QNotes, May 28, 2021


Pride month is coming up and many organizations have announced their plans for celebration (or lack thereof). We have compiled a list of events across the Carolinas and all current information regarding them, including dates, locations and descriptions. We also take a look into the violence that has plagued the transgender and gender-expansive community. Last year was record-breaking in the United States, with 44 transgender people being murdered, the majority of them people of color. We also have current local, regional, and national news, along with other pieces, that will serve to enlighten and entertain our readers.

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 1

2 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021

May 28-June 10, 2021

Vol 36 No 03






contributors this issue

Joey Amaro, Rev. Chris Ayers,

Andrew Dys, L’Monique King,

Gary Montgomery, David Aaron Moore,

Julianna Peres, Chris Rudisill,

Gregg Shapiro, Trinity

front page

Graphic Design by Natasha Morehouse

Photography: Charlotte’s Got A Lot


The focus of QNotes is to serve the LGBTQ and

straight ally communities of the Charlotte region,

North Carolina and beyond, by featuring arts,

entertainment, news and views content in print

and online that directly enlightens, informs and

engages the readers about LGBTQ life and social

justice issues.

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does not indicate the subject’s sexual orientation. qnotes

nor its publisher assumes liability for typographical error

or omission, beyond offering to run a correction. Official

editorial positions are expressed in staff editorials and editorial

notations and are determined by editorial staff. The

opinions of contributing writers and guest columnists do

not necessarily represent the opinions of qnotes or its staff.

qnotes accepts unsolicited editorial, but cannot take

responsibility for its return. Editor reserves the right to

accept and reject material as well as edit for clarity, brevity.


a local news partner of

The Charlotte Observer

inside this issue


12 Pride in the Carolinas


5 Supporting LGBTQ


6 $15K Reward Offered

by N.C. Police and FBI

6 Time Out Youth Launches

“Bare Necessities”


6 Asheville Drag Brunch

Has Returned

6 Briefs

8 Parent of Trans Daughter

Calls for Equality Act Support

8 RAIN Introduces New Logo

11 York Transgender

Woman’s Murderer

Now in Custody

18 Trans Deaths in N.C.


16 Tell Trinity

22 Screen Savor:

When Stars Align


20 A Journey Back in Time

23 Our People: Eternity Philops


9 Preferred Names to be

Displayed on Diplomas

15 Urban Gay-Friendly

Churches Need to Reach

Out to LGBTQ People in

Rural Areas


Visit goqnotes.com/events-calendar.

York Transgender

Woman’s Murderer

Now in Custody

Thomas Hardin was tragically killed

in York, S.C. on May 2. Tyler Terry has

been caught following a manhunt..

During his crime spree, he killed four

people total and injured others.



Preferred Names to be

Displayed on Diplomas

Multiple colleges in North Carolina

are updating their policies to allow

preferred names to be used on a

person’s diploma. This change is

particularly impactful to those in

the gender expansive community.


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May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 3

4 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021


Supporting LGBTQ Journalism

QNotes Launches the Carolinas LGBTQ Journalism Fund to Support Local Writers

by Chris Rudisill

qnotes Contributor

In discussing a new collaborative journalism

playbook released by Solutions

Journalism Network (SJN) this week, Alicia

Bell said, “The future of journalism includes

journalists, and it includes so many other

people who have never once considered

themselves bearers of the news.”

Bell, who authored the guide,

“Gathering Toward Solutions: A

Community Event Playbook for Journalism

Collaboratives,” is the Media 2070 director

for free press and has served as the organizing

manager of the organization’s work

in North Carolina through a program called

News Voices. “Community organizers will

play a role in the future of news. Baristas

will play a role in the future of news. There

will be gardeners and retired people and

students and actors,” she continued, “All

of us will be there. And all of us will need

information, stories and community.”

That “journalism as a community

center” idea has been inspiration for

qnotes and its parent company Pride

Publishing & Typesetting, Inc. the past

year as it created and launched work

on the QnotesCarolinas.org project. The

publication celebrated its 35th anniversary

last month and has worked with

Free Press since 2019 as a member of

the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative,

a project of SJN.

In December, qnotes announced

$130,000 in funding from the Google

GNI North American Innovation

Challenge. “We realize that it is time for

our publication to evolve,” said qnotes

Publisher Jim Yarbrough.

In the three and a half decades of the

publication’s existence, it has connected

the LGBTQ community to news stories

that did not often get covered in mainstream

press. Despite difficult economic

years for the news industry, it continued

to operate, often with no full-time staff to

represent the population it serves.

While the funding allows a large investment

in infrastructure to build out a new

online platform, funds are still necessary

to operate and pay the journalists who are

delivering those stories.

“In order to receive the full funding, we

still need to raise nearly $60,000 in match

support,” says Yarbrough.

Shortly after the announcement

in December, the Carolinas LGBTQ

Journalism Fund was launched with an

initial goal of raising $30,000, half of what

is required. A second campaign will follow

in phase two of the project. The fund is

administered by Local Media Foundation,

a charitable trust affiliated with the Local

Media Association. It supports more opportunities

for LGBTQ writers in North and

South Carolina and has raised just over

$10,000 so far, including a $5,000 donation

from Bob Page, founder and CEO of

Replacements, Ltd., based in Greensboro.

Page’s company is the largest tableware

business in the world. He has fought


LGBTQ Local News, Voices and Community

hard for the LGBTQ community and as

Passport Magazine said, “his driving force

now is for social justice and charity.”

“We’re incredibly thankful for the support

of Bob Page and others in the community

that understand the importance

of having local LGBTQ news sustained in

North Carolina,” says Yarbrough.

The project will also launch community

reporting workshops and town

halls, a partnership with Free Press.

“It is centered on community support,

but also community involvement,” says

Yarbrough. “We are involving our readers

in every aspect of the project.”

Donations to the fund are tax-deductible

and can be made online at givebutter.com/

lmf-qnotescarolinas. For more information

about the project, visit qnotescarolinas.org.

Solutions for the Community

qnotes has been involved in the

Charlotte Journalism Collaborative since

its launch, adding an LGBTQ perspective

to the affordable housing conversation.

A second grant of $15,000 from Solutions

Journalism Network (SJN) will now help the

organization increase opportunities for

Black LGBTQ journalists.

The project is part of SJN’s Economic

Mobility initiative. According to its Medium

page, The Whole Story, “the goal is to

catalyze reporting that looks at both the

systemic causes of poverty and potential

solutions that are worth sharing.”

While amplifying the voices of more

communities in North Carolina, the qnotes

project will also uncover responses that

can impact the lives of Charlotte residents.

A 2014 study by Harvard University

researchers ranked Charlotte last for

economic mobility among the 50 largest

U.S. metro areas. The study also found

that low economic mobility disproportionately

affects people of color. For instance,

a Black child growing up in a low-income

home can expect a household income of

$21,599 a year at age 34. A white child can

expect $34,256.

Multiple reports show that Black

LGBTQ people face even starker disparities

in economic security and upward

mobility, and these have only been

heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent call for journalists by

qnotes, “This urgent problem has created

the prevalence of increased research and

the launch of innovative responses by

grassroot organizations, policy makers

and communities to improve outcomes

for a community that is at the intersection

of two marginalized identities.”

qnotes is seeking Black LGBTQ and

allied writers to work on the project and

multimedia journalists are encouraged

to submit proposals. Stories should focus

on rigorous investigation and reporting

of regional and national responses,

including their limitations, and how

those solutions may impact decisionmaking

in the Charlotte area. Stories

should also include the experiences

of Black LGBTQ people living in North

Carolina, telling their real-life experiences

while seeking to better understand

the limitations that exist to overcoming

structural racism and discrimination.

Writers, photographers and videographers

who are interested in being a part

of the project should email publisher@


“Both of these projects are helping us

better serve the local community, but we

need the support of people who can do so

to secure the future of LGBTQ press in the

Carolinas,” says Yarbrough, “Whether it

be $5 or more, every amount helps us tell

these stories, keep people informed and

further foster that sense of community

that supports us all.” : :

[Editor’s note: Chris Rudisill is the project

manager for the QnotesCarolinas.org Project

and is also the Director of the Charlotte

Journalism Collaborative.]

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 5


$15k Reward Offered By N.C. Police and FBI

Several months after her murder on Feb. 24, Jenna Frank’s death is still being investigated. On May 17, the FBI and Jacksonville Police

announced they are offering a total of $15,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of Franks’ killer or killers.

Franks, 34, was a member of the Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center in North Carolina.

As is the case with many transgender or nonbinary deaths, Franks was misgendered repeatedly in the official police reports. According

to the Humans Rights Campaign (HRC), more than 75 percent of gender expansive persons are misgendered or dead-named by law enforcement

and media.

The FBI, which is offering $10,000 of the overall reward funds, emphasizes that Franks could very likely be the victim of a hate crime.

“Jenna was a beloved member of the LGBTQ+ community, and her absence has been felt by her friends and family members,” FBI

Special Agent in Charge Robert Wells says, “We do not believe this was a random act. There is a strong possibility the person who did this

continues to work and/or live in the community. We believe someone has information to help us get justice for Jenna and her family.”

The threat of continued violence to transgender women by the same individual is one that the Jacksonville police are also taking very

seriously. The 25th transgender person killed in 2021 made headlines on May 19. Serenity Hollis, a 24-year-old woman, was, just like

Franks, misgendered by police and media outlets.

Hollis resided in Georgia and was the third transgender woman shot to death there in 2021. Similar to Franks, she also lived in a rural

area that was prone to LGBTQ harassment by the general population.

Franks is survived by her sister, Amber Franks, who is creating a nonprofit in her sister’s name.

