Charlotte City Councilmember Al Austin is leaving his position in order to accept his appointment as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) outreach director for the State of North Carolina’s Department of Transportation

Austin to vacate seat

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrat Alvin “Al” Austin, a gay city councilmember, will resign his seat effective July 16, following his appointment as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) outreach director for the State of North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

He is currently serving his second term in office and was originally elected in 2013, representing the second district. He will spend time with his replacement to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of service, the city said.

“While it’s bittersweet to see my time on the council come to an end, I’m excited to serve our state and continue my life’s dream of public service,” Austin said. “This is a great opportunity for me to use everything I’ve learned serving on council, while continuing to always serve as a resource for Charlotte.”

NCDOT Chief Deputy Secretary David Howard said, “Al brings the department a wealth of experience, including his work at Johnson C. Smith University and with the Charlotte City Council. He will be a key team member for us, partnering with our colleges and universities, as well as other state agencies, to advance our initiatives.”

Austin currently serves as the director of development for the Division of Institutional Advancement at Johnson C. Smith University. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received bachelor of sciences degrees in sociology and criminal justice administration.


Film fest begins now

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The GayCharlotte Film Festival began on June 1 and continues through June 4 at Johnson C. Smith University, New Science Center Auditorium, 100 Beatties Ford Rd.

The four-day event is a program of Charlotte Pride. Sponsors are Rosedale Medical, Gilead and Johnson C. Smith University’s CHIP program. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with screenings beginning at 7 p.m.

Films slated are: June 2 — “Peyote,” “Jewel’s Catch One” and “Kiki;” June 3 — “Thicker Than Blood,” “Pushing Dead,” “A Million Happy Nows” and “Free CeCe;” June 4 — “The Lavender Scare,” “Women Who Kill” and “Something Like Summer.” Previews are available online at the festival’s website. An LGBTQ film shorts competition was held on June 1. Included were: “He Could’ve Gone Pro,” “Monogamish,” “The 3rd Try,” “Get the Life,” “Filip,” “Relics,” “Counting,” “Guillaume Masturbates” and “Vanilla.”

Additionally, the festival is renaming and rebranding itself in 2018 and is conducting a poll online at which ends at the close of the festival. Choices include Reel Out Charlotte, Out Charlotte Film Fest and Charlotte Queer Film Fest. At the “Something Like Summer” screening the new festival name will be unveiled and the short film contest winner announced.

Tickets to the event are $10/general and $7/students, seniors, military, CFS members. Weekend Passes are on sale for $60, saving 40 percent on the cost of 10 tickets. Sales are available at the door.


Pulse tribute upcoming

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “Ray of Light, Night of 1,000 Madonnas” benefit will be held on June 12, 9:30 p.m., at Bar at 316, 316 Rensselaer Ave.

Drag performances will honor the victims and families of the Pulse Nightclub shooting one year ago.

Host for the event is Miss Don’t H8 Diva Buff Faye. Performers are Felicia Monet, Valarie Rockwell, Veronica Iman Davis, Vivi VanDank, Amanduh Pleaze, Brandi Andrews, Lilli Frost, Tequilla Holiday, Tia Douglas, Aiesha Paris, Angela Lopez and Mile Vyrus.

“We feel it’s important to remember one year later the lives that were lost in the tragedy of the Pulse Orlando shooting. As a community it is important that we hold each other dear and that we find a safe space in our local gay-owned establishments. Part of this is about honoring those lives that were lost, as well as holding space to remember how fragile life is,” Buff Faye shared.

There is no cover. Proceeds benefit the Orlando LGBTQ Community Center.


Catholics host retreat

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — St. Peter’s Catholic Church will hold its spring retreat on June 17, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., in Benedict Hall, 2nd Floor, 507 S. Tryon St.

Theme for this year’s event is “I Have Called You Friends.”

The retreat includes lunch. Attendees can attend evening mass at the church at 5 p.m. after the day’s activities have ended.

Parking is free in the Green parking deck. Participants can park on the lower second floor in the blue section reserved for St. Peter’s. Bring the parking ticket for validation.

An RSVP is requested for a head count for lunch and other information.


Film sequel hits Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The North Carolina premiere of “A Very Sordid Wedding” will take place on July 1, 7 p.m., at McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. and is being presented by Rosedale Medical.

