Partnership nets schools’ program

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a cooperative effort, Time Out Youth Center and the Human Rights Campaign of North Carolina are bringing Welcoming Schools to the Charlotte region.

A project of the HRC Foundation, the initiative offers tools, lessons and resources on embracing family diversity, avoiding gender stereotyping and ending bullying and name-calling in elementary schools, organizers shared.

TOY’s Executive Director Rodney Tucker said, “Since starting our school outreach program in 2012, we have seen increased numbers of younger youth who are identifying as questioning. This program gives us a product to help these students, teachers and families.”

Welcoming Schools, research has shown, provides “a positive improvement in school diversity climate, reduction in teachers’ concerns regarding their own lack of training or resources, reductions in teachers’ fears of parental dissatisfaction, and make a positive difference in believing that children of every age could benefit from discussing gender roles/expression and families with LGBT parents.”

“We are elated to foster this local partnership with HRC and Time Out Youth Center. Full equality has always been the goal for HRC and that includes our local school systems. We are proud to offer this training to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Cabarrus County Schools,” N.C. HRC Board of Governor and Gala Co-Chair Jeremy Carter said.

Time Out Youth Center’s seven county region (20 in Mecklenburg County and seven in Cabarrus County) consists of 42 gay-straight alliance (GSA) student clubs.

“In 2014, Time Out Youth Center’s school outreach program supported 543 individual students through GSA school outreach activities, provided 342 individual consultations with school staff and offered trainings and workshops for 553 adults and 261 students in K12 schools,” TOY reported.

“School outreach is a key program at Time Out Youth Center in meeting the needs of LGBTQ students. We are proud of our student leaders and faculty that support all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said TOY Board Chair Steven Wilson. “Our school outreach program is quickly becoming a national model providing quality training and support to our youth in schools. We will continue to ensure the safety and success of all students,” he added.

On Jan. 16, HRC and TOY offered elementary and middle school counselor training on LGBT issues and Welcoming Schools in Cabarrus County. Also, youth approval has been received by TOY for both Cabarrus and Gaston Counties for satellite support, Tucker shared. Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians chapters are engaging their members in assisting in the effort.

TOY is taking its youth services on the road in on Tuesday nights in March when they host satellite discussion groups in Cabarrus and Gaston Counties. They will continue their drop-in  hours at the center from 3-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons.

O’Neal Atkinson, director of youth services, said that all youth who are members of gay-straight alliances in Cabarrus County are invited to a meet and greet at Aftoin Pub and Pizza in Concord on Feb. 16, 3 p.m., at Afton Pub and Pizza, 5380 Village Dr. NW.

And, on March 12, 6:30 p.m., at the center, there will be a GSA Regional Network Meeting with Campus Pride.Gay-straight alliance club members and faculty advisors from Charlotte and the surrounding region are invited to attend. The focus of the meeting will be on resources available for college-bound LGBT youth, including scholarships, the first-ever LGBT-friendly Online College Fair and the Trans Policy Clearinghouse. Dinner, drinks and snacks will be provided for all attendees. It was originally slated for Feb. 26, but what rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Todd Rosendahl, director of school outreach, said that the meeting will focus on resources available for college bound LGBT youth, including scholarships, the first-ever LGBTQ-friendly Online College Fair, and the Trans Policy Clearinghouse. Dinner, drinks, and snacks will be provided for all attendees.


Aging meeting slated

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The LGBT Aging Solutions Network will host its upcoming dinner meeting on Feb. 16, 7 p.m., at Pace, 6133 The Plaza.

Topic for the event is planning for the 2015 year. Organizers want to know what participants would like to see accomplished during the year. They also are curious about what entices one to make the meetings, in addition to what would attract participants to make time in their schedules to attend.


Ministry welcomes gay Catholics

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Diocesan Ministry for Gay and Lesbian Catholics will hold a mass on Feb. 21, 5 p.m., at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 507 S. Tryon St.

Afterward, the group will head out to The Open Kitchen, 1318 W. Morehead St., for dinner.

The organization is planning a retreat in the Charlotte area this spring on March 21. This one-day event is free of charge. More details will be announced at a later date.

Additionally, the ministry is in the process of designing a website that will supply important information for LGBT Catholics, including welcoming churches in the diocese, as well as family support resources.


Arts groups prepare for concerts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — March comes in with the wind and so does the spring concert season. Three groups are holding concerts: Charlotte Pride Band, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and One Voice Chorus.

The Charlotte Pride Band makes moves with a concert inspired by the body in motion. “Music That Moves You” will be presented on March 7, 5 p.m., at Heaton Hall at Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd. Pieces such as “Rookie of the Year,” “L’Esprit du Tour,” and “Arabesque” will be brought to life with action-packed performances. Local LGBT-affirming groups collaborating with the band include Charlotte Roller Girls, Queens of D’Nile Studio belly dancers and others. This is the band’s fifth anniversary concert.