“Everyone I have spoken with, especially at her memorial service, said that she was a delight to be with,” says Onslow County LGBTQ+

Community Center Director of Communications, Samuel Johnson, “She was an amazing person inside and out. I still cannot fathom that

this happened.”

“Being here my whole life I never thought anything like this could happen,” Johnson continues. “It’s taken us all aback for just a little bit,

but we’re still here and we’re still pushing forward.”

To contact the FBI about Franks’ case, call 704-672-6100 and to contact the Jacksonville Police, call 910-938-3273.

info: bit.ly/3bMIyeh

— Julianna Peres

Time Out Youth Launches “Bare Necessities” Donations

The Time Out Youth (TOY) Life Essentials Closet is open, by appointment, for any LGBTQ youth in need. James Rice III, volunteer and

special events coordinator, took over the Life Essentials Closet in 2017, working to expand it into something more than a simple pantry.

Affectionately referred to as “Gay Walmart” by clients, Rice has updated the closet to include items most needed by members of TOY.

Says Rice: “My lived experience [as] a Black gay man has allowed me to walk into the closet and see there was nothing there for Black

and brown people.

“It took some uncomfortable conversations, but we were no longer going to use the method of being happy with what people give us,”

Rice explains. TOY now asks youth to search through Amazon and highlight items that would be useful to them.

In order to ensure that all youth have the most inclusive experience within the closet, Rice has also implemented an organizational

system that is gender-nonspecific. “We all have what we prefer,” Rice emphasizes, “With skincare and fragrance, people like what they like.

We don’t use any gendered items; anyone can get what they want. We place brands with the same brand, but we don’t section anything off

as ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s.’”

Before the Life Essentials Closet was temporarily closed during the state-regulated two-week shutdown, TOY contacted all youth and

advised them to stock up on necessities. Having nearly emptied their supplies during this time, the TOY staff would do home deliveries of

food and any emergency goods.

After this period, Time Out Youth began operating on an appointment basis. Access to the closet was never denied, just modified during

the pandemic. Youth in need of “bare essentials” can email Rice at Jrice@timeoutyouth.org for an appointment.

For those wanting to give, Rice urges potential donors to read the regulations on the Life Essentials Closet page. Gift cards may be

donated to stores such as Walmart, Target, Amazon or Walgreens but should be no more than ten dollars on each. All items must be brand

new and full-sized.

The Life Essentials Closet is in need of some custom-made shelves for their uniquely shaped room. Added shelving would allow for

more items to be displayed and more youth to peruse the items.

To view the Life Essentials Closet needs, go to bit.ly/2QB7IVB. To make a donation to Time Out Youth, go to bit.ly/3u6G2Wq. If you

would like the donation to go directly to the Life Essentials Closet, specify so in the comment section.

info: timeoutyouth.org

— Julianna Peres

Asheville Drag Brunch Has Returned

The Asheville Drag Brunch crew heads back into action for a new, now in-person, season of performances June 27 at noon and 2 p.m.

These shows will be donating proceeds to BeLoved Asheville, an organization that is working to help those whom have fallen on hard times

during COVID-19. In their official press release, Asheville Drag Brunch stated that, “the family-friendly drag queen entertainment is singalong

top-notch fun with plenty of laughter and audience interaction.”

This Sunday performance will feature several local drag queens and be hosted by recurring cast member Divine. The purpose of this

event, as with all of the group’s past events, is to celebrate the LGBTQ community while raising money for nonprofit organizations.

Some past shows have supported the Make A Wish foundation and Youth OUTright WNC Blue Ridge Pride. All other 501(C)3 organizations

are encouraged to apply for benefit brunches as well. The submission form for a sponsored event is informal and will be followed up

with an email. To submit an organizational need, go to bit.ly/3fhZOIW.

BeLoved Asheville was formed in February of 2019 and has worked to support local eateries, participate in fun-runs and facilitate clothing

drives. Recently forming #BeLovedCampClean, this nonprofit has created a project to support the homeless population of Asheville in a

very direct way. This campaign “provides access to cleanup supplies, trash and recycling cans, and pickup to residents in the city who must

camp because they do not have a home.”

Asheville Drag Brunch has been hosting these hour-long shows for a multitude of occasions over the years. Performances can be, and

have been, made for any celebration, including weddings, divorces, anniversaries and birthdays. Tips are always encouraged as a source of

further donated funds from attending guests.

All shows take place in local restaurants and bars. The June 27 Asheville Drag Brunch will be at Bankes Avenue Bar and will allow for only a

limited number of seats. Since tickets may not be bought at the door due to COVID-19 restrictions, pre-purchase a seat at bit.ly/2QbRHFq.

info: bit.ly/3f7bhMB.

— Julianna Peres

6 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021



Poplar Tapas Mix-Mingle with the

Charlotte Gaymer’s Network

May 25 at 7 p.m., the Charlotte

Gaymer’s Network (CGN) is hosting

“CGN After Dark: Poplar Tapas

Edition”. A vodka bar, discounted

food and gaming consoles will be

available to guests. There will also

be three themed rooms featuring

either board games, video games and

Dungeons and Dragons. The event is

sponsored by the Great Wagon Road

Distillery, and interested participants

must be 21 or older.

info: bit.ly/3fx4Txn


Lesbian Couple’s Home Becomes San

Francisco Landmark

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, founders

of the lesbian rights organization the

Daughters of Bilitis, will be forever

commemorated as their home was

deigned a landmark designation by

San Francisco city supervisors. As of

May 11, this lesbian hotspot of 1955

will be immortalized as a historical

site in California.

info: bit.ly/2RAYt8t

Missouri To Provide Over-the-Counter

HIV Medication

The third state to allow individuals

to purchase post-exposure prophylaxis

(PEP), Missouri will dispense

this medication to those approved by

pharmacists. This protocol will allow

those exposed to HIV to significantly

reduce their risk of contracting the

disease. The CDC has published a

study that 13 of Missouri’s rural

counties have a high probability of

contracting HIV due to their extreme

use of drug by needle.

info: bit.ly/3yxGTCP

California Elects First Transgender

Bishop in U.S. History

Rev. Megan Rohrer already made

headlines when they became the

first transgender Lutheran pastor.

Now, Rohrer has taken on the title of

bishop at the Sierra Pacific synod. Of

this development, Rohrer comments,

“During this time when some imagine

trans people at their worst, Lutherans

have once again declared that transgender

people are beautiful children

of God. Thank you to everyone who

has been praying for me and my family

as I accept this call.”

info: bit.ly/3hJcR99


Young Gay Man Murdered in Iran as

Part of an “Honor Killing”

20-year-old Iranian citizen, Ali Fazeli

Monfared, was beheaded by male

relatives for being gay. In Iran, military

service is required. However,

Monfared was able to receive an

exemption card due to his “mental

illness” (i.e. homosexuality). It was

because of this card that Monfared’s

extended family learned of his

LGBTQ identity. Iran is one of the

world’s 11 countries that still allow

for same-sex relationships to be

castigated by death.

info: nbcnews.to/3bJKynh

— Compiled by Julianna Peres

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 7


Parent of Trans Daughter

Calls for Equality Act Support

Katie Jenifer is a board member of Genderbands, Board Director of Conversion

Therapy Dropout Network, licensed N.C. attorney and mother of two queer children.

Just after Mother’s Day, Jenifer published an “open letter” on the Advocate website

that spoke out in favor of the Equality Act.

This plea mentioned the individual nondiscrimination protections that are being

enacted across North Carolina; including Jenifer’s own hometown of Carrboro. Jenifer

emphasized that, although the town was doing its part, nondiscrimination ordinances

have not taken root everywhere.

“Just a quick drive a few miles down the road and that protection ends for my

children in neighboring towns,” Jenifer wrote, “My kids and all LGBTQ+ folks are vulnerable

to being denied service, evicted and mistreated at health care facilities solely

because of who they are or who they love.”

In the letter Jenifer talked about her personal experiences with the Christian

faith and how that impacted coming to terms with the gender identities and sexual

orientations of her children. While there were supportive members of the church, she

explained, there was also a lot of backlash.

“There were some equally disapproving responses from anonymous notes quoting

scripture to us, to a couple spending hours trying to convince my husband and me9 to

send Maddie to conversion therapy, to people leaving the church because they didn’t

want us influencing their children anymore,” Jenifer recalled.

Now having dedicated her life to helping transgender individuals pay for transition-related

costs through Genderbands and providing support to those whom were

harmed by conversion therapy through Conversion Therapy Dropout Network, Jenifer

has found herself in what was previously an unlikely position of LGBTQ advocate.

In her open letter, Jenifer outlines the need for the Equality Act in North Carolina.

“LGBTQ+ people aren’t asking for special rights. We’re just asking to be treated with

human dignity like anyone else. For my children, for your children, for all of us, and as

a lasting legacy of your many years of public service to the people of North Carolina,

please support the Equality Act.”

Sen. Richard Burr has not yet commented on any support for the Equality Act but

does have a history of disagreeing with anti-LGBTQ legislation.

However, in an interview with the Huffington Post regarding HB2, Burr said, “The

legislature botched what they were trying to do. It [HB2] was far too expansive.”

info: bit.ly/3hxbSsK.

— Julianna Peres

RAIN Introduces New Logo

On May 7, the HIV service organization

RAIN rolled out a new logo, coinciding with

many changes taking place in the organization.

One of the changes is Chelsea Gulden’s

position of President and CEO of RAIN. Says

Gulden: “We are going through transition as a

company with new leadership. Now seemed

like a good time to release a logo that represents

who we are.”

Gulden explained the significance of the

new look for the logo.

