MeckPAC future being discussed
In response to the news of improprieties and organizational mismanagement, a group of Charlotte-area LGBTQ community members met via Zoom on Aug. 15 to discuss Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee’s (MeckPAC) current status and future plans. Facilitating the meeting were Emily Plauché and Ryan Morrice, both past board members, and they introduced William Loftin (interim chair), Nate Turner (interim vice/co-chair) and Richard Grimstad (interim treasurer), who had been elected/appointed to their positions by the organization’s two former officers. The situation that led to the community’s call for action, stemmed from former MeckPAC chair Matt Comer’s use of the organization’s debit card for personal purposes, as well as the lapse of the PAC’s state registration requirements, in addition to it having not filed the necessary paperwork with the state with regard to its finances. The meeting’s end result found that people wanted to help reestablish the organization’s reputation and its work in endorsing equality-minded candidates in the election process. MeckPAC’s former board strayed away from the organization’s mission, and had not held regular meetings, surveyed candidates and made endorsements per its bylaws. With new leadership the hope is that with the steps being taken to “right the ship” that MeckPAC will get back on track in its focus and work. Full disclosure of finances and transparency of operations were seen as key to the success of the revamped and/or new organization.
Legal org names new CCO
Lambda Legal announced it has named Sherise Bright as the organization’s next chief communications officer. Bright has over 20 years of experience in communications, working in nonprofits, corporations, and entertainment. She will be based in Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office in Los Angeles.
In Memoriam: Ash Christian
Ash Christian, an Emmy Award-winning producer, actor filmmaker and LGBTQ activist died in his sleep on Aug. 14 while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He was 35 years old.
Drag show re-emerges
Buff Faye’s Divas Drag Diner will reappear on Aug. 29, 7 p.m., in the parking lot of Dilworth Grille, 911 E. Morehead St., in Charlotte, N.C. On hiatus since mid-March due to COVID-19 restrictions, the show will institute some new guidelines for its patrons. Everyone who attends must wear a mask (restaurant rules), diners’ tables will be spaced six feet apart, tips will be accepted via CashApp, no touching of talent and all drag queens will wear rhinestone face shields while performing. Proceeds ($3 of every ticket sold) benefit Campus Pride’s Back to School initiative.
Center accepting leadership council apps
North Star LGBTQ Community Center is accepting applications for its Youth Leadership Council. Applicants must be committed to attending monthly meetings from September 2020 through May 2021. Deadline to submit is Aug. 29. Send them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clemson student wins national award
Tyler McDougald, a rising junior at Clemson University, has been awarded a Point Foundation Scholarship. He has the distinction of being the first person from South Carolina to receive a scholarship from Point, the Greenville Journal reported. He told the news organization that him being the first was “indicative of ‘the lack of infrastructure’ to not only support but empower and uplift queer people in South Carolina.”
Gantt to host ‘Unmasked’ panel discussion
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will present its “Unmasked: Identity and Stigmas in the LGBTQ+ Community” panel discussion on Aug. 25, 7 p.m., via YouTube. The virtual program will feature panelists therapist Erin Steele, community activist and organizer Jermaine Nakia Lee and Time Out Youth Center housing specialist Shakira Clarke. Charlotte Black Pride Chair Shann Fulton will moderate. Viewing this program is free and open to the public. To chat during the program and contribute perspectives, participants will need a YouTube account with a Gmail email address prior to the program. Those who do not have a YouTube account, should visit bit.ly/2FyDEUR for a step-by-step tutorial on creating a YouTube account.
Drama to make U.S. debut
Canadian produced “Transplant” will premiere on Sept. 1 at 10 p.m. on NBC following a live telecast of “America’s Got Talent.” The 13-episode series centers on Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed, a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine who fled his country with his younger sister, Amira. Together they struggle to build a new life in Canada as Bash strives to rebuild his career in medicine. The sixth episode centers around a young LGBTQ patient who navigates through a “difficult decision and conversation with his mother,” producers shared.
Museum welcomes a first fellow
Greensboro, N.C.’s Elsewhere announced that April Parker will serve as the museum’s inaugural Creative Catalyst Fellow! As a community organizer and archivist Parker “centers the lives, histories, legacies, resiliency and magic of queer and transgender Black people; while working exhaustively at the intersections of social justice movements to create opportunities for institutional accountability, intergenerational relationship building and creative expressions of resistance,” staff stated. In other news, the museum is using its facility as a fellowship and social housing opportunity inviting fellows to live, work and play inside of the three-story building. To be considered, apply at bit.ly/3kWDXsA.
