Winners announced
CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Business Guild’s (CBG) 2009 Don King Awards and Wine Tasting event will be held on Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. McDowell St.

The recipients of the 2009 Don King Community Service Awards are: Hartigan’s (Business Award); Denise Palm Beck (Bridge Builder Award); Sabrina Gray (Female); and Scott Vitez (aka Shelita Hamm) (Male).

Sponsorships are being sought and are available for as little as $50, which includes a seat at a Sponsor Table with placard and mention in the event program.

Other sponsorships are: $200 sponsorship — includes a single one-year membership to CBG, two reserved seats at a Sponsor Table with placard, a half-page ad in the event program, and a one-time half-page ad in the CBG newsletter; $150 sponsorship — includes a single one-year membership to CBG, one reserved seat at a Sponsor Table with placard, a quarter-page ad in the event program, and a one-time quarter-page ad in the CBG newsletter; $100 sponsorship — includes one reserved seat at a Sponsor Table with placard, a business card size ad in the event program, and a one-time business card size ad in the CBG newsletter.

All sponsorships must be purchased in advance and are limited. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For additional information or to purchase a sponsorship ticket, call 704-502-2415 or email

Jones cited
CHARLOTTE — In a recent post by Mary C. Curtis, a contributor on Politics Daily — entitled “Are Black People Really Homophobic?” — Friendship Missionary Baptist Rev. Michelle Jones, said that their ministry was “called to love and not to judge.” Jones directs an HIV/AIDS ministry, “which offers testing, counseling and soon, affordable housing.” Age has no boundaries for their work.

To read the full story, visit

Mancini showcased
CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Observer featured a story on Aug. 14 on designer Wesley Mancini’s newly renovated home.

The Myers Park residence shared with partner Bob Sheer is chocked full of an array of collectibles, including sculpture, textiles and art from his jaunt across the world.

The home was a former ASID Symphony Designer House (2007).

To read the entire article, visit


Give a little …
RALEIGH — The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned its 2009 session on Aug. 11, and not without marked achievements for the LGBT community. This is the sixth year in a row that Equality NC and it’s legislative allies blocked a marriage discrimination constitutional amendment. North Carolina remains as the only southern state that has not written anti-LGBT discrimination into its state constitution. History was made by passing the first LGBT-inclusive law in North Carolina, the School Violence Prevention Act (SVPA). ENC also helped protect the health of young people by winning passage of a bill to restore comprehensive sex education in schools. It fended off proposals to reduce the number of people served by the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and cut HIV prevention funding and ENC worked successfully to prevent the complete elimination of Medicaid HIV case management in the state budget.

These accomplishments could not have been possible without the financial support of the community. Any amount is appreciated for future initiatives. Secure contributions may be made online though


ASU hosts religious discussion
BOONE — Appalachian State University’s LGBT Center will host “Religious LGBTs: Integrating Sexuality with Judeo-Christian Faith” on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union, Calloway Room.

Rev. Roger Hayes of the Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship (Winston-Salem) will lead a deeply personal discussion for LGBT Jews and Christians struggling to integrate their religious beliefs with their gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or and gender identity.

Free parking in the College St. parking deck is available.

For more information, email

Crowning moment

Mr. Unlimited at Large contestants
Mr. Unlimited contestants

HICKORY — Eight entrants vied for first place in the 2009 Mr. Unlimited at Large contest held on Aug. 4-6 at Club Cabaret.

Winner was Felix Correa, Cleveland, Ohio. Runner up was Jeffrey Ell, Tipton, Ind.

On Aug. 7-9, fifteen hopefuls strutted their stuff on stage to capture the 2009 Mr. Unlimited crown. Neo Hall, Bronx, N.Y., won. Runners up were Ka’von Iman, Atlanta, Ga., and Rocky Graziano, Boston, Mass.

For each pageant, contestants were judged on Creative Formalwear, Talent and Interview. For the Mr. Unlimited one, Swimwear was also peppered in to heat things up.