“The red ribbon starts over the I in RAIN to

mean ‘individual’ and goes on to encompass everything

else. We try to look at each individual

client as a holistic picture, examining barriers that keep them from being successful.”

After spending 16 years with RAIN, Vice President of Philanthropy Nathan Smith is

excited about the changes he has seen occur.

“More staff in their twenties and thirties,” he explains. “The younger generation

is starting to lead the community toward RAIN’s ultimate vision of an HIV future. This

new logo represents the youthful generation stepping up.”

Prior to adopting RAIN as its defacto organizational name, the title served as an

acronym Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN).

“As HIV care moved from being rooted in communities of faith to being rooted in

the professional world, we dropped the terms interfaith. There was also a big national

push not to use the phrase AIDS [because some think of it as] more of a clinical term.”

RAIN works with clients that are living with HIV and AIDS.

Friends and family of those with HIV are some of the organization’s largest donors.

One anonymous supporter is responsible for covering much of the costs for this new logo.

“We started making changes before the new logo rollout,” Smith explains,

“There’s a graphic designer at RAIN who worked for months prior to create new

banners and brochures. This change took about a year overall because it’s a big

conversation to have. Fortunately, we also have a board member who works for

Bank of America and has a background in branding that was able to use his talents

in this situation.”

As for the future of RAIN social events and fundraisers, Smith is upbeat.

info: carolinarain.org

— Julianna Peres

8 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021


Preferred Names to be Displayed on Diplomas

A Look at the Policies of North Carolina Universities

by Julianna Peres

qnotes Staff Writer

The University of North Carolina at

Chapel Hill (UNC) announced to

graduating seniors this past month that

preferred names may now be specified for

their diplomas. This process was five years

in the making; spearheaded largely by the

school’s LGBTQ Center.

But the question arose: Why was

this such an uphill battle? Had there not

been a precedent for this action, the

lengthy process would make perfect

sense. However, both the University

of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC)

and the University of North Carolina at

Greensboro (UNCG) have been offering

preferred name changes on diplomas

for quite some time. The answer largely

comes down to the difference between

legal and ceremonial documents.

For the transgender, non-binary and

otherwise gender expansive community,

name changes are extremely important.

Deadnames can be triggering for many

members of the LGBTQ community and,

having to display these names on their college

diplomas can cause psychological and

emotional distress.

Marshall Pritchard, a current student at

UNCC, says, “Having my dead name shown

would be incredibly disheartening to have

to go through, not to mention it would out

me to others. I don’t want people to know

my dead name and use that against me,

and I don’t want the reminder.”

Even without malicious intent, the

showcasing of alumni’s incorrect names

could have negative impacts as mentioned

earlier in this article. This applies to

student ID cards, online course pages and

classroom settings, as well as diplomas.

But the protocol for name changes differs

depending on the university policies.

At UNCC and UNCG, all of the previously

mentioned identifications can be

altered in lieu of one’s preferred name.

UNC, on the other hand, is unable, or

unwilling, to offer changes to student IDs

because the school recognizes these cards

as legal forms of identification. In order for

the diplomas to be altered, the UNC staff,

Should students be able to choose what name is on their diplomas? (Photo Credit: Venya Pak via Pexels)

faculty and Board of Governors had to

come to the consensus that the diplomas

are merely a ceremonial document with

no legal baring.

Says Dr. Terri Phoenix, Director of

the LGBTQ Center at UNC: “They [the

students] have worked hard to get those

diplomas, for people with multiple marginalized

identities in particular, it is not an

easy journey.”

“I think having the ability to have your

preferred name on documents and ID

cards should always be allowed,” says

Pritchard, “It’s a small thing that can mean

the world to a transgender person.”

This process, however seemingly

simple, involved long hours and lots of

conversation behind the scenes.

“I worked with the Registrar’s Office, including

the former and current Registrar,

the former and current Vice Chancellor

for Student Affairs, IT technicians, the

Provost’s Committee on LGBTQ Life, the

Provost and many others in order to allow

the process now used to put preferred

names on diplomas,” Phoenix recalls.

The National Center for Transgender

Equality does mention that there are different

processes for altering one’s birth certificate

and driver’s license as well as legally

changing one’s name before a court of law.

These legal processes take time and funds

that many college students may not have.

Without a legally recognized transition,

students may not have the opportunity to

change names on their diplomas.

“In the worst case scenario, it [the

diplomas] can also unintentionally out

someone, which can be very physically

dangerous [and] academically dangerous

because of the prejudice and discrimination

that exists,” Phoenix explains.

In contrast, not every gender expansive

person wants name changes implemented.

One such student is Pritchard. Despite

altering all of his other school documents,

he does not want to alter his diploma. “I

asked for it to be my birth name since it

hasn’t been changed legally, and I don’t

want that to cause confusion,” says

Pritchard, “I also [want] to avoid any

potential issues with long distance family

who I haven’t come out to yet.”

As with all LGBTQ-inclusionary practices,

the preferred name changes at

universities are not a requirement, but an

opportunity. It is about having the option

to do so. At UNC, students may also retroactively

change their names and receive a

“replacement diploma.”

According to Phoenix, the UNC name

change option will not only benefit LGBTQ

students, but all students. “This change will

allow for students to display their diplomas

proudly. It does not just apply to transgender

or nonbinary people, but to others who

may not go by their legal names.”

Correcting people on one’s name is

not exclusive to the LGBTQ community.

However, it is much more common.

“The only issues [relating to name and

pronouns] I’ve ever had was with other

students,” Pritchard explains.

Speaking to the importance of all university

staff being well-versed in LGBTQ issues,

Pritchard adds, “The faculty has been great

about sharing and getting everyone’s preferred

pronouns. They were always fantastic

about handling that [transphobia from other

students] when I brought it up to them.”

Sensitivity training is one area in which

all colleges should be investing. According

to recent developments, many North

Carolina-based schools house an LGBTQ

Resource Center or faculty-lead LGBTQ

group. Outside of the previously mentioned

institutions, NC State University, Wake

Forest University and North Carolina State

University are some other colleges that

have made way for their transgender, nonbinary,

gay, lesbian and bisexual students.

Offers Phoenix: “Chosen names on

one’s diploma is a great step forward.

However, there are many other things to

be done within the UNC system to make it

a more affirming space for students, staff

and faculty,”

Pritchard also voiced his opinion on

the LGBTQ-centered modifications that

could be made to all colleges. “I’ve found

that having gender neutral bathrooms or

family bathrooms in buildings is incredibly

useful for people who are still early in their

transition, or for nonbinary people.

“I think housing can also be very difficult

to navigate when transitioning, and

I’d say it would be beneficial to have some

way for trans people to either choose

what gender they’re rooming with, or

avoid roommates entirely,” Pritchard adds.

These accommodations, including preferred

name changes to diplomas, could

be pivotal to a gender expansive student’s

college experience, level of achievement

and psychological well-being. : :


your business, organization or service

throughout the Carolinas

Call Q-Notes


May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 9

10 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021


York Transgender Woman’s

Murderer Now in Police Custody

Suspect Killed Four Total and Injured Others

Police in South Carolina have caught a

manhunt suspect wanted in connection

with a deadly crime spree in South Carolina

and Missouri that left four people dead and

others injured, officials said Monday.

Tyler Donnet Terry, 26, was taken into

custody in a field of high weeds around

10 a.m. in Chester County, said Sheriff

Max Dorsey.

Neither Terry nor law enforcement officers

were injured, Dorsey said.

Terry was caught near the small town of

Richburg near Interstate 77, officials said.

Officials said Monday more than 300

officers had been positioned around Terry

in the Richburg area after a confirmed

sighting. Several roads, including S.C. 9,

remain closed.

The shooting spree that Terry is accused

of began on May 2. He is charged

with shooting two people in Chester

County and killing a transgender woman

in the city of York, according to investigators.

Missouri police say Terry is a suspect

in the killing of a doctor and one other

person on May 15. Missouri police said

Terry’s vehicle was seen in that state.

Police from Chester County, York

County, state and federal agents from the

FBI, ATF and Homeland Security had been

searching for Terry since early Tuesday

morning after he fled during a police chase.

The driver in the police chase, Adrienne

Simpson, 34, was caught and remains in jail.

Wednesday night, Terry was seen on

video at a Chester business where he

allegedly stole a gun, clothes and other

items, police said.

Dorsey told reporters in an impromptu

news conference near the scene, broadcast

live Monday on television, that ATF

agents found Terry hiding in a field.

Terry did not resist, and was taken

into custody without any officers or Terry

sustaining injuries, Dorsey said.

“It was peaceful,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey said officers, including himself,

made sure EMS gave Terry care. Terry

received Gatorade and other nutrition,

Dorsey said.

“He was tired, he was thirsty...” Dorsey

said. “He had bug bites.”

Dorsey praised the work of the more

than 300 officers from around South

Carolina and the country involved in

the search.

“I am so proud,” Dorsey said. “These

men and women sacrificed, they put their

own lives on the line.”

Dorsey praised the public and Chester

County community for their assistance

and patience during the search.

“For the community there was anxiety,

frustration, and at times doubt,” Dorsey

said in the news conference. “We thank

the public for their help.”

Randy Newman, sixth circuit solicitor

in South Carolina and top prosecutor

for Chester County, said he was proud

of the officers who worked for days to

capture Terry.

“This was a team effort to take Mr.

Terry into custody,” Newman said. “We at

the solicitor’s office now stand ready to do

our part.”

Kevin Brackett, 16th circuit solicitor

and top prosecutor for York County, said

his office will coordinate with Chester

and Missouri officials on the charges

against Terry.

“We are very thankful for the work of

the officers who took Mr. Terry into custody,”

Brackett said. “We will now review

our case and work to ensure that justice

is done.”

