AFFA to feature Kaplan’s story

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Roberta Kaplan, an attorney who was at the forefront of the marriage equality battle, will present “Then Comes Marriage: United States vs. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA” on Jan. 13, 2016, 7 p.m., at Synagogue Emanu-El, 5 Windsor Dr.

The program will share the story of Kaplan’s work in the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) before the Supreme Court. It further tells of the account of this historic political ride and ultimate victory for civil rights for the LGBT community.

A reception and book signing will follow.

The Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA) and the synagogue’s sisterhood serve as sponsors for the event.

AFFA is currently using AmazonSmile as a fundraising resource. Visit and select AFFA as the recipient of .5 percent of the price of eligible purchases.


MCC welcomes pastor

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Charleston, 7860 A Dorchester Rd., will welcome Rev. Danny A. Spears and his husband Richard Lofstrand as its interim senior pastor on Dec. 20, 10:30 a.m., at its morning service. A potluck will follow.

Spears previously served MCC of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, Va., and MCC of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Org rings in new year

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Takeover Grand Strand will host a New Year’s Day party on Jan. 1, 5 p.m., at Martin’s Restaurant, 7200 N. Ocean Blvd.

Enjoy a cash bar at 5 p.m., followed by a complimentary buffet complete with traditional southern New Year’s Day fare.

Drinks and tips are not included with the complimentary buffet.



ASO releases report

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Lowcountry AIDS Services released a report that stated that the area’s community was facing an HIV epidemic, especially among those under 30-years-old.

Its “State of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Charleston” said that the year-to-date figures on Dec. 1 showed that the ASO had administered nearly 1,500 HIV tests in the tri-county area. From those tested, 37 had tested positive and were mostly young African-American men. Previous year’s’ stats showed 20 in 2014, 23 in 2013, 16 in 2012 and 22 in 2011.

“As we began looking at the number of HIV positive tests in 2015, it became clear the HIV infection rate wasn’t improving in our community. In fact it was worsening,” said Brad Childs, executive director of Lowcountry AIDS Services. “And what was particularly frightening was the high number of HIV positive tests among people under the age of 30. Clearly the youth in our community are facing an HIV crisis.”

Childs added, “Contributing to this issue is the fact AIDS doesn’t receive the same level of attention as it did in the 1990s. It doesn’t seem as ‘scary’ as it once did, so it’s just not something young people think about. They don’t fear it and don’t think it will happen to them.”

Contributing factors included socioeconomic disparities and higher rates of poverty, especially among African-American youth. Additionally, absent from South Carolina schools is sex education. That leaves young people’s learning at the disposal of friends, internet and media resources.

Lowcountry also outlined its plans for 2016 in the report targeting community involvement, educational sessions, and testing, among others.

The full report is available online.


Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes:

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.