Tickets are $13/individual and $22.50/family pass (two adults with kids under 12) and are available online.

Gay Men’s Chorus gets formal for their “Forté!” black tie gala on March 21, 6:34 p.m., at CenterStage at NoDa. More information, including ticket purchases, is available online.

Join One Voice Chorus as they continue to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The will present “Wishes: Dreams into Reality” on March 20, 7:30 p.m., at The Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave., in Charlotte, and March 21, 7:30 p.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1915 S. New Hope Rd., in Gastonia.

The chorus asks those who attend to consider what wishes for the community and world one has for the next 25 years.

Tickets are $25 in advance online and $30 at the door.

One Voice holds its 25th anniversary silver celebration on March 28, 7 p.m., at Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. 7th St.

Attendees will be able to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, a cabaret and DJ. Alumni will be in attendance. Additionally, participants can also tour the museum.

Tickets are $15 and are available online. Free parking is at 7th Street Station with validated parking ticket.

One Voice will also present its “Wishes” concert on March 14, 3 p.m., at Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., in Charleston and March 15, 3 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 118 E. Morgan St., in Wadesboro.

Additionally, the chorus will bring its “Oliver Button is a Sissy” presentation to various locations across Charlotte: Feb. 21, 11:30 a.m., ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, 300 E. 7th St.; Feb. 28, 11 a.m., Hickory Grove Library, 5935 Hickory Grove Rd., and Feb. 28, 2 p.m., Matthews Public Library, 230 Matthews Station St.

The children’s story is about standing up to bullying and being proud of who one is in life through musical production. This is suitable for pre-K-3rd graders. A free copy of the book will be shared with each family who attends. The production is made possible with support from the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund.


Ticket drawing underway

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Different Roads Home, 15905 Brookway Dr., has a VIP pass drawing for its 2015 Evening of Hope & Inspiration which is held in the late fall.

The community is invited to visit Facebook to enter. Simply “like” their page for a chance to win two VIP passes, a $250 value. Expedience is encouraged as the fan-only offer is closing soon.

Headliner for the event will be out country star Ty Herndon.

Additionally, on Sept. 26, DRH will present “A Sordid Affair” with Del Shores, Leslie Jordan and Caroline Rhea at the McGlohon Theatre.

More information, including ticketing and corporate sponsorship opportunities, on both programs will be announced at a later time. Proceeds goes to benefit DRH in supporting those living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

Visit to enter.


Pride takes up residence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Pride has moved into its first official office space at 1900 The Plaza, organizers announced on Feb. 2.

The space, which occupies 2,100 square feet on the second floor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, has office, meeting, storage space, a small kitchen, as well as both small and large conference rooms and a lounge for meetings and casual conversations. It also houses a co-working space for its committees with a smaller meeting area and shared workstations.

Organizers began up-fitting the space in December and January, painting, accessorizing and the installation of local artist Edwin Gil’s “Face of Pride” mural, made possible by the Arts & Science Council and comprised of thousands of glass tiles imprinted with 2-14 Charlotte Pride Festival attendees’ fingerprints.

The desire for office space was sparked by storage needs, as well as a convenient location to store materials and convene for meetings.

Executive Committee Co-Director Richard Grimstad said in a release, “Our new offices will be our volunteers’ and partners’ ‘home base’ for the weeks and months of work it takes to plan each year’s festival and parade, along with our collaborations on new projects and programs. The hard work of Charlotte Pride’s team of volunteers, with the generous support of our sponsors and donors, has grown this organization from a small annual event to one of the Southeast’s largest LGBTQ Pride organizations presenting unique and substantive programs, projects and events all year long.”

With the new space, Charlotte Pride has been able to expand its projects, as well as secure a partnership with the GayCharlotte Film Festival. New community outreach and events, space for other community partners and groups and Charlotte Pride’s first educational conference, InterPride’s Prides of the Southeast (POSE) are also on deck for the future, organizers noted. The conference is slated for April 16-19. Charlotte Pride said the event will attract Pride organizers from 12 states across the Southeast.

Charlotte Pride expects to host a community open house for its office in March. The organization is also seeking contributions to help fill their furniture wish list. Monetary donations are always welcome, too. Visit the website to learn more.

The organization has also created a blog, Charlotte Pride Scribe, where updates and news will be shared.

Organizers shared that they have an approximate 150 square feet office for rent to a community group. Email inquiries to

In other news, Charlotte Pride has also opened up its parade applications process online, as well as those for vendors and sponsors.


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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 was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.