July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 1
2 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
July 9-22, 2021
Vol 36 No 06
contributors this issue
David Boraks, Justin R. Ervin,
L’Monique King, Jack Kirven,
Hannah Erin Lang, Lauren Lindstrom,
David Aaron Moore, Nate Morabito,
Julianna Peres, Adam Polaski,
Chris Rudisill, Terri Schlichenmeyer,
Gregg Shapiro, Frank Summers, Trinity
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a local news partner of
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inside this issue
9 Time Out Youth Hires
Sarah Mikhail as New
6 News Notes
8 ‘Going to Be the Big One’
12 Infectious Art
13 Levine Museum Details
Plans to Sell Uptown Home
10 Immersive Van Gogh
14 Queering the
15 New Work from Southern
Equality Studios Debuts
17 Screen Savor:
of Things Past
18 Tell Trinity
19 ‘As a Woman: What I
Learned About Power,
Sex and the Patriarchy
After I Transitioned
19 Fact and Fiction
4 Financial Planning
16 Sharing a Home
With Your Partner
For event listings, visit
Sharing Your Home
With Your Partner
Buying a house with someone you
love is an exciting time, but it is
important to take proper steps in legal
protections for you and your partner.
An all-LGBTQ cast will be performing
Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.”
See it July 31 at The Enclave, located
in south Charlotte. The production is
directed by TG Matthews Cox.
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July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 3
Financial Planning Strategies for LGBTQ People
Advancements Create New Opportunities — and Needs
by Frank Summers
Something important is happening in healthcare systems
across the country: They’re recognizing the health needs of
the LGBTQ community deserve attention, and many are forming
dedicated services. For the first time, LGBTQ healthcare
was a dedicated topic at a recent international conference on
healthcare and aging. It’s more than just patient & condition,
however. It’s also about cultural competency. They realize that
many of us are uncomfortable discussing certain topics with
our doctors, or even just being out. It’s also about respect for
our chosen families and relationships, and who we want involved
in our medical decision-making. There’s a greater understanding
that our experiences and histories as LGBTQ people,
including physical and psychological, shape us and impact our
health our entire lives. You see, healthcare is not just about
patient/condition — it’s about seeing us as complete people.
At the same time, there’s a cultural shift in how we see
the latter part of our lives. Gone is the idea of retirement as
sitting in a rocking chair, watching life pass by and reminiscing
about our youths. Instead, “elderhood” is seen as a
vibrant phase of life, when we’re active and doing new and
exciting things…hopefully with the freedom that comes with
leaving a full-time career behind. As exciting as that is, the
truth is that each of us will someday be older and these advancements
give us more options, but only if we plan. Living
longer, more active, healthier lives…that sounds wonderful.
But how much will it cost? How will we pay for it?
Just as healthcare has changed for LGBTQ people, so has
financial planning — and it’s more than just new products or
investment options. The personal connection is every bit as
important. Understanding how we want to experience the
phases of our lives and the connections to our community
and chosen families helps design plans to be sure the funds
are there to enjoy them. But what if something happens…an
illness or injury or chronic condition?
Financial planning has changed, and awareness of our
needs can help avoid a costly mistake. Some of us are now
married, some couples have chosen to remain unmarried,
and others are single. In fact, there is a higher percentage of
single LGBTQ+ people than our straight counterparts, and
many more of us do not have children to provide care or
financial support for us when we get older.
For example, with long-term care planning, there are options
that can give us control over who we hire and what we
pay for. Traditional long-term care policies require specialty
care by facilities or providers that they define. That may not
work for someone who wants to remain in their own home
and wants to control who is providing care. A traditional
long-term care policy won’t fund the retrofit of a bathroom
— but there are other options that will. In fact, there are now
options for HIV+ people to help fund long term care or to get
life insurance that didn’t exist just a couple of years ago.
Unfortunately, some things haven’t changed. Many
LGBTQ people report discrimination or harassment in care
facilities. Many of us want more options and control of where
we live, and with whom, and to set the direction of our care.
We want to decide who provides services for us. Reviewing
the options and making decisions in advance can make all
Equality may be the law of the land, but marriage isn’t
for everyone. Unmarried couples still want to care for one
another and to have control over decisions and assets. That
requires special planning and clarity. For the couples who
do get married, or are considering it, there may be Social
Security considerations to be taken into account.
Being single brings its own set of planning needs, especially
when it comes to setting expectations for care if we
become incapacitated or need care. At all times, we should
have control over who will make our medical decisions for
us, who will have access to our money, and who will decide
what is done with our property and belongings.
Many of us want to be sure that it’s our chosen family and
not our family-of-origin that makes our decisions. The right
attorney can make sure that all of the paperwork is done
properly and the right financial planner can be sure that the
products and accounts are structured to support that.
While marriage equality has leveled the field, and
financial products are the same for everyone, it’s our needs
as people that make us different. Your financial planner,
attorney and care advocates should work together as a team
dedicated to you and your needs. We’ve worked too hard
and achieved too much to settle for less. : :
For more information, visit franksummers.ceterainvestors.com.
Frank Summers is a financial planner who specializes in the
needs of the LGBTQ+ community. He works with clients across
the country, though his office is based in Charlotte, NC. 5200
77 Center Dr #330, Charlotte, NC 28217. Cetera Investors is a
marketing name of Cetera Investment Services. Securities and
Insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment
Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered
through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera is under separate
ownership from any other named entity.
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PrEP • LGBTrans Care • HIV Care
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Accepting new patients daily!
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4 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 5
Local LGBTQ Groups Donate Collection of Books for Youth
More than 350 children’s books, all centering around LGTBQ characters and topics, have been donated to the Charlotte Mecklenburg
Library Foundation. Rosedale Health in Huntersville and Stonewall Sports Charlotte pooled their resources to celebrate Pride month with
literature and youth outreach.
This idea emerged when players from Stonewall Sports Charlotte decided to sprinkle the Queen City’s public libraries with stories of
acceptance and inclusivity. Rosedale Health + Wellness, a gay-owned HIV patient care center, then matched all of these donated books by
providing an extra copy of each. Childcare professionals selected, evaluated and approved each piece for their appropriate age groups.
Although the library is a safe haven for many children, transportation to and from the building is not always possible. So, as with
years past, the Charlotte Mecklenburg library will be re-launching their Mobile Library once more. The importance of reaching secluded,
underrepresented communities emphasizes the need for new books. More so than anyone, these youths deserve to see themselves
embodied in writing.
Executive Director of the Mecklenburg Library Foundation, Jenni Gaisbauer, says, “These titles reflect and celebrate the diverse world
we share, and will help more young readers see themselves, their families and their neighbors in the books they read.” Some of these
children’s books are “Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman, “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and “The Family
Book” by Todd Parr.
“This donation shows [another] way our players give back to the community,” says Roger Howard, Stonewall Sports Commissioner,
“We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in their home, school and community. We hope these books will support LGBTQ children
and their allies.”
As with the Stonewall Sports’ philosophy, there is no LGBTQ-requirement. Baseball, racquetball and tennis players do not need to be
LGBTQ-identified to play on a Stonewall team. Children who check out these new books do not have to be anything but respectful. The
goal of this rainbow collection is to educate, include and celebrate all young readers throughout North Carolina.
To learn more about Rosedale Health + Wellness, go to myrosedalehealth.com. To learn more about Stonewall Sports Charlotte, go
— Julianna Peres
Changes in Hong Kong May Spell Trouble for Gay Games
Next year will be the first time Hong Kong plays host to the Gay Games. For all of the controversy
and questions surrounding China’s history with LGBTQ civil rights and human rights in general, Hong
Kong (formerly a British Colony handed back to China in 1997) has been mostly accepting and welcoming
of gays and lesbians, even after the city was returned to Chinese authorities. Even as late as
2017, when the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), announced that their next event would be held there,
businesses and city officials were enthusiastic about the potential tourism the events would attract.
Now, just four years later, things are decidedly different
That formerly positive enthusiasm is getting harder to come by these days as the central Chinese
government is impacting Hong Kong. What was once a previously progressive and cosmopolitan
culture is regressing, as indicated by city lawmakers.
According to a report carried by the website Hong Kong Free Press, Junius Ho, a member of the
Hong Kong Legislative Council, said of the Gay Games and its participants: “It is your business what
you do in your own room, but if you go out and do it in public, it’s disgraceful. The point is simple, the
[city governing body] should not get involved in this, it’s the civil society’s business if they want to do
it, it’s wrong to throw money into this, and I don’t want to earn this type of dirty money, it doesn’t matter if we earn the HK$1 billion.”
Several companies have been shocked by the outright homophobic comments made by government officials like Ho.
“Our position on the Gay Games is we understand the purpose is to promote inclusiveness and diversity, so we have no problem with
that sort of spirit,” said Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong,
For now, the Gay Games continues to be promoted by the FGG and several members of the Chinese government.
— Julianna Peres
N.C. Cherokee Tribe Still Prohibits Same-Sex Marriage
Tribal courts, such as those who govern the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in North Carolina have their own governing bodies
and laws outside of the United States. In 2014, the Eastern Band Tribal Council passed a resolution that would ban all marriage between
same-sex couples. Tamara Thompson and her partner Jillian Goldstein, who met at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, set out to make a change in
their Native American Reservation, only to be immediately shot down by the Tribal Council.
Tribal Council Chair Adam Wachacha dismissed Thompson’s well-researched LGBTQ-inclusive bill at the preliminary stages. The shock
of such an abrupt rejection sent Thompson reeling, and she insisted that Wachacha’s actions should not have been possible — the resolution
should have been merely reviewed, and not ruled upon, at this reading.
