Jewish org welcomes new director

Philadelphia Gay News reported that North Carolina Black, queer Rabbi Sandra Lawson has been named as the inaugural director of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Reconstructing Judaism in Pennsylvania beginning in March. Lawson lives in Burlington, N.C. Systemic racism and elevating the voices of Jewish People of Color will be Lawson’s focal points in her new role. PNG added, “To perpetuate the inclusion and support of Jews of color in the Reconstructionist community, Lawson will collaborate with senior staff and lay leaders on the relatively new Jews of Color and Allies Group, Tikkun Olam Commission and Board of Governors to establish methods of proliferating diversity and inclusion, facilitate mentorship, retreats and new courses to make sure Reconstructionist rabbinical students of color can flourish, as well as work with associated communities to develop anti-bias training, racial equity and foster inclusive settings.” The movement has affiliate congregations in the South in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, N.C. and Atlanta, Ga.

Elders group becomes non-profit

The Charlotte LGBTQ Elders has announced that it has launched into becoming a non-profit organization. The group will employ Charlotte, N.C. attorney Lee Robertson to assist in the effort. In order to have the economic resources to go forward in filing the application with the state, a fundraising effort is underway to secure the $650 needed for this stage in securing 501(c)3 status. Contributions are welcome and can be sent to

Coalition takes to streets

1000 STRONG Coalition (the NC NAACP LGBTQ+ Committee, the Freedom Center for Social Justice and their organizational partners) are hitting the streets virtually on Feb. 12-13 for a mobilized contingency of LGBTQ individuals, advocates and allies for the first-ever HKonJ virtual event. On Feb. 12, be part of the LGBTQ 1000 Strong Summit from 12-4 p.m. Then on Feb. 13, join the Mass Moral March on Raleigh/HKonJ People’s Assembly Coalition HKonJ Rally 2021. Sign up for both events is available online at and

Chamber to host virtual sessions

During February, the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce will host two events for its members and the community-at-large. First off is “Finding Your Breath When Even the Air Feels Unsafe” Lunch and Learn Series on Feb. 10 at 11:30 a.m. It features speakers Jennifer Pope, M.D and Kelly Rudolph, M.D. whose presentation will focus on building resiliency skills and managing stress in challenging situations. Registration is available online at on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m., a Member Moment: Resiliency & Hustle” virtual interactive discussion takes center stage. Participants will hear the inspiring stories from Papi’s Puerto Rican Cuisine Chef Tara Quinones, DeJaBo Ties & DaJaBo Designs Owner D.J. Boyd and Queen City Animal Hospital Managing Director April Splawn. Register at to attend.

‘Dance’ teen star comes out

The girl from “Dance Moms” with the large bows, JoJo (Joelle Joanie) Siwa, has announced that she is gay wearing a rainbow-bedazzled hoodie and matching hair bow while on TikTok lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” CNN reported. The 17-year-old pop star sports a mega empire on social media, a mansion and merchandising portfolio.

Trans org expands services

Transcend Charlotte has announced that it is expanding its programming to offer counseling and case management services to its roster. Those who prevail upon the services offered are able to do so free of charge. Executive Director Bethany Corrigan, M.Ph. said that the organization is accepting new clients through referrals to both new programs: counseling ( and case management ( New clients can also access a 15-minute consultation online.

SONG welcomes new co-directors

Southerners on New Ground (SONG) have shared the news that it has welcomed new co-directors Black feminist, butch dyke Wendi Moore-O’Neal and New Orleans, La. healer, ritual worker and organizer Aesha Fadeelah Rasheed to leadership roles.

Charlotte fund opens grant cycle

The Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund has announced its 2021 grant cycle has opened. LGBTQ community groups can apply for one of three grant programs: basic operating; programs, projects and events (PP&E); and grassroots lane. Applications can be submitted until noon on March 5 for basic operating grants. Grassroots Lane are offered throughout the year. Due to the current environment, the fund will forego offering PP&IE grants. More information is available via email to Alexis Owens at aowens& and online.