Prosecutors stressed Terry has been

charged with crimes but has

not been convicted and is

presumed innocent.

William Frick, who was

named Sixth Circuit Public

Defender on Friday, said his

office will represent Terry.

Kay Boulware, an assistant

public defender in Chester

County, represented Terry on

a pending June 2020 domestic

violence case, Frick said.

“We at the public defender’s

office in Chester County

will be taking representation

of Mr. Terry and making sure

his Constitutional rights are

protected,” said Frick, who

had been deputy public defender

until his appointment

to the top slot when Mike

Lifsey retired last week.

Geoff Dunn, a Rock Hill

lawyer, has been appointed

by Andrew Dys | Charlotte Observer Reporter

Thomas Hardin, a transgender woman from York, S.C., was killed May 2. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

to represent co-defendant Adrienne

Simpson in Chester County. Dunn declined

comment pending Simpson’s first

court appearance.

Simpson is charged with murder in

Chester County and accessory to murder

in York and Chester counties, according to

police and court documents.

It remains unclear who will represent

Terry in York County. B.J. Barrowclough,

16th Circuit Public Defender, said Monday

his office has not yet been appointed

for Terry because Terry is in custody in

Chester County. However, Barrowclough

said, if his office is appointed will conduct

Murder suspect Tyler Terry.

(Photo Credit: Chester County Sherrif’s Office)

its own full and complete investigation

into the allegations against Terry if the office

represents either one.

“Although we have not been appointed

yet, the 16th Circuit Public Defender’s

Office stands ready to defend Mr. Terry if

called upon,” Barrowclough said. “We will

do as we always do and conduct a full investigation

that ensures Mr. Terry’s rights

under the Constitution are protected.”

It is unclear when Terry will be booked

or make a first appearance in court. Law

enforcement and court officials said it is

likely Terry will need a medical evaluation

before he can be taken to jail or prepared

for a first court appearance.

Terry is charged with murder in the

May 2 shooting death of Thomas Hardin in

the city of York. Simpson is charged with

accessory to murder in that case.

Thomas Hardin was a 35-year-old

transgender woman. According to

WBTV, a friend contacted police after

not hearing from Hardin. A few months

prior, Terry had been staying at Hardin’s

home, but was put out when the living

situation did not work out. Hardin’s

friend, Chimere Hicks, says Hardin and

Terry were romantically involved at one

point, but their relationship had recently

deteriorated. Hicks states that after this

incident, Terry would repeatedly send

Hardin threatening messages.

Terry and Simpson also are charged

in two separate shootings in Chester on

May 2. One incident happened on Ehrlich

Street and the other at the Taco Bell on

J.A. Cochran Bypass.

Terry and Simpson are both suspects in

May 15 murders near St. Louis. A male doctor

and a woman were fatally shot in separate

incidents an hour apart in Brentwood

and University City, Missouri, which are

suburbs of St. Louis, police said. The shootings

happened after robberies and police

in Missouri called Terry and Simpson, “a

modern day Bonnie and Clyde.”

After last Tuesday’s police chase, Terry

was charged with attempted murder

for allegedly shooting at three Chester

deputies who tried to pull the car over.

Deputies returned fire, but Terry and

Simpson were not hurt. The deputies were

not hit by the gunfire.

Terry and Simpson were both charged

Friday with murder after South Carolina

Law Enforcement Division agents found

the body of Simpson’s husband, Eugene

Simpson, Wednesday night in a rural

Chester County ditch. He had been shot

to death.

Several Chester and York County

schools were under lockdown last week

after sightings of Terry.

The FBI, York County Crimestoppers,

and Midlands Crimestoppers had offered

a combined $12,000 reward for information

leading to the capture. : :

This story originally appeared on The

Charlotte Observer, charlotteobserver.com.

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 11


Pride in the Carolinas

Mix of In-Person and Virtual Events Kick Off in June and Continue Through October

Pride events in the Carolinas kick off

in Durham the last week of May and

continue throughout the Carolinas

during spring, summer and fall.

There’s a lot to do in the larger cities

and in some of the small towns. However,

the COVID-19 Pandemic has and continues

to affect most Pride celebrations, just as it

has daily living around the globe.

In our compilation you’ll find a mix of

events that are in-person, and virtual.

A few celebrations are attempting to

recapture the excitement of large crowds,

outdoor events with stage shows, vendor

markets and parades, though they are in

the minority.

We’ve tried to be as thorough as possible

with this list, but please keep in mind

that events everywhere continue to be

impacted by the global pandemic. Some

Pride celebrations may be smaller than in

years before and some may not happen

at all. We have tried to list something

about every event that we were able to

find. If you are a Pride celebration in the

Carolinas and you don’t see yours listed

here, or you would like to update some

details, feel free to contact us so we can

add it to the online version of the story.

Confirmed Events

by L’Monique King

qnotes Staff Writer

by Gary Montgomery

Guest Contributor

Pride Durham

May 30-June 6

Durham, N.C.

According to press info from Pride

Durham’s social media sites, many of their

Pride activities will be virtual. On May 30,

they will kick off their Pride celebration

with the online event Rocky Horror Movie

Night (7 p.m.-10 p.m.) for those 16 and

older. The following day, Pride fans can

start their week with two additional virtual

happenings. A Pride Flag Raising event will

be live streamed on Facebook on Monday,

May 31 and later that evening participants

can turn to their phones, tablets or

laptops to wind down with some Pride +

Peace Yoga at 7 p.m. For those missing

in-person Pride events, there will be a

Kick-Off Party at Club 717 (officially The

Durham Alliance Association Social Club-

DAASC) on Friday, June 4. With a variety of

virtual events continuing throughout

the weekend, Pride Durham will wrap

June 6. For more information visit


OutFest Columbia

June 5

Columbia, S.C.

The one and only Utica Queen (of RuPaul’s

Drag Race fame) headlines this South

Carolina Pride celebration, to be held at

The Vista (1200 block of Park Street, near

the intersection of US 378-Gervais Rd.).

12 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021

Be prepared for the zaniness you’ve come

to know from this drag diva. Co-hosts

Paris LeFaris and Carla Cox headline a full

day of Pride festivities along with music

grooves by DJ*EZ, live performances by

Fendi Moore, Oliver Clothesoff, Don Javi,

Leslie Lain, Fendi Moore, Cierra Nichole

and more. The Outfest Drag Pageant

will continue throughout the day with

competition categories in presentation,

evening gown, talent and response to

onstage questions. The theme is “Be the

Rainbow.” For directions, hotel special

rates, COVID precautions and more,

visit scpride.org.

Chatham County Pride

Virtual Film Screening

June 10-17

Pittsboro, N.C.

The Chatham Community Library will host

daily virtual screenings of the documentary

“Deep Run.” Released in 2015, the film

explores the life of a transgender man living

in Lenoir County, N.C. The library wanted

to focus on small, local areas; demonstrating

that LGBTQ people can come from

anywhere and should be afforded the

same level of respect as any non-LGBTQ

individual. The subject of “Deep Run,”

Cole Ray Davis, struggles to come out as

a lesbian and then later to come out as a

transgender man over the course of the

film. The Hollywood Reporter review of the

documentary offers this summary:

The threat of being outed at church,

where the pastor believes Cole is a nice respectable

young man, is especially trying,

as the two take their faith very seriously

and have little trouble maintaining an inclusive

vision of Christianity, despite what

they’ve been taught.

The Chatham County Library is encouraging

post-screening feedback from all

participants. This survey will allow attendees

to make suggestions for future Pride

Month programs, as well as the implementation

of more LGBTQ-inclusionary resources.

The film screening will be open to

anyone, regardless of county of residence,

but does require a password. To request

access or inquire about any specifics,

email social.library@chathamlibraries.org.

Black Pride Week: Upstate SC

June 21-27

Greenville, S.C.

According to Upstate Black Pride’s

website, the weeklong event is an opportunity

for marginalized people to

enjoy a celebration for the entire community.

Events scheduled include a Meet

& Greet, Wine Tasting, Pageant, Trans

Fashion Show, and multiple After Parties

galore. Get your grass skirt ready for a

Pride Luau on June 27. The Main Event

for the week is the Black Pride Festival,

slated for Saturday, June 26 in Falls Park,

Downtown Greenville. For more info on

Black Pride Week: Upstate SC,

visit upstatepridesc.org/black-pride.

Charlotte Black Pride

June 11-18

Charlotte, N.C.

The vision of Charlotte Black Pride (CBP)

is to empower the hearts, minds and spirits

of all LGBTQIA people, while embracing

diversity, uplifting the community and

working to bring social change. They’ve

been working toward these goals for 16

years and are back this year with inperson

events and a week’s worth of Pride

activities. CBP will kick off the week’s

events with their Mr. & Ms. CBP Pageant

at Chasers with all the glam and fanfare

pride pageants are known for. Later in

the week, their annual CBP Town Hall

Meeting (Wednesday, June 14) community

members will have a chance to discuss

and address pertinent LGBT BIPOC issues

at the Midwood International Center,

where the CBP Expo will take place on

Saturday, July 17. This year’s Expo will be

a slightly scaled down version because

organizers are continuing to work with

COVID-19 precautions. Fear not, however,

the Expo will still host vendors,

community organizations and riveting

entertainment. For those still feeling a

little iffy about in-person attendance, all

events will also be live-streamed. CBP

has announced an exciting, culminating

event is in the works: the CBP Skyline

Brunch, which is planned to be held on

the rooftop of a Charlotte Center City

High-Rise. For more information visit

their website at charlotteblackpride.org

or their Facebook page at facebook.com/


Charlotte Pride

Aug. 21-Nov. 23

Charlotte, N.C.

