Pride Month News
N.C. governor proclaims Pride Month
Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed that June is LGBTQ Pride Month across the Tar Heel State. The proclamation states that “the state of North Carolina stands with the LGBTQ community in the struggle to ensure equal treatment for all, and to defend and advocate for LGBTQ rights as human rights.”
Play shares community members’ stories
The documentary play “Out, NC” debuted on June 7 in time for Pride Month at Kenan Auditorium, 515 Wagoner Dr., on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and will have additional performances on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. and June 16 at 2:30 p.m. The storyline follows around five dozen individuals from Wilmington and North Carolina (UNCW) who share their coming out process. Actors in the play perform multiple roles except one, StarNewsOnline reported. Director for the theatrical performance is Mouth of Babes theater company’s Trey Morehouse, a graduate of UNCW. Staged readings of the script have been held at the Cameron Art Museum and during UNCW’s Lumina Festival of the Arts, StarNewsOnline added. “Morehouse said the main feedback MoB received after the staged readings was that the play needed more diversity of voices — in terms of age, race, etc., — and something to root the play in Wilmington and North Carolina. The company took those suggestions to heart, Morehouse said.” A video by Morehouse tells more about the project and can be seen online. Before the June 16 staging there will be a Pride Picnic outside the theater. Tickets are $15/regular and $5/student and youth and are available online.
March bans Jewish Pride flag
A march held on June 7 in Washington, D.C. banned all flags that bore a Star of David, including the Israeli flag from its D.C. Dyke March, The Forward reported. This controversial stand highlighted the group’s stance to ensure that Arab-Americans felt safe and accepted. Organizer Rae Gaines, a Jewish woman and leader of the local chapter of IfNotNow, a Jewish anti-occupation group, shared that Palestinian flags were okay, however.
New England state rolls out rainbow
The Connecticut Art Trail is commemorating national Pride Month through a colorful social media campaign. According to the organization’s president, Carey Weber of the Fairfield University Art Museum, the campaign takes the traditional rainbow symbol of pride and puts a unique museum spin on it. In five day increments, the museums of the Art Trail are highlighting works from their collection in one of the different colors of the rainbow and showcasing them on social media.
Newark gets United drag brunch
In support of Pride Month and The Trevor Project, OTG and United Airlines are hosting the first-ever DJ Drag Brunch at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport on June 20 from 10-11:45 a.m. in Terminal C. The event will be held at Novella in the Global Bazaar. Produced by nightlife impresario, Jake Resnicow, the brunch will feature live entertainment and top-tier talent, including DJ Steve-Sidewalk and brunch host, Harmonica Sunbeam. There will also be performances from divas such as Jahlissa A. Ross, Pattaya Hart, Fifi Dubois, Caracol Richards, Daesha Richards and Kennedy Davenport star of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Brunch attendees will be comprised of representatives from The Trevor Project, United EQUAL members, MileagePlus Exclusives auction winners, select media and influencers. To bid in the auction for tickets, visit exclusives.mileageplus.com/pride.
New York opens Pride welcome center
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the grand opening of the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center, located at 112 Christopher St. in New York City’s West Village. Created in partnership with NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride and The LGBT Community Center, the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center is located just blocks away from the site of the original Stonewall Inn. The rainbow Pride colors are featured prominently throughout the Welcome Center. Visitors can take a picture at the selfie wall, featuring the I LOVE NY LGBT logo. Overhead, the center’s ceiling showcases a creative deconstructed interpretation of the Pride flag and the rainbow colors are also incorporated into the center’s shelves and lighting.
MiLB establishes Pride celebration
Minor League Baseball announced the official launch of MiLB Pride, the largest documented Pride celebration in professional sports, as part of the organization’s diversity and inclusion initiative. Nearly 70 MiLB teams will host Pride Nights or events this season. MiLB Pride events will include teams holding LGBTQ-themed nights, incorporating Pride into scheduled promotions, providing discounted tickets to LGBTQ organizations and/or engaging with the LGBTQ community both in the ballpark and beyond. Additionally, some teams are giving back to their local communities by donating a portion of ticket sales to LGBTQ non-profit organizations in their area.
Recovery outreach initiative celebrates Pride
In observance of 2019 Pride Month, Recovery Unplugged Treatment Centers has ramped up its efforts to connect with members of the LGBTQ population who are currently struggling with a substance use disorder. They have shifted the conversation to specific issues that lead to and sustain drug and alcohol abuse among the LGBGTQ population. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that adults defined as a “sexual minority” were more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience past-year substance abuse. Key to addressing and reducing these rates is understanding and identifying their macro and everyday causes while also focusing on the often-limited addiction treatment resources available to this community.
