Ryan Kingston, 46, is a Charlotte transplant, originally from Michigan. Since 2005, he’s been in the Queen City and worked to become involved in the community in a variety of roles, including various personal work and relationship-building with faith and LGBT communities. He currently serves as Charlotte Pride’s community development vice chair.

Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from Michigan and I lived in California for 18 years. I came to Charlotte in 2005.

How’d you like California?
It was good — a good experience but it was very expensive. So, I decided I wanted to become a southern boy for a while.

So, Charlotte’s cost of living is cheaper. What about our quality of life?
I’d say it’s different, and yeah better.

Where’d you go to school?
I have a B.A. from Ashford University in sociology. I’m currently getting certified to become  personal finance coach.

Where do you work now?
I’m currently self-employed. I’m starting my own non-profit, Stand Up Stand Out, which will do community service and activism with the LGBT community and faith communities together.

What kind of work have you done previously?
For the last few years — about four years — I worked as a debt and credit counselor for a non-profit agency.

You’ve done a lot of volunteer work locally, with your church and Charlotte Pride. What kind of other volunteer work have you done?
When I lived in California, I did a lot of volunteer work for an organization called Covenant House, which works with homeless youth.

Favorite color?
Baby blue.

Favorite food from your home state Michigan?
Greek food. It’s the best.

And, your favorite southern food they didn’t have in Michigan?
Fried pickles. That’s definitely a southern thing.

On weekends you like to…
Hang out with friends, go to movies and dinner.

Favorite season?

Not winter? You’re from Michigan, after all.
They could be brutal at times, but it’s something I grew up with. Sometimes I miss the snow a little but, but not much.

Definitely not with all our snow this year, huh?
I felt like I was in Michigan this year.

Of all the issues our community faces, on which are you most passionate?
Definitely trying to educate churches and faith communities about LGBT issues and trying to heal that relationship.  : :

Matt Comer

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