She complained to a reporter for the news and culture website Cherokee One Feather that, although she and Goldstein could marry
in the United States, they would not be considered wives within their Cherokee community. This was further complicated by the fact that
Goldstein is not an enrolled member of the Eastern Band.
Atsei Cooper, however, is an enrolled member. Cooper was raised by two moms and identifies as bisexual. In an effort to create some
kind of tribal LGBTQ cohesion, Cooper, tribal member Justin Lee and other LGBTQ members and friends of the Cherokee Qualla Boundary
created a Facebook Group called “Nudale Adantedi,” meaning “different hearted, different spirited.”
More than 400 individuals have joined this group and they, along with Thompson, are hoping to reach out to the Tribal Council once
more. This group keeps LGBTQ individuals all over the country informed on the elections, hearings and rulings of the EBCI.
“Our goal is to bring same-sex marriage to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” Cooper told radio station WFAE 90.7. “On top of that,
we want decolonial education and changing the homophobic and transphobic culture that we have adopted here.” The EBCI has been
criticized by many community members for having strayed from their traditional attitudes of love and acceptance.
The Nudale Adentedi group mentions that the shift from a matriarchal to a more patriarchal society is said to have made for a more
conservative Council. This is yet to be seen, but many members of the Cherokee community are waiting for the July 1 Tribal Council meeting
results. LGBTQ and allied members of the EBCI intend on making a demonstration before the meeting as a display of solidarity.
— Julianna Peres
6 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
Time Out Youth Resumes
In-Person Discussion Groups
As July begins, so too will Time Out
Youth’s (TOY) phase to begin in-person
events once more. For youth between
the ages of 11 and 20, Melanin, MagiQ,
Tea Time, Space Aces and the Poetry
Group will resume discussions at the
TOY Center. COVID-related precautions,
like new “air scrubbers,” masks and
temperature checks are still in place, and
all staff members have been vaccinated.
Vaccine clinics are being hosted throughout
July, and drop-in hours are being
reinstated on Saturdays from 12 p.m.
to 4 p.m. With any queries, reach out to
Mayor of Hillsborough Publicly
Supports LGBTQ Residents
The sun shone over an array of
rainbow flags in the small town of
Hillsborough, N.C. on June 1. Overnight,
each lamppost was adorned with its
own Pride flag throughout the downtown
area. The town’s mayor, Jenn
Weaver says of this demonstration,
“I think policies are the most important
thing, but symbols are also really
meaningful and powerful, and this
certainly is one.” Public response was
mostly positive with only a few citizens
leaving negative comments on the official
town’s Facebook page. But this is
to be expected as Weaver puts it, “We
live at the crossroads of progressivism
Transgender Women Sue Georgia for
Transphobic Medicaid Program
Shon Thomas and Gwendolyn Cheney
reached out to the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) for legal aid.
According to their case, Georgia’s
Medicaid program covers several surgeries
that, despite being needed by gender
expansive persons for transitional
purposes, is only offered to cisgender
individuals. The lawsuit claims that
Georgia’s Medicaid “incorrectly characterizes
their gender-confirming health
care needs as “cosmetic,” “experimental”
Homophobia is Running
Rampant in Turkey
Police used tear gas on Pride parade
participants in Turkey this past month, a
parade which has been officially banned
for the foreseeable future. More than
20 individuals were either arrested or
detained for marching in the parade.
Earlier in 2021, Turkey’s government
asked to be taken out of the Istanbul
Convention due to its progressive views
on LGBTQ persons. This convention,
however, was created as a way to keep
women safe from systemic violence.
Many members of Turkey’s government
have been vocal about their disdain
for gay, lesbian or transgender persons.
The Human Rights Watch writes,
“Anti-LGBT speeches and social media
posts by top government officials have
— Compiled Julianna Peres
Will Senate Apologize for
Decades of Hate and Intolerance?
In a paper titled “America’s
Promise of Reconciliation and
Redemption: The Need for an Official
Acknowledgement and Apology for
the Historic Government Assault on
LGBT Federal Employees and Military
Personnel,” the LGBTQ Washingtonbased
Society, along with the law firm
McDermott Will & Emery, are calling
upon the U.S. Senate to apologize
for their long history of homophobia.
Among the government-level supporters
of this paper are senators Tammy
Baldwin and Tim Cain.
The paper calls all members of Congress, the military and the Executive Branch to
action, outlining each sectors’ explicit racist, homophobic, transphobic, colorist and
xenophobic activities actions of hate and intolerance. The 28-page record goes into
detail about anti-LGBTQ legislation, lynching of African Americans, Japanese-American
internment and harming/harassing Native Hawaiians.
Charles Francis, President of Mattachine, says, “Our mission of archive activism
strives to prevent America from repeating the most appalling errors of our history. For
this project, we were inspired by the fundamental question ‘Do you want to remember
or forget?’ which has been posed to governments worldwide when considering grave
wrongs committed against their citizens. The government’s assault over seven decades
on LGBT Americans is [one of such] wrongs requiring acknowledgment and apology.”
Over the course of two years, several members of both McDermott and
Mattachine pored over Freedom of Information Act (FIA) requests in an effort to piece
together the United States’ past of LGBTQ discrimination. In addition to these documents,
Mattachine and McDermott brought the history of the U.S. military and federal
employment into question.
No financial reparations are being requested from the government.
This means that, unlike past resolutions, the House of Representatives will not
have to pay any one person or group as a consequence of the statement. The paper
also brings up the issue of international hate crimes from the nations of Canada,
Australia, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil and the Netherlands.
— Julianna Peres
Raleigh Resident Featured in
Gallery, Documentary and Book
Once the ball started rolling on the “Not Another Second” art exhibit, it couldn’t
be stopped. 12 queer seniors had their photo portraits on display in a Brooklyn, N.Y.
gallery when the show started picking up speed. The series was transformed into a
documentary and, shortly thereafter, into a coffee table book.
The photographs, taken by Karsten Thormaehlen, feature individuals and couples
over the age of 60. Each of the subjects were asked about their experiences with
recognizing, accepting and living in pride of their LGBTQ identities. Some of them
spent over 50 years in the closet, living life surrounded by intolerance, bigotry, discrimination
and, in some cases and places, the risk of arrest. The exhibit opened at
the start of this year in The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights and will remain open until
Participant Richard Prescott sums the purpose of the project up perfectly when
he says, “I think I lost a lot of years not being myself. Not only do we get to share our
stories, but give courage to younger generations who are still scared of being their
Younger generations will benefit from the stories in the book “Not Another
Second,” as well as all proceeds from sales, which will be donated to Watermark for
Kids, a nonprofit that focuses on providing aid to LGBTQ youth.
This intergenerational effort is something that Ronnie Ellis Jr., a North Carolina
native, cites as integral to the fight for LGBTQ equality. Growing up in the rural Raleigh
area, Ellis was wary of losing his career because of his sexual orientation and did not
come out for 54 years. Both Ellis and his now-deceased partner feared for their careers
and lives. Despite the risks, they made a secret life for themselves during a large
portion of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the next. They
spent 44 years together before his partner passed away in 2011.
Ellis later purchased a Victorian home in the Historic Oakwood district in Raleigh,
became a leader in spearheading the conservation and restoration effort of the area
and was frequently referred to as “Mr. Oakwood” around Raleigh. These days he
spends his residential time between Raleigh and Tarboro, N.C.
Ellis, 81, mirrors Prescott’s sentiments about today’s gay youth, “Somebody needs
to let the young people know, we did what we could, and now they can pick up and
make life better for other younger people.”
Watermark Retirement Communities and SAGE are funding this multimedia
project, hoping to reach LGBTQ and allied elders and youth alike. SAGE Central North
Carolina continues to serve individuals like Ellis, advocating for and supporting LGBTQ
seniors over the age of 50 across the city of Raleigh.
— Julianna Peres
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 7
People who are behind on their rent
because of the coronavirus pandemic
got another reprieve last week: The
federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention extended its moratorium on
evictions for one more month.
The CDC has said it will be the last
extension. Several extensions have been
made since the moratorium was first
enacted in September.
The moratorium doesn’t mean evictions
have come to a standstill. A review of
court records shows judges are continuing
to order evictions for Mecklenburg County
renters who failed to pay rent — and for
other reasons like lease violations.
While cases have slowed dramatically,
they’re about to pick up again, as
courts begin scheduling cases that have
been delayed during the pandemic. An
estimated 250,000 North Carolinians are
behind on their rent, according to the U.S.
That worries housing advocates and
social service providers, who are preparing
for a flood of cases and more people seeking
rent relief and other assistance.
“I’m concerned that there are going
to be a lot of people getting evicted,” said
Tommy Holderness, a lawyer with Legal
Aid of North Carolina, “I just think the
numbers are gonna be really bad.”
Looking at Evictions
Reporters for the The Charlotte
Journalism Collaborative, a group of six
newsrooms working together to cover the
city’s housing crisis, recently tried to access
court data on evictions before and during
the pandemic across North Carolina.
The court system either says they don’t
have them, or there are barriers — even
though these are public records. Much
of it is only in paper copies, filed in the
courthouse. In one instance, the collaborative
was given a $6,000 estimate in fees for
a state data set.