Those dates initially read like an announcement

for the longest Pride

celebration event in history, but that’s

not exactly the case. In a press release

from Charlotte Pride, Communications

Director Matt Comer explains what’s

going on, “Charlotte Pride Season event

plans are flexible and elastic, and they

can be scaled up or scaled back depending

on health and safety benchmarks.

Organizers have taken the pieces of a

normal festival, parade and Pride Week,

and expanded them into a series of

unique events and activities that balance

a collective desire to return to normal

with a clear need and responsibility to

ensure the safety, health and well-being

of the entire community.”

Here is a run-down on what’s in the

works for a Charlotte’s Pride Fall:

Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service

Aug. 21-22

Kicking off Charlotte Pride Season with

a community-wide opportunity to give

back. Volunteer and service opportunities

throughout Charlotte being on what

would have been the 2021 festival and

parade dates.

Charlotte Pride Interfaith Service

Sept. 12

Charlotte Pride’s traditional Interfaith

Service, this year hosted in a new

location with expanded opportunities

for fellowship.

Pride Night: A Charlotte Pride

Concert Event

Sept. 17

Slated to be a day-long concert event featuring

local, regional and national LGBTQ

artists and entertainers.

Blue Ridge Pride

Sept. 25

Asheville, N.C.

at Washington Square Park. Two weeks

later get ready for the annual Pride

Winston-Salem Pride weekend, Friday,

Oct. 15 to Saturday, Oct. 16. The fun gets

started with the annual Pride Parade at

11 a.m. on Fourth Street in the Downtown

Arts District. And don’t worry about missing

brunch that day! The Pride Festival

and Food Truck Rodeo runs just about all

day from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. so march your

hungry self down to Trade St. for plenty

of delicious delicacies from your fave food

truck. More details at pridews.org.

this year. Who can forget the Pride Bar

Crawl or the Fantail Dance Party of 2019?

It’s normally held on or about Labor Day

Weekend. As of this time, specific events/

dates/times have not been confirmed.

Eastern North Carolina Pride

(ENC Pride)

Unspecified October Date

Kinston, N.C.

Charlotte Pride’s Pop-Up Pride Festival

Sept. 18

A truly unique, truly local celebration of

Pride in the Queen City, the Pop-Up Pride

Festival will feature special zones and

activities throughout Uptown, providing a

familiar festival feel while avoiding the full

crowds that normally attend the festival.

Charlotte Pride Parade


Charlotte Pride plans to host a normal, inperson

parade in October. A final date will

be announced soon.

Reel Out Charlotte

Nov. 5-7

The Queen City’s Annual LGBTQ Film

Festival returns to Camp North End

for a weekend of LGBTQ short and

feature films.

Charlotte Pride Community

Empowerment Conference and

Community Job Fair

Nov. 13

An expansion of the 2019 Charlotte Trans

Pride Job Fair, this one-day event will bring

together educational and communitybuilding

workings with a job fair expo for

all those seeking new work and exploring

career potential. For additional information

visit charlottepride.org/pride2021.

OBX PrideFest

Sept. 10-12

Nags Head, N.C.

Outer Banks PrideFest is planned for

this fall, currently slated for Sept. 10-12.

This year marks OBX PrideFest’s 10th

Anniversary and the only reason the organization’s

website mentions possible cancellation

is a hurricane or a rise in widespread

COVID-19 rates. The main portion

of the festival will likely be on a Saturday

afternoon (as always, from 1:30 p.m.-6:30

p.m.) and host concerts, merchant vendors,

restaurant vendors, microbrews and

craft and nonprofit vendors at the Creef/

Davis town park on the historic waterfront

in Manteo, N.C. It is truly one of the most

scenic places one could be for a PrideFest.

This year, OBX PrideFest is not offering

Pride Passes for their paid events, so they

are encouraging participants to purchase

tickets in advance through their website

at obxpridefest.com.

If you enjoy Asheville, you’ll love Blue

Ridge Pride. Blue Ridge Pride is back,

outside and proud. After over a year of

pandemic isolation, Blue Ridge Pride

organizers are excitedly planning many

2021 pride events, including their Sept.

19, Pride Pageant (open to all forms of

Drag Entertainment) and their Festival and

Welcoming WNC Procession on Saturday,

Sept. 25. They call it a procession because

there are no floats or grand marshals. It’s

a walking only event and it starts Saturday

morning at 10:00 a.m. The festival will

begin shortly after at 11:00 a.m. Festival

activities will conclude that evening at 7

p.m., giving pride goers plenty of time to

browse, shop and connect with friends

and various LGBTQ groups.

In case you are interested, there’s still

plenty of time to get involved with Blue

Ridge Pride activities. You can join the

procession, volunteer, vend, participate

as an entertainer or provide community

education with information tables from

local organizations, groups and businesses.

Registration is now open for just about any

way you’d like to become involved. All the

information you could ask for is accessible

on their website at blueridgepride.org.

Myrtle Beach Pride

Oct. 1

Conway, S.C.

Thinking about heading to Myrtle Beach

for Pride? Friday, Oct. 1, is the kick off

for Myrtle Beach Pride at the Main Street

Theater in Conway, S.C. We’ve heard they

are in talks with a well-known national

entertainer. Then on Saturday, Oct. from

12-7 p.m. head outdoors for the Pride

in the Park festival at Grand Park. The

shindig features live music, entertainment,

food trucks and retail vendors.

Finally, close things out after dark with

a Pride Celebration Party at Pulse Ultra

Club. Find more info about other upcoming

fundraising events on Pride Myrtle

Beach’s Facebook page at facebook.com/


Pride Winston-Salem

Oct. 2 and Oct. 15-16

Winston-Salem, N.C.

Events begin with a special Trans Pride

event on Saturday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Famously Hot South Carolina Pride

Oct. 22-23

Columbia, S.C.

Columbia is showing their Pride twice this

year, it would seem, with The SC Pride

Parade and Festival weekend, hot on the

heels of Outfest on June 5. Presented by

Famously Hot South Carolina Pride, the

annual statewide-welcoming celebration

includes the SC Pride Parade on Friday,

Oct. 22, followed by the SC Pride Festival

on Saturday, Oct. 23. Planning is still

underway, but more info about the South

Carolina Pride celebration (and OUTfest) is

available at scpride.org.

Tentative Events

Charleston Pride

Sept. 4-11

Charleston, S.C.

While there is limited information listed on

the website, organizers tout there will be

no shortage of Drag Artists, Performers,

Food Trucks, Walking Tours, a Pride

Parade and a closing party at this year’s

Charleston Pride Festival. For more info

visit charlestonpride.org.

Hendersonville Pride

Sept. 21

Hendersonville, N.C.

Hendersonville Pride is tentatively

scheduled for Sept. 21 and will reportedly

feature a formal proclamation from the

Mayor of Hendersonville, the famed Pride

Picnic and other events TBA. For updates,

check hendersonvillepride.org.

Salisbury Pride

Sept. 25

Salisbury, N.C.

For 2021, the Salisbury Pride theme is

“Together We Can.” While the date for

Salisbury Pride has purportedly been

confirmed, organizers have not officially

released a statement about the event, nor

have they confirmed if it will be in-person

or virtual. Visit their website for updated

information at salisburypride.org.

Port City Pride

Unspecified September Date

Wilmington, N.C.

We’re hoping Port City Pride’s festivities

in Wilmington will return to Castle St.

According to ENC Pride’s website, the

board of directors decided to postpone

the ENC Pride festival, originally scheduled

for June 20, because of COVID-19

and concern for the safety of attendees,

so disregard the countdown clock on the

organization’s webpage and read their

updated information carefully.

In lieu of hosting a festival, the ENC

Pride board hosted a smaller event, ENC

Pride’s Miss Gay America Show on Sunday,

May 16 at The Heritage Bar in Kinston.

Currently, they have unspecified plans to

host the ENC Pride festival in October to

coincide with National Coming Out Day.

Going forward, ENC Pride’s festival will be

in October instead of June.

Alamance Pride

Unspecified October Date

Burlington, N.C.

Original spring event canceled because of

COVID-19 pandemic. Although no details

are currently available, the organization is

considering holding their Pride event during

October in conjunction with National

Coming Out Day. Check with their website

at alamancepride.org for potential updates.

No Known Events

Until Further Notice

Out Raleigh Pride

Raleigh, N.C.

Purported reboot in 2022.

Fayetteville Black Pride

Fayetteville, N.C.

No current updates.

Gaston Pride

Gastonia, N.C.

No current updates.

Catawba Valley Pride

Hickory, N.C.

Purported plans for this fall. : :

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 13

14 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021


by Rev. Chris Ayers

Contributing Writer

The memories of being rejected by

parents, preachers, churches, family, coworkers,

friends and society do not go away.

Rejection memories may not carry the same

punch as the rejection memories first did or

once did, when the wound was inflicted or

still open, but they never cease to exist.

I had the privilege of being the pastor at

Wedgewood Church in Charlotte, N.C. for

30 years. We were the congregation with

the Philadelphia rainbow colors painted on

our church’s front doors. Before the rainbow

doors, we flew a rainbow flag and a

trans flag at the busy intersection of Tyvola

and Wedgewood Dr. When someone

painted “Fags are piedofhiles” (yeah, surprise,

they couldn’t spell) on our doors, we

decided to paint our front doors rainbow

colors as way of saying we were offering an

extravagant welcome to all people.

