Biz adds new staff

RALEIGH, N.C. — Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer has announced that Elaine Martin has been hired as a part-time, on-call consultant to assist with transgender diversity.

There has been a growing need in the business sector to have a deeper understanding of transgender individuals and to best support them as employees in the workplace. And, the addition of Martin will help to bridge those needs. This expertise comes in handy and is timely in the aftermath of passage of HB2.

A frequent speaker on trans-related topics, Martin has shared her knowledge on being transgender, gaining spousal and familial support, sharing often curious-but-not-asked answers to burning questions, as well as transitioning in the workplace.

Martin has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master’s of Business Administration degree in Finance. She has trained senior executive teams. In addition to owning and running her own businesses and being a commercial pilot, she worked in the banking industry as a senior vice president and executive vice president responsible for teams of up to 1,000 people. Positions included responsibility for all operations, IT, lending operations, corporate marketing, government relations, human resources, product development and more.

On a personal level, Martin has served on numerous boards, including most recently as the Board Chair of Equality North Carolina from 2012–2014. She is now on the board of the Raleigh Business and Professional Network, which is an affiliate chapter of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.


Stories sought for project

DURHAM, N.C. — Henry Amador-Batten is searching for LGBT families in the Durham area to share their stories as part of a Family Equality Council initiative. The council serves LGBT parents and families.

The project is a collaboration with Equality North Carolina who is partnering with StoryCorps/OutLoud to highlight voices of LGBT parents, prospective parents, their children and other loved ones. This is being launched to preserve the stories of LGBT people across the country, with a focus on the South. With the passage of HB2 and other recent North Carolina activities, the coordinators find that it is a top priority to empower the voices of the LGBT community across the state.

Organizers will be recording the voices of participants at the North Regional Library, 7009 Harps Mill Rd., on Sept. 17, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Only six families will be selected, so inquire quickly.

“We are looking to really show the diversity of Durham, families of color, trans parents or children, single parents and so on,” Amador-Batten said. To volunteer, email


Trans woman comes home

CARBORRO, N.C. — Christine Newton Bush was recently featured in an article in Indy Week where she shared her story and how she has found coming back to North Carolina since her sex-reassignment surgery.

The climate in North Carolina has significantly changed since the passage of HB2. In fact, she and her wife, Judith, had put an offer on a house and just as it was accepted their reality changed. The following day the anti-discriminatory legislation passed in the state’s General Assembly, Indy Week reported. This was a marked contrast to their experience in California. They had been there for 18 years.

Christine Bush carries around an envelope containing documentation on her name change, newly printed birth certificate and a signed letter from the board-certified surgeon who had performed her gender-reassignment surgery, the news source said.

Being transgender was not new information to the lion’s share of her family. She had disclosed this to her family in 2004. Since then, her sister Diane Newton has been involved in documenting the “family’s evolution.” With 12 years of recording and cobbling together key moments, Newton has developed into a film, “The Ties That Bind,” that is in post-production. It serves to tell a family’s story as opposed to one that focuses solely on being transgender. A premiere is being planned for the November at the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Childhood for Christine Bush was spent with a backdrop of growing up in a ministerial family in Boone, N.C. Early in her life, she had the feeling that she should have been a woman. She shared that information with her partner Judith Bush prior to their marriage in the early 1990s.

Her wife was encouraging and was accepting of Christine Bush’s desire to be a woman.

The film depicts how the family reacted to the news and how the journey became a work in progess with regard to gaining more acceptance from her family. All this did not happen without some tense moments, however. Christine Bush’s evangelical Christian brother presented a bit of push back and there is dialogue regarding how that eventually was handled. Her sister reacted negatively at first, but eventually came around. On the opposite end of the spectrum, another brother simply said, “Jesus loves you anyway,” Indy Week added.


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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.