Charlotte LGBT center elects new board leadership

Roberta Dunn becomes group's first transgender board chair

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: July 27, 2013 in News

Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee, left, and LGBT Community Center of Charlotte Vice Chair Roberta Dunn.

Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee, left, and LGBT Community Center of Charlotte Chair Roberta Dunn at a town hall in May.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte has elected new board leadership, including the organization’s first transgender chair.

The group’s board voted on July 17 to elect Roberta Dunn as its new chair, according to a press release on Friday afternoon. Dunn, who previously served as vice chair under former Chair Scott Coleman, becomes the group’s first transgender chair.

Dunn has been an outspoken leader for transgender inclusion and LGBT equality. She leads the Carolina Transgender Society and is a liaison to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s Trans Inclusion.

Dunn also volunteers with other community groups, including the Human Rights Campaign Charlotte Steering Committee and the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee. She is the recipient of Equality North Carolina’s 2010 Champion Award for the Charlotte Region and a 2012 Human Rights Campaign Leadership Award. Creative Loafing named her Best Political Activist of the year in 2011. She was also named a qnotes Person of the Year in 2011.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Dunn came out as transgender after 40 years working in the computer/telecommunications industry. She has been married to her wife for 29 years and has four children.

The board also elected longtime board member Bert Woodard to serve as vice chair.

The leadership changes come as the organization continues to meet new challenges and to grow its activities and fundraising efforts.

Earlier this year, the center relocated from the NC Music Factory in Uptown to a more than 4,500-square feet facility in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. As a result, the Center has seen a significant uptick in events held at the facility and in attendance for the services offered there, which include weekly HIV screenings, community meetings and support and education groups.

In April, the group announced it had hired Glenn Griffin as its new operations director. Former Chair Coleman said at the time that cost considerations prevented the group from hiring a full-time executive director.

The center, founded in 2001, has begun new fundraising activities, including a monthly drag bingo event. The center’s budget over several years has been relatively small, according to year-end financial data surveyed by qnotes.

In January, the center and organizers of the city’s annual Pride activities decided to form an independent Charlotte Pride organization[Ed. Note -- This writer is a volunteer on Charlotte Pride's organizing committee.]

“In order for the annual Pride event to continue its growth momentum, and be taken to the next level, it makes a lot of sense for it to be an independent organization focused on delivering a consistently amazing annual festival,” Coleman said at the time.

The Pride event had been the center’s largest annual fundraiser.

Dunn said her new role will allow her to continue building support for the center as it works to serve the local LGBT community.

“It is a great honor to be elected Chair of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte Board of Trustees,” Dunn said in a release. “I have learned a great deal from our past two chairs, John Stotler and Scott Colman, and I hope to continue to take our Community Center in new directions to meet our Community’s needs.”

She added, “I look forward to meeting with our community leaders to help the Center to better serve our community. We have a new Director of Operations and dedicated volunteers to guide us through these new challenges.”