Photo Credit: Crape Myrtle Tennis Classic.

Tennis tourney cranks up

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Crape Myrtle Tennis Classic will be held from Oct. 2-4 at the Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Rd., for main draw matches and at the Raleigh Racquet Club, 5516 Falls of Neuse Rd., for all age-division matches.

Nearly 90 players hail from across the nation and around the world. This is its 11th year and is a Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance event.

Beneficiaries from proceeds are the GLBT-CommUnity Alliance at North Carolina State University and the LGBTQ Center of Durham.

For match descriptions and information visit the tournament website. Additionally, lodging options are shared, along with other aspects of the tournament.

There is no charge for admission.


Center ribbon cutting slated

Update: Durham Mayor Pro-Tem Cora Cole-McFadden actually handled the ribbon cutting duties on behalf of Mayor Bill Bell.

DURHAM, N.C. — The LGBTQ Center of Durham will hold its ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 7, 11 a.m., at 114 Hunt St.

Keynote speaker will be Mandy Carter. Durham Mayor Bill Bell will do the official cutting of the ribbon.

Carter is an LGBT activist and co-founder of Southerners on New Ground and the National Black Justice Coalition. The National Organization for Women calls her “one of the nation’s leading African-American lesbian activists.”

A grand opening party will take place at the new center on Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. It will host its first event, the Gender Reel Film Festival on Oct. 10-11.

Gender Reel is the nation’s only traveling film and art festival dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming and transgender identities in film and performance art. A list of films are available on the center’s Facebook page at The event is free, but tickets are required and are available online. Order quickly as space is limited.


Youth group lunch upcoming

DURHAM, N.C. — iNSIDEoUT is celebrating their 10th anniversary and is hosting its Second Annual Adult Ally Appreciation Brunch on Oct. 10, 12 p.m., at Pinhook, 117 W. Main St.

The meal will be homemade. Along with food, the event will include performances by the Ukelele Orchestra and more.

In honor of the occasion, the organization hopes to raise $5,000 to assist in the ongoing services of the youth group.

The event is free and all are welcome.


Center names final two award recipients

Georgia Springer
Georgia Springer

RALEIGH, N.C. — The LGBT Center of Raleigh, 324 S. Harrington St., has announced the last two of its five award recipients for its Oct. 16 “Sense of Pride” awards gala.

Ally of the Year goes to Georgia Springer who has championed social justice causes. She adopted a biological daughter who transitioned and eventually married another transgender man. They died together accidentally in January 2014. Through parenting Nyk, she learned a great deal about tolerance and acceptance. She has served as a transgender coordinator for PFLAG Triangle, was a phone bank captain in the Amendment One battle, as well as working for Marriage Equality USA.

J. Gaston B. Williams
J. Gaston B. Williams

The Distinguished Service Award has been bestowed upon J. Gaston B. Williams. A retired assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina and a career employee with the U.S. Department of Justice, Williams has had a rich history of service to the community. He has served on the board of Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina, Triangle Business and Professional Guild and was one of the organizers of the Raleigh Business and Professional Network. As a gay attorney, he said, “I made it clear that I expected everyone who came before our office to be treated the same as everybody else — equal treatment under the law — regardless of their sexual orientation.” He believed when the staff of the various offices dealing with defendants in court actually knew a well-adjusted gay person, they couldn’t maintain their prejudicial stereotypes for all LGBTQ people, the center shared. Williams felt passionately about volunteerism and said that “everyone can give something, whether it is their time, their talent or their financial support. We need something from everyone.”

The gala will be held at 7 p.m. at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, 421 S. Salisbury St. Attendees will be able to enjoy live entertainment, silent auction, seated dinner and more.

Tickets are $125 through Oct. 6 and jump to $150 afterward and are available online.

In other news, headliner Big Freedia and others will visit the Bull City on Oct. 2, 9 p.m., at The Ritz Raleigh, 2820 Industrial Dr. Proceeds from the door will benefit the center.


Fest selling off auction items

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Crape Myrtle Festival has a few items left from its contributions that did not receive their minimum bid at the recent Gala and are selling them at auction to bidders.

