QNotes, April 2, 2021

QNotes

With the weather getting warmer and COVID-19 vaccines being distributed, more people are getting out and being active. In this issue you can learn about a great LGBTQ sports organization, how to tell the difference between good and bad discomfort during exercise and the emotional benefits of exercise. We also look into new bills being introduced in numerous states that may unfairly prevent transgender students from playing on certain school sports teams. We also have current local, regional, and national news, along with other pieces, that will serve to enlighten and entertain our readers.

April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 1


2 qnotes April 2-15, 2021


April 2-15, 2021

Vol 35 No 25

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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

feature

10 Transgender Student

Athletes Unfairly Benched

by House Bills

news

6 Providing Safety for

Transgender Women

of Color

6 Transgender Assistant

Secretary for Health

Appointed

6 Briefs

7 SAGE Central North

Carolina to Utilize CARES

Act Funds

7 Time Out Youth Searching

for New Executive Director

a&e

12 Tell Trinity

14 Screen Savor: French Kiss

life

8 HIV & COVID

11 The Largest LGBTQ Sports

Organization in

the Carolinas

13 No Pain, No Gain? No Way!

15 Our People: Roger

J. Howard

views

5 Five Years Later... And

We’re Still Fighting

13 Feeling Alive With Exercise

events

For event listings, visit

goqnotes.com/events-calendar.

Our People:

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.

PAGE 13

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Transgender Assistant

Secretary for Health

Appointed

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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views

Five Years Later… And We’re Still Fighting

Political Voices

BY KENDRA R. JOHNSON, EQUALITY NORTH CAROLINA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

March 23 marked a still

painful anniversary

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

transphobia. HB2’s

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

communities.

The bill banned

trans people from using

the restroom that aligned

with their gender identity,

invalidated local LGBTQinclusive

nondiscrimination

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

December 2021.

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

and gender-nonconforming

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


news

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

funding cycle.”

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

alone (bit.ly/3rlwqWr).

“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.” : :

info: llcwellness.org

— 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

Physician General.

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

diseases” (go.nature.com/3cxxrqm).

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. : :

info: wapo.st/3uhPGGn

— Julianna Peres

Briefs

Charlotte

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.

info: bit.ly/3w3gZ8L

National

CHILDREN’S SERIES RELEASED

FEATURING TRANSGENDER

PROTAGONISTS

“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.

info: bit.ly/3ffm4Vu

VICTORY INSTITUTE OFFERING

FELLOWSHIP

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.

info: bit.ly/3deG0oS

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.

info: bit.ly/2QFzobJ

Global

VATICAN PUBLISHES DECREE AGAINST

GAY MARRIAGE

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).

info: 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.

Last month,

Wake County

launched a campaign

for COVID-19

testing across

several locations

(abc11.tv/3c81HHX).

These grants will

be absolutely vital

in maintaining the

health of elder

Wake County locals

through COVID-19

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 sage@lgbtcenterofraleigh.com. : :

info: lgbtcenterofraleigh.com

— 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

employees.

Both volunteers

and staffers will

work in conjunction

with the ED in all

events, as well as donation

and outreach

programs. Together

the team will work

with Charlotte

LGBTQ youth in

need to help provide

assistance with basic

requirements.

In accordance

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: search@kevinchasesearch.com. : :

info: timeoutyouth.org

— Julianna Peres

April 2-15, 2021 qnotes 7


life

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

immune systems.

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

Syndrome (AIDS).

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

or breast-feeding.

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

calls for.

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,”

Marsh explains.

“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


news

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

women’s teams.

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

teams” (bit.ly/2PuVKvR).

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

sports.” (bit.ly/3tX5ON5).

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.

ly/2PadqNA).

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

Maria Sharapova.

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

women’s sports.

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

their teams.

Several North Carolina based

organizations have come out publicly

against the bill, including Equality NC,

Transcend Charlotte and Time Out

Youth (bit.ly/31ppwoG).

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

often utilize.

Public supporters of HB 358 are

also showing up on Facebook, Instagram

and Twitter.

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

sports teams.

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. : :


life

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


a&e

Leaving On a Jet Plane,

Don’t Know When…

Tell Trinity

Hello Trinity,

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

practicing vacationing.

When my name

goes bad all over

town, I take a vacation

until the gossip dies

down. Disappearing

is also very popular in

Hollywood and D.C.

Remember darling,

time heals everything!

Good luck, Trinity

To 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

To Practical,

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

unreachable dreams.

Maybe he’s not monogamous.

Not everyone

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.”

Impractically yours,

Trinity

Dear Trinity,

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!

Hugs, Trinity

Dearest Trinity,

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: trinity@telltrinity.com.

Q-mmunity

connections

space starting at $22:

call qnotes for details

704.531.9988

12 qnotes April 2-15, 2021


life

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

promote good

technique, and

its competitive

nature leads to

alarming numbers

of injuries.

Just consider it.

Discomfort

exists in degrees.

Before

we go further,

remember this:

You should

feel effort in

your muscles,

not your

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

What you

definitely do

not want to

feel is sudden

or extreme

pressure, heat,

grinding, popping,

twinging,

tearing, stabbing,

cutting

or snapping.

Your response

to that should

be surprise and

fear. That is

different from

dreading the

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.

views

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

Spiritual Reflections

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


a&e

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

look promising.

She’s right.

“Every penny” in

Frances’ account,

as well as her

investments and

property, now

belong to the

bank. She was

warned years

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

doesn’t take

it well.

Frances

and Malcolm

travel in style, of

course, aboard

a transatlantic

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. : :

Rating: B+

14 qnotes April 2-15, 2021


life

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

anything changed?

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

Nintendo Switch.

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

activity?

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

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