PFLAG mourns Vázquez

PFLAG National has expressed their sorrow at the loss of Carmen Vázquez, a social justice leader who died from complications due to COVID-19. “Carmen sought justice for LGBTQ+ people and immigrants with courage, tenacity, and intelligence,” said Diego M. Sanchez, APR, Vázquez’ longtime friend and PFLAG National’s director of Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships. “I’ve loved her for more than 30 years. Her legacy will live for generations because she coached as well as coaxed, taught and persuaded.”

Berlin scholarship open

The Pearl Berlin Scholarship is now accepting applications until Feb. 28 at 11:59 p.m., Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center shared. Scholarships are awarded in the spring to graduating, college-bound seniors who have demonstrated leadership in the LGBTQ community. It is funded by individual contributions to the fund and the foundation. In other news, Guilford is hiring a program manager. A cover letter and resume emailed to is due by Feb. 28 for those who wish to apply.

Grindr fined

Online connection site Grindr has been fined 100 million Norwegian Kroner (around $11.7 million) by the Norwegian Data Projection Authority, Instinct Magazine reported from a The New York Times post. Norwegian said that “Grindr illegally sold users’ personal private information to third-party advertisers.” This is an estimated third of Grindr’s net profits.

MOU agreement signed

The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with LGBT Home Security to promote a safe home environment for the LGBTQ community. LGBT Home Security is an authorized dealer of SafeStreets USA, an authorized provider for ADT, which allows the company to offer 24-hour ADT monitoring services and innovative smart home security technology. The company was designated by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce in 2017 as an LGBT Business Enterprise, the only LGBTQ owned national security provider.

Carolina companies make Bloomberg index

The 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index has been released covering 380 companies across 50 industries headquartered in 44 countries and regions. It includes Carolinas-based companies, two of which are Albemarle Corporation and Bank of America Corporation.

WNCAP hiring staffers

Western North Carolina AIDS Project is hiring two full-time staffers to assist in the continued work of the organization. A harm reduction peer support specialist is needed in Franklin, N.C. and a client eligibility navigator is wanted for Asheville, N.C. To apply for one of these positions, In other news, on Jan. 19, the organization reopened its offices after having utilized Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for cleansing and sterilization.

MCC Charlotte secures space

Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte, as a part of their transition process with regard to moving out of their Orr Rd. facility, has secured worship space at Homes 2 Suites by Hilton Uptown, 610 S. Caldwell St., in their 10th floor meeting room beginning on March 7. The church as also come to an agreement with Sacred Souls Community Church, 2127 Eastway Dr., to move office and food pantry ministry there on March 1. The moves are being done to help the Charlotte church have a significant savings on overhead during this time.
info: mymcccharlotte.og.

Equality Fed makes new hire

The Equality Federation has announced the hiring of Vashti Selix as its new Advocacy & Civic Engagement specialist. Additionally, former North Carolinian Ian Palmquist has been appointed deputy director.