Headlining the contests were Kyle Patrick, Raleigh, N.C., outgoing Mr. Unlimited at Large and Eric Rainbow, Baltimore, Md., outgoing Mr. Unlimited.

Mr. Unlimited 2009 Neo Hall
Mr. Unlimited 2009 Neo Hall

Other entertainers who performed throughout the week were Natalie Cole, Miss Unlimited 2009, Sebastian Armonte, Tim Allen, Mr. Unlimited Bear 2008, Neal (The Vessel) O’Hara, Mr. Classique Unlimited 2009, DuWanna Moore, Miss Classique Unlimited 2008, Monte St. James, former Mr. U.S.A. 2005, Kyle Ean, former Mr. U.S.A. 2002, former Mr. U.S.A. at Large, Jemar, former Mr. U.S.A. at Large and JR Stallings, the current Mr. Gay Unlimited FMI who will be giving up the title at Club Cabaret on Sept. 4-6 over Labor Day weekend

Tucker named executive director
HICKORY — On July 1, Rodney Tucker joined the staff of AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) as the new executive director. With a strong background in HIV/AIDS grant and volunteer management and fundraising, this native North Carolinian received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, with an additional Master’s degree from Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Tucker previously has served on the staff of several AIDS service organizations including the Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium and Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. He also supervised the National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps project in North Carolina. With these organizations, he successfully raised public awareness through fundraising events such as AIDS Walk Charlotte, Gay BINGO Charlotte, The Black Church Week of Prayer and World AIDS Day.

“I am excited to join the staff of ALFA. The agency has a strong history of providing quality service to clients and implementing unique prevention education programs for the community. I see ALFA continuing to grow to meet the needs of the community through partnerships like the Ryan White Clinic through Catawba Valley Medical Center,” said Tucker. “Building on this strong history and with a dedicated staff and volunteers, ALFA will continue to reach new clients and educate our region.”

For more information, call 828-322-1447, ext. 24, email or visit


Sponsorships sought
STATEWIDE — Equality NC Foundation is now actively seeking corporate, small business and organizational sponsors for the 2009 Equality Conference & Gala to be held on Nov. 14.

The day-long event for LGBT North Carolinians and their allies will celebrate the passage of the School Violence Prevention Act. SVPA will protect all vulnerable kids from bullying across the state, including LGBT kids, and the Foundation was proud to have played a key role in educating people about the life-long harm it can cause.

Expected attendance at this year’s conference is 400. It will be held at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro Elliott University Center. Later that evening, the Gala will be held at the Empire Room.

For a list of sponsorship benefits or more information, call Kay Flaminio at 919-929-0343, ext. 112, email or visit

ENC honored at Fed conference
ST LOUIS, Mo. — Equality North Carolina (ENC) received two of the five awards presented at the Equality Federation Summer Meeting on Aug. 9. Equality Federation is the national association of statewide LGBT advocacy organizations and the annual “Feddie” awards are voted on by the leaders of state groups across the country.

The first award was for Best Fundraising Effort, where ENC was recognized for the online “Stam Challenge” campaign. This award was shared with Equal Rights Washington due to a tie. Development Director Kay Flaminio was the key staff member who spearheaded this effort.

The Feddie for Most Amazing Achievement was the second award received. It recognized “achievements that beat the odds, pulled a David and Goliath, the ones that surprised the heck out of everyone.” ENC was recognized for its successful campaign to pass the School Violence Prevention Act. The bill became the first LGBT-inclusive law in North Carolina and the first gender identity-inclusive law in the South.

“We are so pleased to be recognized by our colleagues across the country, who are themselves doing groundbreaking work every day,” said Executive Director Ian Palmquist. “We couldn’t have achieved these successes without the amazing work of our staff, interns and volunteers and donors and activists from Duck to Hendersonville.

“Choosing a southern state for this award, particularly in a year with so many legislative advances on marriage equality in the northeast, sends a strong signal that our movement must value and support progress in every part of our nation if we are to achieve full civil rights for all Americans.”

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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.