Mountain group forms

BAKERSVILLE, N.C. — The Mitchell County Gay Straight Alliance had its first public meeting on Nov. 15 at the county library amidst protest. Since then it has been the focal point for working “toward ensuring equal rights and justice for lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people” in this mountain community.

Formed by Allison Bovée and Amy Waller, its inaugural meeting met with resistance, according to The Mountain Xpress. The organizers wrote in an opinion piece in the Asheville weekly that there were religious, homophobic protesters who threatened the meeting.

YouTube videographer “lifeinmitchellcounty” posted a short documentary at He interviewed several protesters and got comments from them. One person said that he did not like gays.

The group was formed outside the normal school environment. They told the XPress that they formed the alliance to be the voice of gay and straight people who wished to work together for equal rights and justice for gays in Mitchell County. They hope to make the county more welcoming.

Support for the group has landed them positive comments on their Facebook page. Ted Allen, a noted food critic and former cast mate from “Queer Eye on the Straight Guy,” said “Thanks for doing what you’re doing! xoxo.” Equality North Carolina Board Chair Dan Gurley has offered to come speak at an event. He is a native of the county. Others from as far away as San Francisco and Canada tipped their hat to the group as well, saying that they had read a recent post on Andy Towle’s and wanted to congratulate them.

At their Dec. 12 meeting in Spruce Pine, the group netted 30 attendees.

They encourage their members to become active in the anti-gay constitutional amendment battle, as well as expanding awareness and visibility in the county.

For more information, email MitchellCountyGSA

Legendary activist at ASU

BOONE, N.C. — “An Evening with Angela Davis” will be presented on Jan. 24, 2012, at 7 p.m. at Appalachian State University’s Farthing Auditorium. She is being brought in for the school’s 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.

A renowned political activist and scholar, Davis (pictured, credit Wikipedia) has authored eight books. She has lectured throughout the U.S., as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.

The university public relations office said that in recent years, a persistent theme of Davis’ work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. Through her activism and her scholarship during the last decades, Davis has been involved in the nation’s quest for social justice. Her work as an educator — both at the university level and in the larger public sphere — emphasizes the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial and gender equality.

The Diversity Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the school’s Office of Multicultural Student Development, Department of Government and Justice Studies, Women’s Studies Program, Office of Equity Diversity and Compliance, and Arts and Cultural Affairs.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call Augusto Peña at 828-262-6252 or email


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.