Anti-LGBT bills proposed

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 121st South Carolina General Assembly convened on Jan. 12 and there are seven bills that target the LGBT community in discriminatory fashion.

SC Equality said that it is “ready for the fight ahead.” It was successful in thwarting anti-LGBT bills in the state House in 2015.

The bills up for consideration are: S.31 (U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as between union of a man and a woman); S.108 (denying hormonal therapy, sex reassignment surgery for prisoners); S.116 (same-sex marriage license issuance); H.3022 (code amendment, prohibition of use of taxpayer funds and payment of salaries and benefits with regard to support or or licensing same-sex marriage licenses); H.31050 (code amendment, removal of enforcement and penalty for those who refuse to service same-sex marriage); S.787 (deals with U.S. Supreme Court and state legislative process); and S.898 (deals with matters considered by the General Assembly after June 18, 2015, as it applies to marriage).

The complete wording and information about each bill is available online. What has been supplied in this news story is simply to note the kind of action being considered and does not provide complete details.

On Jan. 28, the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee refused to take up proposed anti-LGBT bill (S.31), SC Equality announced in a release. “This bill is not considered dead yet and will be back on the calendar again next week. However, we will continue to work with our allies on the committee and be assured that this bill will be carried over for the remainder of the 2016 session and never makes it out of committee,” SC Equality Board Chair Jeff Ayers shared.

On a brighter note, Rep. James Smith has introduced H.4025, aka the Workplace Fairness Act, that would protect LGBT workers in the state from being discriminated against because of who they choose to love.

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford introduced H.3135 that would amend the state’s Constitution to remove the section that classifies marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The legislature is in its second regular session which runs from Jan. 12-June 2.

In other news, SC Equality has announced that Jennifer Tague has joined its staff as its director of operations.

Tague, an LGBT activist for 25 years, attended Midlands Technical College where she studied criminal justice. She has been involved with SC Pride since its beginning in 1989 and has worked closely with a number of LGBT organizations, including assisting with the establishment of a SAGE affiliate.


Pride to crown Mr. and Ms.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Upstate Pride SC will crown their 2016 Mr. and Ms. Upstate Pride on Jan. 29, 10:30 p.m., at Club South 29, 9112 Warren H. Abernathy Hwy.

Male and female impersonators will compete for a crown, sash and cash prizes, organizers said.

A three-round challenge will include Presentation, Evening Wear and Talent and will test competitors’ skills in emceeing, wardrobe, special talents and the ability to represent Upstate Pride SC’s 2016 theme of “Peace Love Pride.”

Patti O’Furniture will serve as emcee for the evening. Judges slated are Miss SC Pride Rylee Hunty, reigning Ms. Upstate Pride Veronica La Blank, drag king Viktor Grimm, along with head judge Big Shirli Stevenz from Greensboro, N.C. Two reporters and on-air personalities from WSPA’s Scene at 7, Jennifer Martin and Vanessa de la Viña, will serve as co-judges.

Entertainment will be provided during the evening by non-competing drag professionals.

Competitors must be at least 18 years old and do not have to be a South Carolina resident. A $50 registration fee is required, payable at the door between 9-9:30 p.m.

No tips can be accepted during the event.


Guild hosts lunch presentation

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Takeover Grand Strand will host its first Lunch & Learn on Feb. 3, 12:30 p.m., at Courtyard Marriott Myrtle Beach Broadway, 1351 21st Ave. N.

The presentation will be “Diversity: Why it matters and how it is changing the face of business,” and will be led by Roxanne James, diversity relations manager with TD Bank’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Admission is free for all Coastal Business Guild members. Non-members will be assessed a $5 contribution to Takeover Grand Strand.


On Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m., at Mr. Fish Seafood Restaurant, 6401 N. Kings Hwy., at happy hour gathering will take place.

Takeover Grand Strand serves as a social, educational and advocacy organization. It is open to any LGBT individual or supportive company and seeks to advance acceptance of the LGBT community along coastal South Carolina. Terry Livingston serves as its executive director.


Pride org rolls out events

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Charleston Pride has announced upcoming events for February to support and enhance its efforts.

Paint the Town Red/Charleston Pride 2016 announcement party will be held on Feb. 4, 11 p.m., at Dudley’s On Ann, 42 Ann St. Host will be Patti O’Furniture with Charleston Pride Empress Justine Van de Blair and special guest Victoria Lefaris. Other “Paint” parties will be held during the year in advance of celebration.

The vintage La-Tea-Da: A Valentine’s Day Tea Dance will be held on Feb. 14, 3 p.m., at The Pub On 61, 2366 Ashley River Rd. DJ Trevor D will spin and dance demonstrations will be presented by Dance Charleston. Food, drink specials and giveaways will be provided.

The organization’s Friends with Benefits Program is accepting participants. Giving levels are $20, $30, $50 and $100 monthly with various benefits attached to each.

Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are now available with Charleston Pride for the 2016 festivities. Check the website for more details.


Awareness day observance

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be held on Feb. 7. It serves as a day to encourage and educate the public, and especially the African-American community, about issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

On Feb. 6, 12-3 p.m., Affinity Health Center, 500 Lakeshore Pkwy., will host an afternoon with free food, giveaways, educational opportunities and free HIV testing.

For those who are unable to attend, the center offers free HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea testing Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. No appointment is necessary.


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Share your news with us
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.