Unfortunately, that was not the first or

the last vandalism of our property. Early

on, someone broke into our message

sign and rearranged the letters to read “A

LESBO CHURCH.” Several times, someone

Urban Gay-Friendly Churches Need to

Reach Out to LGBTQ People in Rural Areas

Spiritual Reflections

took the trouble to bring a ladder onto our

church property so they could take down

our rainbow flag. They never stole it. They

simply laid it on the ground (for us to put

back up). Transcend Charlotte came to the

rescue, raising money for a flagpole security

system and even installed it for us.

There was a lot of news coverage of

the vandalisms. In interviews, I always

tried not to speak about the church first,

but to speak to LGBTQ people witnessing

another rejection by some in our society.

I said, “My heart goes out to my LGBTQ

friends for whom this act of vandalism is

a reminder of previous hurts they have

experienced because of their sexual orientation

and/or their gender identity. This is

just one more stab in their heart.”

The vandalism stories were carried far

and wide, to the point that George Takei,

Sulu on Star Trek, tweeted about one of

the stories. Every Charlotte television station

covered the attacks on Wedgewood.

As you can imagine, I got a lot of

emails in response to the stories, but the

emails that concerned me most were

from gay people who lived in rural areas.

Invariably, they would write, “I love your

church. Can you help me find a church like

Wedgewood near me?” I always tried to

find them one, but 95 percent of the time

there was no church to recommend.

My wife grew up in western North

Carolina in Bakersville, which is in between

Boone and Asheville. Her parents died in

the last two years, and we have renovated

their home and built Willis Observatory,

one of the best observatories in the

southeast United States. The universe is

amazing. Saturn and its rings — stunning.

Jupiter and its four largest moons — stunning.

The Earth’s moon with all its craters

— stunning. And open star clusters and

globular star clusters are amazing too.

Recently, Southern Baptist pastors in

the area wrote a letter to the school board

requesting teachers and students be restricted

from going to the observatory due

to the observatory’s “gay agenda.” I list on

the observatory’s website that, as a retired

liberal clergyperson, I continue “to work for

the equality of all people, especially LGBTQ

people.” On a Facebook post referring to a

song in the movie “The Prom,” I wrote that

we would encourage students to celebrate

their DNA and help them realize they are

perfectly made, which is just another way

of saying we want all students to “reach

for the stars.” All that was too much for the

Southern Baptist preachers to swallow. The

pastor who ignited the uproar lives right

down the street from the observatory and

is the father-in-law of my wife’s cousin.

A long time ago my article published

in The Charlotte Observer, “Homosexuality

Is Not A Sin: The Christian Education of a

Baptist Minister” was copied and distributed

at the uproar-starter pastor’s church.

Nobody should have been surprised

by the observatory’s core values which

include diversity and inclusivity.

All the uproar reminded me of the

LGBTQ people living in rural areas who

contacted me over the years seeking

information on gay-friendly churches near

them, churches which typically didn’t exist.

Urban gay-friendly churches need to

figure out how to reach out to LGBTQ

people in rural areas. Urban gay-friendly

churches have used Zoom and other

streaming platforms for worship during

the Covid pandemic. Soon churches will

return to their sanctuaries and buildings.

What if those churches, using their newfound

media skills, developed outreach

programs to gay people in rural areas?

The need is great. I can imagine Zoom

Bible studies, Zoom worship services and

Zoom support groups for LGBTQ people in

rural America. : :

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 15


Does a Thirty-Year-Old Virgin

Need Counseling?

Tell Trinity

Hey Trinity,

At fourteen I suffered from a colonic disease

and had something attached to my side

that I was shy about. It’s gone now, but at 30

I’m still a virgin. I recently decided to explore

dating ads and websites, but I’m still nervous.

So I’ve decided to go to counseling, and was

wondering if you think it’s a good idea?

Yours, Thirty And Ready, Oklahoma City, OK

Hey Ready,

Everyone should try counseling at least once

in his or her life. With counseling you get support,

education, compassion, insight into your

fears and you get some great second opinions.

Most importantly, counseling teaches

socialization skills and techniques you need to

bring you up to speed emotionally, physically

and sexually. So sweetie, DON’T waste any

more time doing it alone, I mean being a virgin

alone, I mean, well, you know what I mean.

Kisses, Trin.

Dear Trinity,

Sometimes life has too many apples to

choose from. How do I know if I’m choosing

the right or wrong apple? Is there any special

secret about good decision-making?

The Good/Bad Apple, Atlanta, GA

by Trinity | Contributing Writer

Dear Apple,

As with Adam and Eve, you have to decide

whether to taste the apple and then how

to deal with the outcome of your decisions.

Either way you always have to do

something so that something happens. Yet

for all your decisions, use intuition. And for

all the wrong decisions trust that great decisions

will come from them. Also remember

darling, don’t waste time wasting time

in the garden, just LIVE!

Hello Trinity,

I’m in love with my best friend. He

also has feelings for me. What should

we do about it without potentially ruining

our friendship?

Yours, Friends and Feelings, Panama City, FL

Hello FF,

This dilemma is as common as wanting

to touch a stove to see if it’s hot. Some

people are willing to get burned, and

some are boring, I mean, too afraid or

too practical to take risks. I say never be

afraid and when all else fails, ditch your

fears and follow your intuition. Now,

honey pie, if someone doesn’t try something

soon no one will even get hot, never

mind burned!

Love, Trinity

Dearest Trinity,

My girlfriend always gets on my case

about saying the wrong thing. She says I

should’ve just said nothing! How does one

know when to say nothing?

Thanks, Tongue Tied, Memphis, TN

Dearest Tied,

In life, there are definitely times to shut

up, stay silent and/or simply say, “nothing.”

But pumpkin, if you haven’t learned about

these special times, how could you know?

So here’s:

Trinity’s Unforgettable Tips for When to “Say Nothing” (SN)

1. When you catch your roommate masturbating in a dark closet, SN.

2. When your very drunk lover slips you a few hundred bucks cause, “I (burp) luv ya,” SN.

3. When you and your partner have a big fight and she says, “I need a few minutes,” besides

saying, “no problem” also SN.

4. When the cop says, “If you say another word, you’re under arrest,” SN.

5. When your best friend’s mother dies and he’s uncontrollably crying in your arms, let

him cry, rub his head and SN.

6. When you’re given free food, admission and/or drinks by the flirtatious host, besides,

“thank you,” SN.

7. When the medical marijuana clinic gives you two edibles for the price of one, SN.

8. When your very old and very wealthy dying grandmother at the restaurant table begins

stuffing her purse with sugar packets, bread, butter and maybe a fork, SN.

9. When your boyfriend spills his guts about what’s not working in the relationship, let

him talk and SN till he’s done.

10. When the man of your dreams suddenly plasters a wet kiss on your lips then says,

“Sorry, I thought you were someone else!” SN. : :

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.



space starting at $22:

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16 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 17


Trans Deaths in N.C.

by Julianna Peres

qnotes Staff Writer

by David Aaron Moore

qnotes Staff Writer

This year has proven especially

dangerous for transgender people

in North Carolina. The two most

recent deaths of Remy Fennell and Jaida

Peterson stand out in everyone’s minds.

But there have been a record number of

transgender deaths in 2021 across the

United States. 25 confirmed fatalities have

taken place in the U.S. this year, with three

in North Carolina. The numbers reported

here for this year do not include the

suicides or deaths of deceased individuals

who were not identified as transgender.

The most recent victim this year is

Serenity Hollis, a 24-year-old Black transgender

woman, who was shot on May 8

in Georgia.

Last year also proved to be a record

breaker, in the worst possible sense. 44

transgender individuals were killed in 2020

with the majority of them being Black or

Latinx transgender women.

While the number of transgender

deaths has increased over several decades,

history confirms that discrimination,

prejudice, violence and harassment

have long been a part of the lives of

gender expansive people.

In April 1998, a gay man named

Christopher Todd Cloninger, who performed

as a professional female impersonator

at nightclubs of the time like

Oleens and Scorpio, was shot to death in

his apartment in East Charlotte.

As a performer, Cloninger was

known as Victoria Sinclair. Her death

sent shockwaves throughout the local

LGBTQ community, according to a report

written by former qnotes writer and editor

David Stout.

Only 28, Sinclair was popular and well

known regionally as an accomplished

entertainer and a multiple titleholder. She

was described by many acquaintances as

friendly and outgoing, and never without

a smile.

At the time, police told qnotes her

death was somehow related to a possible

drug theft. Multiple witnesses gave

different accounts as to exactly what happened

when Sinclair was gunned down,

and friends of Sinclair’s insisted there had

been no wrong doing on her part.

Sinclair’s aunt, Beth Cloninger, talked

with qnotes about her nephew’s death in a

phone interview May 21.

“That’s what the police told us,” she

recalled. “It was really a case of him being

at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We were all so heartbroken,” she

continued. “He was one of the funniest,

kindest people you could ever encounter.”

According to Beth Cloninger, the police

later informed the family the chief suspect

in the murder of Sinclair was under

surveillance and about to be arrested at a

motel when he abruptly put a gun to his

head, taking his own life.

18 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021

Victoria Sinclair, murdered April 1998.

“So we think that some kind of justice

was served,” Beth Cloninger recalled. “But

was it? Do we really know if that was the

person that killed him? I guess we’ll never

really know.”

A representative for the Charlotte

Mecklenburg Police Department did not

have any additional details. “It’s sad,” the

CMPD representative said. “Especially back

then. There wasn’t always a person to step

up to the plate to be an advocate in cases

Victoria Sinclair’s gravesite.

like this. [With no further investigation] that

murder just slipped through the cracks.”

Unfortunately, that’s a trend continued

with the violent death of another

performer and gender expansive

individual in 2002, known as Franklin

Freeman. A devoted fan of Aretha

Franklin, Freeman would occasionally

lip-sync songs by the R&B diva at the

long-since shuttered Oleen’s, a former

Dilworth neighborhood gay bar.