Planned Parenthood celebrates Pride Month
In celebration of the resilience and strength of LGBTQ communities by joining efforts to stand up, push forward and organize for change, Planned Parenthood joined a growing list of organizations honoring Pride Month. “As we continue to fight back against those who wish to undo the progress of the last half century, we stand with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the fight for full equality — many of whom turn to Planned Parenthood for health care, information, and education,” they said. Most recently, the Trump-Pence administration released a final rule that would allow health care workers to put their beliefs ahead of people’s health by refusing to provide care or information to patients. “If it takes effect, this dangerous rule puts patients’ health at risk, especially for women and LGBTQ people,” Planned Parenthood added.
State of Pride video released
YouTube Originals has launched the feature documentary “State of Pride” which takes a look at the significance of Pride 50 years after the Stonewall Riots. The film stars Raymond Braun as he travels to three diverse communities — Salt Lake City, Utah, San Francisco, Calif. and Tuscaloosa, Ala. — hosting interviews about the meaning of Pride, from the perspective of a younger generation for whom it still has personal urgency, producers shared. The documentary also includes original music performances and an interview from Troye Sivan, the South African born singer, songwriter, actor and YouTube creator. The documentary, which made its world premiere at the opening night of SXSW, is directed by Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, known for their groundbreaking work on the LGBTQ experience.
Allies present Pride installation
The Ally Coalition has created a community-driven sound and light experience for Pride Month and the Stonewall 50th anniversary, featuring a soundscape by St. Vincent that is generated by user messages. The experience is powered by Microsoft AI technology and explores powerful feelings of hope, anger, joy and determination, the group shared. Feel the Pride will run June 15-30, located at 568 Broadway in New York. Users first share what Pride means to them — either at the installation or on Twitter using #FeelThePride. Microsoft’s Sentiment Analysis then translates these messages into a generative sound and light experience. Sounds by St. Vincent and a lighting display evolve based on the sentiment of each message, representing the global community’s feelings about Pride. Once guests have experienced the installation, they have the opportunity to take action through signing up online to volunteer, learn more or donate through GLAAD.
info: theallycoalition.org/pride. microsoft.com/inculture.
Book features LGBTQ heroes
OUTWORDS founder Mason Funk has released “The Book of Pride, LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World” in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The book features a collection of detailed interviews with a diverse cast of leaders, activists and ordinary people who not only witnessed the gay rights movement from the 1960s to the present, but who served on its front lines. The 75 vignettes are accompanied by personal photographs from each subject.
Band honors Stonewall
One Man Mambo has released a new song in honor of the Stonewall Riots. The lyric video is available online.
Augusta celebrates Pride
The 10th Annual Augusta Pride Festival will be held from June 21-22. Festivities include “Beats on Broad” and continue through the weekend with both the parade and festival taking place on Saturday. Headliners include previous “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Trinity K Bonet, YouTube and social media sensation Sean Van Der Wilt, musical artist Josh Zuckerman and YouTube duo Bria and Chrissy.
Children’s books released for Pride Month
Quarto Kids published two children’s books, “Yah! You’re Gay! (Now What?)” and “Queer Heroes,” that celebrate LGBTQ identity in advance of Pride Month. “Yah! You’re Gay! (Now What?)” (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) is a personal, go-to guide for young queer guys. There’s a support section for family and friends written by author Riyadh Khalaf’s parents along with stories from gay boys around the world. “Queer Heroes” (Wide-Eyed Editions) celebrates the achievements of LGBTQ individuals through history and from around the world. It features full-color portraits of a diverse selection of 52 inspirational role models accompanied by short biographies that focus on their successes. The book features profiles on such heroes as: Freddie Mercury, Frida Kahlo, Vikram Seth, Martina Navratilova, Sia, David Bowie, Tim Cook and more.
Alternate Pride march slated for New York
Activists who believe that New York City’s massive gay Pride parade organized by Heritage of Pride to be held on June 30 at noon has become too corporate are planning an alternative “Queer Liberation March” on the same day at 9:30 a.m., The Associated Press reported. Alternative event organizers, Reclaim Pride Coalition, have been negotiating for a rally on the Great Lawn of Central Park after the march with the city’s Parks Department. Heritage of Pride spokesperson Cathy Renna said the NYC Pride March has agreed to let the coalition use part of the route that is permitted for the annual parade, in front of the Stonewall Inn, gothamist reported.
info: bit.ly/2WuPTnX. bit.ly/2WriCKx.
Artist creates Stonewall mural
Artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer posed with her “Spirit of Stonewall” mural on June 5 outside Aqua Bar and Nightclub in Key West, Fla. The mural commemorates the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall riots that helped spark the LGBTQ rights movement. Thalhammer, who adapted the artwork from “Spirit of Stonewall” imagery she created for a commemorative Stoli vodka bottle, painted the mural for Key West’s Pride celebrations was held there earlier this month. (Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)
Musical makes world premiere in N.C.