On deck are: gift certificate ($400 value) for Blue Water Spa; private shopping party ($500 value) at Art of Style; private graffiti art lesson ($750 value) for two by Sean Kernick; limited edition signed “Abstract Monoprint” print by KarmiJ (appraised at $750); acrylic painting on canvas “Abstract Monoprint” by KarmiJ (appraised at $1,500); and four monotone acrylic on canvas “Minimal Collection” paintings by Jaimon Caceres (valued at $200 each).

Organizers would prefer at least 25 percent of the stated value, but would entertain other offers.

Email to learn more.


Chorus seeks funding

DURHAM, N.C. — The Common Woman Chorus (CWC) has been asked to participate in the 2016 The Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses Festival in Denver, Colo., from July 2-6, 2016, and is seeking contributors to bring that dream into fruition. “The Hills Are Alive” festival will be held at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

CWC organizers said that “in addition to the networking and performance value of the GALA Festival, we have also been asked to perform a commissioned work with several other choruses that has been written and produced by members of the GALA choruses network.”

An online campaign has been launched to collect the $5,000 funding that will be necessary for the CWC to attend.


ACLU honored

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The North Carolina ACLU began celebrating its 50th anniversary during September and the Chapel Hill Public Library has hosted month-long programming with its focus on differing social justice issues. It will continue the programming throughout the fall.

A 10-panel display, “ACLU of North Carolina: 50 Years of Protecting Liberty,” documents ACLU-NC’s work on the key issues of free speech, racial justice, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, privacy rights, criminal justice reform and religious liberty, the ACLU-NC said. The opening ceremony was held on Sept. 13.

The exhibit debuted at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., before traveling to Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C., and then New Hanover County Public Library in Wilmington, N.C. The ACLU-NC, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library and the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture serve as sponsors for the exhibit. Amanda Hughett compiled the research and Pam Chastain and Jim Jarvis designed the exhibit.

On Sept. 14, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and nearby Carborro Mayor Lydia Lavelle spoke on the issue of LGBT elected officials.

The Daily Tar Heel reported that Lavelle did not use her campaign as a formal platform for announcing her sexual orientation, but did so in a questionnaire.

Kleinschmidt shared that “one-tenth of one-percent of elected officials are gay.”

Because she was becoming a mother to her partner’s children, Lavelle chose to come out.

In the past the AIDS epidemic was a driving force to come out of the closet. Currently, it is centered around same-sex marriage.

Other upcoming programs will feature authors from UNC Press, professors from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and ACLU-NC staff who have worked to advance civil liberties in North Carolina. The final event is a program on criminal justice featuring Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue and others.


Religious org releases friendly advise

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Gay Christian Network (GCN) has released its eight actionable ways one can  #LiveLoveOut in one’s church initiative. It wants to be a starting place for churches to either begin or shore up existing community gatherings.

GCN’s aim is to provide a model by which churches can develop safer places in churches. Sharing what GCN has done for individuals who are seeking a warm place to worship is an integral part of this process.

They suggest the following:

Speak up during Sunday announcements so that other congregants can know about projects or ministries that are important.

Invite someone (one would not normally) to the GCN Conference. Through the work of GCN, Christians find the annual conference as a place to learn more about faith, meet others and share spiritually with like-minded people.

Organize a video viewing during mid-week Bible study, dinner or small group. “Through My Eyes” and others may help facilitate conversations between parents, children and more. Podcasts are available as well. Visit the website to learn more.

Start a church book club. By getting together to read and discuss affirming literature about the coming out process and other important topics, strength and healing can occur.

Invite a speaker to share new perspectives. By bringing in someone from the outside to explore a variety of subjects, church members can often expand their understanding of important issues. For instance, GCN Executive Director Justin Lee travels across the U.S. to ask tough questions in both welcoming and conservative environments. Opening up dialogue can help bring about change and acceptance.

Start a church-wide awareness month. Use the time to expand knowledge and create a space to become more educated about issues surrounding the LGBT community.

Schedule a special Sunday offering. Take up funds to support affirming Christian ministries.

Lastly, donate educational materials to one’s church library. Toolkits, reading material, pamphlets and more can add to the treasure trove that the libraries already have. GCN has a variety of these.

To obtain materials or to learn more, visit the organization’s website.


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.T

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.