The year 2017 is almost one for the history books and it has been full of ups and downs, and qnotes was there, reporting all along the way. Thanks to you, the readers, for coming along for the ride, reading the stories and supporting your local LGBTQ newspaper as always.
Here are the top 10 most popular stories of the year based on web traffic. See you in 2018!
Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield shared on Twitter that “as an OUT Queer Person of Color” she would never patronize a new barbecue restaurant called Noble Smoke set to open in the district she represents.
The owner, Jim Noble, signed on to a letter opposing the expanded non-discrimination ordinance granting LGBTQ rights. He also owns King’s Kitchen and Rooster’s in Charlotte and A Noble Grille in Winston-Salem.
2. “Charlotte mayoral candidate wants voters to know she’s white and opposes LGBTQ rights” —
Published Sept. 1
A candidate in the Republican primary of the Charlotte mayoral race, Kimberley Paige Barnette, got herself into trouble for the suspect way she advertised herself on her Facebook page. “Vote for me!” her description read, “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.” She also posted a status making it clear that she does not support LGBTQ rights.
Barnette defended herself in an email to qnotes where she said she was not prejudiced and that she doesn’t judge people, adding that she has “traditional conservative views.”
3. “Derricka Banner killed in Charlotte, becomes 20th transgender person murdered in 2017” —
Published Sept. 14
Derricka Banner, 26, was shot and killed inside a vehicle on the morning of Sept. 12, becoming the latest victim of violence in a year that has been the deadliest on record for transgender people in the U.S. An 18-year-old man was arrested and charged for her death.
4. “Nazis, fearing for their safety, cancel hate rally in Charlotte” —
Published Sept. 28
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists planned to descend on Charlotte in a rally similar to the one that ended in violence and death in Charlottesville. Turns out, the tough -alking racists were too afraid to make an appearance once it became clear that they might not be safe, even with police protection.
Jim Noble responded to Councilmember Mayfield’s personal boycott of his establishments, which she clarified she had not asked anyone else to join, and made matters worse.
He said he was against transgender people using bathrooms matching their gender identity because he fears for the safety of children, a common fearmongering talking point among conservatives, and added that he views homosexuality as a sin. “I have to go by what the Bible says to determine what is or what isn’t sin,” he added.
6. “The ghost of Freddie Mercury slams North Carolina in Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’” —
Published Oct. 1
In an episode of the Netflix’s series “Big Mouth,” one of the main characters begins to questions his sexual orientation. The ghost of Freddie Mercury shows up to lift his spirits, alongside “famous deceased homosexuals” Socrates and homophobic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whom the show portrays as having been closeted in life. They launch into a musical number all about the joys of being gay.
“When you’re gay, every day is a nonstop cabaret,” ghost Freddie sings. “You’ve got style and flair, you’re loved everywhere, except for North Carolina.” Ouch.
7. “Guess what ‘Orange Is The New Black’ star is in Charlotte and loving it’” —
Published Oct. 1
“Orange Is The New Black” star Lea DeLaria was in the Queen City this year and she was loving every minute of it, judging by her social media posts. DeLaria, who was in town for a Disney press junket for “Cars 3,” appeared to have spent most of her time in NoDa and Plaza-Midwood. Those neighborhoods just happen to be in the most LGBTQ-populated zip code in all of the Carolinas, and the self-described “professional lesbian” shared photos of herself at The Thirsty Beaver, Rat’s Nest and Midwood Smokehouse. Come back anytime, Lea!
Another case of a Charlotte mayoral candidate behaving badly makes the top 10 this year, and this time the primary loser is on the other side of the aisle. Constance Partee Johnson took to Facebook to claim “Hindus and Confederates throw people out of their homes because of race, income, and skin color, Christians don’t,” and claimed then-Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the media fixed the race against her.
Johnson also reacted poorly after losing a bid to join the Salisbury City Council in 2015. She claimed a “little Jewish candidate tried to lower my power by offering me some cash to pretend to be my sugar daddy.”
The Charlotte City Council voted to stop televising the public comment portion of its meetings after a contentious forum following the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. Newly elected at-large Councilmember Braxton Winston is in favor of bringing the cameras back, and made a point by livestreaming the public forum from the dais at the Dec. 11 City Council Meeting. Council is set to revisit the issue on Jan. 8.
10 “Can a building once meant to launch East Charlotte into the future be revitalized?” —
Published May 5
A building that sits along Independence Blvd. is now little more than an eyesore, left unoccupied for years. It collects graffiti and trash on the outside, but inside is a secret waiting to be revitalized for a new generation. The Varnardore Building was hailed for its technological achievements when it was erected in 1962. The building’s developer, Charles Ervin, took inspiration from Walt Disney, whom he knew personally, in designing it. A new plan is underway to reopen it, with a host of new businesses waiting to open their doors, including retail stores, restaurants, a workspace, a business incubator, a boutique hotel and more.