Regional: Benham Twins, Health Center Grant

Carolinas News Notes

Benham twins get ‘unhinged’

CONCORD, N.C. — Queerty reported that the Benham twins, David and Jason, and sons of conservative and anti-LGBTQ minister “Flip” Benham, released a video commemorating 9/11.

Though that is not remarkable, what transpired within it was. They discussed Hurricane Irma and blamed both disasters on LGBTQ individuals.

“One of the things we heard a lot 16 years ago was rebuild, rebuild, rebuild,” the brothers said. “But one of the words we didn’t hear was repent,” Queerty shared.

They added, “As a nation, if you would have told us back then, in 2001, that in 2017 we would be completely redefining what gender means, what marriage means, what sexuality means … I would’ve — I would’ve said, ‘there’s no way that would happen in this country!’”

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The brothers now say that Hurricane Irma’s storm surge was sent by God as a message to repent.

info: queerty.com.

Health centers meet community needs

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) to help serve the LGBTQ community’s healthcare needs.

The organization’s executive director, Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, said the need for these services was crucial.

“LGBTQ people, unfortunately, continue to be second-class citizens under the law, and also continue to experience disproportionate health disparities in a number of different areas — including mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, and then oftentimes, just access to care where people will be treated with cultural competency and respect,” she shared.

WNCCHS currently serves more than 200 patients a year and is the only transgender health program in the region.

In order to remain at the top of the game, the two organizations will be running a series of free clinics on topics ranging from legal issues to safety concerns.

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The Williams Institute reported that more than 336,000 LGBTQ people live in North Carolina and that includes 38,000 transgender individuals. Health centers are vital to maintain a healthy life, especially since this population is more likely to live in poverty and without health insurance.

“Our hopes are to help other community health centers, especially in the deep South — offer them best practices for how to make your health center a very welcoming place for the LGBTQ community, and that it doesn’t need to be a secret,” Scott Parker, WNCCHS director of development and collaboration said. “You need to be able to promote that, so people will see that and know it.”

Beach-Ferrara asserts that teaching other health centers across the state can make a big difference.

“What’s often missing, though, is the access to the kind of training and support that can allow a clinic to go from saying, ‘Hey, we’re open to this and we’re ready to do this,’ to saying, ‘We’re going to institutionalize these practices, so from the second an LGBT person walks in the door of this clinic, they know that they’re welcome,’” she stressed.

info: southernequality.org. wncchs.org. publicnewsservice.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 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.