Church seeks food contributions
Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte is asking its members and the community to help them with their fall food drive. Donate $12 for a holiday basket to help feed a family, contribute food items to the pantry, give a donation to help purchase food items, and assist the church with distributing food items. Email the church for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sacred Journey collects assistance items
In similar news, Metropolitan Community Church Sacred Journey in Hendersonville, N.C. is collecting food and other items to help shore up the work of Interfaith Assistance Ministry. The church is asking congregants and others to bring the following donations to the Nov. 24 church service: canned hams, frozen turkey breasts, canned yams, regular ground coffee, regular tea bags, toilet tissue, pull tab can and low sodium food items and feminine hygiene pads. For more information, email email@example.com.
Lawsuit slaps at ‘Drag Race’ alums
Queerty has reported that several drag queens have been hit with a $5 million defamation lawsuit. Those involved include: Pearl (Matthew James Lent), Shea Coulee (Jaren Merrell), The Vixen (Anthony Taylor) and Kim Chi (Sang-Young Shin), as well as Jakeyoncé (Jacob Sandt), Dan Polyak (Shea Coulee’s boyfriend) and drag performer Bible Girl (Zachary Gottlief). The suit “alleges that the defendants made false claims about the plaintiff, a management company called Neverland Events and Artist Management, a company that specializes in repping LGBTQ entertainers, and which is queer-owned.”
Soulforce releases strategy report
Soulforce has recently introduced its “Spirits Unyielding” strategy report that lays out the framework of how the organization is “sabotaging Christian Supremacy and growing indomitable spirits in our marginalized communities.” The document details Soulforce’s role in social justice movements, its theory of change, and the principles, ethics, and commitments the community can hold them accountable to as an organization.
Trans voter forced to show ID
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections officials who were working in the Cornelius Town Hall precinct in Cornelius, N.C. asked a transgender woman to show an ID prior to being allowed to vote in the recent general election held in early November, NewNowNext reported. The reason she was instructed to show an ID was that the chief judge said that the face did not match the person’s name. The woman asked not to be identified in the media to maintain her privacy. Elections Director Michael Dickerson commented that the voter should have never been asked to show an ID and shared that he plans to implement sensitivity training.
Bakker casting completed
Carolinas Heritage USA founders Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker are the subjects of a new upcoming film titled “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” Queerty reported. Casting for the leads goes to Jessica Chastain (Tammy), Andrew Garfield (Jim), Vincent D’Onofrio (Jerry Falwell) and Gabriel Olds (Pat Robertson). Tammy has been a queer icon and has close ties to local LGBTQ individuals in the Charlotte area. After her divorce from Jim, she remarried and became an activist working for acceptance of LGBTQ people within Christianity and American society, Queerty added.
Methodist group bishops pledge protection
The bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church have pledged to protect LGBTQ and allied clergy, Reconciling Ministries Network reported. The Safe Harbor Declaration is an initiative that helps the church to move “forward with grace, not persecution.” The network is encouraging its churches to sign on in solidarity.
City voting now open
GayCities has opened up voting for the best gay cities of 2019. Participants can vote once daily until Dec. 6 when the cycle closes. Some of the categories include: Chill Getaway, Timeless ‘Hood, Hidden Gem and Dive Bar to Die For, among others.
Org nets criticism over closed meeting
Atlanta Pride recently held a closed membership meeting, ProjectQ reported. The proceedings were guarded by an Atlanta police offer to ensure personal safety. Other business conducted at the meeting included a decision to hire a PR firm to help deal with the fallout of a leaked internal report and other pressing issues. Atlanta Pride’s attorney recommended in the report that the “organization undergo an audit, overhaul a ‘clearly dysfunctional’ board of directors” and replace its executive director, Jamie Ferguson. Former Board Chair Sean Cox had already resigned earlier in October. He had warned about the non-profit’s financial, staff and contract issues, as well as sponsor complaints. Prior to the festival in October, two committee members — Brittany Wesson and Brian Stokes — resigned over their frustration and problems they saw with Atlanta Pride and its leader.
New UK alliance formed
A new organization was formed in London in October that will have as its work to “counteract the confusion between sex and gender.” The LGB Alliance agreed on a 20-point position statement that included such items as definitions, stances on gender identity and others, Redline reported.
Trevor releases new handbook
The Trevor Project released its “Coming Out: A Handbook for LGBTQ Young People” during LGBT History Month.
MCC shares pastoral message
Metropolitan Community Churches’ moderator, Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston shared a message with members that informed them about the upcoming changes that will be occurring under the organizational restructure. “This time of change brings loss. It also brings possibility and opportunity. We are called to transform the world through God’s radically inclusive love. We are called to give hope to the hopeless and voice to the voiceless. I truly believe and have heard confirmed from places all over the world, that MCC’s ministry is needed now more than ever. We are at the beginning of the next phase of our journey as MCC,” Eggleston stated. The new initiative began Nov. 1. The change shifts focus and funds to churches, partnerships and programs. The following staff have left their positions: Linda Brenner (associate director of communications and Senior/Strategic Leadership Team member); Jack Hunter (executive assistant to Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown and Eggleston); Jared Vázquez (associate director for Inclusion and Diversity); Kathy Cassoday (volunteer in the moderator’s office); and Rev. Elder Mona West (OFLD director). In other news, the fellowship has initiated its statement against gun violence, encouraging the same commitment around the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing apart communities in portions of our Fellowship” as it had during years of fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Freedom Center continues decade celebration
The Freedom Center of Social Justice is continuing its 10-year anniversary by engaging in Giving Tuesday with its FCSJ’s 10 Days of Giving from Nov. 24-Dec. 3 during which time it will share stories from community members on how involvement in the organization has impacted their lives. In other news, the center is hiring a sexual orientation and gender identity program coordinator. Visit bit.ly/2rp3nYD to apply.
