Billboards stir controversy

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A new billboard campaign produced and sponsored by the Alliance For Full Acceptance is stirring up a lot of controversy in the Lowcountry.

The sign designs showcase the theme “LGBT Rights are Civil Rights” and feature LGBTQ couples with rainbow and American flags wrapped around themselves. The 50 billboards span from “Moncks Corner to Awendaw to Ravenell to James Island and everywhere in between” and offer hope to the LGBTQ and allied communities. Comments of support are encouraging, like “I’d like to think a lgbtq kid living in an extremely conservative family can look up at that sign and feel hope. Hell, I’m an adult in my forties and it gave me hope.” and “Love the Billboards. Can we get more of them?”

But not everyone is happy about this. The organization has been getting a lot of flack. Some responses received include: “Please take the billboards down before God drops the hammer on us here in Charleston.” and “We’re all not on board with your message and it makes the city look bad.”

Dan Folk Photography contributed his talents to the project initiative.

Students at James Island Charter High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance held bake sales at their school to raise money for one of the boards posted on James Island.

More information is available online about the campaign.


Center celebrates health week

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Affinity Health Center will hold its National Health Center Week festivities during the week of Aug. 13-19 which honors the work done by health centers across the U.S. who provide high quality, cost effective and accessible healthcare to those in need.

Partnering with Northside Recreation Center, Affinity will welcome the community to a health fair on Aug. 15, 3:30 p.m., at 900 Annafrell St.,  which features more than 20 community partners including social service, healthcare, housing and other support agencies. Free health screenings and food will be available for attendees.

On Aug. 17, Healthcare for the Homeless Day, Affinity will visit St. Mary’s Catholic Church to provide breakfast for individuals experiencing homelessness and to share information about how to get healthcare services.

The following day will be the Consumer Board Member Day at Affinity’s main site, 500 Lakeshore Pkwy., from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for a tour of the center by board members, 54 percent of whom are patients of Affinity.

Affinity Health Center has four locations throughout York County, including sites in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Clover and York, S.C. It serves nearly 4,000 patients, 70 percent of whom live at or below the poverty level.


Beach town holds Pride celebration

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Grand Strand Pride 2017 will be held from Aug. 24-27.

On Aug. 24, 6 p.m., Pride Night will come to Pelicans baseball with a buffet picnic. The next evening a Friday Happy Hour will take place at Mr. Fish, 6401 N. Kings Hwy., followed at 10 p.m. with a Pride after-party at Pulse, 2701 S. Kings Hwy.

On Aug. 26, 4-7 p.m., at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes ballroom, 8121 Amalfi Pl., Grand Strand Pride and the Coastal Business Guild will host a free Business Expo showcasing vendors, organizations and others to visitors. Afterward at 7 p.m., the Gala will take place with Jim Obergefell as the keynote speaker.

The festivities end with a brunch on Aug. 27, 11 a.m., at Mr. Fish.

Full details, including ticket prices and other information, is available online.


Court rules in DV decision

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Post and Courier reported on July 26 that the state’s domestic violence law protects same-sex relationships as determined by a S.C. Supreme Court split ruling. It said that the 2015 law was unfair to LGBTQ couples.

However, the states attorney general is encouraging the court to reconsider its decision saying that it would limit the numbers of people the law protects to a smaller group.

Jeff Ayers, SC Equality’s executive director, has applauded the ruling.

“This proves that the Supreme Court takes the same stances as SC Equality has since marriage equality is the law of the land: same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples,” Ayers told the news organization.


Activists rally for community

COLUMBIA, S.C. — SC Equality has been spending time fostering friendships with legislative members in order to change hearts and minds, but the organization says that there is more that they need to do now.

To that end, SC Equality also has been experiencing a financial crisis, Harriet Hancock shared, and she wants the community to help shore it up. She remembers a time when the Harriet Hancock Center Foundation was on the brink of closing its doors when SC Equality dug deep into their resources to donate funds. It did not stop there. They also helped to provide strategic planning support to help the center resolve problems.

Executive Director Jeff Ayers reported on Aug. 7 that they had exceeded their goal of reaching $25,000 by raising $25,763. Now, the organization will be able to revamp their website and online presence and will also be able to create more opportunities for community engagement. A group of donors had agreed to match tax-deductible contributions in order to achieve the objective of raising the $25,000.


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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.