So reporters examined, by hand, more
than 700 eviction orders issued at the
Mecklenburg County Courthouse between
October 2020 and April 2021. Despite
the federal ban, most of those were
for nonpayment of rent. Some tenants
were able to work with their landlords to
stay, or caught up on their balance, but
many were removed from their homes.
Advocates say the ban worked well for
some tenants whose income levels and
pandemic-related hardships qualified
them, but in some cases, either tenants
didn’t submit necessary paperwork or
didn’t qualify for protection.
Some tenants owed just a month or two,
but others were $10,000 or more behind.
This is consistent with what officials with
two local rent relief programs see every day.
Never before have so many people been
able to rack up months and months of late
balances. Carol Hardison of Crisis Assistance
Ministry says the amount of rental assistance
they’re paying out has soared.
“Pre-pandemic, you wouldn’t have
been able to get more than a month or
two behind without the landlord completely
pad-locking you out,” Hardison
said, “Now we’re sometimes paying two,
8 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
‘Going to Be the Big One’
Renters, Advocates Brace for End of Eviction Moratorium
by David Boraks, Lauren Lindstrom & Nate Morabito | Guest Contributors
Hattie Howie, center, talks to Crisis Assistance Ministry customer service representative
Lawrence Winston. (Photo Credit: Nell Redmond via Charlotte Journalism Collaborative)
three and four, five months worth of rent
to help a person.”
Erin Barbee, who oversees
Mecklenburg’s rent, mortgage and utilities
assistance RAMPCLT program for the
nonprofit DreamKey Partners, says they’re
seeing applicants come with overdue balances
of $7,000 to $8,000, on average.
James Surane, a Charlotte-area attorney
who represents landlords, says they’re
seeing what he calls “unprecedented”
amounts of overdue rent.
“Normally we’ve seen one or two
months, whatever, $1,500 to $2,000.
We’re seeing ledgers now at $20,000 and
$25,000,” Surane said. He says some tenants
who qualified for the eviction protections
don’t realize the moratorium does
not write off that debt.
Hattie Howie came to Crisis Assistance
Ministry this week looking for help paying
three months of rent
totaling about $3,000.
She said she was
grateful her landlord
has been patient with
her efforts to catch
up, but the balance weighs on her.
“It’s so stressful not knowing how the
rent is going to be paid,” she said. Howie,
68, had to stop working after 33 years as
a housekeeper and factory worker when
her mother, who died in October, needed
care, and her own health declined.
Her daughter, Thomasina Howie, lost
her housekeeping work during the pandemic
when people were wary of inviting
others into their homes. She stayed in a
hotel for several months before moving
into a new apartment in May with help
from the Salvation Army.
Thomasina said the pandemic hit
harder for those already struggling.
“Before the pandemic, things were
starting to look up on my end,” she said,
“But when it hit, it made me fall all the way
back and give so much of what I didn’t
Greater Charlotte Apartment
Association Executive Director Kim
Graham said property managers need stability
as well, so they can provide critically
important rental housing. Graham compared
the moratorium extensions to riding
a neverending rollercoaster in the dark.
“Just when you think you’re towards
the end of this rollercoaster, you get
another dip and another loop thrown your
way and that is scary,” she said.
While court records show judges
ordered the evictions of some for nonpayment,
Graham said the vast majority
of property managers and landlords have
remained patient with renters and have
worked with them in good faith. In fact,
she said landlords were the ones who
originally stepped up at the beginning of
the pandemic before the federal government
and financial industries stepped in.
“I do believe that
there has been an
injustice done to the
said, “I definitely
believe there was this
sense that landlords had deep pockets,
that landlords were at an advantage
over the people that they housed, that
landlords could weather the storm and
that landlords really didn’t care, and all of
those things are misnomers.”
What Happens When
the Moratorium Ends?
A Mecklenburg County court spokeswoman
said 1,070 eviction filings are
pending at the court as of this week. Those
are eviction filings from landlords who are
waiting for a hearing date. Experts also
told the CJC they expect many more landlords
are waiting to file their petitions until
after the moratorium expires.
A key factor for how quickly people
might lose their homes is the speed that
courts schedule hearings. Before the
pandemic, Mecklenburg County routinely
scheduled hundreds of cases in an hour,
because many tenants did not show up to
court or didn’t have a lawyer.
COVID-19 slowed down scheduling,
sometimes only 20 cases per courtroom,
per hour, to avoid too many people in
a room together. Others were done by
Holderness, the Legal Aid attorney,
said he hopes the courts don’t rush to
return dockets to pre-pandemic levels.
“I think that’s the one way to keep the
numbers from just getting horrendous in a
hurry,” he said, “but if the courts increase
those docket sizes, it’ll be ugly in a hurry.”
People who spoke to the Collaborative
think it will take months for the courts to
hear all these cases.
What’s Being Done?
Housing advocates say sufficient and
timely rent relief is essential to preventing
evictions once the moratorium lifts.
Both RAMPCLT and Crisis Assistance
Ministry are increasing staffing to prepare
for expected increased demand.
RampCLT has distributed a little more
than $39 million since launching in 2020,
with another $9.2 million available for city
of Charlotte residents with a COVID-19
income loss or hardship.
Applications are available at Rampclt.com.
They will also begin prioritizing applicants
with evictions filed and a scheduled
court date within 30 days, in hopes of
pushing out money first to those at greatest
risk of becoming homeless.
“We’ve reprioritized in a way that we
think will help us to impact the most
vulnerable and get them the funds
that they need to stay in their homes,”
Barbee said. The program had previously
prioritized applicants with the lowest
Hardison said Crisis Assistance Ministry
has added two “navigator” positions,
trained to learn about all available aid opportunities
at Crisis and elsewhere, and to
help people sign up with the right program
to maximize their help.
“This is going to be the big one,”
Hardison said, “We’ve been focusing on
this like a laser beam.” : :
The following people contributed to this
story: David Boraks (WFAE-FM), Lauren
Lindstrom (The Charlotte Observer), Nate
Morabito (WCNC-TV), Lexi Wilson (WCNC-TV),
Jasmin Herrera (La Noticia), Gavin Off (The
Charlotte Observer), David Raynor (Raleigh
News & Observer), Rick Thames (Queens
University) and David Griffith with the
Charlotte Journalism Collaborative.
qnotes is part of six major media
companies and other local institutions
reporting on and engaging the community
around the problems and solutions
as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism
Collaborative, which is supported by the Local
Media Project, an initiative launched by the
Solutions Journalism Network with support
from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and
reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of
our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.
Time Out Youth Hires Sarah Mikhail
as New Executive Director
First Generation Egyptian-American Fills position Aug. 9
by David Aaron Moore
qnotes Staff Writer
Charlotte’s 30-year-old LGBTQ
organization Time Out Youth
(TOY) is welcoming a new executive
director. Coinciding with the
landmark anniversary year for the
city’s queer youth services institution,
Sarah Mikhail has been named to the
position following a unanimous vote
of the search committee and Board
Mikhail officially takes the reins at
TOY Aug. 9. “This is a dream job for
me,” says Mikhail, a social work leader
and advocate with over 15 years
of experience working in the LGBTQ+
community and youth leadership,
“and it came at such a perfect time; it
was like a gift.”
As a queer, first generation
Egyptian-American woman, Mikhail’s
personal modus operandi is deeply
rooted in recognizing the value of intersectionality.
As well, she’s devoted to
social justice matters for LGBTQ youth.
In her position as executive director
at Time Out Youth, Mikhail plans
to increase the visibility of TOY and expand
outreach programs to the many
LGBTQ young people the organization
serves. Additionally, she will handle
strategic and operational planning
along with administrative and financial
decisions for TOY.
Sounds like you’re about to be extremely
busy. While you still have time, tell us
how you find power in intersectionality.
Intersectionality is at the core of my
social work. I’ll use myself for an example:
I am more than one identity. So it seems
like “Oh this queer person came in” and
that’s it. It’s all under the lens of queerness.
Well, sure, yeah. That’s true but I’m
also informing the world of my femme
identity, I’m under the lens of my leadership,
my work, my friendships, the crosscultural
experience I’ve lived. Everything
I do is under that lens. All of that is my
identity. That informs the way I show
up in the world. So to me, it’s seeing we
are all showing up with many identities.
Sometimes, I know, it seems like we talk
about that only when we’re talking about
marginalized identities. But intersectionality
is noting that we all have multiple
identities that bring something to the issue
that we’re talking about. We can’t ask
someone to say, “Oh, I’m talking to you as
my brown self, or my queer self.” We’re
all of it. We’re all of it all the time. Like
Audre Lorde said, “We don’t lead single
issue lives, so there’s no such thing as a
single issue struggle.”
How do you anticipate applying that to
your new position at TOY?
I want to come to Time Out Youth,
talking to the team as their whole self,
with every part of them being seen. In
Sarah Mikahil is looking forward to her new job at Time Out Youth. (Photo Credit: Jim Yarbrough)
the work I’ve done, and what I want to
do, we help the most marginalized, and
we’re helping everyone. It’s very exciting
to be the first woman of color serving
as executive director at Time Out Youth,
but it’s also very important for me to ally
myself with people who don’t necessarily
share that identity. Intersectionality
isn’t just about marginalization. It’s also
about this great moment for us to see
there’s another perspective, there’s
more work to be done and to be able
to draw from the experiences of those
people around us.
Tell us about your journey to Charlotte.
I moved here in September 
from New York. It had become unbearable
to live there during that point of the
COVID-19 pandemic. I’m originally from
northern Virginia, but I moved to New
York right after college. I lived in Brooklyn
for 15 years, and I was already getting to
a place, like many New Yorkers do, after
about 10 years or so. I’m not 23 anymore,
and I was already thinking about leaving.