Virginia shifts back to blue
In the recent elections held in early November, the Virginia House and Senate were taken back into control by Democrats for the first time in more than two decades, the Progress Change Campaign Committee PAC reported. Now it is asking voters to pledge funds to help keep up the momentum in the 2020 election.
Lambda decries gay execution
On Nov. 4, Charles Rhines, a South Dakota gay man, was put to death by lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final motion that would have allowed Rhines to bring new evidence to the court showing that antigay bias may have motivated the jury to sentence him to death. Recently, it was discovered that jurors suggested that sentencing Rhines to life in prison with other men would be “sending him where he wants to go.” Now, Lambda Legal had decried the execution. Ethan Rice, Lambda Legal Fair Courts Project senior attorney, made the following statement: “No person in our society should be put to death. Cases where bias is a factor in jury decision-making show exactly why the death penalty is unjust and should not be maintained in our society. Mr. Rhines’s case represents one of the most extreme forms anti-LGBT bias can take. … We are deeply troubled that the court chose not to review his case today when it is clear that the constitutional right to a fair trial must include whether jury deliberations involved bias. If our legal system allows antigay bias in jury deliberations, the integrity of our entire court system is undermined.” In other news, next month Lambda Legal will welcome its new CEO, Kevin Jennings to its team. The former Obama appointee and founder of GLSEN takes the reigns on Dec. 2.
Wainwright morphs into a woman
Pop artist Rufus Wainwright unveiled his most recent music video for “Trouble in Paradise” in which his appearance is changed through the application of makeup, wig and clothing into a woman. The inspiration for this came from Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue. The metamorphosis is a commentary on reality perception.
Asylum seekers net app
Tech non-profit AsylumConnect has launched the first-of-its-kind mobile app for the 10s of thousands of LGBTQ asylum seekers fleeing their homes for safer ground each year. AsylumConnect had previously been available as a web application. “Our free app instantly connects persecuted LGBTQ people with verified safe services and support,” said Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect co-founder and president. From leaving their dangerous home country to resettlement, it is often a matter of life-or-death for LGBTQ asylum seekers to be able to easily connect with legitimate and LGBTQ-affirming lawyers and other direct service providers. LGBTQ asylum seekers and other LGBTQ populations (undocumented immigrants, homeless or isolated youth) use AsylumConnect as a free digital one-stop-shop referral site to meet their needs in all aspects of their lives, including: housing, legal, medical, mental health, education and employment. Lawyers and other direct service providers also use AsylumConnect to gather verified referrals.
Pride center take space possession
The Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities has taken possession of their headquarters in the King Center located at 300 E. Main St., Suite 159.
Church marks anniversary
Imani Metropolitan Community Church will have a celebratory, “Ole School Church” worship service, “We’ve Come This Far By Faith,” on Nov. 17, 10 a.m., at 3602 C-View St. in Durham, N.C. Special guest speaker will be Apostle Yvonne Harrison. She will be welcomed by Senior Pastor Marilyn Bowens and Acting Pastor Rev. Annie Ross. A potluck will follow the service. RSVP on Facebook at bit.ly/2Q8ewav.
‘Adoption’ program launched
ALFA is asking the community to become sponsors of its holiday adoption program. Each year ALFA supports families affected by HIV/AIDS by providing holiday gifts to their children. They have received several applications for assistance this year and donations are encouraged. To sponsor a child contact Natasha Bunton, medical case manager supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-322-1447 extension 226.
‘Conscience’ rule struck down
Reuters reported that a federal judge “voided a White House-backed rule making it easier for doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to avoid performing abortions and other medical services on religious or moral grounds.”
Military org speaks out on family
The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) released the following statement condemning the Trump-Pence administration’s new rule licensing taxpayer-funded discrimination against the LGBTQ community in adoption and foster care services. Released by the Department of Health and Human Services, the rule attacking basic fairness and equality came at the start of National Adoption Month which began on Nov. 1. “Hundreds of qualified LGBTQ military and veteran parents provide loving and caring homes to children in need, and the last thing they should face is government-sanctioned discrimination,” said MMAA Executive Director Andy Blevins. “There’s nothing more shameful than families who sacrifice so much for this nation being discriminated against with taxpayer funds. Congress must take action to stop the Trump-Pence administration’s latest attack on the LGBTQ community by passing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.” MMAA is a proud member of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign.
‘Ru’ gal nets party
RuPaul now has her own political party, thanks to a faux pas by Trump in a Tweet. She now has her own “zip code” called Rupublican.
Rugby team does naked calendar
ARC Amsterdam Lowlanders, the Netherlands only LGBTQ rugby team, has released their new naked calendar for 2020, embracing diversity. The goal of this calendar is to raise funds to participate in the Bingham Cup, which will be organized in 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. The Lowlanders calendar is a reference to the “inclusiveness of sport and rugby culture where there is room for everyone without pursuing a body idealized by today’s society.”