“Franklin’s shows were unlike any

other,” recalls Lupie Duran, a friend of

Freeman’s and owner of Lupie’s Cafe. “He

didn’t pull off being a woman as much as

some of the other drag queens did. But he

didn’t care. He was just Franklin. And he

was very funny.”

Duran initially met Freeman in her


“There was something about the way

he carried himself,” she says. “The way

he just busted up in a place. I knew he

was the kind of person I wanted to meet.

He didn’t care if somebody looked at him

funny. He was definitely one of a kind for

Charlotte. He’d be all done up with lipstick

and false eyelashes and then he’d have

this five o’clock shadow.

“He didn’t care that he didn’t pull off

being a woman. I think he just enjoyed the

outrageousness of it all. He was a good

person. I totally miss him.”

Freeman was found shot to death in

early June 2002 in Center City Charlotte. A

passing motorist had called 911 to report

seeing a person lying by the road. When

officers arrived Freeman was unconscious

and bleeding profusely. He died within

minutes and was pronounced dead at the

scene. An autopsy report later revealed

that Freeman’s death was the result of a

gunshot wound to his leg that lacerated

his left femoral artery and vein.

The element in the mix that caught

the attention of the media and the LGBTQ

community: Freeman was shot to death

just days before a courtroom appearance,

scheduled for him to testify against

Officer Michael Marlow of the Charlotte

Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

Freeman had been involved in an altercation

with Marlow prior to his death.

Almost immediately, Officer Marlow fell

completely off the radar.

Like Cloninger, no one has ever been

charged with Freeman’s death, and both

cases remain definitively unsolved.

Despite efforts by HRC (Human Rights

Campaign) to keep track of transgender

deaths since 2013, there can be no way

to account for every suicide, as well. One

such case was the suicide death of Blake

Brockington in 2015.

Brockington’s passing stirred the community

of LGBTQ and allied people to post

on social media and create fundraisers.

The first transgender homecoming king of

East Meck High School, Brockington was

constantly fighting against the stigmatization

of his gender identity.

In a letter to qnotes, Tracy Setzer,

mother to one of Brockington’s friends,

says, “I am heartbroken that he chose

to surrender to the fight of being

overwhelmed with grief from narrowminded

individuals that make it hard

for people such as Blake to just be who

they are… human.”

Gender expansive individuals’ suicides

are, without question, the result of acts

of transphobic harassment, violence and

intolerance, causing mental, physical and

emotional harm, which lead to the individuals

making the decision to take their own

lives. According to a study by the Trevor

Project, 52 percent of transgender and

nonbinary youth reported having suicidal

thoughts in 2020 (bit.ly/3wnIrxk).


Charlotte Pride

Season: A Return to

In-Person Events

(Lean este artículo en español: charlottepride.org/14229/#esp)

We’re still here! We’re still queer! And we’re excited to bring Charlotte

Pride’s annual events back in person for 2021!

Our Charlotte Pride team has spent the beginning of 2021 working carefully

to take our standard week of events and transform it into Pride

Season 2021! We’re stoked to expand our usual week-long celebrations

into a full Pride Season running from August through November. Charlotte

Pride is the Queen City’s way to celebrate, commemorate, empower, and

uplift our community — and this year we are bringing you even more

unique opportunities, activities, and programs than ever before!

Pride Season brings you events that are familiar and new, all with that

distinctive Queen City spirit. Our four-month Charlotte Pride Season will

bring you familiar events with new or unique spins. Events will include a

Weekend of Service, the annual Interfaith Service, Pride Night! Charlotte

Pride Concert Event, Pop-Up Pride Festival, the annual Charlotte Pride

Parade, annual film festival, a community conference and job fair, plus so

much more! You can see a full line-up of our events and the full version

of this letter to the community online at charlottepride.org/14229.

Franklin Freeman, murdered June 2002.

“We don’t actually know about the

nuances those individuals experience

throughout their day,” says Hopkins.

“Nor do we know if the chances of losing

one’s life or being violently attacked is

going to happen.

“We just set out to live another day. We

are just trying to survive. We struggle in a

corrupt system that’s been in place for decades,

where we are left with very limited

options. It continues to deny many of its

citizens their equal rights or opportunity to

earn and make a decent living.”

The fact that both Fennell and Peterson

were sex workers has been highlighted by

various media outlets. The importance of

this common denominator is that many

gender expansive individuals, especially

transgender women of color, are left with

no other viable career options.

There’s Still Hope was created as a way

to address an area that Hopkins says the

city of Charlotte has ignored: transgender

adults of color.

“This system continues to judge,

criticize and draw up conclusions about

us,” Hopkins continues, “It’s a system that

constantly makes things extremely hard

for some to get a decent education, access

to quality health care, good paying jobs

and affordable housing.”

“They [are] critical and disrespectful

almost every chance they get. This

means the path we’re forced to travel

down often turns many within our community

to substance abuse; and to street

work to simply put or keep a roof over

our heads, find food to eat and put clothing

on our backs.”

As social consciousness grows in light

of these deaths, LGBTQ and allied communities

are coming forward in an effort

to help. Hopkins points to the importance

of helping where help is needed.

“Fundraisers should [help] nonprofits

that are already doing the groundwork.

The purpose is to channel that kind of energy

towards struggling individuals whom

have become fallen victims with guidance,

help and support.”

In addition to donating funds to

organizations like There’s Still Hope and

Equality NC, Hopkins confirms the need

to establish a local community center in

a neighborhood, like the NoDa area. “It’s

a central safe haven location that would

exist for trans individuals to go rest, find

information and develop connections with

kindred spirits.”

The model There’s Still Hope uses for

operation is one that Hopkins believes all

organizations should adopt.

Dubbed the “pizza pie” method,

Hopkins has created the “Steps for

Stability Program” that allows other

nonprofits around the city to interact with

There’s Still Hope in order to provide as

many services as possible.

The idea behind this process is that no

one organization can offer housing, counseling,

health care and transportation.

Instead, Hopkins believes that all existing

groups should work together to ensure

that all gender expansive people have access

to the help they need.

Says Hopkins: “Society needs to learn

how to be more sensitive to its fellow citizens,

no matter how they identify.” : :

Why can’t we go “back to normal”? In a “normal” year’s events, some

200,000 or more people would gather along Tryon Street in Uptown

Charlotte for the annual festival and parade, with hundreds or even

thousands more packed into small bars, restaurants, theatres, and other

spaces for events spread out through Pride Week. To put it simply:

There is no safe way to bring together hundreds of thousands of people

at a single event in a single space and time this year. We know it may

come as a disappointment, but we’re confident our event plans this year

will enable our community to come together in safe, meaningful ways

until we can return to a full-scale event in 2022.

Pride Season 2021 was created with your health and safety in mind. It is

flexible and elastic, and events can be scaled up or scaled back depending

on health and safety benchmarks. The plans we have outlined

for this year’s Pride Season provide opportunities for all of us to join

together in fun and fellowship. The events will be familiar, new, and reinvented.

We’ve taken the various contingent parts of a “normal” festival,

parade, and Pride Week, and we have broken them out into separate

events that can be custom tailored to whatever health and safety guidelines

may exist at the time.

You can get involved now! We’ve already opened up applications for vendors

and parade participants, as well as nominations for the Champions

of Pride Awards. Learn more at charlottepride.org/pride2021 and be sure

to stay tuned for more details as they are announced!

You can read the full version of this letter to the community at


May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 19


by Joey Amato

Guest Contributor

Taking a trip to Savannah is like taking a journey back

in time. Even the airport is designed with architectural

elements in mind that make it clear to guests that they are

in for a unique experience.

Savannah is a city of squares. Designed in the 1700s,

the city contains 22 squares, most of which are named in

honor of a person or historical event, and many contain

monuments, memorials or statues in the center. One can

spend an entire day strolling around the city squares,

admiring the stunning landscape and foliage.

I would highly recommend spending your first day in

Savannah on foot rather than jumping on a packed trolley

filled with tourists. You’ll get a better lay of the land if you

discover the city on your own at first. There are many walking

tours which operate during the day as well as at night which

can provide you with a boat load of historical data and in

some cases, you can learn about Savannah’s haunted past.

Savannah has been called the most haunted city in the

country for good reason. The city has been the site of war,

disease, fire, murder and slavery. According to one source,

a French ship called Grietely arrived in Savannah in 1854

to pick up 71 escaped slaves. The ship sank while exiting

the Savannah Harbor and many sailors say they feel a

force pulling them off course and hear voices speaking in

French and Bantu even today.

There are dozens of stories like this, so if you are

looking to go on a ghost hunt during your stay, join a

Haunted Savannah Walking Tour from 6th Sense World

— a woman-owned business that prides itself as being

A Journey Back in Time

Pride Journey : Savannah

Savannah’s original ghost tour company. The nighttime

tour visits multiple haunted areas of the city including the

famed Mercer House.

Wake up bright and early the next morning and catch

a glimpse of the sunrise along the riverfront in the Plant

Riverside district, home to numerous restaurants, boutiques

and art galleries. One block south on East Bay St.

lies B. Matthew’s Eatery, a two-story restaurant which

serves up some of the best brunches in the city. Since I

was planning on walking a lot during my stay, I ordered

the Fried Green Tomato & Crab Cake Benny, a delicious

fried green tomato coupled with a blue crab cake, poached

egg, mixed greens and goat cheese served over a homemade

buttermilk biscuit and topped with mornay sauce.

Calories don’t count when you’re on vacation!

If you feel like you need a bit more exercise than walking,

the fitness center at the Perry Lane Hotel is probably

one of the largest and nicest hotel gyms I’ve ever seen.