Then the pandemic hit, and my partner
and I were working out of our one-bedroom
apartment. My previous job was remote
already, but I used to travel a lot and
that just stopped. It seemed like the time
was right, we already had friends here and
my goddaughter is here. We visited in the
summer of 2020, and we just packed up
and came back three months later. I still
love New York, but it was really hard and
exhausting. I came to Charlotte and really
loved it. It’s a big city that is robust and
growing. There’s just a time in life when
you don’t want to try so hard to live. Life
shouldn’t have to be that hard and coming
here for like a month and realizing there
were affordable places to live made the
move such a no-brainer.
Are you enjoying life in the city?
We live in Country Club Heights, [and] I’ve
found I like to live a quieter life, so, yeah.
I love nature, I love outside, and I love all
[the] things that were really difficult to
access in New York. I found that it had
impacted my wellness and my sense of
well-being. Here, I’m in a community that
is warm and inviting. And I have access to
some of the things that make me feel well
about the world around me.
Tell us about your family. Your parents
came here from Egypt?
Yes. My parents were Egyptian born
and then moved to the United States
in 1979, right before they had me and
my brother. They moved to the United
States in a very typical way. You know,
the American dream, we want to give our
children a better life. They didn’t even
speak Arabic to us because they were
very much a part of that assimilationist
movement of the 1980s. My parents
were going to have American children
and live an American life. My parents
were Christian, and my grandfather was
an Evangelical Pastor, in Egypt! That’s
unusual because most of the Christians
in Egypt are Coptic Christians.
So far, what have you encountered
here that really surprised you?
I find it so incredibly fascinating
there are so many churches around
Charlotte that are LGBTQ supportive.
Especially growing up in an environment
that was Christian and so not
supportive. That’s really beautiful.
Here’s a place where queer Christians
have obviously found their message
and overcome some of the things society
has told them. Driving around and
seeing that is really uplifting, especially
for me, because I still have a very
religious family. My brother — who
lives in Greenville, S.C. — is a supportive
Christian. He’s like, “Okay, maybe
I don’t get it, but I love my sister,” so
I’m always welcome. I’m happy that
people can have their religion and still
be accepting of queer people.
What’s on your to-do list at TOY?
So I have a couple of things. I want
to learn all about the team and what
I can do to make the foundation, or
structure at Time Out Youth, a place
where people who work there are
happy and want to stay. I’ve learned
that people who work there really
love the work, but I also know lots
of people don’t stay for years and
years because it’s a small team and
there’s not a lot of room to grow. I’m
the kind of person who wants to see
lifelong careers, and I want to make
it a place where people are paid well,
they want to stay and they have room
to grow and expand, in terms of size and
scope of work.
Another one — I want to learn what’s
working for the young people that are already
attending Time Out Youth and what
is missing for those that aren’t coming
here, so that we can grow the programs
from a young person’s perspective.
Over the past couple of years, there’s
been talk in the community about
creating a new LGBTQ center, and developing
events for seniors at Time Out
Youth. Have you heard any discussion
I haven’t heard anything about senior programming,
no, but I have heard mention
about the need for a community center.
I understand the need for both. If we’re
going to have LGBTQ youth that thrive and
grow, it’s important that we have a place
for everyone and a place for our elders
What do you think it is about Time Out
Youth? How has it been so successful
and continued to thrive for so long?
It’s pretty amazing! It can’t be understated
how important it is this center has
been around for 30 years and how it has
impacted the community. To me that
says it’s just primed and ready to expand
and grow, whether that be a community
center that goes beyond just youth, or we
expand on programs offering more for
youth. I’m just excited about what we can
bring to the LGBTQ community across
Charlotte in general. : :
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 9
by Chris Rudisill
Imagine walking into a field of sunflowers.
Bursts of yellow and burnt orange
surround you against a sea of sky blue.
Soon the flowers that have become synonymous
with artist Vincent Van Gogh fill
every corner of the room and launch your
journey into the life and work of one of the
most influential artists in the world.
The Immersive Van Gogh exhibition,
now open in Charlotte’s bustling new
Camp North End, spreads across 76,154
square feet, or one and a half football
fields of sensory overload. The specs
include 118,800 frames of video, 500,000
cubic feet of projections and 190,000 pixels
displaying Van Gogh’s work from the
sunny landscapes and night scenes to his
portraits and still life paintings.
The exhibition includes some of
his most recognizable paintings like
“Mangeurs de Pommes de Terre” (The
Potato Eaters, 1885), “Nuit Étoilée” (Starry
Night, 1889), “Les Tournesols” (Sunflowers,
1888), “Le Chambre à coucher” (The
Bedroom, 1889) and so much more. Over
400 images were licensed for the exhibition
from museums across the world.
Adding to the immersive experience,
Italian composer Luca Longobardi has
created an imaginative soundtrack. As the
petals from “Ramo di Mandorlo Fiorito”
(Almond Blossoms, 1890) fly across the
room, Longobardi’s own “Kyoto” moves
to Murcof’s “Lost in Time - Chapitre I” and
Van Gogh’s “Camera da Letto” (Bedroom in
Aries, 1888) is created all around you. Later
in the roughly 35-minute show, blasts of
color fill the room as the majestic sounds
of Mussorgsky’s “Great Gate of Kiev” bring
viewers to a moment of awe. The partnership
of Artistic Director Massimiliano
Siccardi and Longobardi is magnificent.
“Beyond art exhibiting, it’s also filmmaking,”
said Corey Ross during the June
16th pre-opening and ribbon cutting.
Ross is just one of two producers from
the Toronto-based Lighthouse Immersive
company that created the immersive
exhibition. “You’re going to find yourself
standing in the middle of an animated
film where Massimiliano Siccardi has
deconstructed all of the works of Van
Gogh and reconstructed them in a very
The blockbuster exhibition was seen by
over 2 million visitors in Paris, received tremendous
acclaim in Toronto, Chicago and
San Francisco, and has additional openings
scheduled for 16 cities across North
America, but Charlotte currently has the
largest exhibition in the world.
“This historic Ford Factory is such an
incredible palette for Massimiliano to
work on, and also for our team to work
on,” continued Ross, “Each installation is
completely unique and different. It’s informed
by the architecture of the building.
It’s informed by the culture of the city, the
collaboration we can have with the local
presenter and moreover with local artists.”
Bree Stallings helped create those
opportunities for the local art community
in numbers that have far surpassed other
10 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
Immersive Van Gogh
An Enchanting Return to Live Art
Visitors admire the large-scale projections of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
(Photo Credit: Michael Browsilow)
cities in the exhibition’s tour. Stallings was
recently named Blumenthal Performing
Arts Director of Artistic Experience and is
a popular local artist and muralist herself
who recently completed a mural at Time
Out Youth with local LGBTQ youth.
Connecting to the history of Camp
North End, a classic Model T with Van
Gogh racing stripes sits near the opening
of the exhibition. In 1924, nearly 35 years
after Van Gogh’s death, architect Albert
Kahn designed the first factory at the site
for the Ford Motor Company. 300,000
Hundreds of images of Van Gogh’s work were used to create the exhibit.
(Photo Credit: Michael Browsilow)
Model T and Model A cars were built at the
factory prior to the Great Depression.
The exhibition space also features
photographs from the 1890s in Charlotte,
showing what the city looked like during
Van Gogh’s life. Murals, installations
and sculptures complete the space with
work from 19 local artists. In addition, 26
Charlotte-based artists are selling their
custom merchandise in the boutique area
of the exhibition gift shop and Blumenthal
is expected to announce soon the 10
artists who will take up residence in the
space through September. According to
Stallings, “one dollar from every ticket
is being sewn back into the creative and
small business community.”
A Welcomed Return to Art
Tom Gabbard welcomed a room full of
city officials, local artists and community
members to the event on June 16 with a
smile on his face, acknowledging the long
time since he had spoken in front of a
physical audience. “We are at this unique
point in time, as a world, as a country,
coming out of the COVID crisis we’ve been
living through,” said Gabbard. “Immersive
Van Gogh in Charlotte and in many other
cities is one of the first opportunities that
we’ve had to be back together — to enjoy
a live experience together.”
Gabbard has been the CEO of
Blumenthal’s Performing Arts since 2003
and in that time has taken the organization
to becoming a Top 10 market for touring
Broadway shows in North America.
The Blumenthal’s 110 employees manage
six theatres in Charlotte, typically hosting
over 1,000 performances annually in addition
to numerous education programs.
Revenue has been down however,
with a 90 percent reduction over the past
year because of pandemic shutdowns. In
February, the arts organization released
its PNC Broadway Lights and Equitable
Bravo series lineup. Additional changes
to the popular theatre seasons were
announced in April, but exhibits like
Immersive Van Gogh and local entertainment
options are welcomed by residents
and by the organization as our lives seem
to be edging back to normal.
Reminders of the virus still exist however,
with sitting or standing circles spaced
throughout the exhibition at the appropriate
six-foot intervals we’ve all grown accustomed
to, and guests are encouraged
to wear masks if they have not been vaccinated.
Hand sanitizer stations are spaced
for guests convenience and the Boileryard
behind the Ford Building provides a perfect
space to gather with friends outdoors
after walking through the exhibition.
Ross further discussed the fully experiential
moment that Immersive Van
Gogh provides. “What’s been so wonderful
about this project is coming out of COVID
when none of us have been able to experience
any of the usual experience of art,
here is an opportunity to see a completely
new type of genre as the first thing that
you get to see,” he said.