S.C. orgs condemn Cash tirade

During the last week in January on the floor of the South Carolina Senate, while debating S.1 — the proposed ban on many abortions — State Sen. Richard Cash delivered comments attacking the dignity and equality of LGBTQ people across South Carolina. In addition to sharing inaccurate information about abortion rights and reproductive health, Cash referred to the movement for LGBTQ equality as the beginning of the “downward spiral of our society.” He spoke against the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, fundamental respect for transgender South Carolinians, and basic protections for LGBTQ students. In response, several LGBTQ and allied organizations that serve LGBTQ South Carolinians — including the Alliance for Full Acceptance, the Harriet Hancock Center, Gender Benders, and the Campaign for Southern Equality — issued a statement pushing back on Cash’s speech. Chase Glenn, executive director of the Alliance for Full Acceptance, spoke on behalf of the groups and said: “We will not allow Senator Cash’s inflammatory tirade against LGBTQ South Carolinians go unchecked — and let me be clear, his words are not just empty vitriol. He has a long history of pushing legislation that would directly threaten the lives and dignity of LGBTQ people in our state. His language and actions only divide our state further, when we should be working harder than ever during this time of national crisis to come together, tackle our shared problems, and build communities where every South Carolinian can thrive. Treating all people with respect and fairness — whether by protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, ensuring vulnerable transgender youth are supported, and celebrating love and commitment between same-sex couples — lifts our society up and brings us closer to our nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all. Sen. Cash’s speech, however, advocated for the erasure and marginalization of LGBTQ people and was immediately harmful. To any LGBTQ person exposed to his lies and slurs, we send a message of love and support. We see you, we have your back, and we will continue to fight, every single day, for equal rights at every level of government in South Carolina.” Recent polling shows that 68 percent of South Carolinians support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. And as of 2020, 57 percent of Southerners support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

Gay rugby godmother dies

The Associated Press has reported that Alice Hoagland, 71, has died. She was the mother of gay rugby movement icon Mark Bingham who helped set the sports movement in motion shortly before he perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks as one of the heroes of Flight 93. Hoagland, a former flight attendant who became a safety activist while carrying on her son’s athletic legacy, died Dec. 22 in her sleep at her home in Los Gatos, California, after battling Addison’s disease, according to longtime family friend Amanda Mark. International Gay Rugby held Hoagland in such esteem that one of the prizes at its biennial Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or the Bingham Cup, is called the Hoagland Cup.

Post-vaccine travel forecast released

With the arrival and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, PASSPORT Magazine teamed with International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) to discover traveler’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and assess their travel plans for 2021. A survey was sent out to over 94,000 travelers subscribed to PASSPORT Magazine along with IGLTA subscribers and asked when they plan to travel, where they plan to go, how they plan to get there, and more. Key findings from the survey included: 79 percent of travelers plan to get vaccinated before the summer; 58 percent of travelers plan to make their first trips before the fall of 2021; 38 percent of travelers plan to visit Europe for their next vacation; 52 percent of travelers plan to visit urban/cultural destinations. The full results of the study can be found online.

Doctoral candidate conducting disability study

Dana M. Cea, a Ph.D. candidate in Rehabilitation Counseling & Administration at East Carolina University’s Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies is conducting a research study focused on the experiences of transgender/gender non-binary students who have disabilities. The results from this study will be provided to disability support services offices  in higher education and to increase student success. More information and volunteer requirements are available online. Or, contact Cea at 919-960-1462 (text/call) or or Stephen J. Leierer at 252-744-6298 or for any research or accessibility related questions.

HRC implores states to implement Bostock

The Human Rights Campaign, following President Joe Biden’s historic Day One Executive Orders, has called upon states lacking LGBTQ non-discrimination laws to follow suit by implementing the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision to state sex non-discrimination laws. State civil rights or human rights commissions should begin accepting complaints in accordance with Bostock under state sex non-discrimination laws, and attorneys general, where appropriate, should issue guidance specific in accordance with individual state mechanisms, the organization stated.

Center celebrates 10th anniversary

WITN has reported that the Dr. Jesse R. Peele LGBTQ Center celebrated its 10th anniversary with a virtual ceremony and in-person celebrations in late January. The center’s namesake spoke during the festivities.

Mecca poster showing ends in arrests

The Associated Press reported that two students were arrested in Turkey on charges of inciting hatred and insulting religious values for a poster depicting Islam’s most sacred site, the Kaaba in Mecca, with LGBTQ flags.

Gill helps with rights funding

The Gill Foundation has pledged $1 million to support a public education campaign against anti-LGBTQ discrimination amid expectations Joe Biden as president will push forward with the Equality Act, the Washington Blade reported.

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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 and 704-531-9988,...

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