After your workout, head up to the rooftop for a stunning

view of the city. The hotel consists of two buildings, the

north building houses the rooftop bar and pool, while the

south tower has a rooftop event space. Grab some complimentary

champagne from the hotel lobby and head to the

top floor for the most amazing views of Savannah.

There really is a surprise around every corner in

Savannah, and one such surprise is a wonderful boutique

called Frieze. Bailey, the store dog, greets customers when

they walk in and is quite possibly the most well-behaved

dog ever. The store contains a variety of exotic treasures

from around the world hand-selected by the owner, which

are perfect for your home or a gift for that special person.

History buffs will enjoy the American Prohibition

Museum which sits just outside of Ellis Square. The

6,000 square foot building contains 13 different galleries,

four vintage cars and a functioning speakeasy. The

18th amendment to our Constitution was passed in 1919,

prohibiting the sale, transportation and consumption of

alcohol, so of course people tried to find a way around this

law, leading to the rise of organized crime, as gangsters

began to form well-organized and profitable bootlegging

operations. The museum shines a spotlight on this era

paying tribute to the good, the bad and the ugly.

Art enthusiasts should swing by the SCAD Museum

of Art, a contemporary art museum featuring the works

of internationally renowned and emerging artists. The

museum serves as a source of inspiration for the students

of the Savannah College of Art & Design, which has grown

to encompass multiple locations throughout the city and

an enrollment of almost 15,000 students, many of which

travel here from other countries to attend the institution.

With a student population that large, the city boasts a

decent LGBTQ community despite the number of nightlife

options. Club One, the city’s only official gay club, offers

daily entertainment ranging from Drag Bingo on Monday

evening to karaoke and full drag performances in their

showroom every Friday and Saturday night. The club was

home to world-renowned transgender performer The

Lady Chablis, who was known as the ‘Grand Empress’ of

the club. Chablis was a superstar in her own right, playing

herself in the Clint Eastwood-directed movie adaptation

of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, starring Kevin

Spacey and John Cusack. Although Chablis passed away in

2016, Club One honors the icon every week with performances

that bear her name.

Whether you are looking for great food, culture,

history, paranormal activity or a little bit of everything,

Savannah is a great destination to explore.

For more information, go to visitsavannah.com. : :

20 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 21


When the Stars Align

Screen Savor

by Gregg Shapiro

Contributing Writer

There are some people (this writer included)

for whom Colin Firth’s Academy

Award-worthy performance was in 2010’s

“A Single Man” (Firth’s initial gay role), his

first such nomination, even though he

won the trophy the following year for “The

King’s Speech.” That said, 10 years later,

straight Firth is playing gay again, in Harry

Macqueen’s “Supernova” (Bleecker Street),

and this time could potentially snag his

second Oscar.

Pianist Sam (Firth) and author Tusker

(Stanley Tucci) are a married gay couple who

have been together for many years. Their

communication consists of playful banter,

sweet bickering and loving admiration. The

pair, who live in Sam’s native England, are

on a road trip in their caravan with their dog,

Ruby. Among the plans they have for this

journey area revisit to a campsite from years

earlier, as well as a stopover at the home of Sam’s sister Lilly

(Pippa Haywood), her husband Clive (Peter MacQueen) and

daughter Charlotte (Nina Marlin). A recital, marking Sam’s

return to concert performance, is also on the schedule.

This voyage, however, has more significance than

others. Tusker, who has been diagnosed with early onset

dementia, is in rapid decline. For all intents and purposes,

this odyssey is a chance for Tusker to say goodbye to

people who have meant something to him.

Of course, the hardest farewell will be the one with

Sam. Sam, who put his entire performance career on

hold to care for Tusker, is in denial. But there’s no refuting

Tusker’s condition. Early in the movie, after a pitstop

where Sam leaves Tusker asleep in the caravan and returns

to find him and Ruby gone. In a panic, Sam drives

down the road for a stretch, only to find Tusker off to

the side, standing stock still in a state of confusion.

In terms of acceptance of his condition, Tusker’s approach

differs from Sam’s. For example, he didn’t bring his

medication with him. Not because he forgot

it, but because he doesn’t think it helps him

and it only serve as a reminder of his illness.

Sam and Tusker keep an audio journal on

microcassettes as another way to monitor

his waning ability to recall, as well as create

an audio scrapbook of memories. It’s one

of the things that continues to link them, in

the same way that looking at constellations

through Tusker’s high-power telescope does.

The scenes with Sam’s family bring a

lightness to the story. There is a surprise

party and the occasion, which provides some

much-needed humor, feels genuine and

celebratory. But the bliss is short-lived when

Sam makes a series of discoveries pertaining

to Tusker’s latest writing project, as well as

his plans for the near future.

Road trip movies, including Oscar-winner

“Nomadland” and the gay-themed “Uncle

Frank,” made before COVID-19 forced us to

shelter in place, underwent something of a

revival during the pandemic. If we couldn’t

travel, at least we had the pleasure of watching

others do it. In that way, Supernova fit right into the

zeitgeist of the moment.

In addition to that element of escapism, Supernova

also brings dramatic realism to same-gender love and relationships,

along with all the heartache that it potentially

generates. DVD bonus features include a featurette and

the theatrical trailer. : :

Rating: A-

22 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021


by L’Monique King

qnotes Staff Writer

Eternity Philops is a yoga instructor and

creator of the Kamili Yoga Health &

Wellness System.

A native of Garnern, N.C. (a small town

just outside of Raleigh), she moved to

Charlotte in 2005, after graduating from

University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

These days, she proudly calls the QC home.

Philops is ready to talk with qnotes.

She’s at home: a two-story, sunbathed

townhouse on the city’s east side. With her

feline pal, a purring calico cat at her feet,

she settles in to discuss sharing yoga with

the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People

of Color), queer and trans communities;

her joys and overcoming some hurdles.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

Since 2016.

What made you to become an instructor?

Spirit led me to instructing. I had no intention

of actually doing any kind of instruction

when I first started, but opportunity

opened for me to be in yoga teaching

training. As time went on, this is where I

ended up. Originally, I would have been

happy being a yoga teacher’s assistant.

There’s a unique and resonating logo

that’s been popping up on your social

media, posters, merchandise and quite

a few things. It seems to speak heavily

to Black women. Are men also welcomed

to your classes?

Most certainly. The logo was chosen to

be a woman, but it’s not actually about

gender. So, it’s not meant to speak exclusively

to women, but it acknowledges

the power of women, how they are often

the background and catalyst to empower

social change. The first human was a Black

woman, so it acknowledges how we all

come from a Black woman.

What is Kamili Yoga and what makes it

any different than other forms of yoga?

Kamili Yoga is my modern Afrocentric

system for Black holistic wellness. It is a

system that centers African culture, history

and identity through the practice of

Our People: Eternity Philops

Forever Teaching Radical Peace, Power and Freedom

yoga. What makes Kamili Yoga different

is the fact that it’s a modern system I

personally created and launched in 2020.

The system utilizes Swahili [language,

also called Kiswahili; it’s predominantly

a mix of local Bantu languages and

Arabic] for its terms, it’s very spiritually

based. There’s movement, but yoga

poses are not required. Your movement

can be dancing or drumming. There’s an

emphasis on pursuing Black knowledge,

encouraging yogis to continue to study

and acquire diverse knowledge. It’s the

only modern [yoga] system created by a

Black queer person.

You mentioned Kamili Yoga in connection

with holistic wellness. Does that

include mental health?

Most definitely. Within this system we look

at the self as five dimensions; physical,

mental, emotional, spiritual and universal.

I teach that each individual dimension

needs to be addressed and cared for.

We have to have greater awareness for

each individual dimension because all of

them together make us who we are and

connects us to all of life. Mental health

is definitely a key part of that. I deal with

mental health issues myself.

When you’re not practicing

or teaching yoga

what are some of your

joys or hobbies?

Anime! Anime is my

happy place. Even when

I’m going through some

of my mental health episodes,

I often turn to anime

because it keeps me

balanced. And, doing fun

shit with my partner. We

like to watch movies and

series and talk shit about

them. And we like to go

out and find fun places to

eat. We’re getting back to

that now that things are

opening up again.

Speaking of partners,

one of your social media

posts seemed to affirm

those who are polyamorous.

Are you poly, and

what does that mean in your life?

Being polyamorous for me means that I

embrace the freedom to have multiple

intimate relationships. Whereas with

monogamy it’s just one — though intimacy

isn’t necessarily about sex. There are

asexual people and aromantic people who

practice polyamory.

For those who don’t understand that

concept, how do you deal with the

stigma, if there is any, of being

openly poly?

The funny thing is, if anyone is judging

me, they haven’t had the guts to say it

to my face. I feel like a lot of people I

know are pretty conscious, aware and

growing. I’m in a space where I’m going

to live and walk in my truth. I’m not really

concerned about what people think.

The only person I need to be concerned

about is my partner.

Thanks for your candor. We’ve covered

a lot of serious subjects. On a lighter

note, what makes you smile?

Playing and dancing to Sylvester’s “You

Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” anime, my

sweety and connecting with my yoga

students. Knowing the work that I do, truly

benefits others.

That’s a lot of smiles. Anything else

you want qnotes readers to know

about Eternity?

I’m a dope ass motherfucker. I’m serious.

You can put that down. Spell it like I spell

it: “Dope ass muthaphukkah,” who loves

connecting with new people and invites

you to approach me, to ask whatever

you wanna’ know. I’m very transparent

and approachable. : :

May 28-June 10, 2021 qnotes 23

24 qnotes May 28-June 10, 2021

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