CHARLOTTE — Q-Notes publisher Jim Yarbrough has hired Matt Comer as the new editor of the biweekly LGBT newspaper of the Carolinas. His time at the helm of the 21-year-old publication begins with the
Matt Comer has been active in the LGBT community since high school.
“We are excited to have Matt on our team and look forward to the energy and fresh outlook he brings,” Yarbrough said. “His activism and journalism, particularly in new media, will benefit our current
readers as well as the new readers he will attract.”
Comer replaces David Moore, who stepped down at the end of September to pursue other opportunities. As he revealed in his final Editor’s Note, Moore is also caring for his mother who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly before his departure.
“I am grateful to Mr. Yarbrough, his staff and all those who have given me this wonderful opportunity to work daily for the community I hold near and dear to my heart,” said Comer, a native of Winston-Salem.
He began his activism there as a freshman at R.J. Reynolds High School, founding a gay-straight alliance. He also worked with the Winston-Salem chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he matriculated, Comer continued his work for LGBT equality both on campus and off. The groups he was involved with include UNCG PRIDE!, Alternative Resources of the Triad, Guilford Green Foundation, N.C. Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee, Triad Business & Professional Guild, Equality NC and PFLAG Winston-Salem.
He also entered the blogosphere during this time with the establishment of his weblog, InterstateQ.com. Since its founding in 2005, the blog has grown steadily in readership and influence.
Nationally, Comer has been heavily involved with the youth division of Soulforce, an organization founded by the Rev. Mel White to counter religion-based oppression of LGBT people. Q-Notes readers might remember Comer from coverage he received last year for participating in a Soulforce-led action against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
In September 2006, Comer and eight others were arrested in Greensboro for trespassing in an Army Recruiting office after they staged a sit-in for the right to fill out enlistment papers as openly gay and lesbian Americans. The action was part of Soulforce’s Right to Serve Campaign.
This spring, Comer spent two months on the eastern leg of the Soulforce Equality Ride. The busload of LGBT and allied youth visited 19 Christian colleges and universities that discriminate against LGBT students and faculty.
Comer was arrested at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., when he and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Stephen Krebs attempted to deliver a gift symbolizing “Christ’s inclusive love” to the school’s student government.
“Although it might seem like it,” Comer says with a smile, “I don’t enjoy getting arrested. It’s just that sometimes doing what’s right puts you at odds with the establishment — and that’s a stand I’ve been willing to take.”
Comer’s new job has precipitated his relocation to Charlotte. In his role as editor, he said he hopes to reinvigorate the paper’s commitment to representing the voices of all within the LGBT community. He also hopes to increase Q-Notes’ web presence as the premier source of Carolinas LGBT news and commentary.
“I want to see Q-Notes continue to grow its readership, influence and ability to reach out to all portions of the LGBT community and our non-queer allies as well,” said Comer. “We have the potential for awesome growth. With the talented staff here and teamwork from community members across the Carolinas, I know we can continue to build on the paper’s more than two-decade track record of success.”
Yarbrough concluded, “Whether youth or older, gay, lesbian or straight allies, I am confident Matt will have something to say that will speak to all.”
info: Contact Matt Comer at the Q-Notes office at 704-531-9988, ext. 208 or reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.