February is recognized as Black History Month to celebrate the accomplishments and history of the African-American community. Despite their impact, many times the accomplishments and efforts of black LGBT people and the organizations that work within this community go unnoticed or are under-represented by the media. For the most part, it seems that the LGBT community is portrayed as one group and does not take into account the diverse cultures within the community. The truth is that we are a culture of people who represent many subcultures and this is reflected by the unique experiences faced by different members of the LGBT community.
Locally, there are many black LGBT people and organizations doing great things within our own community that you may not even be aware of. In honor of Black History Month and the impact black members of the LGBT community are making, qnotes would like to highlight some of the different types of local groups and organizations that are working within the black LGBT community. This list is far from exhaustive, but as qnotes attempted to reach out to many different organizations, there was difficulty getting accurate and current information. This difficulty highlights the fact that many of these organizations are under-represented.
Charlotte Black Gay Pride
In 2005, the first Charlotte Black Gay Pride (CBGP) was underway with the theme of “A New Day” to celebrate the dawn of a new beginning for the LGBT community. Since then the annual event has grown in size and has even faced challenges as local black LGBT promoters have begun putting on events surrounding the CBGP festivities. According to their website, the purpose of CBGP is to “create a platform for all members of the LGBT community to celebrate their sexual orientation with pride.” Information for CBGP’s 2012 event are not currently available but will be available on their website.
Unity Fellowship Church Charlotte
Led by Bishop Tonya Rawls, Unity Fellowship Church Charlotte (UFCC) is a young, predominately African-American open and affirming congregation within the Charlotte community. According to the mission of the church, “Unity Fellowship Church Charlotte has been organized for the spiritual growth of its members and the furtherance of Christianity. We work from the platform of Liberation Theology toward the eradication of any form of oppression that rises through the interpretation of Scripture and/or any other religious writings. We are an affirming Church and believe that God’s love is for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or previous religious affiliation.”
Chi Psi Omega Fraternity, Inc.
Black LGBT fraternity and sorority groups have become more engaged than ever with the LGBT community in the past few years. Chi Psi Omega was formed on June 25, 2011, and has been actively working within the community since their incorporation. According to their website, the fraternity “strives to make a difference through community service outreach, promoting tolerance and understanding of the LGBTQ community, and ensuring the continuing education of our neighbors.” Recently, Chi Psi Omega has participated in adopt-a-street programs and currently works to care for streets around The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte. The fraternity has also fundraised to give back to local organizations such as RAIN, Second Harvest Food Bank and Elon Homes of Charlotte.
Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc.
Established on June 27, 2000, in Tallahassee, Fla., Beta Phi Omega has active members in the Charlotte area. Beta Phi Omega focuses on AIDS awareness, safe sex seminars, black lesbian Pride events and breast cancer awareness. Although the organization says that they cater to feminine lesbian women, Beta Phi Omega states that they do not discriminate against bisexual or heterosexual women of any race. According to their website, “Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc. is strongly geared towards awareness, pride, love, joy, prosperity, community involvement and, last but certainly not least, lesbian victory!”
The LezView Show
Hosted by a group of dynamic and diverse women, The LezView Show seeks to give a voice to the issues of today. According to their website, “the cast creates a lively discussion forum that is informative, motivational, cool, current and humorous.” The show is available to watch online and people are encouraged to attend tapings as part of the audience. Information about upcoming tapings can be found on their website.
Beyond the Arts, Inc.
Working with youth in the Charlotte area, Beyond The Arts has programs at Naomi Drenan Recreational Center and Elon Homes & Schools for Children. Currently a total of 217 youth are receiving services through the organization. The mission of the organization is to “combine the arts, community services and apprenticeship to help young people develop self-esteem and self-sufficiency in order to lead prosperous and productive lives.”
If you have information on additional organizations which focus to serve the needs of black LGBT community members, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. : :