“Gay Card” made its world premiere on June 7 at North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, 7713-51 Lead Mine Rd., in Raleigh, N.C. and continues through June 23, Triangle Arts & Entertainment reported. The piece is a story of college-age students embracing their sexuality, however, with a different spin. At its helm is the theatre’s managing director Timothy E. Locklear. It was created by Ryan Korell and Jonathan Keebler, two New York writers. The storyline follows gay high school students as they navigate the waters of coming out. Times for the show are: June 14-15, 8 p.m., June 16, 3 p.m., June 21-22, 8 p.m., and June 23, 3 p.m. Tickets are $22/regular and $20/students, teachers, seniors and active-duty military personnel and are available online at sforce.co/2WoHbYA.
info: bit.ly/2WpcJ0x. nract.org. gaycardmusical.com.
RAIN raises walk funds
The RAIN AIDS Walk was held on May 4 in Charlotte with over 1,200 participants raising $158,000 to help the organization in providing mental health counseling, medical case management, programs for youth, healthcare enrollment and access to PrEP and PEP. Nathan Smith, vice president of philanthropy, was recognized for 15 years of AIDS Walk service, and Rick Gibbons was recognized for raising over $100,000. More than 20 LGBTQ supporting non-profits and businesses participated in the pre-walk resource fair. Other fundraising and participation awards went to: Top Corporate Fundraising Team: Bank of America; Top Faith Community: Myers Park Baptist; Top Community Fundraising Team: The Woodshed; and Glam Squad Award for best team spirit: Synchrony Financial. Sponsors for the events were: Wells Fargo, WCCB, Bank of America, Avita, Rachel Sutherland Communications, Amity Medical Group, RX Clinic Pharmacy, Gilead, jScott Design, All the Right Grooves, American Airlines, EY, Silver Monkey Images, Say It With A Condom, Atrium Health, Janssen, Novant Health, Walgreens, ViiV, Tito Vodka, CVS Specialty Pharmacy, Ally, Resident Culture Brewing Company, Greater Life Chiropractic and Smoothie King.
Series gathered ‘radical’ voices
On May 25, the Freedom Center for Social Justice hosted its second Liberating Theologies Speaker Series. Featured speakers were Rev. Dr. John Boopalan, Rev. Dr. Keri L. Day and Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, as well as Emerging Theologians, Rev. Lacette Cross and Rev. Brandon Wrencher. Bishop Tonyia Rawls said, “It was an honor for us to gather with our community in a shared commitment to disrupting harmful narratives that keep people oppressed.”
Miss Spain honored
The Latino Commission on AIDS honored Miss Spain 2018, Angela Ponce, the first openly transgender Miss Universe contestant, with the 2019 Ilka Award at its annual Cielo Gala on June 7 in New York. “I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized at this year’s Cielo Gala,” said Ponce. “I’d like to add my passion and commitment to join the Commission’s mission to Design a World without AIDS and give voice and visibility to all people, no matter who they are.”
‘Kinky Boots’ hits movie theaters
“Kinky Boots,” the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning musical from Cyndi Lauper and playwright Harvey Fierstein, arrives in movie theaters nationwide June 25 and 29 only. In addition to the full production, audiences will enjoy an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the story of “Kinky Boots” and never-before-seen footage from the record-breaking Broadway run, which closed in April after more than six years and 2,500 performances. Tickets for “Kinky Boots the Musical” are available online at and participating theater box offices.
Graham bashes ‘Arthur’
The Charlotte Observer reported that evangelist Franklin Graham asked his nearly two million Twitter followers to challenge federal funding for PBS over the network’s “Arthur” cartoon character came out and got married. Graham said that the storyline was promoting “the LGBTQ agenda.”
Military servicemembers honored
This past Memorial Day, The OUT Foundation and the Modern Military Association of America teamed up to celebrate U.S. servicemembers (both those who had passed and those who were living) that have made an impact in the LGBTQ community.
info: theoutfoundation.org. modernmilitary.org.
Symposium launched in S.C.
Black Treatment Advocates Network members Jasmine Takiya and Eric Paulk launched the Saving Ourselves Symposium in Charleston, S.C. last month with members throughout the South present. Black AIDS Institute, HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Treatment Action Group also hosted the pre-conference around the Future of HIV Vaccines and Research and its impact on black communities. The symposium hosted by The Red Door Foundation, addressed the health and wellness of the black LGBTQ community in the South, focusing on HIV and other health disparities.
info: blackaids.org. trdfoundation.com.