When you visit, make sure to walk
around the room, experience how the colors
play off the corners and fill the space
with light. Benches are scattered around
the space for when you want to relax and
take in the full breadth of the show, along
with a bit of people watching. Cushions
are also available for people to rent or
purchase, allowing you to sit directly
on the floor.
“Astonishing in scale and breathtakingly
imaginative, this is a completely new
look at the Master’s work.”
Tickets start at $39.99 for adults and
$24.99 for kids. For more information
about Immersive Van Gogh and to
purchase tickets, visit vangoghclt.com. : :
* * * SPONSORED CONTENT * * *
Join Charlotte Pride for
Our Weekend of Service,
Charlotte Pride invites the entire community to a citywide and regional
weekend of service and solidarity. The pandemic has taught us important
lessons. One of the most important things we have learned from this
pandemic is how important it is to give back and support each other.
The Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service will be held on August 21 – 22,
2021, our original festival and parade dates, to highlight our community’s
passion for giving back and supporting each other and our neighbors.
How you can participate:
Get together with your team at your nonprofit, community group, schools
or student organizations, faith institution, business, ERG, or even an
informal group of friends and plan out a community service or volunteer
project that your team can lead and participate in, Aug. 21-22!
Ideas for service or volunteer projects:
Park, stream, or road clean ups. Neighborhood or other community
beautification projects. Community gardening or support. Food, clothing,
and other resource drives/events/free stores. Soup kitchens. Elder or youth
support. Community arts project. Animal shelter support. Free little library
or pantry construction, installation, and/or stocking. And so much more!
Examples of community partners:
The list of community organizations and service opportunities below
are for reference only. Feel free to reach out to these organizations or
others like them. Not all organizations listed may have group volunteer
opportunities, or they may already be committed with another project,
but this list should give you an idea of the kinds of organizations you can
reach out to as you plan your service project:
• Roof Above • House of Mercy • Classroom Central
• Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation • Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful
• Hands On Charlotte • Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina
• Crisis Assistance Ministry • Friendship Trays
• Humane Society of Charlotte • The Relatives
• Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden • The Bulb
• Charlotte Family Housing • Habitat for Humanity
You can find a database of local nonprofit organizations and group
volunteer opportunities via Share Charlotte at sharecharlotte.org.
Get involved today! Register your project!
Once you’ve determined and chosen your project, register it with
Charlotte Pride! We want to give you shout outs and keep track of our
collective community impact! You can learn more, find a downloadable
one-sheeter of this information in this article, and register your service
project online at charlottepride.org/service.
Coming Soon: Charlotte Pride Clothing and Resource Drive
In the coming days, be sure to stay tuned for information on the Charlotte
Pride Clothing and Resource Drive. As part of our Pride Season and
Weekend of Service, we’ll be kicking off an effort to collect clothes and
other resources for our community and neighbors. We’ll also be hosting
a Free Store at the Pop-Up Pride Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18. You can
ensure you get news and updates on this and other projects by signing up
for our email newsletter at charlottepride.org/signup.
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 11
Charlotte Museums’ Responses to COVID-19
by L’Monique King
qnotes Staff Writer
As the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be leveling out and
the number of cases decreases, the world is opening
back up. In-person events are on the rise, businesses
are re-opening their doors and the price of masks is declining
as folks are being vaccinated and opting not to wear them.
The Queen City arts scene is no different. Charlotte has
a thriving arts community that includes multiple museums.
In this article qnotes takes a look at how area museums
have handled COVID-19 pandemic safety measures
from the beginning, to where we are now.
The Levine Museum of the New South’s mission is to
“Connect the past to the future and to realize the promises
of the New South.” As proudly stated on their website, [over]
30 years ago, Levine Museum of the New South was founded
as a history museum that would tell everyone’s story — a
radical idea at the time and a radical idea still. Their mission
has led them to create a space that uses exhibits and programs
to confront some of the most difficult issues facing
us today in a historical context that deepens understanding,
fosters empathy and inspires action toward a better future.
In keeping with the Levine’s history of radical ideas, they
have big changes in the works. The museum is selling its
uptown Charlotte building and plan to pursue a digital-first
approach to serving the diverse population of Charlotte and
beyond. See more about the museum’s plans on page 13.
It may take some time to sell the building and until then,
the museum is open.On its website is a prominently displayed
text box that includes a link beneath a statement on
how the health and welfare of visitors, guests and staff are
always top priority. When you click the link, a September
2020 statement on how the Museum will reopen at half-capacity
and with decreased attendance times appears. There
are links to learn more about the institution’s COVID-19
protocols, but they are currently inactive. Like much of
the world, Levine Museum of the New South seems less
inclined to put the pandemic front and center as it was
during the height of infection rates. However, in attempting
to meet folks where they are, they continue to alternately
offer virtual experiences along with in-person exhibitions.
Speaking of virtual experiences, the Harvey B. Gantt
Center for African-American Arts and Culture certainly
seemed to have handled them appropriately during the
pandemic. Named for the architect who was the first Black
student accepted at Clemson University and Charlotte’s
first African-American Mayor in 1983 — the Gantt center
has a history of showing visitors the importance of addressing
social issues by way of awareness, diversity and
representation. For the Gantt Center, the COVID-19 pandemic
was no different. They closed temporarily during the
time that stay-at-home orders were recommended by Gov.
Cooper and ramped up their virtual offerings to include
Like many other museums, the Mint continues to take
protective measures. (Photo Credit: jpellgen via Flickr)
showcases and full exhibitions, as well as a video series of
community conversations and programs that highlight the
disparities within various sectors of the Black community.
As the Gantt Center became increasingly more aware of
the pandemic’s toll on the community, they changed their behavior
in response to it. Likewise, folks can also virtually learn
how the Gantt Center aims to continue to push the boundaries
of creativity through the use of arts as activism. With
all that being offered, the Harvey B. Gantt Center has also
reopened with access granted to visitors six days a week.
The Mint Museum has two locations: One At Levine
Center for the Arts on South Tryon St. and another on
Randolph Rd. Both are operating full time and admission is
free every Wednesday. In speaking with qnotes, a museum
representative shared some of the Mint Museum’s
COVID-19 protocols, which are still in place. Still taking
protective measures against the pandemic, they have clear
barriers in place at visitor and ticket stations and prefer
that visitors continue to wear masks, though it’s not a requirement.
Like other area museums, the Mint has also responded
by offering some virtual experiences. That doesn’t
preclude The Mint from in-person exhibitions focusing on
local artists. At the Randolph location, “It Takes a Village” allows
visitors to view artwork that is in celebration of the vibrant,
grassroots art happening throughout Charlotte. For
this exhibition The Mint Museum is collaborating with three
of Charlotte’s innovative art collectives: BlkMrktClt, Brand
the Moth and Goodyear Arts. The works of art in the exhibition
are done by more than 25 collective members and
recognizes local artistic talent across a broad cross section
of demographics: economic, racial, ethnic, age and education.
Equally exciting and directly inspired by the pandemic
is “Silent Streets: Art in the Time of Pandemic,” presenting
works of art by local, regional, national and international
artists who useart to surve y and tackle the challenging
times. From comic strips to abstract painting, the exhibition
embraces the potential of all artforms to grapple with the
most urgent issues of our day, providing viewers with both
solace and insight.
For museum goers that have had just about enough of
dealing with today’s issues of viruses, gas line hacks and
social unrest, there’s a new museum opening up — just in
time to transport viewers back to a simpler time. Well, at
least a time prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s a house listed on Airbnb that’s also utilized for
photo shoots and events called the “Home of the 90s.” It’s
a one-bedroom house decked out in colorful floor-to-ceiling
murals, a payphone and countless memorabilia from the era.
Apparently, the pandemic didn’t cramp the style of LGBTQ
community member and founder Jessica Jones and her business
partner Camille Stinson. The two have taken the vision
of the “Home of the 90s” and expanded upon it. The Home
of the 90s Museum, located in Concord, N.C.opened on July
3. With the same 90s theme in mind, it will be bigger and
grander than the one-bedroom house. The museum offers
over 3,800 square feet (and 12 rooms) of 90s memory lanes
with hand-painted murals by area artists. The Home of the
90s was so successful (in part due to folks seeking smaller
less crowded ways to have fun during the pandemic) that it
enabled Jessica Jones to save enough to open the museum.
Jessica told qnotes that though the COVID-19 state
mandate has been lifted, her concerns for the safety of
visitors still warranted the museum being professionally
cleaned daily by a COVID-19 certified cleaning service provider.
She and her partner hope the museum continues
to put smiles on the faces of visitors like the “Home of the
90s” has. They also hope the museum will become known
as “The Date Space of the Year.”
From the moment COVID-19 forced people into their
homes, art became a source of solace. Our area museums
have continued to provide a vehicle for artists to showcase
how they use their creativity to release the tensions the
pandemic has created and allow patrons to find comfort in
art in a manner that is enjoyable and safe. : :
qnotes is part of six major media companies and
other local institutions reporting on and engaging
the community around the problems and solutions as
they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a project of the
Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the
Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions
Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation
to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all
of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.
12 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
Levine Museum Details Plans
to Sell Uptown Home
A Part of Many Changes
The Levine Museum of the New South is
selling its building on 7th Street
in uptown Charlotte as it looks to transform
itself and how it interacts with
In an email sent to museum members,
Levine President and CEO Kathryn Hill said
the museum will search for a “more flexible
uptown facility” and pursue a “community-centered,
“As part of our calling to reach new
audiences and deliver non-traditional
programming, we have decided to sell
our Uptown property to fully embrace our
next chapter,” she wrote in the email.
