Charlotte

Kennedy to speak to Guild
CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Business Guild will hold its monthly meeting on June 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 201 S. McDowell St. Guest speaker for the evening will be Elke Kennedy, founder of Sean’s Last Wish.

Kennedy is known for her tireless work to combat hate crimes as a result of her gay son’s murder. She has spent much of her time since his death working with initiatives within the legislative process and sharing her story to raise public awareness as a way to educate the public. The Foundation was established to be the conduit for achieving these aims. To find out how to make a contribution to the Sean’s Last Wish Foundation, email assist@seanlastwish.org.

The event will be sponsored by Bill Clarke & Associates, Inc. and Keller Williams Realty.

Cost is $15 for CBG Members and $25 for guests and non-members ($5 added for members without reservations). Reservations were due by noon on June 12 by email to businessguild@yahoo.com or by phone to 704-565-5075. Individuals making reservations who do not attend will be charged for the event.

For more information, visit www.charlottebusinessguild.com.

Triad

County tops syphilis cases
WINSTON-SALEM — A county in the Piedmont-Triad area of North Carolina is number one for syphilis cases, The Winston-Salem Journal reported on June 5.

Forsyth County, whose county seat is Winston-Salem, reported 70 cases of the infection from January 2009 to May 22, 2009. That’s a significant jump from 2008’s 48 reported cases and 2007’s 31.

The 2009 number are preliminary figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services epidemiology division.

Dr. Tim Monroe, director of the Forsyth County Health Department, told The Journal that infection rates usually rise and fall in cycles. According to the daily paper, a national syphilis-elimination projected resulted in a 2002 drop to just one case.

“It’s not necessarily abnormal to see these kinds of cycles,” Monroe said.

County officials have met to discuss ways to curb increased spread of the infection. They will be targeting the most at-risk populations, including prostitutes and gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Triangle

TGMC are ‘BraveSouls’
RALEIGH/DURHAM — The Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus will hold its end-of-season premiere concert performance of “BraveSouls and Dreamers” on June 20 at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. at 8 p.m. (Raleigh) and June 21 at First Presbyterian Church, 305 Main St. at 3 p.m. (Durham). Text is by Robert Espindola and music by Robert Seeley.

“BraveSouls and Dreamers” reflects on the human and spiritual consequences of war, contrasting a prevailing hope for peace with the devastating realities of war and its effect on both individuals and families. It draws from a rich history of writings about war and peace across both Western and Eastern spiritual and faith traditions and features pipe organ, small concert ensemble and male and female guest soloists. The text is drawn from the words and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, the Prophet Isaiah, President Jimmy Carter, Confucius, Buddha and the Qur’an.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit tgmchorus.org.

It’s good ole summer time!
TRIANGLE — The Geeks and Gaymers of North Carolina are set to have a rad time over the next couple of months.

On June 27, the will hold their 2nd Anniversary Party in Raleigh. The next month, on July 18, get out your communicators and enjoy a Trekkies viewing in Durham. On July 25, hold your arms high while reveling in a Torchwood Series 3 viewing in Research Triangle Park.

All get-togethers are held in private members’ homes.

For more information, email ggnc@nc.rr.com. To join this group, visit groups.yahoo.com/group/ggnc.

Western

ALFA to host fundraiser finale
HICKORY — AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) will hold Dining for Friends Pr[EVENT] of the Season on June 19 at Market on Main from 8 p.m.-midnight. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $25. Proceeds from Dining for Friends will directly support the mission and services of ALFA.

Over the past couple of months, individuals, couples, churches, businesses, schools, etc. have invited friends, family members and community leaders to parties they’ve hosted all over ALFA’s service area. The hosts and guests have made donations to ALFA as admittance to the parties, and in return, receive a ticket to the finale. Party hosts are eligible for titles, including Most Creative Theme, Most Attended Party, and Most Funds Raised. Winners will be announced at the end of the Pr[EVENT] evening.

