Firings unjust

GREENSBORO — Toya Ross, along with Rose Jackson and David Reed, fired from their jobs at Cascade Grandview apartment, have sought community support on the grounds of discrimination and harassment.

Signature Management assumed control over the complex on Dec. 1, 2010, from VIP Development. Transwoman Jackson and Reed, a gay man, were terminated by manager Joan Roberson within the first 10 days of the takeover.

Reed and Jackson were cited for false information on their application for employment, but were denied access to the documents when they requested to see them. Ross was fired when Roberson learned that Ross was a regular drag king performer. All employees of the Signature had to fill out new applications to comply with company requirements, said The Guilfordian. The news organization also reported that Reed was instructed to keep Ross out of the front office “because a transgendered person isn’t something parents need to see.” She refused and was charged with insubordination.

Also on the radar is alleged vandalism charges against Ross and Reed. All three were daily subjected to harassment and abuse, they said.

Mike Smith, CEO of Signature, says the three were never employees, saying that they had not been discriminated against, the Socialist Worker reported. The Guilfordian added that Mary Conlan, vice president of operations at Signature, said that the company did not discriminate, further saying that they had a gay regional manager. She reported that the three had failed their background checks, thus never fulfilling the requirements to be on the Signature payroll. She also said that the payroll department “has been cooperative with these employees.” The three begged to differ. They were never told they flunked the background check. Reed said that he and Jackson were fired for “lying on their application.”

The troupe staged a protest outside the complex at 830 W. Market St. on Jan. 14 which latest for five hours and had as many as 50 present at one time, including LGBT community members and others.

Ross worked in the office 25 hours a week in exchange for rent. According to her, they were told to leave the property in 30 days. None of them want their jobs back, they only want to be acknowledged.

Final results on the issue are still pending.

Fashions fund ASO

WINSTON-SALEM — Dining with Friends’ Red Ribbon Fashion Air 2011 will roll out the runway as it holds its Top 15 Finalist Competition on Feb. 12, 8-11 p.m., at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 251 North Spruce St.

Designers have exercised their creative flare on T-shirts provided by sponsor HANESbrands, Inc.

This is the Grande Finale for Dining with Friends, a fundraising event to raise monies for AIDS Care Service. Format for presentation is based upon a “Project Runway” motif. Best of Show will win a $250 cash award and a gift basket chocked full of prizes.

It will be judged by a panel including celebrity designer Jack Mackenroth, a dyed-in-the-wool “Project Runway” contestant.

Tickets are $25 and include desserts, dancing and cash bar.

For more information, visit

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' former associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director.