TDOR Charlotte goes virtual
The Trans Day of Remembrance 2020, “Remembrance & Resilience,” to be held in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 20, 6 p.m., will be a virtual event. Details are still being firmed up and will be announced on social media. A memorial altar space will be a focal point for the commemoration and will include photographs, gems, stones, poems, artwork and other mementoes or trinkets. Collaborative organizers include Charlotte Black Pride, Charlotte LGBTQ Elders, Charlotte Pride, Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, Gender Education Network, Time Out Youth and Transcend Charlotte.
MCC slates conference
Metropolitan Community Churches has announced that it has set the dates of July 4-8, 2022 for its General Conference to be held in Austin, Texas. Satellite conferences will be held elsewhere during the event. Host hotel will be the Fairmont Austin. Promotional rates for the conference beginning in July 2021 are $350, with regular rates going up to $450 in August 2021. Satellite rates and other details are forthcoming. Hotel rates are $169 per night. At this time everything is subject to change due to COVID-19. During November, members are being asked to provide input for the conference in one of several Dream Sessions, provided in a variety of languages.
Mama’s bailout prisoners
Following mass outbreaks of COVID-19 in North Carolina prisons and just five days before Election Day, members of Durham’s Southerners On New Ground (SONG) Chapter partnered with the Center for Resilient Individuals, Families, and Communities to bail Black mothers and caregivers out of Durham County jail and reunite them with their loved ones. Organizers raised over $55,000 to pay the bail and provide professional social services for the newly freed mothers. This action is tied to SONG’s regional campaign to end money bail and pretrial detention across the South. “The racist, unnecessary, and costly practice of money bail leads to the pre-trial detention of individuals who are still legally innocent,” SONG shared.
Summit features Sinno
OutRight International’s virtual annual global convening for human rights for LGBTQ individuals, scheduled for Dec. 9-11, will feature as its keynote speaker Hamed Sinno, lead singer of the Lebanese-American indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila. Formed in 2008, the band has become a symbol of creative activism for the LGBTQ movement in the Middle-East. Openly gay himself, Sinno unfurled a rainbow flag during a concern in Byblos, Lebanon. In 2017 during a concert in Egypt, members of the audience raised the rainbow flag resulting in their detention, torture and imprisonment. In celebration of our 30th anniversary, Outright will host a plenary session entitled “Resistance and Resilience: OutRight and the LGBTIQ Movement over 30 Years.” Registration is now open for those who wish to attend.
Funders announce grantees
The Funders for LGBTQ Issues has announced the recipients for 2020 for its Out in the South grantmaking selection process. Carolinas organizations include: Co-Thinkk (Asheville, N.C.), $20,000, to provide capacity building funds for this Western North Carolina-based POC-led community organizing and grantmaking organization to build their capacity to integrate LGBTQ issues into their work; Campaign for Southern Equality/Southern Equality Fund (Asheville, N.C.), $50,000, to provide capacity building and matching grant funds for the Southern Equality Fund, which supports Southern LGBTQ grassroots organizing efforts; Campaign for Southern Equality and Southern Vision Alliance (Durham, N.C.), $25,000, to provide funds for the second phase of a planning process that is building capacity for fiscal sponsorships for Southern-based grassroots LGBTQ organizing efforts; Southern Vision Alliance (Durham, N.C.), $50,000, to provide capacity building and matching grant funds in support of the Queer Mobilization Fund supporting primarily QTPOC grassroots organizing; and LGBT Fund at Spartanburg County Foundation (Spartanburg, S.C.), $25,000, to provide matching funds in support of a four-year-old LGBTQ fund in Spartanburg.
Summary highlights same-sex parents
Recent research findings from the University of California, Los Angeles Williams Institute has shown that same-sex parents are seven times more likely than opposite-sex parents to raise adopted and foster children. Other finding included that an estimated 114,000 same-sex couples are raising children, including 28,000 male same-sex couples and 86,000 female same-sex couples; children of LGB and transgender parents fare as well as children of non-LGBTQ parents; and 5.3 million LGBTQ adults are religious, reporting that religion is an important part of their daily life or that they regularly attend services.