No immediate changes are planned,
however, and the museum will continue to
operate while the property is on the market.
“Our mission remains unchanged,
and our role in this community is more
important than it’s ever been,” Hill said
in an interview with the Observer. “What
we’re looking at now are new ways of
delivering that are broadly accessible
and highly compelling.”
“By digital-first, we don’t mean digitalonly,”
she added, “There is nothing that replaces
the power that’s generated in a room
full of people who are sharing their stories
and learning from each other, and in-person
programming is still part of our strategy.”
Hill said selling the site could take up to
a year. The sale also opens up a significant
piece of uptown real estate.
Pandemic-related closures spurred
the museum to embrace new types of
projects, such as a digital walking tour of
by Hannah Erin Lang | Guest Contributor
The Levine Museum of the New South said it is searching for a “more flexible uptown facility”as
it moves to sell its building. (Photo Credit: The Charlotte Observer)
the Brooklyn neighborhood launching
this August, Hill told the Observer. “It has
forever changed us,” she said.
“The museum’s mission has never been
more important, and if we are to reach
broadly across the community, we must
imagine new ways to create and deliver
content in the digital age,“ Hill said in the
email, “We recognize, too, that we need to
work more closely with and in the communities
we serve, to ensure all Charlotteans
are heard and known.”
The museum has received a threeyear,
$600,000 grant from the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation to support the
shift. The funds will go toward expanding
the Brooklyn tour initiative and hiring a
community engagement manager, among
other items, Hill said. Last August, Hill said
that the museum was exploring a potential
sale or redevelopment of its uptown property,
which comprises 0.7 acres at the corner
of 7th St. and North College St. At the
time, Hill said the board has been studying
options for he site for several years.
The museum’s current facility opened
in 2001, although the organization had a
presence in the building for several years
before that. The building and land it sits
on are worth about $7.7 million, according
to county real estate records cited by the
Observer last year.
The Levine Museum was founded in
1991, according to their website. : :
This story originally appeared on The
Charlotte Observer, charlotteobserver.com.
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 13
Queering the Vagina Monologues
An All-LGBTQ Cast to Perform Eve Ensler’s Famous Feminist Performance Piece
by Julianna Peres
qnotes Staff Writer
he Vagina Monologues” is a
“Tshow that, when seen, can
never be unseen, or so is typically
the goal. Director TG Matthews
Cox’s cast (of all LGBTQ performers)
possesses the chemistry,
intensity and passion required
to achieve this goal.
On July 31 at Charlotte’s The
Enclave, stage lights will rise
over an almost wholly lesbian
cast at 7 p.m. This production
is the third time that Cox has
directed a stage performance of
the play, and, despite the challenges
that COVID-19 has put
forth, she is excited to see the
show come to life.
“As a lesbian, I always appreciate
art that incorporates an inclusive
and/or diverse presence,”
Cox shares, “Though the context
or intent of the monologues that
are performed doesn’t change,
with having an all LGBTQ cast, the energy
does. In my opinion, the deliveries seem
more powerful and more relatable for
non-binary women, even more poignant.”
Most of the participants have been
engaged in the theatre for years and
are a part of the tight-knit community of
North Carolina-based performers. Cox
invited each team member on merit as
well as chemistry. In the past, rehearsals
have been held in cast members’ homes.
COVID-19, however, has seriously limited
the amount of time and number of locations
available for rehearsals.
“Preparation has been interesting
because we are in a state of collective
trauma,” performer Fatima Mann says
of the pandemic-related practice restrictions.
Mann goes on to emphasize the
balance necessary for those emerging
from months of quarantine as they
readjust to group gatherings. Multiple
cast members also point out the limited
seating at the event itself, again highlighting
the importance of staying safe during
TG Matthews Cox directs “The Vagina Monologues.”
See it at The Enclave on July 31.
In addition to being LGBTQidentified,
the cast is also made
up of several women of color.
Many scholars have studied Eve
Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”
with a critical lens, claiming that
her production does not put
women of color in the most flattering
“Rape is represented directly
in the script only in monologues
where the speakers are
women of color,” alleges a piece
published in the University of
Chicago’s Women’s Studies
Department. Author Christine
Cooper goes on to write, “Unlike
these others, the unmarked
voices of American whiteness
have their vaginas and selves
intact. They may get pissed off at
the gynecologist’s office, but they
get the best of medical care.”
The lack of representation
for voices of Black women
in “The Vagina Monologues”
is a feeling of limitation that
performers Kistyn Matthews
Cox and Cayme Andrea would
like to see lifted. Actress Jenny
Ashcraft would like to highlight
the struggles of sex trafficking.
“Too many girls and women
are being sex slaves,” she says,
“and more education needs
to be provided.”Cox feels
that Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina
Monologues” should be performed
as they are; the production
itself should not be altered.
However, she hopes to create
a series of monologues written
from the perspective of LGBTQ
individuals in the future.
Myrna Key-Parker and her
fellow performer GoddessLyrical
Carter have pondered what “The
Vagina Monolgues” might be
like if they included their gender
expansive siblings in tales of
vagina-revelry and disdain.
Carter says she believes
individuals should have a safe
Myrna Key Parker lends her talents to the production
of “The Vagina Monologues.”
space to explore their thoughts on the
importance of the vagina. On the other
side of that coin, Key-Parker is interested
in seeing the perspective of a femaleto-male
individual as they undergo the
transition process. She says that she, and
many who do not identify as transgender
men, could learn a lot from hearing how
a trans man’s relationship evolves with
Leslie Verleane Oliver says that incorporating
men in the show would add to
the performance’s purpose of representation.
“It could be interesting to have men
in the production that affirm vaginas,”
Oliver suggests, “and own their mistreatment
Unfortunately, there is not enough
time for every single story to be told
throughout the three-hour show.
Cox and the cast maintain that,
although they would add some things to
the show if given the opportunity, they are
proud to present an LGBTQ rendition of a
One of the main motivating factors for
Cox to direct “The Vagina Monologues”
in 2021 was the memory of her
friend Samantha Cer-John.
Cer-John was instrumental in
the previous two versions of the
play that she and Cox produced
in 2014 and 2016. A portion of
the proceeds from this year’s
performance will be donated to
My Style Matters, Inc. in honor
of Cer-John. An educational
nonprofit, My Style Matters is a
nonprofit for those with cancer
and their caretakers.
The July 31 show will be hosted
by special guest Chirl Girl, a popular
Queen City media personality.
“People with vaginas are
impacted by what happens to
their vaginas,” Mann says matterof-factly.
We are not separate
things, and it’s okay to admit
when the impact to our vaginas
shows up in our daily lives. I
hope that what audience members
take away is that it is okay
to be in-tune with what is happening
to their bodies, whether
they have vaginas or not.” : :
14 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
New Work from Southern Equality Studios Debuts
Featured Work in New Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Exhibition
by Adam Polaski
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM
CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY
In April, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts
Center (BMCM+AC) opened a new exhibition, I AM A
CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, which features the artwork
of Southern Equality Studios artists Liz Williams and Al
Murray. Southern Equality Studios is a program of the
Campaign for Southern Equality focused on connecting
with and supporting queer artists and creatives across the
South and exploring how art is a catalyst in and force for
achieving social change.
Through video and photographic work, entitled “Building
a Better Table” and “You’re Welcome” (commissioned
by BMCM+AC), Williams and Murray invite the viewer to
explore their role in taking or having a “seat at the table” —
that is, how we use our voices and positions to enact social
change. The work encourages viewers to acknowledge how
their own place in the world may relate to the representation
and liberation of BIPOC and queer people.
The multimedia piece “Building a Better Table” allows
viewers to literally take a seat in front of a printed work
and video. When the viewer sits, they reveal a series of
words and images in a scene of a table presided over by
models Quay Mills and Sage Jean, who wear shirts emblazoned
with the words “You’re Welcome,” nudging viewers
to acknowledge labor performed for their benefit and
also serving as a cordial invitation to join in the work for
social change. The viewer is guided a step further by being
encouraged to create their own calls to action and share
these aspirations as a promise to themself as well as to
Liz Williams, Southern Equality Studios Manager for the
Campaign for Southern Equality, said about the work:
“Being a global citizen means becoming aware of
the wider world and our place in it, and these works
point to that awareness in two distinct ways: first, to
respond to the mainstream exclusion and erasure of
BIPOC trans and queer voices, and second, to hold
audience members accountable for their own complacency
and demand their commitment to address those
exclusions. We’re grateful to Black Mountain College
Museum + Arts Center for the opportunity to share
this message in this exhibition, and we’re looking
forward to a spring and summer season of inviting
everyone to help build a better table so we all have
an impactful seat.”
Al Murray, Director of Relationships & Special Projects
at the Campaign for Southern Equality, said today:
“The Southern Equality Studios program has evolved
over the past three years at the Campaign for Southern
Equality — but at the heart of it all has been centering the
power of art to open our hearts, expand our minds, and
create change. I’m excited about this new undertaking for
Southern Equality Studios and can’t wait for folks across
the region to see this work and think about how they can
build a better table.”
