News Briefs for 07.24.20

Barbee named to new post

The Leading on Opportunity Council has elected Erin Barbee, senior vice president programs and fund development at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, to serve as its new co-chair alongside inaugural co-chair Andrea Smith, Bank of America’s chief administrative officer. Barbee, a current Council member, replaces community and education advocate James E. Ford. She has been on the council for two years and shared that she is excited about the new position. She says that the Council is focused on a number of initiatives that impact a variety of sectors of the community and she looks forward to being part of the work. Barbee currently serves as the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce director of advocacy and policy.
info: leadingonopportunity.org.

Dorsey named to top 30 list

Frank D. Dorsey, II has been named to the Historically Black Colleges and University’s “Top 30 Under 30” 2020 list, HBCUBuzz reported. Dorsey is the associate director of student engagement at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) and assists with efforts to create a more inclusive campus through policies and programs. Aside from overseeing the university student union, Dorsey provides leadership to JCSU student programs, including student government, student activities, intramural/club sports, Greek Life, and civic involvement. HBCUBuzz added, “Recognizing the need for LGBT resources and assistance on historically Black college and university campuses, Dorsey partook in both the Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative and the Human Rights Campaign’s HBCU Leadership Summit. He participated in the Charlotte, NC Community Building Initiative’s Leaders Under 40 Program. Beyond his responsibilities at JCSU, Frank Dorsey is a board member with Carolina CARE Partnership, Charlotte Black Pride, and Equality North Carolina, which is the oldest statewide organization in the country dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community.”
info: bit.ly/3eRx1bX.

Pride launched relief program

Charlotte Pride has announced the launch of its new Charlotte Pride COVID-19 Relief Program which aims to provide 150 or more small grants of $100 in direct, emergency financial assistance to LGBTQ residents in Mecklenburg County who have experienced unemployment or underemployment due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic. “The new program is one of the only local, community-wide COVID-19 response programs specifically designed to exclusively support LGBTQ community members, who are disproportionately represented among the service and hospitality industry, the gig economy, and hourly, minimum-wage jobs — some of the hardest-hit professions during the pandemic. The program will directly grant $100 to individuals who have lost a full or part time job or have had a reduction in hours greater than 5 hours per week,” the organization said. Jerry Yelton, Charlotte Pride’s programs and development director, shepherded the new relief program from conception to execution. Applications will be accepted from Aug. 3-9 and will be reviewed within two days and payments will be made immediately upon approval. Funds are intended to be used for emergency financial assistance and funds may be used for any variety of needs, including rent/housing, utilities, food/groceries, transportation, medical/health needs, or any other personal need of the applicant. Eligibility details are available online. Contributions are being accepted to add additional monies for more grants. The program is supported in part by the United Way of Central Carolinas’ and Foundation For The Carolinas’ COVID-19 Response Fund, which provided a grant of $10,000 to supplement Charlotte Pride’s $5,000 commitment.
info: charlottepride.org/covidrelief.

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Hallmark looks to go Xmas gay

People magazine reported that the Hallmark Channel has announced that it will include LGBTQ storylines, characters and actors in upcoming programing after receiving criticism for it doing the opposite in years past. The network had aired a commercial which featured a same-sex wedding, removed it upon protests from One Million Moms. It later reinstated it saying that it was wrong of them to do so. So far the partial list of holiday films has not produced a title for LGBTQ viewers.
info: bit.ly/2DPm0Lw.

Org extends praise for Lewis

NMAC issued the following statement upon the death of Rep. John Lewis: “In one of his last interviews, Congressman Lewis stated ‘you cannot stop the call of history,” said NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata. “‘You may use troopers. You may use fire hoses and water, but it cannot be stopped. There cannot be any turning back. We have come too far and made too much progress to stop now and go back.’ NMAC’s mission is to lead with race to fight for health equity and racial justice to end the HIV epidemic. As we go on with our mission, we will continue to memorialize Congressman Lewis’s dream by fighting alongside the millions of Americans who were and remain inspired by Congressman Lewis’s drive to make this country a more fair and just country for all Americans.”
info: nmac.org.

Pride contest winners announced

NextGen America announced the winners of its Pride is Political art contest, including Carla Macar, Eileen Jimenez, and Sarah Nicell. As part of its effort to engage and mobilize young voters online amid the coronavirus pandemic, NextGen America hosted an online multimedia art contest during Pride Month to highlight queer voices, uplift their work and promote black and brown artistry. Participants submitted original artwork honoring the origins of Pride as a political protest while commemorating the social movement for racial equality. “We received so many wonderful, powerful submissions,” said Laura Flores, the social media manager of NextGen America. “Our winners’ pieces celebrate the beauty, strength, and, resilience of queer people. As an organization, we’re proud to uplift the talent and voices of the LGBTQ+ and, Black and brown communities.”
info: nextgenamerica.org. bit.ly/2DYmU8H.

