWitt (who also wrote the screenplay to
Jacobs’ Terri from 2011) have made a movie
that draws on only the best elements in Wes
Anderson movies. Absurdity balanced with
reality. Pathos offset by humor. : :
14 qnotes April 2-15, 2021
It’s a blustery morning and the first official
Sunday of spring; Roger Howard
has just finished his breakfast. He strolls
into his bedroom, which is flooded with
natural sunlight that makes his Rattle
Snake plant and temperamental Fiddleleaf
Fig plant thrive. The atmosphere is
serene, with warm, white walls ready
for artwork he’s anxious to hang.
He’s a busy young man, but happy
to take the time to speak with qnotes.
The 32-year-old is a graduate
of North Carolina State, a new construction
property manager and
the Charlotte City Commissioner for
Stonewall Sports, a community-based
sporting organization for the LGBTQ+
community and allies.
He’s eager to share his enthusiasm,
and we’re excited to explore his story.
Tell us where you were born.
Mt. Holly, N.J.
Oh, so you’re a transplant?
No. My father was in the military and
stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey at
the time I was born. I’ve lived in North
Carolina for over 20 years, but I’ve been
in Charlotte for nine years now.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes, I have an older sister, Archella. She
was named after my grandfather, Archie.
We’re six years apart and she’s amazing.
Her sense of humor. I think she’s the realest,
funniest person on the planet and
she inspires me to make the impossible
possible. She’s just the best big sister.
[She] keeps me grounded and rooted in
what really matters in the world.
Family seems important to you.
When you think of family, living or
passed, does anyone in particular
come to mind that you’d want to
spend more time with?
My paternal grandmother, [Eva]. She
passed away last May and it wasn’t until
her funeral that I learned how truly powerful
and impactful she was in lifting her
family out of poverty. My dad and her
were on a first name basis, and it makes
me wonder what she sacrificed as a working parent that
attributed to that. My dad grew up poor in Mississippi and
not a lot has changed there as far as economic opportunity,
growth and racism. But again, I would say my grandmother
because of how amazing it was to hear stories [during her
funeral] about all the things she did, but it also answered so
many questions that I was afraid to ask when I was young.
You don’t wanna pry, [but] if I could talk to her now, I’d love
to know what inspired and motivated her. Obviously, being
a mother was part of that, but it wasn’t just that; it was her
sisters, her family, a lot of things.
Let’s talk about your involvement with Stonewall Sports.
I’m the City Commissioner at Stonewall Sports. I’m in charge
of sports and programs, and I work with the Mecklenburg
Parks and Recreation Department securing spaces for
events. The [organization] name pays homage to the
Stonewall Riots that launched the LGBT rights movement.
Considering that the Stonewall Rebellion took place in
New York, do you think the name, Stonewall Sports,
resonates as much in the south as it might in the north?
I don’t think as much in the south. However, I think it
opens the door for folks to learn a little bit of history about
Our People: Roger J. Howard
Manager of Properties and Sports
BY L’MONIQUE KING | QNOTES STAFF WRITER
the name and the impact it’s had nationwide. Being an
LGBT organization and all inclusive, you want to make sure
that anyone who wants to be part of something can get
out there and not just be active, but mentally stimulated.
The impact Stonewall Sports had on me made me want to
see that continue.
What do you mean?
From a community perspective, it made me feel at
home. I moved to Charlotte when I was young. When
I was a 20-something [chuckling], like the average
young 20-something, I spent my weekends at bars. But
Stonewall [Sports] exposed me to so many people with
inspiring stories that helped inspire me and [learn] your
potential is only limited by the limits you set for yourself.
So, being a part of that and seeing the positive impact
it had on friendships was impactful. You see, so many
people new to the city don’t really have any [established
local friendships], and Stonewall Sports makes really
solid relationships accessible.
What’s the most popular sport at your organization?
It’s a toss-up between dodgeball and kickball, our first
sport here in Charlotte. But I’m a little biased because I
used to be the director of the dodgeball
program prior to taking on the role of
commissioner. There’s something about
adults being able to throw balls at each
other on Sundays. You get a lot of aggression
out. It’s also entertaining to
watch. But, others might say volleyball.
In light of what we’ve been living
through over the past year or so, has
Yes, our current efforts in the age
of Covid have required us to pivot.
Pivot’s been one of my favorite
words in the last year. When we were
forced to cancel our spring and summer
sports offerings, and so many
people looked forward to having us
as that go-to outlet for sports activities,
things looked bleak. We just
launched eSports, which stands for
electronic sports. Two community
members came up with the idea and
created a platform that we adopted.
We’re working on getting it ratified
on a national level and just finished
a tournament; Xbox, PlayStation and
The cool thing about eSports is
that these people [gamers/participants]
are already in our community;
now we’re reaching new people, people
who have never played traditional
sports that we’re now able to connect
with. Super important during Covid.
When you’re not involved in playing
or organizing athletic sporting
events, what’s your favorite sedentary
Ooooooh, I mean there’s nothing wrong
with catching a good Netflix documentary
or a crime drama on Hulu. In the
last year, a lot of us have had a lot of TV
time, so that would probably be it; my
go to on the couch — decompressing
from world activity.
Maybe you’ll get to do more of that
once you retire. What do you imagine
for yourself once you reach the
age of retirement?
It’s funny, because these conversations
come up quite a bit as you get older. Honestly, I see myself
somewhere tropical. If I could buy a resort somewhere
tropical, like Costa Rica, living there and running it. I thrive
being constantly stimulated so much that when I think of
myself retired, I know I couldn’t just sit somewhere and do
that. Maybe for a period of time I could not work, but I’d
be daydreaming about what’s the next big thing.
Is there a next big thing on your more recent horizon?
I’m already a Certified Apartment Manager, and I’m currently
in Real Estate School studying for licensure. So, I’m
looking to get more into real estate.
In closing, why don’t you tell QNotes readers something
very few folks know about you?
I have tattoos, and I only have them on the left side
of my body. I like the yin and yang of that. I’m right
handed, so I kinda’ go through the world presenting
the right side of myself — that’s a choice. I work in very
corporate settings and whether people want to admit it
or not, perception still impacts opportunity. So if I’m in a
full suit and tie, you wouldn’t even know I have a single
tattoo on my body. But catch me at the beach, and
there’s a full story there. : :
April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 15
16 qnotes April 2-15, 2021