The exhibition also features historic work by BMC
artists including Josef and Anni Albers, Leo Amino, Ruth
Asawa, Ilya Bolotowsky, Jack Tworkov, Jean Varda and
more. Contemporary responses include works from Iván
Argote, Onicas Gaddis, Steve Locke, Mateo López, Sherrill
Roland, Southern Equality Studios (Liz Williams and Al
Murray), Javier Téllez and Grace Villamil. Curated by Kate
Averett and Alice Sebrell.
I AM A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD will be available to view
from April 9 – August 14, 2021. To learn how to make an
appointment, go to blackmountaincollege.org/visit. : :
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 15
by Justin R. Ervin, Attorney
Many of us want a partner to share our lives and
homes. For some, sharing a home means adding
a partner as co-owner of a home owned before the
relationship. This is a great way to recognize your relationship
and provide security for your partner, but is it
right for you?
Although many people talk about “adding their partner
to the deed,” what they’re really doing is giving away partial
ownership of their property to their partner. This is a
gift that could be subject to federal gift tax.
A gift worth more than the annual exclusion amount
($15,000 in 2021) to anyone other than a spouse triggers
the obligation to file a gift tax return. It also either chips
away at your lifetime exclusion amount (the amount that
you can give away free of federal gift and estate taxes
during life and at death, $11.7 million in 2021), or, if
you’ve already exhausted that, results in tax due at rates
up to 40 percent.
For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and
you “add your partner to the deed,” then you’ve made
a gift worth $100,000. Subtract the annual exclusion
amount of $15,000 and that leaves a taxable gift of
$85,000. If you haven’t exhausted your lifetime exclusion
amount, then that’s $85,000 less that you can
give away during life or leave behind at death without
owing gift tax or estate tax; otherwise, the gift tax
could be $34,000.
Selling part of your home to your partner for a token
amount won’t help you avoid the gift tax. Any “sale” for
less than full market value is considered a gift to the
extent that the fair market value of the property exceeds
the “sale” price.
For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and
you “sell” half of it to your partner for $5, then you’ve
exchanged property worth $100,000 for $5, resulting in a
gift of $99,995, which doesn’t make much of a dent in the
hypothetical gift tax described above.
A way around this is to marry your partner, because
gifts to a spouse are not taxable. Another way around
this is to make a will and/or trust giving the home to your
partner after your death.
Sharing Your Home With Your Partner
If you borrowed money to buy your home, then you
have a promissory note and a mortgage. The promissory
note obligates you personally to repay the loan and
allows the lender to sue you if you don’t. The mortgage
makes your home the collateral for the loan and allows
the lender to repossess the property if the loan
isn’t repaid. Failure to pay is referred to as “default,” but
that’s not the only thing that counts as a default. Your
promissory note probably defines “default” to include
giving away partial ownership of your home. Unless you
refinance the loan to include your partner as a borrower
when you give them partial ownership of your home, the
lender can probably call the loan due and require you to
repay the remaining balance immediately.
There are a few ways around this. You could: (1) pay
off your mortgage and then give partial ownership to your
partner, or (2) simultaneously refinance with your partner
and give them partial ownership. Those won’t get you
around the gift tax issue, though. Another way around
this is to make a will and/or trust giving the home to your
partner after your death.
No one likes to consider the possibility that their relationship
could end, much less on a sour note, but we all
know that it happens. If you’ve given away partial ownership
of your home to your partner, then you can’t just
take their name off the deed if you break up; they have to
give their partial ownership back to you, triggering gift tax
consequences as previously described.
If you and your partner refinanced together when you
gave them partial ownership, then giving partial ownership
back to you would leave your (now ex) partner responsible
for the mortgage without any ownership of the home to
show for it.
A way around this is to make a will and/or trust, which
you can change whenever you want, that gives the home
to your partner after your death.
There are two types of co-ownership available to unmarried
co-owners. The default is Tenancy in Common (TIC). If
you co-own your home in TIC with your partner, then only
your part ownership will pass at your death to your beneficiaries
by intestacy or under your will, while your partner
will continue to own their part ownership of the home.
Another type is Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
(JTWROS). To elect it, your deed must contain specific wording.
If you co-own your home in JTWROS with your partner,
then your part ownership will automatically pass to your
partner; it does NOT pass to your beneficiaries by intestacy
or under your will. After your death, your partner could sell
the home, give it away, or make a will to leave it to whomever
they want, excluding your other family members.
A way around this is to make a will and/or trust giving
the home to your partner after your death for life and
then to your children or other beneficiaries after your
This article discusses only North Carolina law and
federal law applicable in North Carolina; other states’ laws
might be different. There could be other tax consequences
that are beyond the scope of this article. Spouses have
many automatic protections; they’re beyond the scope of
this article, but I wrote about them in the Dec. 1, 2017 issue
of qnotes. Unfortunately, unmarried partners have no
such automatic protections.
It’s a natural instinct to protect those closest to you,
including ensuring that your partner has a home after
your death, but you should do so thoughtfully, fully aware
of your options and their consequences. : :
Copyright 2021, Justin R. Ervin, III; all rights reserved.
Justin R. Ervin, III practices with the law firm of Johnson,
Peddrick & McDonald, PLLC in Greensboro, where he ended
up after growing up in Rockingham, and is an adjunct
professor of law at Elon University, his legal alma mater.
Licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Florida,
Justin’s practice focuses on estate planning, estate administration
and adult guardianships. Justin enjoys working with
all sorts of clients and has a particular affinity for serving
queer individuals and families, as well as immigrant families.
Justin is open and active in the local queer community,
having served on the Board of Directors of Guilford Green
Foundation and LGBTQ Center. Justin regularly volunteers at
pro bono estate planning events and has also served on the
boards of directors of Benevolence Farm, the Greensboro
Estate Planning Council and the Greensboro chapter of the
Society of Financial Service Professionals.
space starting at $22:
call qnotes for details
16 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
Remembrance of Things Past
by Gregg Shapiro
If the mayor of Sandusky, Ohio hasn’t done
so yet, he should definitely present gay
filmmaker and native son, Todd Stephens,
with a key to the city. Stephens has managed
to make Sandusky, which Charles
Dickens described as “sluggish and uninteresting…something
like the back of an
English watering-place out of the season,”
somewhat captivating. He did so in David
Moreton’s beloved, queer 1996 flick “Edge
of Seventeen” (for which Stephens wrote
the screenplay), as well as his 2001 directorial
debut “Gypsy 83” and 2006’s over-thetop
comedy “Another Gay Movie.”
Sandusky also figures prominently in
Stephens’ wonderful award-winning new
movie “Swan Song” (Magnolia Pictures).
“Inspired by a true icon” (Pat Pitsenbarger,
1943-2012), “Swan Song” stars Udo Kier as
Mr. Pat, the formerly famous hairdresser
known for the magic he worked with a
brush, a comb, and hairspray on the heads
of the city’s socialites.
Retired for years, following a series
of bad breaks, including a stroke, Pat is
reduced to residing in an assisted living facility,
wearing sweatpants and gym shoes
with Velcro straps, sneaking a few puffs on
a More cigarette when he can.
Pat’s fortunes could potentially change
following a visit from lawyer Shanrock
(Tom Bloom), who tells him that not only
has his richest former client Rita (Linda
Evans) died, but that she stipulated in
her will that she wanted Pat to do her
hair and make-up, for which he will be
paid $25k. Pat, who hasn’t “pulled hair in
years,” initially declines because he had a
falling out with Rita, when she ceased to
be his client and went to the salon named
Kharma across the street, which is run by
his competitor (and former employee, Dee
Dee (a restrained Jennifer Coolidge). Pat
tells Shanrock, “Bury her with bad hair.”
After a restless and emotional night,
Pat has a change of heart. He digs out his
fanny pack, stuffs it and his pockets with
some Mores, favorite rings, a check from
the government, his scissors and other accoutrements,
and slips out of the home.
As Pat flies the coop, “Swan Song” becomes
a road movie on foot. On his route
to the funeral home, Pat pops into a convenience
store, stops off at the cemetery
where his lover, David, is buried, pays a
visit to his former beauty supply store
which is now a Black hair salon (one of
the best scenes in the movie) and jumps
rope with some kids. When he gets to
the former location of his and David’s old
house, he’s heartsick to discover that it’s
been torn down. Because David, who died
in 1995, didn’t have a will, everything went
to his nephew, leaving Pat with nothing.
Inside Kharma, Pat and Dee Dee have a
showdown (another marvelous scene), but
Dee Dee relents and gives Pat the bottle
of once-popular shampoo for which he’s
A couple more significant happenstances
— one with Rita’s gay grandson
Dustin (Michael Urie) and a marvelous
visit to a local gay bar on its closing night
(after 41 years!) — as well as what appears
to be a reunion with old friend Eunice (Ira
Hawkins), and the stage is set for Pat’s
final meeting with the deceased Rita.
Stephens masterful “Swan Song”
screenplay proves that he hasn’t lost
his gift for comedy and drama, something
he first demonstrated in “Edge of
Seventeen.” “Swan Song” is the kind of
movie where you laugh out loud, have a
good cry, and then laugh so hard you cry.
Kier gives a career-high performance and
deserves to be remembered during awards
season. Coolidge, and the rest of the
supporting cast are all exceptional, allowing
“Swan Song” to take wing and soar. : :
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 17
My Girlfriend, Her Pets
and Our Tiny Apartment
One month into dating, my girlfriend’s
job was cut cause of COVID-19, and “to save
money” she and her two pets moved into my
tiny ONE-bedroom apartment. Well, now five
months later I still love her, but I want my
place back. She never pays rent or utilities,
and anytime I bring up moving it ends up a
bad scene. I miss my alone time.