Guests at the Pr[EVENT] will enjoy a variety of heavy hors d’oeuvres, one complimentary adult beverage, cash bar, and soft drinks. In addition, the event will feature DJ entertainment by DJ Supafly, dancing and several raffles. Hal Row from WHKY 1290 AM will serve as emcee.

For $5, enter to win a four-day, three-night stay at a beach house in Holden Beach, Lifestyles Meal package from Market on Main, compliments of John Duke and Market on Main, jewelry from Gold & Silver Recycling Co, Inc., flatware from Belks at Valley Hills, photography sitting by Judy Willis
Photography, and more.

Enter for a chance of winning a fully furnished dining room, complete with sideboard table, courtesy of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and lighting courtesy of Robert Abbey, Inc. Single tickets are $15, three tickets will be sold for $50.

Bob Williams and Stephen Heavner are serving as the DFF Honorary Co-Chairs for 2009. Williams is the co-owner of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and Heavner is the bookkeeper for the well-known furniture company.

Club Cabaret will host the afterparty, themed “A New Way of Living.” All attendees to ALFA’s Pr[EVENT] will receive free admittance to this afterparty by showing their Pr[EVENT] ticket stub. Funds raised during the afterparty will be donated back to ALFA’s mission.

For more information, call 828-322-1447 ext. 224, email alfadirect@charter.net or visit www.alfainfo.org.

Ten-minute test now available
HICKORY — During the week of June 22, ALFA will be providing free, confidential door-to-door and walk-in HIV testing to the general public. ALFA’s rapid HIV test is 99.7 percent accurate and provides results in 10 minutes. These events are in observance of National HIV Testing Day, an annual campaign that encourages individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing. By providing this service, ALFA is able to reduce the spread of HIV and combat the negative stigma surrounding the issue of HIV/AIDS. This is achieved by allowing individuals to know their status, connecting those who test positive with the necessary medical care and providing accurate and up-to-date HIV/AIDS education.

Walk-in testing will be available at ALFA, located at 1120 Fairgrove Church Rd. SE, Suite 28, on June 22-25 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and June 26 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Walk-in testing will also be available at Slades Chapel AME Zion Church, located at 306 Bouchelle St. (Morganton) on June 24 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. For those who are unable to make it the week of June 22, call ALFA at 828-322-1447, ext. 232 to schedule an appointment for a free test.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.alfainfo.org.

Statewide

Spaulding
Spaulding

Blogger digs in for long haul
STATEWIDE — North Carolina’s own Pam Spaulding has been getting a bit of press lately. According to gaynewsblog.net’s Jose Antonio Vargas, the voice behind one of the most respected gay political blogosphere sites, Pam’s House Blend, has given rise to a particular growing political influence.

North Carolina is the only state in the south that has not banned same-sex marriage.

An IT manager by day and a 24/7/365 blogger, Spaulding said that “all eyes are on North Carolina now.” Florida, Arizona and California in November passed marriage amendments.

Vargas said in late May/early June, “after reports that groups such as NC4Marriage and Christian Action League are organizing a rally in Raleigh to support ‘traditional marriage,’ Spaulding wrote on her blog: ‘As predicted, the professional anti-gay forces plan to descend on NC.’”

“What she doesn’t write is that, so long as she’s blogging, what happens in North Carolina won’t stay in the Tar Heel State,” Vargas continued.

The blogging community has been responsible for staging Join the Impact rallies and other successful initiatives across the country to bring attention to the injustices toward the LGBT community.

“In the past, someone like Spaulding would have been relegated to the sidelines. She doesn’t work for national gay rights organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign or the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She lives with her partner, Kate, an audiologist, in Durham, far from San Francisco, New York or Washington, where gay activism has been historically based. But now she’s helping shape the agenda, one voice in a chorus of sometimes dissonant, sometimes harmonious, often in-your-face voices that is pushing established gay groups and redefining the meaning of grass-roots action in this new media age,” Vargas concluded.

Joe Solmonese, HRC’s president, reads Spaulding’s blog regularly.

To read the entire story, visit gaynewsblog.net/2009/06/gay-bloggers-voices-rise-in-chorus-of.html.

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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.