Street mural graces small town street

Lincolnton, N.C. has joined the ever-increasing numbers of cities and towns across the U.S. who are using their streets as a canvas for murals. Volunteers gathered on N. Poplar St. earlier in July to create the Unites We Stand project. Designer of the mural is Demarius Pearson to “recognize and celebrate black, Latino, LGBTQ, and all residents of Lincolnton by using colors to represent skin tones, Latino heritage and the LGBTQ rainbow,” the City of Lincolnton shared.
info: bit.ly/3hq6J2t.

Awards bestowed on journalists

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced the recipients of its 2020 Excellence in Journalism Awards and recognized work produced in 2019. The highest individual awards, Journalist of the Year and Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year, have were awarded to Oscar Lopez and Mark S. King, respectively. The Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism was presented to Amanda Peacher, Kate Concannon, Frankie Barnhill, Lacey Daley and James Dawson for “LOCKED: a disturbing crime, a desperate act, and how one case could change the way prisons treat some transgender inmates,” produced by the Mountain West News Bureau/Boise State Public Radio. A complete list is available online at the association’s website.
info: nlgla.org.

Memorial to share AIDS pandemic stories

To bring greater awareness to the 40-year struggle of AIDS, the National AIDS Memorial is launching a new web platform at AIDSMemorial.org that brings the stories of the lives lost, the survivors, the heroes from then to now into the forefront through its 2020/40 storytelling initiative. Additionally, in partnership with AIDS Quilt Touch, all 48,000 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt can be viewed and searched by interacting with a high-resolution digital image of the entire Quilt.
info: aidsmemorial.org.

Orgs release college resources

Only 26 percent of students who identify as LGBTQ say they always feel safe in their school classrooms, BestColleges reported. “This low percentage can be easily increased through supportive families, inclusive schools and by providing streamlined resources specifically curated for LGBTQ+ students,” they added. So during Pride Month, BestColleges partnered with Campus Pride to share resources that will benefit students who identify as LGBTQ. The series dives into the best colleges for LGBTQ students, scholarships, COVID-19 resources and safety tips. They are: Student Experience Guide; State Specific Program Details; Scholarship Guide; Safety Resources; and Impact of COVID-19.
info: bestcolleges.com. campuspride.org.

HRC welcomes volunteers

The Human Rights Campaign is soliciting volunteers to champion the organization’s causes through the Community Hub platform. Once one’s profile is activated, a number of activities will be listed that require volunteer assistance. Unfortunately for now, only virtual opportunities are available due to COVID-19 restrictions.
info: hrccommunityhub.org.

Ministry responds to SCOTUS exemptions decision

New Ways Ministry Executive Director Francis DeBernardo issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel to not “protect workers at religious institutions from employment discrimination leaves many people, especially LGBTQ people, vulnerable to being fired by institutions that should be the model of fairness and equality, not bigotry and exclusion. This decision is a sad and contradictory follow-up to the Court’s June 15th Title VII decision which sought to protect LGBTQ people from employment discrimination.”
info: newwaysministry.org.

Summit recordings online

Recordings from the 2020 Pride Summit are now available online representing 150 speakers. Some of the speakers were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, activist Stacey Abrams, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the cast and creator from both seasons of “The L Word.”
info: lesbianswhotech.org.

Poetry documentary released

The documentary film “Don’t Be Nice” from Radio Drama Network was released on DVD, Apple TV, On Demand and EST/TVOD on July 21. The film follows a New York City team of young African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer slam poets as they “fight to find the words to speak their truths to a nation awakening in Black Lives Matter protest and on the brink of a general election.” Challenged by their coaches to compete for the National Poetry Slam championship, the team breaks through personal boundaries and explores issues such as race, police violence, gender, identity and sexual politics.
info: dontbenicemovie.com.

Pride raises funds

Through sponsorship and public donations, Global Pride raised over $100,000, to be granted to Pride organizations worldwide. The funds are being administered by the European Pride Organizers Association and InterPride, and applications are now open.
info: interpride.org.

Conference goes virtual

For the first time in its 33-year history, the Creating Change Conference will be a completely virtual event. “Given the ongoing public health crisis and current safety regulations, we will be unable to host Creating Change as an in-person convening in Washington, D.C., in January 2021,” organizers shared. In the meantime, tentatively planned is a Queering Racial Justice Institute on Oct. 10. The multi-day conference will be held Jan. 27-31, 2021.
info: creatingchange.org.

Podcast launched on LGBTQ asylum seekers

Sayid Abdull, a queer refugee, has launched a podcast on LGBTQ asylum seekers and the importance of protecting the U.S. system. The 28-year-old Uighur was granted political asylum in 2018. Currently based in New York, Abdull is actively involved in local queer refugee and asylee communities and has been recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 and ADCOLOR Future.
info: syabdull.com.

