Students explore LGBTQ youth issues
BURLINGTON, N.C. — Recently, a group of nearly a dozen teenagers from across Alamance County spent time together at The Blend & Co. to explore issues faced by LGBTQ youth at school and in the development and maintenance of school-based groups, the Times-News reported.
Of importance were: lack of resources and mild support from fellow students and administrators; opposition; meeting date flyers being ripped from walls; meeting location difficulty; challenges in maintaining membership; and living as an LGBTQ teenager in a conservative county.
Even though the school system’s policy has been “ahead of the curve,” there are still issues. The system adopted an anti-bullying policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, while charter and private schools set their own and some have embraced policies that safeguard LGBTQ students, the Times-News report added.
Chartered Clover Garden School has a Gay/Straight Alliance. A’Zane Troxler, a student at the school, was one of those who helped form the group and shared that even with the institution of a policy, “it was a really brave thing for club members to meet…but since I have done it, I have gotten a lot of respect from my classmates.”
At Williams High School, a group has been formed that meets outside school property. Sayer Kirk serves as the leader of “Queer Fish” which provides a social and supportive outlet for LGBTQ youth, including a place to hang out, read and listen to educational speakers. Neighbors of Kirk, David Carter and Ken Smith who are leaders with Alamance Pride, lent a hand to help in the formation of The Queer Fish Center. The youth who met at Blend began to form a board and set up a list of goals and ideas. Its mission is “to provide safety, support, learning and leadership.” Visibility in the shadows of HB2 has been challenging and Kirk added that more progress is yet to be made. Their next meeting is on April 11, 6 p.m., at Life’s Journey United Church of Christ, 2121 Edgewood Ave.
They have created a Go Fund Me page in order to raise money to file for non-profit status. So far, as of press time, they have raised $250 of the $750 needed to make an application. It has even slated a benefit concert fundraiser on March 26, 7 p.m., at The Pinhook, 117 W. Main St., in Durham, N.C. Tickets are $12.50.
Scholarship apps due
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Greensboro is accepting applications for its Carter Stroupe Memorial Scholarship.
Monies are used to support students’ higher education needs.
Deadline for submission is March 31 postmarked. Information is available online.
‘Radical’ seder slated
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The 7th Annual Radical Seder will be held on April 15, 6 p.m., at Elsewhere, 606 S. Elm St.
The event, which connects Jewish liberation with historic and contemporary liberation texts, will include traditional foods and an “untraditional telling” of the Passover story across the three floors of the museum.
Advance purchase is required online at squ.re/2nqw0RA. Cost is $15 and seating is limited. For those who have questions or dietary/access needs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elsewhere has a diverse offering for those who wish to honor the history and contribute to the present. One such program is QueerLab, a youth-led media project and forum for LGBTQ-identifying youth across the state and beyond. QueerLab produces a magazine, I Don’t Do Boxes, on an annual basis. It includes stories and artwork from the region exploring “queer southern experience.” It is available online and in print.
Center opens scholarship season
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — North Star LGBTQ Community Center, 930 Burke St., has announced that it is now accepting applications for The Kevin Jennings Equality Winston-Salem Scholarship.
Established in 2013, the program provides scholarships for students who have shown leadership and vision in a Gay/Straight Alliance at their school or in the general LGBTQ community if none exists in their school, the center said. It was named after Jennings in 2015 to honor his generosity and “acknowledge the struggles he overcame as a gay teenager in the 1970s in the city and county.”
In 2017, the center will award up to $3,000 to deserving applicants. Monies are used to assist with undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board and/or other college expenses. The scholarship is not based upon financial need.
Since its inception, the Jennings scholarship has operated with the proviso that if no qualified students were identified by the application deadline, that the funds would carry over to the following year. To date, a total of $11,500 has been awarded to 19 high school seniors.
Applicants are required to be a resident of Forsyth County, have a grade point average of 2.0, be graduating in spring 2017 from a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County high school or receiving an equivalent GED and attending a college, university or technical college in the fall of 2017, demonstrate active involvement and/or leadership in an alliance, equality club or in the general LGBTQ community.
A scholarship briefing will be held on March 25, 2 p.m., at the center for interested parties.
For more information, email Rayce Lamb at email@example.com.
In other news, the center in partnership with Interfaith Voice and Wake Forest University School of Divinity will welcome Peterson Toscano on April 3, 7 p.m., Lower Auditorium of Wingate Hall, Wake Forest University, 1834 Wake Forest Rd., for “Everything is Connected.” The self-described “quirky queer quaker” explores the intersectionality of gender, religion and climate change. The event is free.
Additionally, North Star will host a book reading and signing event on March 26, 3 p.m., with Chapel Hill’s Mark Spano, author of the new mystery novel “Midland Club.” Admission is free and open to the public.
For more details about either event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.