TOY releases needs assessment

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center, 2320 N. Davidson St., has released its LGBTQ Homeless Youth of the Carolinas Needs Assessment.

The study was conducted in mid-2015 among homeless youth and homeless service providers, as well as holding focus groups with stakeholders.

Until now, evidence of homeless youth has been limited to anecdotal evidence of what is generally known to be a growing problem, the center shared. There have only been a few other formal surveys conducted.  The center has some posted on their website.

“As we celebrate a quarter century of supporting LGBTQ youth, we feel the call to move forward with a plan to meaningfully address one of the most basic of our LGBTQ youth’s needs — a safe and stable place to live,” stated Executive Director Rodney Tucker. “With so many LGBTQ youth facing homelessness in the Carolinas, the center is virtually the only safe resource for housing and support. The publication of this report serves as a call to members of our community, policy makers, service providers, funding agencies and many others to act on recommendations from this project.”

Tucker added, “LGBTQ youth homelessness is a rising concern, with increased needs seen year after year. To ignore or delay now will only make addressing these unique needs more difficult in the future. Charlotte area service providers, non-profit organizations, advocates and government officials must do better and will do better working together to be more welcoming and supportive of all LGBTQ youth. All youth deserve a happy, safe, welcoming and nurturing environment in which to grow into a healthy adulthood. Right now, LGBTQ youth turn to survival sex, are living on the streets and are taking drugs to cope with their current life experiences. No child should be forced to turn to these dangerous coping methods in order to find basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Quite simply, these scenarios are unacceptable, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Charlotte.”

The report makes recommendations including: establishment of a LGBT homeless youth shelter; access to basic necessities; housing case management services; training and professional development; mental health services; and employment assistance, among others.

Follow-up reports will be released in the coming year on the homelessness among youth and progress that is made.

Publication of the report was funded in part by the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund. Additional support for the study came from: Alexander Youth Network, Caldwell Presbyterian Church, Florence Crittenton Services, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, RAIN, Safe Harbor Community Health Center, the University of North Carolina Charlotte Urban Institute and Urban Ministry Center.

In other news, the center in partnership with The Multicultural Resource Center at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will hold its 2016 Carolina Conference on Queer Youth on Oct. 14, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at 9201 University City Blvd. It is open to students, K-12 staff, helping professionals and community members from across the Carolinas. In its fourth year, the event provides a unique opportunity for area representatives to network, dialogue and organize around issues important to the healthy development of LGBT, queer and questioning youth in K-12 education. Eight hours of CEUs are available for school staff and health professionals.

Registration is available at Cost is free for youth and $25 for adults.

TOY is now offering a Youth of Color discussion group on Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., for those 13-20 to address the needs of that demographic. Participation is on a drop-in basis with no registration or fee assessment.


Bank receives arts award

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Sept. 15 Wells Fargo Bank was awarded Blumenthal Performing Arts’ first Business Leaders for the Arts Award during the inaugural celebratory dinner held at Booth Playhouse.

Jay Everette, senior vice president and community affairs manager at Wells Fargo, accepted the award which recognized Wells Fargo for its leadership, investment, and commitment to the arts.

“Blumenthal is grateful for organizations that understand how integral the arts and artists are for a community,” Blumenthal president and CEO Tom Gabbard shared. “Wells Fargo has served as a catalyst to bring inpacting and diverse programs, collaborations, historic exhibitions, and access to the arts to the people who call the Carolinas home.”

Wells Fargo’s investments in Blumenthal Performing Arts have yielded inpacting programs that bring new and exciting opportunities to the community, Blumenthal said.


Step out and dance

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — OUTStep will provide private salsa, swing and shag dance lessons for the LGBT community on Sept. 29, 7:30-8:30 p.m., at L4 Lounge, 2906 Central Ave.

Instructor for the evening will be Stephan.Straight allied friends are also welcome. One does not have to have a dance partner to participate. Attendees will be paired with someone of the gender of their choice.

Kick back, enjoy the time on the dance floor and stay afterward to get a little practice in.

Registration is requested.


Fest, center to award documentary

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — During the 8th Annual Charlotte Film Festival, which began on Sept. 22 and continues through Oct. 2, the new Social Justice Award will be presented by the Charlotte Film Festival (CFF) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to the creators of “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America,” a feature-length documentary profiling an undocumented queer young person from North Carolina.

“Forbidden,” directed by Tiffany Reynard and co-produced by Reynard and Heather Mathews, follows Moises Serrano, whose parents risked everything to flee Mexico and come to the U.S. when Moises was just a baby. After 23 years growing up in rural Yadkin County, N.C., where he is forbidden to live and love, Moises sees only one option — to fight for justice. “Forbidden” chronicles Moises’ work as an activist traveling across his home state as a voice for his community, all while trying to forge a path for his own future.

The film will be screened on Oct. 1, 6 p.m., at Ayrsley Grand Cinemas, 9110 Kings Parade Blvd.

The Social Justice Award is the first time CFF and SPLC have partnered. The award highlights a film that fights to seek justice, to enlighten and inform an audience about current issues concerning people that are marginalized, devalued or vulnerable in our society.

Organizers of the festival believe the award highlights the innate power film has to highlight social causes and introduce viewers to new perspectives.

In addition to the new Social Justice Award, the CFF presents awards for the Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and an Audience Award.

Tickets for the film are $10/general admission and $9/students with valid/current ID. Individual tickets, as well as an all-access pass for all screenings and special festival events, are currently available online.


HB2 discussion slated

CONCORD, N.C.— Trinity United Church of Christ will hold “Shifting The Paradigm: The Role of Faith Communities in Improving the Lives of LGBTQ Individuals and Families,” a community discussion on HB2 on Oct. 4, 7 p.m., at 38 Church St. N.

HB2 is a stark reminder that social hostility still exists in North Carolina, the church shared. “This emotional, psychological and spiritual trauma takes a toll on LGBTQ individuals. Affirming faith communities recognize and understand the oppression and are taking a strong and very visible stand against HB2. Our voices demonstrate how society is moving in a different direction — towards more and more faith communities serving our LGBTQ neighbors with love, acceptance, and celebration,” they added.


Organizers announced new fest

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The new LGBTQ Fall Festival will be held on Oct. 15, 12-8 p.m., at the Open Air Market, 5471 Central Ave.

The event, sponsored by Creativity Forms, provides a one-day gathering where members of the community can gather to enjoy music, entertainment and more in a safe environment.

Live performances will feature independent artists, poets, Gospel singers, rock bands and jazz bands among others.

Inspirational messages will be shared by Pastor Shannon Gresham from Spirit of Unity Worship Center of Gastonia and Sanctuary Outreach Ministries.

The family-friendly event also has games and activities for children and adults.

WGIV radio will give opportunities to small businesses and record live interviews for the “LGBT Buzz Show.”

Exhibitors will be on hand and will share information on various topics including safe sex, suicide prevention, home decor and health and beauty, to name a few.

No festival is ever complete without food. Hundreds of vendors are expected, along with food truck purveyors who will serve Latin, American, Polynesian and Caribbean food, as well as seafood and more.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public.


Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes:

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