Crape Myrtle plans are underway
The Crape Myrtle Festival 41 planning is in full force and has at its helm Melissa Bailey (queen) and Kathryn Schley (co-queen) who are working with the board to finalize the awards for the funds raised last year. Due to COVID-19, however, this year’s celebration will be a virtual experience.
Asylum seekers tech launched
AsylumConnect has launched a custom version of its free lifesaving technology in Mexico. According to the non-profit organization, it has provided the world’s first tech resource platform designed to facilitate the safe navigation or those fleeing persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. AsylumConnect had previously been available in the U.S. and Canada. The expansion into Mexico came as a response to the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols policy. Since its implementation in December 2018, the “Remain in Mexico” policy has forced over 67,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while the U.S. immigration courts decide on their asylum cases. The policy is especially dangerous for LGBTQ asylum seekers, who face an increased risk of violence and are subject to death threats, physical abuse and verbal harassment. “People fleeing persecution due to LGBTQ+ status cannot wait safely in Mexico without trusted information on their local options. Our free, on-demand technology can now connect LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants and other queer people in need with verified affirming services in Mexico such as free lawyers, community centers, support groups, doctors, and housing to ensure their survival,” said Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect co-founder and executive director.
Baldwin nominations open
The International LGBTQ Leaders Conference 2020 has announced that it has opened its 2020 Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award nominations. This annual award is given to an up-and-coming state or local LGBTQ elected official with a promising political career: someone who champions equality and lives to fight for the LGBTQ community. Nominee names will be revealed soon. This year’s recipient will receive the award at the virtual conference being held between Dec. 3-5.
Grant deals with disparities
The Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work has been awarded a five-year, $3.5 million grant to support the implementation of change strategies within mental health and substance use disorder treatment systems to address disparities impacting the LGBTQ community. The grant, recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will allow the institute and participating partners to establish a Center for Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity.
Gold/Williams award recipient names
The AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) has awarded Michelle Lusk, vice president of the Catawba Valley Health System, with the Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams Legacy Award. Lusk served for 10 years on the ALFA board and has been part of numerous committees, been instrumental in securing financial support for staff, supplies and monthly operating expenses in addition to contracting with ALFA to provide medical case management, emergency financial assistance, medical transportation, harm reduction and food assistance to clients. ALFA CEO Chris Kliesch said, “With her expertise and professionalism, Michelle has been a vital supporter of ALFA. She is also a valuable source of professional and personal support to me. Her support has allowed ALFA to continue to grow and offer more community services to support our vision of ending stigma and barriers to care for a future free of HIV, and we are truly grateful for her service to our community.”
NCSU creates new class
The Technician has reported that a new class, Sexuality in U.S. History, has been announced for students at the North Carolina State University starting in the spring offering. The new class will focus on “lesser-known parts of queer and gendered history in places that go under-looked in popular narratives, such as the American South and the Midwest.”
Children’s citizenship secured
Two key legal victories on behalf of married same-sex couples and their children became final on Oct. 27 after the U.S. State Department withdrew its appeal in Kiviti v. Pompeo and decided not to appeal the district court’s decision in Mize-Gregg v. Pompeo. In both cases, federal district courts found the U.S. Department of State’s refusal to recognize the U.S. citizenship of the children born abroad to two married same-sex, U.S. citizen couples to be unlawful. “Every court to have looked at this issue has concluded that the Department of State cannot refuse to recognize the U.S. citizenship of children born abroad to married same-sex couples. We are gratified that the victories of the Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families are now final and we hope that the Trump Administration and the State Department will abide by these courts’ decisions when it encounters other families headed by same-sex couples,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal and one of the lawyers for the families. “No family should have to go through what the Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families endured.”
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