Early parole denied
COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Parole Board denied early parole on Feb. 11 for Stephen Andrew Moller, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the May 2007 death of openly gay Sean Kennedy.

Moller will serve the rest of his sentence and be released July 7. His original release date had already been moved up from September 2009.

Beth Sherouse, a member of the Sean’s Last Wish foundation’s board of directors said 15-20 people attended the board hearing in support of the Kennedy family. She wasn’t sure what the final board vote was, as attendees were asked to leave the room. “They made the decision very quickly, though,” she said. “It came back in a matter of only two or three minutes.”

On the night before the hearing, approximately 100-130 people gathered at the South Carolina State Capitol for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sean.

“The Kennedy family would like to thank all the people and media that have worked so hard to bring this issue to light,” a statement from Sean’s Last Wish foundation read. “Your help has some brought justice to Sean’s memory.”

Elke Kennedy, Sean’s mother, had taken concerns over the possible early parole to the community. In January, she urged community members to send letters against Moller’s early release to the South Carolina Parole Board.

Queer issues symposium to be held
COLUMBIA — The GLBTQ Professional Development Organization of the University of South Carolina will host a series of colloquia at the school on current research highlighting queer issues. The events will be conducted by USC faculty and staff.

The next symposium will be held on March 5 in Davis Hall, room 209 at 5 p.m. and will feature research by Dr. Edmon Tucker, assistant professor in the College of Social Work.

Tucker’s presentation will focus on a study examining the attitudes and characteristics of individuals who verbally harassed or physically attacked others they perceived as being LGBT. Tucker holds a jurisdoctorate from Southern Methodist University School of Law and Ph.D. from Florida International University School of Social Work. His primary research has focused reducing the risks of HIV and other STD contractions among substance-abusing adolescents.

The first USC GLBTQ Professionals colloquium, “Queering South Carolina’s History,” was held on Feb. 5, 2009 and featured research conducted by Santi Thompson. Thompson, staff for the University of South Carolina Libraries, spoke about significant legal cases involving LGBT individuals in South Carolina.

The last colloquium in the series, “The Sexual Health of Sexual Minority Women in South Carolina,” will highlight research by Dr. Lisa Lindley, faculty at the Arnold School of Public Health, and will be held Apr. 2.

The GLBTQ Professionals meet on the first Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. For meeting topics and locations, contact Fiona McDevitt at Fimcde@gmail.com or 803-777-8248.

SC Pride releases annual report
COLUMBIA — The board of the South Carolina Pride Movement says 2008 was “the year that was so gay.” The group released its 2008 annual report on Feb. 13, detailing the year’s events, successes and the financial health of the organization.

“After looking back on an entire year, we were overwhelmed with how many things we were able to accomplish as a Board and as an organization,” SC Pride President Ryan Wilson said in a press release. “The amazing thing to me is that everything we worked on, even the negative, was resolved with positive results!”

The report gets its name from the state’s “South Carolina is So Gay” advertising incident, which launched SC Pride into the international media spotlight and even generated a Pride sponsorship from AMRO Worldwide, the London-based travel company responsible for the “So Gay” ads. The report is organized by the four tenets of the organization: Support, Celebrate, Educate, and Advocate. Some of the highlights in the report include sections on the successful recycling campaign entitled “My PRIDE color is GREEN,” the outreach at regional Pride events and the collaboration with the other progressive organizations in the state.

The report also makes public the financial well-being of the organization. According to the report, the South Carolina Pride Movement’s total income totaled $85,000. Total expenses added up to $83,000 including $6,300 in Harriet Hancock Community Center expenses, $5,300 in utilities and $10,000 for publicity budgets. The largest outgoing expense was $56,000 for the production of the 2008 SC Pride Festival and Parade.

The organization was the recipient of $10,000 from the Hospitality Tax Grant fund and was also awarded $15,000 from the Community Promotions Grant fund for the Harriet Hancock Center.

SC Pride Vice President Santi Thompson said the report “gives our volunteers a chance to look back and celebrate our successes.”

Thompson added, “It also gives us a tangible record of how we used the resources that our community has entrusted to us.”

The report can be downloaded at www.scpride.org. Print copies are available by request. For more information contact Ryan Wilson at prideinsc@yahoo.com.

New student, staff resource
COLUMBIA — A new resource for LGBT students, faculty and staff has been launched at the University of South Carolina.

The new LGBTQ at Carolina website includes extensive resource lists pointing students and staff to LGBT and LGBT-friendly resources on campus, in the community and statewide.

Visit the site at www.sa.sc.edu/lgbtq.

info: Announce your community event in SC News Notes. email: editor@q-notes.com.