Orbitz launches new online service
Orbitz has reigniting is brand by launching its new online travel platform featuring LGBTQIA welcoming hotels, travel guides and advice from diverse travel experts and influencers in the queer community.
PFLAG chapter collecting donations
Concord/Kannapolis PFLAG has announced that its annual Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital community outreach program is jumpstarting its collection process early due to COVID-19. Chapter President Joan Gale said that the hospital is in need of items for children ages newborn-19 years old. The drive will be ongoing from now through Dec. 15 with delivery on Tuesdays-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at All Mixed Up Bakery, 1044 Copperfield Blvd. N.E. #109, Concord, NC 28025. A wish list can be accessed online.
SAGE CNC to offer grief support
SAGE Central North Carolina will offer a six-session virtual support group via Zoom in response to requests from members in the community. The private sessions will give participants a way to work through grief issues in a supportive environment. Each session will focus on a topic that will help to normalize the grief process, explore effective coping skills and to learn how to adapt to your new life. Participation is open to any member of the LGBTQ community who has experienced the death of a spouse or partner. In order to support the sharing of experiences, it is asked that the death will have occurred more than three months before the start of the sessions. Registration is due by Sept. 4 via email at email@example.com. Include a full name, email address, phone number and physical mailing address.
CLT groups merge
After careful consideration and discussions, Charlotte, N.C.’s Queen City Prism (QCP) and Queen City LGBTQ Community Collective have decided to merge. The latter will become a program of QCP and will be known as Queer Society Charlotte. Collective founder Gary Montgomery will join the leadership team of QCP. Executive Director and Founder of QCP Jonathan Barrio shared that “there will no longer be any rules for organizations, businesses, independent contractors, and professionals to promote their business within Prism. All promotions will no longer have to be approved, or shared by a member under the current system, they will be automatically approved in Queer Society Charlotte’s FB Group, which will serve as an ‘exchange’ within Prism to host advertisements, promotions, job postings, rental listings, etc. … Prism will remain focused on creating diverse and unique programming while Queer Society Charlotte will maintain it’s position as a place where folks will still feel part of their community via social media, can promote and advertise their events, organizations, and businesses.”
OUT Foundation undergoes transition
The OUT Foundation has announced that Will Lanier has transitioned to a new role as chief missions officer and that former associate director Eddie Plata has assumed the executive director’s position.
NOGLSTP releases anti-racism, bigotry statement
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals have issued a statement against racism and bigotry and have called on their colleagues to fight for an end to oppression and inequality. The organization’s members pledged to honor their core values and to confront racism and bigotry in all forms, asserting that racism is America’s original sin.
Finder details trans life insurance options
A comprehensive guide on obtaining life insurance for transgender individuals has been released by Finder and can be accessed online. Finder shared that it embraced gender fluidity.
N.C. GOP candidate vacationed at Hitler’s retreat
Queerty published an article telling the story of how North Carolina Republican and U.S. congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn once vacationed at Adolf Hitler’s retreat and even showed photos of his trip on social media in 2017. The photos has purportedly been removed, but are still showing up on Instagram. The caption of the photo from the Eagle’s Nest said, “The vacation house of the Führer. Seeing the Eagles Nest has been on my bucket list for awhile, it did not disappoint. Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots.” Queerty shared that Cawthorn had recently addressed the backlash on Facebook, saying, “When I visited the Eagle’s Nest this was the history I had in mind. It was a surreal experience to be remembering their joy in a place where the Nazi regime had plotted unspeakable acts of evil.” The publication cited an article by Jezebel showing other possible extremist symbols of which Cawthorn has embraced.
Pub releases film issue
Black and queer-owned digital media company, Q26, released the Summer Film Issue of its tri-annual magazine, QTYPE, on Aug. 11. Funds raised from the magazine issue will go back into the LGBTQ community, supporting creatives with a focus on people of color. It focuses on sharing stories from queer artists to provide representation and inspiration for LGBTQ youth around the world.
Child citizenship case continues to be blocked
On Aug. 14, the U.S. State Department appealed the June 17 decision of a Maryland federal district court that recognized the birthright citizenship of Kessem Kiviti, the child of married U.S. citizens, Roee and Adiel Kiviti, Lambda Legal reported. “By appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the government continues to refuse to recognize the validity of Roee and Adiel’s marriage and continues to defend its discriminatory policy, which conditions the recognition of birthright citizenship on a biological link to a U.S. citizen parent.”
Israeli center files discrimination suit
A lawsuit has been filed against the municipal government of Jerusalem, Israel by the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance claiming discrimination with regard to the city’s budget.