I was once told that having privilege comes with great responsibility. With that thought in mind, let me begin by wishing you a joyous holiday season and hoping that you, your family and loved ones celebrated a time of giving and a time of sharing.

As an entertainer in this great community for the past 16 years, I have experienced the most joyous gift a entertainer could ever receive, the love and respect of a community. With this gift, I have always striven to give you every ounce of energy, every laugh, every tear and most important the ability for one hour to forget the troubles you may have in your everyday life and enjoy living for that small amount of time. It has truly been an honor and I hope to continue it for many years to come.

However, I feel the need to address the fact that over time, we as entertainers have sometimes forgotten the great privilege bestowed upon us. We have the greatest gift, the ability to voice our thoughts and our passions with untold thousands of people every year. I hold this honor with the highest regard.

Years ago, this community came together to support our ailing brothers and sisters when HIV and AIDS came into our community like a thief in the night. Although we lost thousands in the fight, we banded together to take care of each other, to help feed our hungry friends, give shelter and food to those who had nowhere else to turn and love and support those that society turned its back on.

We have fallen away from our charitable events and turned into an entertainment business. In fairness, we must entertain to keep our audience support, but we should never forget that putting our faces, the professional entertainers of this community, on the forefront of these causes once again should and must be our greatest priority. We have all taken a silent vow, that no matter the trials we face in our day-to-day life, we have been given the opportunity to take this community and put it together, to keep it together and to never let one person or one organization be denied. We must go back to the days of one voice, one community because silence still equals death.

The media has written off HIV/AIDS, homelessness and addiction as manageable conditions. I know not one person dealing with any of these that would consider their life manageable. We must stand up, be proud and put aside our likes and dislikes of each other to realize that we must all make a difference together. We have the unique opportunity to change lives, to bring this community together again. It does not matter to me nor do I think it should matter at all, where one entertainer works or doesn’t. We should not shy away from putting our faces front page of making this community whole. It is our primary responsibility to entertain and be the voice of our brothers and sisters — to take action where no organizations can, to speak before thousands and make our voices one.

Many cities that once had thriving gay and lesbian scenes have since fallen apart, due to many factors including internal squabbles and unnecessary bar politics, but one factor that cannot be ignored is that if we, as entertainers, come together using our individual and unique talents and privileges, we can once again be the voice of change and we will truly make differences that will change many lives.

I close by saying again, remember that the holidays aren’t once a year for us. We have the chance to make every appearance, every show, a change of life for one and for many. The axes need to be buried, the past put behind us. The dawning of a new day is on the horizon and we have the power to be part of a legacy that will be remembered as those who gave back, those who cared and those who changed the face of Charlotte for everyone.

Thank you for the many years of love and support and I hope that as entertainers and as members of the community, you will join me in putting our past behind us and looking forward to a future full of giving, hope and promise for us all.

Q-Notes strives to provide the Carolinas LGBT community with an open forum for discussion and commentary. The views of guest commentators do not necessarily represent the official views or positions of Q-Notes, its editorial staff or publisher.