In Memoriam: Rev. Vickey Gibbs

The first Metropolitan Community Churches clergy person to succumb to COVID-19 has died in Houston, Texas. Rev. Vickey Gibbs had been serving as the associate pastor of Resurrection MCC. Her ordination was on Dec. 8, 2014 and served on numerous committees, national organizations, all in the service of those whom she served. “She worked tirelessly to invite, push and pull others into conversation and action surrounding justice for all, especially those on the margins,” MCC shared.
info: mccchurch.net.

Gerami named magazine finalist

The Immigrant Magazine has named Vic Gerami as a finalist of the Los Angeles Press Club’s 62nd Annual Southern California Journalism Awards. The Armenian-American categories are: Activism Journalism (The Blunt Post, “LGBTQ Armenians Face Resign of Terror”), Columnist (2 nominations for The Blunt Post, “10 Questions With Vic” ), Personality Profile/Interview (The Blunt Post, “Interviewed Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson”), Personality Profile (Writer, “Social Justice Drives Sepi Shyne”), Political Commentary, National (Writer, “12 Steps For Pete Buttigieg, For President of the United States”) and Local (The Blunt Post, “Who is Councilmember Paul Krekorian Working For?”). “As a proud gay, Armenian-American, I am pleased that stories featured include activism and social justice for the LGBTQ+ and Armenian communities,” Gerami said.
info: lapressclub.org.

Here TV re-enters into distribution

Here TV has acquired all U.S. rights for the feature film “Family Members” (“Los Miembros de la Familia”), nominated for Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival in addition to the Grand Jury Prize at Milan and Santiago. The premium network is looking to focus once again on all rights acquisition deals for independent award-winning titles. This signals Here TV’s return to the distribution business several years after it acquired all rights for the Yōjirō Takita masterpiece “Departures,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
info: heretv.com.

In-home HIV tests provided

With in-person health services limited due to COVID-19, Greater Than AIDS, a public information initiative of KFF, and Walgreens announced a new program to provide 10,000 OraQuick In-Home HIV Test kits to support expanded testing options in high-need areas. Local health agencies and community-based organizations will distribute the FDA-approved, self-administered tests at no cost to those unable to get tested in person.
info: greaterthan.org/walgreens.

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Gyllenhaal to star in ‘Fun Home’

Queerty has reported that Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal will star as Bruce Bechdel in the large-screen adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s Tony-winning musical “Fun Home.”
info: bit.ly/3eJDZje.

TEC to hire new coordinator

Triangle Empowerment Center has received a grant that allows the organization to hire a community linkage coordinator who will assist the center in executing the approved compliance monitoring and coordinating for mental health navigation and linkage to care in a traditional and non-traditional setting. This position is responsible for engagement, education and support for individuals who have a serious mental illness to inform them about community mental health services and multiple aspects of supported housing including rental assistance and the availability of tenancy support services. For a complete job description list or to send resumes and documentation, email triangleempowermentcenter@yahoo.com and Michelle Murdock at mlmurdock72@gmail.com.
info: triempowerment.org.

Risks exposed of dating apps

Human rights campaigner and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Peter Tatchell said, “A new study by cyber security specialists has found that police in countries where homosexuality is illegal are increasingly using LGBT+ dating apps to spy on, entrap and arrest LGBT+ people, including in Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Ghana. This is being made possible by the apps lack of privacy safeguards and vulnerability to exploitation.” He added, “It is the responsibility of app operators to respect and protect their user’s privacy. Repressive regimes will continue to target, monitor and repress the LGBT+ community for as long as these apps allow them to get away with it. Data protection is the new frontier in human rights.” The report by Recorded Future’s Insikt Group compared the data practices of the apps Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, OKCupid and HER, all collect user data, including user’s exact location, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs, drug use and much more. Of those five dating apps, only one, Scruff, was mentioned as having taken extra steps to protect user data.
info: bit.ly/3fKcmI7.

Pride Link seeks community input

Update South Carolina’s Pride Link is conducting a survey asking respondents for help in creating a program plan for the rest of 2020. The plan will be used to steer the organization’s sustainability. Visit bit.ly/3eJyDV8 to participate.
info: pridelink.org.

Mental health installments continue

In recognition of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Alliance on Mental Health released another installment of the “Strength Over Silence” video series, highlighting three personal stories featuring courage, culture and community. Yulanda Ming Blackson lives with mental illness and shares her story about mental health and faith in the black community. Poojah Mehta, a NAMI New York board member, focuses on amplifying the voices of those in underrepresented communities. And Rosemary Ketchum, the first-ever transgender woman to get elected in West Virginia, shares her family experience with mental illness and addresses the need for LGBTQ individuals to have a voice in the mental health movement.
info: nami.org.