Created by award-winning writer/director Del Shores, the film is a sequel to “Sordid Lives” and reunites the cast of characters who explore acceptance, conflict and bigotry in the small town of Winters, Texas following the U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality decision.

As the original film dealt with coming out in a conservative southern world, “A Very Sordid Wedding” explores the questions, bigotry and the fallout of what happens when gay marriage comes to communities and families that are not quite ready to accept it.

“Not a day goes by where someone doesn’t write me asking me for more ‘Sordid Lives.’ So many of my LGBTQ fans, of all ages, have come out to their folks by showing them ‘Sordid Lives’ because the humor helped them share their own story,” Shores shared. “I am excited to bring my characters up to July 2015 where they are hit with the reality of Texas having full equality. I wanted to contrast affirming churches and organizations like Faith In America with the hypocritical bigotry that is still being spewed from pulpits represented by the ‘anti-equality rally’ in the film.”

The ensemble cast of 32 actors is led by Bonnie Bedelia (“Parenthood”), Caroline Rhea (“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”), Dale Dickey (Independent Spirit Award winner “Winter’s Bone”), Leslie Jordan (Emmy winner, “Will & Grace”) with cast members from the original Sordid Lives film including Newell Alexander (“August: Osage County”), Rosemary Alexander, Kirk Geiger, Sarah Hunley, Lorna Scott (“Wanted”) and Ann Walker. New additions to the “Sordid Lives” world include Emerson Collins (“The People’s Couch”), Levi Kreis (Tony winner, “Million Dollar Quartet”), Carole Cook (“Sixteen Candles”), Alec Mapa (“Ugly Betty”), Aleks Paunovic (“Van Helsing”), Katherine Bailess (“Hit The Floor”) and a cameo from Whoopi Goldberg.

A VIP meet and greet will be held at 6 p.m. with a reception prior to the film screening. A Q&A will follow the show.

Tickets are $75/VIP and $32.09/regular and are available online at

On July 2, the screening moves to Winston-Salem, N.C. at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts ACE Theatre Complex, 1533 S. Main St., with a VIP meet and greet reception at 5 p.m. at a private location, screening and Q&A at 7 p.m. and an after-party at 9:30 p.m. at at downtown location to be announced at a later date. The event is presented by OUT at the Movies and Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance.

Tickets are $50/VIP, $20/screening and after-party and $10/screening only and are available online at


Pierce takes new post

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dale Pierce has taken a position with Rosedale Medical as its 340 B program director, stepping down from his role as CEO of Different Roads Home.

His role includes managing, administrating and serving as a compliance officer for the pharmacy program which helps provide financial resources to those in need.

Pierce was a founder of Different Roads Home from 2013-2017 and previously served Rosedale as its chief financial officer, practice manager and Ryan White program director.

He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Kaplan University.


Center seeks staff member

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Freedom Center for Social Justice has issued a call for applicants for its media specialist position.

The job will begin as a part-time, 20-hour per week opportunity with advancement to full-time in the future. The start date is of an immediate nature.

Applicants need to be savvy in all aspects of social media and have experience with digital media and website development platforms like WordPress and Squarespace. Additionally, seekers must have an ability to write and manage press materials and events and have basic understanding of graphic design and digital photography.

A full description of the job requirements and qualifications are available online at

Send a cover letter, resume, three references and answers to these questions (1. What values and/or beliefs drive your daily work? How are they demonstrated in your work? 2. Who inspires you (in work and/or daily life)? How do they inspire you? How do you incorporate this inspiration into your work? What impacts do you see as a result?) in 300 words or less to with “Your Full Name-Media Specialist Position” in the subject line of the email. No calls will be accepted.


Homelessness nears end?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolinas CARE Partnership issued a statement on May 25 saying that it has had a major impact on the decrease of chronic homelessness among people living with HIV/AIDS in Charlotte and throughout Mecklenburg County.

The organization added, “For people living with HIV/AIDS, housing is one of the strongest predictors of their access to treatment, their health outcomes, the rate of transmission to their partners, and how long they will live.”

Grants, donations and community events provide Carolinas CARE Partnership with the economic resources to develop and expand both supportive services and bricks‐and‐mortar programs to help alleviate the homelessness problem and educate the city about the importance and the impact of housing for people living with HIV.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at and 704-531-9988,...