Trapped At Home, Wichita, KS
She doesn’t pay rent AND gets mad
when you bring up moving! Why should she
move, it’s free rent? However, [smirk] you
could make it less comfortable for her, i.e.,
tell her you’re moving out or that you’re quitting
your job and need financial help! Most
importantly, darling, you have to decide, “Do
you love yourself or do you love her more?”
Good luck, Trinity
There’s a budtender at my local dispensary
who is so right for me. I visit him often at work
and keep asking him out, but he keeps declining.
Now I think he thinks I’m stalking him because I
found his address and sent flowers. Help?
Yours, Stalking? Denver, CO
by Trinity | Contributing Writer
When you find out someone’s not
interested in you, yet you keep appearing
at his job and sending flowers to his home,
the only word I can think of is “stalking”
which is the furthest thing from “starting”
a relationship. So honey, chase guys who
want to date you and far away from stalking
guys who don’t.
I met someone great online, went to their
home and they became a sex pig, spitting, pain
and more. I’m not vanilla, but how do you tell
if someone wants a “scene,” not just sex?
Gone Too Far, Toronto, ON
Hey Gone Too Far,
With one-night stands you have to take
a stand. Next time, just ask, “what are you
into?” And then listen for key words like
affection versus asphyxiation. Some think
that to make love means to make war. If
sex is an adventure, plan each trip wisely!
Since he invited me for dinner and a
movie, I assumed it was a date, but after
dinner we ended up in bed where he “accidentally”
orgasmed and immediately asked
me to leave, in the middle of a snow storm.
Was my beautiful date really just a bad onenight
Shocked, Montreal, QC
He cooked, came and kicked you out in
the snow. That monster! Sorry pumpkin,
but yes you were yet another man’s toy.
Next time read:
Trinity’s Scenarios for Knowing When Mr. Cool is Really Mr. Fool
1. When meeting you for a date… she arrives unkempt, in greasy work clothes, unshowered
and insists on fooling around!
2. On every date… he shows up late and gets angry if you bring it up.
3. At the club… she cruises without caring if you notice!
4. While meeting your friends… they act confrontational, argumentative and selfrighteous
just to get a reaction!
5. During dinner… her dinner arrives first, so she starts eating without waiting or offering
to share it until your meal arrives.
6. During conversation… he burps, coughs in your face and sneezes towards your food
without any apology!
7. During a Netflix movie… you have to use the bathroom, but they refuse to pause the
film because they’re “so into it!”
8. At breakfast… he knows you’re vegan, but makes his favorite ham and eggs with no
alternative for you!
9. While making Saturday night plans… she says, “I’ll call you around 8:00 p.m. if I can
make it,” without caring that you’ll be left without plans if she cancels.
10. Lastly, during sex… he has an orgasm first, gets dressed and leaves without offering
you an orgasm or post-sex cuddling. : :
With a Masters of Divinity, Reverend Trinity hosted “Spiritually Speaking” a weekly radio
drama, performed globally and is now minister of WIG: Wild Inspirational Gatherings.
Sponsored by: WIG Ministries, www.wigministries.org Gay Spirituality for the Next Generation!
Send e-mails to: Trinity@telltrinity.com
18 qnotes July 9-22, 2021
by Jack Kirven
Happy (belated by the time you see this) Juneteenth!
To celebrate the first Federally observed
Juneteenth, I decided it was time to better understand The
Emancipation Proclamation. I have never felt I grasped
what it did and did not do, or how it does or does not reinforce
Abraham Lincoln’s reputation as a force for equality.
I assume many of you, just like myself, have never really
been told the truth about this document. I hope you will
enjoy what I have discovered for myself.
The fallacy: The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a
The actuality: It immediately freed 20,000 - 50,000 slaves upon
its proclamation. It applied to those slaves already in custody of
Union forces within Confederate territory. Eventually, it freed
3.5 million of the 4 million enslaved people living at the time.
The fallacy: The Emancipation Proclamation couldn’t be
enforced because it applied only to places where the U.S.
government didn’t have authority. It “freed” slaves in areas
the U.S. didn’t control, and it left enslaved those people in
areas the Union did control.
The actuality: It applied to all enslaved people within
territory occupied by Union forces. Initially that area was
Fact and Fiction
Health & Wellness: Juneteenth
more limited. However, as the Union line advanced deeper
into Confederate territory, it freed more and more slaves.
It also prevented escaped slaves from being returned to
their owners. In this way, as more Black people were behind
Union lines, more became instantly and irrevocably
freed peoples. The slave holding areas within the Union
were exempted for reasons I will next explain (Tennessee,
parts of Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, the 48
counties reorganizing as West Virginia, and the counties
within Virginia under Union control).
The fallacy: The Emancipation Proclamation left slaves
within the U.S. enslaved.
The actuality: There were 500,000 slaves living within
the boundaries of the US who were not freed by the
Emancipation; however, all those areas were already in
the process of abolishing slavery. The document did not
need to apply to those areas, and in fact it could not for
the reason I am about to explain.
The fallacy: Lincoln didn’t care about Black people. The
Emancipation Proclamation was only a cynical ploy used
as wartime propaganda.
The actuality: Lincoln did say in a letter that he would
or would not free all, some, or no slaves in order to
preserve the Union. He portrayed it merely as a wartime
tactic in those letters. However, he did this as a way to
soften northerner sentiment. Many northern people did
not support emancipation, but they did want to preserve
the Union. In order to prepare public sentiment,
Lincoln framed emancipation as a tool for destroying the
Confederate economy. However, taking the broad context
of all his other speeches and writings, Lincoln did in fact
want to abolish slavery as a matter of morality. His saying
otherwise was a clever manipulation.
The fallacy: Lincoln didn’t have the authority to free slaves.
The actuality: Lincoln could not circumvent slavery
during times of peace, because it was enshrined in The
Constitution. However, during the war he invoked his
powers as Commander in Chief. He could not use that
authority in areas already in compliance with the U.S.,
but those areas were already emancipating their slaves.
He definitely had authority to enforce the proclamation
within areas in rebellion specially BECAUSE they were
in rebellion. It was a wartime act, and therefore had the
full force of law. As more territory came under Union
control, the proclamation applied to more and more
So then: The Emancipation Proclamation freed millions
of slaves, and those it did not cover were liberated
by the jurisdictions where they lived. One of the
conditions for reentry into the Union was abolition of
slavery within those states’ newly written constitutions.
It cemented the momentum of ratifying the Thirteenth
Amendment. It was an expression of Lincoln’s desire
to end slavery, though it was presented as a war tactic,
rather than an equality strategy. : :
‘As a Woman: What I Learned About Power,
Sex and the Patriarchy After I Transitioned’
Out in Print
As a Woman: What I
Learned About Power,
Sex and the Patriarchy
After I Transitioned
by Paula Stone Williams
©2021, Atria Books
by Terri Schlichenmeyer
There are two sides to
In politics, there’s left
and right; in fairy tales,
it’s good or evil. Guilty or
innocent in court, salty or
spicy mealtimes, dog or cat
among friends, heads or
tails. Sometimes you choose and at other times, like
in “As a Woman” by Paula Stone Williams, you can see
From the time he was very small, Paul Williams thought
that he “should have been born a girl.” He wasn’t bitter
about it — not when he was a teen, not even as an adult
— but it lingered in the background of his life.
Oh, he tried to tamp down his desire to dress in his
mother’s clothes, but he could not, despite knowing it would
anger her. She caught him once wearing his Grandmother’s
cast-offs, and he never forgot her reaction; even so, he
Author Paula Stone Williams. (Photo Credit: Rebecca Stumpf)
ransacked her closet at least once a week during his adolescence,
hoping his parents wouldn’t come home early.
His feelings of furtiveness were perhaps exacerbated
by a family legacy of evangelical ministry. Every man he
knew was a leader in their church; when he was young, it
was assumed that Williams would follow them, as if there
was no other option. And so, dutifully, he became a CEO in
a “church planting” organization. He married a woman he
genuinely loved, and they started a family.
But the urges didn’t go away. As his children grew and
left the nest, Williams began to explore the possibility of
letting out the woman he was inside. He confessed everything
to his wife, started hormones and asked for his wife’s
silence until he made plans for a transition physically and
at work. He’d been at the organization for 35 years, and he
was respected, although less than he believed. Williams
was fired and humiliated.
Marriage in question, children shaken, job gone, he
began to assess his life.
The world needed to know the truth.
And so, on July 29, 2014, Paula Stone Williams officially
took to her blog...
Come to “As a Woman” looking for a memoir, and you’re
going to be happy: Most of the pages here tell a tale of
transitioning while immersed in a major evangelical organization,
which are generally incompatible things. This is interesting,
told in an unabashedly forward manner as author
Paula Stone Williams resists minimizing her male past.
Dig deeper, though, and there’s more to this book: Its look
at the difference in how society as a whole regards the roles
of men and women, from someone with knowledge of both,
is funny and sharp-eyed and could serve as a primer/warning
for newly-transitioning women. It’s fiery, it’s sometimes the tiniest
bit whiny, it’s a little repetitious, and it’s eyebrow-raising
with a dash of heated argument-starter for zest.
In the end, “As a Woman” leaves a lot for female readers
to agree with; Williams’ observations are honed, hard
and honest. Men, however — particularly cis men — could
take umbrage at her observations and might give this
book a little bit of side-eye. : :
July 9-22, 2021 qnotes 19
20 qnotes July 9-22, 2021