Research shows Pride marching on

Even in the face of COVID-19, the LGBTQ community has continued to press on through Pride Month and beyond, new research from Kearney has found. In their “Unstoppable for 50 years: LGBTQ+ Pride marches forward (bit.ly/39jBlQf). This year, the celebration worldwide was forced to change its mode of operation, deferring to virtual events in the wake of the pandemic and a pattern of violence against black individuals by law enforcement. Corey Chafin, principal in Kearney’s consumer practice and lead author of the report, shared, “Though celebrations will look different than in years past, 83 percent of our LGBTQ+ panel told us they will be connecting with other members of the community; 65 percent will be displaying Pride-themed merchandise, and half will participate in LGBTQ+ advocacy.” This year corporate sponsors would have to do more than write out a check and should focus on “genuine, authentic efforts in support of LGBTQ+ advocacy.” Companies are being encouraged to present themselves as supporting and engaging with the community year round, as well as recognizing LGBTQ community members.
info: kearney.com.

Flag display ban amps up

The Washington Blade reported that Confederate flag displays at military institutions has been ordered to stop. “Permitted are the American flag; the flags of the U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia; military flags and those of allies. However, by not enumerating them, the memo effectively bans Confederate flags and LGBTQ Pride flags.”
info: bit.ly/3eI0t4o.

Fitness photographers rallying around voting

With 1 in 5 LGBTQ people still not registered to vote, some of America’s leading fitness photographers — Pat Lee, Ulrich Oehman, Jorge Freire, Abel Cruz, Eric Wainwright, Allan Spiers and Michael Downs — have joined forces for “Flex Your Vote,” a new campaign that urges the LGBTQ community and its allies to heat to the polls this November. “It’s painfully clear why this is the most important time in our lifetimes to vote,” says Mike Ruiz, the campaign’s organizer. “We are being engulfed by a pandemic, millions are unemployed, the government is riddled with corruption. We need to change the direction of this country or we are headed towards a dictatorship where we will be stripped of our rights.”
info: bit.ly/2WC2nNv.

History Project airs podcasts

The LGBTQ History Project’s “The Queercore Podcast” began in April and continues to tell the story of icons in the movement. Thus far, listeners can hear from Rumi Missabu, Rev. Troy Perry, Dr. Donald Kilhefner and Jewel Thais-Williams. The series is available through Spotify, Google and Apple Podcasts and Radio Public Podcast platforms/apps.
info: linktr.ee/queercorepod.

Homeless youth resource published

MoneyGeek has published “Financial and Social Resources for Homeless LGBTQ+ Youth” to aid those in need and facing housing instability. The guide shares information on homelessness in the U.S., help for LGBTQ teens, services for those who are homeless and state-by-state options for assistance.
info: bit.ly/3hfubPN.

Discrimination stories sought by PFLAG

PFLAG is working in coalition with Freedom for All Americans, the Equality Federation, the National LGBTQ Task Force and others to help convince key senators to support the passage of the Equality Act. Now the organizations are seeking community assistance from those who have been affected by discrimination. Those who are willing to share their or their family’s experience with anti-LGBTQ discrimination are being sought. “Parents, grandparents and caregivers who love their LGBTQ+ kids and LGBTQ+ people, inclusive of BIPOC LGBTQ+ and BIPOC trans people are especially encouraged to participate,” the partners shared. No information will be shared without consent. The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act. To inquire, contact Laura McGinnis, media relations manager for PFLAG National, at lmcginnis@pflag.org or 202-864-2247 or Patrick Cochran, special project coordinator for PFLAG National, at pcochran@pflag.org or 202-467-8180 ext. 216.
info: pflag.org.

Court action sought in HHS ruling

Lambda Legal asked a federal district court to prevent the recently published healthcare discrimination rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from going into effect. The rule, which seeks to exclude LGBTQ people and other vulnerable populations from regulatory protections under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, is set to go into effect Aug. 18.
info: lambdalegal.org.

Sexually active trans people not using PrEP

A new study from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law finds that only 3 percent of transgender adults in the U.S. who are at high risk for HIV infection use Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). High risk for HIV transmission was defined in the study as those not living with HIV who had had sex with cisgender men and/or transgender women within five years. The report, “HIV Testing and PrEP Use in a National Probability Sample of Sexually Active Transgender People in the United States” appears in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
info: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu.

Conversion therapy dangers discussed in journal

The Trevor Project announced that its research team has published a new peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) — the first study to look at associations between undergoing conversion therapy and suicide outcomes among LGBTQ youth. Entitled, “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Suicide Ideation and Attempt Among Sexual Minority Adults, United States, 2016–2018,” the study is included in the AJPH’s July 2020 issue.
info: thetrevorproject.org. bit.ly/2Wx76QL.

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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.

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