South Carolina: Gay Bingo, Youth Fundraiser, Pulse Remembrance, Support Groups, Activist Org

Carolinas News Notes

Bingo returns

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Lowcountry AIDS Services has announced that its fundraising event, Gay Bingo, will return on Aug. 10, 6 p.m., at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St. in Charleston, S.C. Presenting sponsor is Avita Pharmacy.

This year’s theme is “The Show Must Go On: Best of Broadway.” It celebrates an important aspect of LGBTQ life for many — musical theater. Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be given for best-dressed table, best-dressed individual and best-dressed couple/duo along with a prize for most surprising take on the theme.

Gay Bingo will feature a special musical theater performance along with five games of bingo with prize packages. Returning as the hostess is Patti O’Furniture, the “Camp Queen of the Carolinas.”

Tickets are $25/general admission and $50/VIP. A VIP reserved table for 10 is $500.

For more details on sponsorships and event details, call Jason Kirk, director of development and marketing, at 843-747-2273, ext. 216 or email jkirk@aidsservices.com.

In other news, Lowcountry’s Red Ribbon 5K Run & AIDS Walk will be held on Sept. 16 at Wannamaker County Park. Roper St. Francis Ryan White Wellness Center will serve as co-hosting partners.

Featured are a timed 5K race on a certified course along the trails of the county park, as well as a free AIDS Walk. The race begins at 10 a.m. followed by a family friendly health and wellness fair, games and music by DJ Trevor D and acoustic duo Oh Valentino.

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Registration is now open for the event and is $30 per person and includes a race T-shirt and $35 for those who register the morning of the event.

Team discounts and team fundraising opportunities are available. Register for the one-mile AIDS Walk for free and fundraise $30 or more to receive an event T-shirt. Top finishers and winners in designated age groups will receive a medal.

info: charlestongaybingo.org. redribbonlowcountry.org.

Youth org hosts fundraiser

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A fundraiser, “Free & Whole Together,” to benefit The Carolina Youth Action Project will be held on May 20, 6 p.m., at Redux Contemporary Art Center, 1056 King St. The event is the official launch of the organization.

Participants will be able to enjoy karaoke, painting, do-it-yourself stations, food and beverages. Live music will be provided by Southern Femisphere, Contour, Infinitikiss, Ben Starr and Melon In.

Cost is $20. Youth ages 17 and under get in free.

RSVPs are being accepted at facebook.com/events/211502229345615.

info: girlsrockcharleston.org.

Coastal group remembers Pulse

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Grand Strand Pride will hold “United with Orlando: A Day of Love and Kindness” on June 12, 6 p.m., at Pulse Ultra Club, 2701 S. Kings Hwy.

City and county officials in Orlando, Fla. have expressed their desire for the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting to be marked with acts of love and kindness. Organizers of the coastal observance ask the LGBTQ community and its allies to remember the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016 and are partnering with Honor Them With Action.

info: grandstrandpride.comhonorthemwithaction.org.

Support groups ramp up

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — On May 11, a new peer-led mental health support group for the Upstate’s LGBTQ population began with Upstate Pride SC serving as sponsor. Meetings will be held at Wofford College in a conference room on the library’s lower level.

Participation is free and confidential.

“It can be really hard to talk about mental health, especially when others don’t fully understand your struggle,” Isaac Mintz, president of Upstate Pride SC, said. “Our peer-led group is going to be a safe space for people in the Pride community to share, learn and hopefully heal.” He will serve as facilitator.

Other peer-led groups for the LGBTQ community already exist, but this newly established one offers direct access to regional healthcare providers.

“We can offer more than just a listening ear and peer support,” Mintz said. “We have a growing list of [LGBTQ] welcoming and affirming doctors, therapists and spiritual leaders who serve the Upstate.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), LGBTQ individuals “are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition.” Common issues include social anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, substance abuse and depression.

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“But mental health issues affect more than just the mind,” said Caroline Caldwell, an Upstate Pride SC board member. “A person’s physical and social well-being suffers as well. Mental health carries a stigma that makes seeking help especially challenging.” Caldwell serves as the non-profit’s support group committee chair, bringing more than 15 years of clinical expertise to the organization.

Attendees are asked to park in one of the library lots, accessible either by Evins St. or by Cummins St., and enter the building’s front door. After descending the main staircase, participants may enter the room by either the left or the right door, located straight ahead. An elevator is located in the left wing of the library for mobility-impaired attendees.

In other news, Upstate Pride SC has partnered with SMART Recovery and Gender Benders to offer a free addiction recovery support group on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Gender Benders office at 201 Ivy Acres Dr., Piedmont, S.C.

Participation is free, however, donations are welcome. Meeting handbooks cost $10 per person, but any attendee who is unable to pay will be provided a book at no charge. All proceeds will benefit SMART Recovery, covering the cost of handbooks and promotional materials.

In addition to the support groups, Upstate Pride SC has plans underway for a rally in June and the annual March & Festival in the fall. The non-profit is also sponsoring an LGBTQ kickball team at Greenville County Rec, building a speaker’s bureau and providing financial support to other area advocacy groups.

info: upstatepridesc.org. genderbenders.org.

Org created for activism

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Rock Hill Rising began after the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. and Charlotte, N.C. It was inspired by the experience of four women and has evolved into a resistance organization which stands for women and progressive ideas and believes that it is time for a space for like-minded individuals in York County.

Community building is at the apex of what the organization strives for. It hopes to raise the awareness and consciousness of South Carolina citizens for positive change.

The group is non-partisan and is committed to taking a stand for those American values it holds dear — the values of integrity, diversity and equal rights for all. It seeks to be a pro-active, positive, inclusive force for social justice, community building, collaboration and advocacy. It stands with and for those who are marginalized in the current political climate including women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrant neighbors and the environment, its mission statement said.

Meeting numbers have been high. Small group areas include Action, Digital & Social Media, Diversity, Giving, Legislation & Policy, Outreach and Writing & Communication.

For more information or to join the group, visit Rock Hill Rising’s website.

info: rockhillrising.com.

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.

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Posted by 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, x205.