The Charlotte Business Guild is hoping slight changes in their outreach and programming will expose their group to more people in the Queen City. With new board members and officers, the programming changes are just one small part of the group’s goal to become the “gateway to the local LGBT community and its supporters.”

Renae Elam, the Guild’s president since July, says she hopes new programs like the group’s recent visit to CAST’s staging of “Steambath” will make the Guild more attractive to a larger audience.

“We want to bring our membership out into the community and we don’t want to be an exclusive club that only certain people are invited to join,” Elam says. “What we envision is that we are the central hub for individuals, businesses, employees, entrepreneurs, people who just want to make friends, or anybody.”

‘The Blind Side’

Join the Charlotte Business Guild and social sponsor Jud Gee of JHG Financials for a special viewing of “The Blind Side” on Oct. 20. Admission is free, but reservations are required. To RSVP, call 704-565-5075 or email

CBG at the Movies
Oct. 20, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
VanLandingham Estate
2010 The Plaza
Charlotte, NC 28205

Founded in 1992, the Guild was organized to meet the needs of area LGBT professionals. Through the 1990s, the Guild, as in other cities without LGBT community centers, often played host to important community discussions, bringing in elected and government officials, movement leaders, celebrities and others. Most important, however, the Guild has always served as a way for LGBT business owners and community advocates to network with each other and the greater community.

Those basic tenets of service still guide the Guild today, Elam says, and are reflected in their partnership with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. The Guild is a member of the Chamber’s Diversity Advisory Cabinet.

“We want to offer things that are informative, uplifting and perform a community service and that will reflect the overall greater good of both the LGBT community and straight allies and others,” Elam says.

Elam says she’s also excited about the Guild’s new website. Still in development, the site will be more interactive for both Guild leadership and members, offering easy membership sign-up and event RSVPs. Elam says she hopes the site will, like the organization it will serve, become a central location for community information and networking.

Along with the changes in the Guild’s online outreach and monthly meetings — which Elam hopes will have more variety and excitement — the Guild’s leadership also plans to shake up its monthly socials and expand them into new establishments and venues. On Oct. 20, Guild member Jed Gee of JHG Financials is sponsoring a special monthly social at the VanLandingham Estate. Along with free hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and candy, Gee has arranged a private viewing of “The Blind Side.” The event is free but requires a reservation. Guild members are limited to one guest.

Other events on the Guild’s horizon includes a Nov. 16 meeting with United Way CEO Jane McIntyre and the group’s annual holiday event on Dec. 14. That meeting will also include presentation of the 2010 Don King Awards.

For more information on the Charlotte Business Guild, visit

Other changes around the community…

The Charlotte Business Guild isn’t the only LGBT group making changes to programming or leadership. In fact, the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte also made changes to its board officers. The Center’s former chair, Denise Palm-Beck, stepped down from that role at the end of her term in July and remains on the board. The Center’s former vice chair, John Stotler, has succeeded Palm-Beck as chair. Frank Kalian remains treasurer and Teresa Davis is secretary. Learn more at

On the activist front, a new grassroots group has formed. Queer Rising QC aims to “education, inspire, and encourage actions that will lead to a new world of acceptance and equal treatment of the LGBT community all over the world.” You can find the group on Facebook:

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.