Org promotes all-gender bathrooms
Keshet has issued printable/post-able signage in support of all-gender restrooms. The item is available online.
Stroupe recipients named
PFLAG Greensboro issued monies for their Carter Stroupe Memorial Scholarship Fund. Those receiving $1,000 scholarships are: Matthew Brewbaker and Lindsey Pegram, Greensboro, graduates from Northwest Guilford High School who each plan to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Trinity Dixon, Elon University, a current college freshman attending Elon University.
Tongson wins Lambda Literary Córdova Prize
Lambda Literary announced that Karen Tongson has been named the winner of the 2019 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction. Tongson was recognized at the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 3 in New York.
Fundraiser deemed a success
Joan Gale, president of Concord/Kannapolis PFLAG, reported that the organization’s spring fundraiser netted over $5,000 which will be used to assist with their scholarship fund. During the event, the first recipient of the scholarship was introduced. Daphne Reynolds from Cannon School in Concord, N.C. accepted a $1,000 accommodation that will be used when Reynolds attends Ringling College of Art and Design in pursuit of a degree in animation.
State blocks gay wedding, then ‘caves’
Indy Week had reported that Goldboro, N.C. Neuse Correctional Institution inmate Sandy Dowell was denied a request to marry her fiancée Amanda Marriner who was a former prisoner at the same facility. The chaplain of the prison “did not want to approve the marriage request because it was ‘same sex’ and had never been done in North Carolina prisons before.” The attorney for Dowell, Elizabeth Simpson from Durham-based Carolina Justice Policy Center, sent a letter to the superintendent of the prison and the N.C. Department of Justice with a threat to sue if the request was not honored by June 13. Now it seems that the couple were able to be married on May 21 after pressure from the media and threat of litigation.
info: bit.ly/2WqOT4f. bit.ly/2Wso2F5.
Shoes hinder graduation walk
Amanda Dixon’s daughter, who goes by the name Luke, was denied the opportunity to walk at her Ashe County, N.C. graduation due to her choice of black high top Converse sneakers, Spectrum News reported. Dixon started a petition expressing her concerns over the situation. Luke Dixon has struggled with learning disabilities throughout her education experience and told her mother that she did not want there to be a scene made and requested to use an extra ticket to watch her class walk. Dixon admitted the school tried to find her other shoes to wear, but said all of the shoes found were too small or too big. She says they even asked her to wear her father’s work boots that he was wearing, but they didn’t fit, Spectrum News added.
HHS aims to limit healthcare protections
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a proposed rule that aims to revise Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The regulation, if finalized, would remove all references to gender identity, sex stereotyping and termination of pregnancy in the regulation and would broadly increase the authority of health care providers to refuse service based on religious objection. Williams Institute Executive Director Jocelyn Samuels, the former director of OCR, said, “The Trump administration is proposing a harmful rollback of protections from discrimination in health care and insurance coverage that is inconsistent with the weight of the law and will limit health care access for vulnerable Americans. If the administration is successful, LGBT people would be at particular risk. But the civil rights of all Americans would be eroded. Our government should be working to expand access to health care and improve people’s wellbeing.”
Historic sites could become landmarks
New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has identified six sites that are significant to the LGBTQ community for landmark status. Up for consideration are: Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse at 99 Wooster St.; the Women’s Liberation Center at 243 W. 20th St.; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center at 208 W. 13th St.; the Caffe Cino at 31 Cornelia St.; the James Baldwin Residence at 137 W. 71st St.; and the Audra Lorde Residence at 207 St. Paul’s Ave. on Staten Island.
Non-profit raises funds
Greenville, S.C.-based non-profit Pride Link has been busy raising funds for the LGBTQ community this spring. It participated in Give OUT Day, for example, as a way to bring awareness and exposure to the organization and also for the LGBTQ community. “Pride Link was founded in July of 2018 as a direct response to a needs assessment I conducted with the LGBTQ+ community in the 10 counties of the Upstate. I grew up and have lived my entire life in the Upstate and as a queer kid in this area it was not always easy. I’ve been involved in the leadership of a couple non-profits in the area and continued to hear stories of folks needing support and access to resources. These stories were validated in the results of the needs assessment, so I decided to use my skills, passion and network to bring folks together to start Pride Link,” said Founder Ethan Johnstone. “Our first program is a Mobile Community Center which brings medical and mental health screenings, HIV testing, access to community resources and social support to where people are across the Upstate. Not only does this offer services and support to the LGBTQ+ community, it also reduces the barriers that often exist when folks try to access services and support. This is all volunteer-led currently, with our board of directors and advisory committee.” The Greenville News reported that the study showed that a third of LGBTQ people in the Upstate have had “to teach their doctors about care related to their identity.”
info: bit.ly/2WtIEgi. pridelink.org.