Janice Covington Allison (left) is sworn in as the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County as chair of the hospitality committee. She is the first transgender person to join the board.

Dem trans activist joins board

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Janice Covington Allison has become the first transgender person to join the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County’s executive board as its hospitality committee chair. She was sworn in on Jan. 13 at The Asian Library, 1339 Baxter St., by the Democratic Women of North Carolina President Concetta Caliendo.

Covington shared, “Just a couple of years ago, I became a member of the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County and in the beginning it was kind of a rocky road for me because most of the members had never known a transgender person, let alone met one face to face.” She added, “I understood this and I knew it was up to me to prove myself as an asset to the organization and to educate my fellow members that I was not a monster.”

Allison said that as a transgender woman, she just wanted to fit in. And, she wanted the women in the organization to be her friends. Most of all, she wanted a place where she could be safe.

When approached about being on the board a few months ago, she felt reluctant because she was unsure of the nature of the duties for the position. “It was a big step,” she shared, adding that after she thought about all the friends she had made and whom has come to accept her, she relented and said yes. Elections were held in November, where she was voted on by the membership.

“After the vote I reflected back to when I first became a member, about how awkward it was for me and them when I first walked into the room. I was pretty much alone; I sat alone because I knew no one. I thought about the friends I had made in my journey as the months and years past. I feel that education and I just being me was the key to acceptance,” she concluded.

Others installed were: Olma Echeverri, president; Sara Ellis, first vice president; Mary Belk, second vice president; Effie Bazmore, third vice president; Susan Zach, secretary; Belle W. Leonard, treasurer; and committee chairs Lisa Ellsworth (constitution and bylaws), Elaine Bermudez (public relations), Veena Hari (internal communications), Ann Wood (issues and resolutions), Judy Wittman (ways and means), Suzanne Elsberry Schweikert (historical), along with Jane Whitley, immediate past president (ex-officio).

info: facebook.com/democraticwomenmc/.

Methodists to hold first gathering

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Regional Group of Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) will meet at First United Methodist Church, 501 N. Tryon St., on Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., for its kickoff event. A light lunch will be provided.

Participants will be able to learn about RMN and what it is doing to champion full inclusion within the church. RMN “mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love,” organizers said.

Those interested in attending should email rmn_charlotte_region@outlook.com with a head count.

The General Conference will convene in May in Portland, Ore. The conclave meets every four years to handle church legislation and more. RMN represents over 700 reconciling communities and more than 34,000 individuals in its work. RMN has submitted four petitions and two resolutions for consideration at the General Conference, including protection for LGBT lay employees and advocacy for LGBT youth. Up for consideration with RMN constituents is the removal of prohibitions on all LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage. Petitions seek to amend the “Book of Discipline” which deals with the church’s personnel policies. It is currently seeking signees for its open letter to the conference that contains a simple request to all delegates to meet with and hear stories from LGBT United Methodists before voting on matters that will affect the lives of LGBT individuals at the conference and beyond. See bit.ly/1ORfWeY to learn more. To learn more about the work of RMN, email Southeast Jurisdiction Organizer Helen Ryde at helen@rmnetwork.org.

A group in Winston-Salem, N.C., held their meeting on Jan. 14.

info: rmnetwork.org. facebook.com/ReconcilingWNC.

Gala hits Queen City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Human Rights Campaign North Carolina Gala will be held on Feb. 20 at the Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

It is currently accepting contributions for its silent auction. Deadline is Feb. 6. Information and signup is available online. Queries should be emailed to silentauction@hrccarolina.org.

Additionally, table captain opportunities and tickets are still available. See the website to learn more.

Volunteers are still needed. Email volunteer@hrccarolina.org to hear about what is needed.

qnotes will have an extended news story in the next issue.

info: hrccarolina.org.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988,...