The Equality North Carolina Foundation will hold its Gala in October.

Equality gala announced awardees

RALEIGH, N.C. — Equality North Carolina Foundation has announced its champions of equality recipients who will be recognized at its 10th Annual Equality Gala to be held on Oct. 15 at the Raleigh City Center Marriott, 500 Fayetteville St.

The Bob Page Equality Champion Award goes to Madeline Goss. She and her partner Luke and her daughter live in Raleigh, N.C. She advocates for the LGBT community, especially for transgender individuals.

Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Jennifer Roberts is the Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award recipient. Roberts has been at the epicenter of the fight for LGBT rights when her guidance and leadership helped to bring LGBT inclusion to the Queen City with a non-discrimination ordinance. Since then the North Carolina General Assembly enacted one of the most anti-LGBT pieces of legislation with the passage of HB2. That occurred on the coattail of the ordinance being voted in the affirmative. As a leader and as an ally, Roberts has been stalwart in her fight for LGBT rights.

The Legislative Leadership Award for the House of Representatives goes to Rep. Larry Hall who represents Durham County, N.C.’s 29th District. He was a staunch opponent to Amendment One and has been on the battleground against HB2.

Sen. Terry Van Duyn will receive the Legislative Award for the Senate. Van Duyn is being honored for her commitment to improving LGBT North Carolinians’ lives.

The foundation’s Organization of the Year Award will be presented to the North Carolina NAACP. This year the organization has stood alongside the LGBT community in its fight against HB2, as well as their dedication to equality for all.

Early bird registration for the gala is now open and is available online. Tickets are $135/individual, $50/active duty military, $175/individual plus VIP reception, $100/military plus VIP reception, $1,125/tables of 10 and $1,600/tables of 10 plus VIP reception. Pre-paid guests of donors, sponsors, etc. do not have to pay but must verify by email to in order to be accepted for the rate.


Network welcomes manners expert

Steven Petrow
Steven Petrow

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh Business and Professional Network will hold its monthly meeting on Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m., at P.G. Werth’s, 927 W. Morgan St.

Joining them will be Steven Petrow, author and authority on modern manners.

Petrow is a columnist for the Washington Post, Digital Life for USA Today, the New York Times and Everyday Health. He hosts and executive produces “The Civilist” podcast, a WUNC-TV and Public Radio International co-production.

Reservations can be made online.


Youth group resumes

DURHAM, N.C. — Upsidedown, a group for youth 12 and under, will resume meetings on Sept. 11 from 2-4 p.m.

The organization is available to those who are “transgender, genderqueer, gendervariant, questioning, lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and all of their allies,” said executive director Amy Glaser. It meets twice a month for “friendship, support and changing the world,” she added.

Participants are able to engage in projects and activities as a group.

Its older counterpart, iNSIDEoUT, is available for those who are 13-19.

Both groups’ boards are busy planning Pride activities, electing board members for the school year and more.

A fall leadership retreat will be held from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Kerr Lake. Email to learn more.

Both organizations are seeking volunteers to assist in programs. Email Glaser for more details and how individuals can support the two groups. Additionally, new faces are encouraged to join the board, especially transgender individuals and people of color who have legal expertise or skills in fundraising and financial management.

An adult allies brunch will take place on Nov. 6, 12 p.m., at the old Carrack Art Museum, 111 W. Parrish St.


Network adds staff

RALEIGH, N.C. — The NC AIDS Action Network has announced the addition of Matt Martin as its new grassroots advocacy coordinator.

Martin is a Western Carolina University graduate. He most recently worked on the Turn Out Charlotte and Turn Out NC campaigns with Equality North Carolina. Prior to that he served as a middle-school band teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system in Charlotte, N.C.

During the fall, Martin will lead the network’s outreach efforts across the state. He is currently looking for volunteers to assist him at Greensboro Pride on Sept. 17 in Greensboro, N.C. and NC Pride on Sept. 24 in Durham, N.C. Email him at


Center names top volunteers

RALEIGH, N.C. — The LGBT Center of Raleigh, 324 S. Harrington St., has announced its 2016 Volunteers of the Year.

Artie Cline and Kellie Burris “captured the attention” of the center during the past year, organizers said.

They will be presented with their awards at the center’s gala, Boots on the Ground,” on Oct. 7, 7 p.m., at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown Raleigh, 421 S. Salisbury St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The evening’s program includes a seated dinner, silent auction and entertainment by Peter Lamb and the Wolves.

Burris, the Program Volunteer of the Year, spent time rejuvenating the Women’s Initiative at the center, along with other commitments to center programs. Her first foray into service was with the center’s library.

Cline, the Center Volunteer of the Year, serves as a welcoming committee of one for visitors who go to the center. In fact, he is the longest continuously-serving volunteer for the center.

The Distinguished Service Award, Community Impact Award, Ally of the Year and Organization of the Year recipients will be made available at a later date.

Silent auction items include, but are not limited to, tickets to the North Carolina Symphony, a Whole Foods gift basket and membership for two at the NC Museum of Art.

Tickets are $125 for individuals, $1,000 for tables of 10 and $125 for special guest sponsorship until Oct. 1 when the price for single tickets goes up to $150.


Minister relocates to Triangle

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Rev. Bonnie J. Berger, an out lesbian interfaith minister, has relocated to the Tar Heel State to be closer to her daughters and to enjoy a slower pace of life.

Berger was the first to officiate at a same-sex wedding in Washington, D.C. the day it became legal to do so in 2010. Since that time, she has officiated over 700 ceremonies, largely from the gay and lesbian community. She shared that nearly 100 were from North Carolina.

In addition to officiating, she is also an inspirational speaker and offers spiritual assistance for those who have lost a pet. She is a member of The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and is able to work with pet owners on pet loss preparation, memorial ceremonies and healing rituals.


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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 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.