From Q-Notes, Carolinas’ multimedia LGBT news source (May 31 issue)

Pride: Not just for state capitals anymore

Festivals popping up in locales across the Carolinas
by Matt Comer | May 31st, 2008

In 1981, gay and transgender North Carolinians celebrated their “day out” at the first statewide NC Pride festival in Durham. The same year, Charlotte had its first local Pride gathering, on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The Queen City event would return two years later, while the statewide Pride would be held the next time in 1986, and then each year thereafter.

The sustained Pride movement in Charlotte began in 1987 with the launch of an annual picnic in Bryant Park. The now-defunct group Queen City Quordinators oversaw the event until 1989, when Q-Notes assumed responsibility. The picnic was replaced with a more traditional Pride festival in 1993.

Since those early days, both events have continued to grow. Along with them, in more recent years local Pride festivals have popped up across the Carolinas. Today, from the mountains of North Carolina to the coast of South Carolina, LGBT communities hold their own celebrations.

The phenomenon has raised some intriguing questions: What’s behind this movement? How are local communities organizing their own festivities? Are there larger trends afoot? Are these events a fad, or is this the new paradigm?

Read the rest at Q-Notes Online.


N.C. male rape victim shares his story

From Q-Notes, Carolinas’ multimedia LGBT news source (May 31 issue)

Male rape victim shares his story

Part One of this two-part series details the alleged crime
by Matt Comer and David Stout | May 31st, 2008

The U.S. Justice Department says one in every 10 rape victims is male. According to a national study, about three percent of American men (2.78 million) have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. Around 60 percent of these men identify as gay or bisexual.

Despite the sobering figures, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network says male victims are less likely to file a crime report. Much of this has to do with the myths attached to male-on-male rape.
These fictions are commonly used to re-assign blame (getting an erection proves a man wants it), downplay the crime’s severity (it’s not as bad for a man as it is for a woman) and outright deny the existence of male same-sex rape.

For instance, North Carolina law does not recognize that a man can rape another man. Therefore, when both parties are male, cases that would be considered rapes elsewhere are prosecuted as sexual assaults in North Carolina. When they are prosecuted, that is.

Read the rest at Q-Notes Online

From Q-Notes, Carolinas’ multimedia LGBT news source (May 31 issue):

Former ART leader arrested for embezzlement

Triad group looking into any potential improprieties
by Matt Comer | May 31st, 2008

Photo Credit: N.C. Department of Revenue

For 20 years, Alternative Resources of the Triad (ART) has been a fixture in Triad-area LGBT organizing, support and education. Founded in 1988 by a former executive director of Triad Health Project, ART was at one time among the largest and most effective LGBT organizations in an area encompassing three cities, several small towns and an LGBT community that is often disconnected by geography and politics.

For more than a decade the Gay and Lesbian Hotline of the Triad was operated by ART and was the organization’s primary community service. When the late 1990s brought a wave of growth in LGBT support online, ART followed the lead of other groups, moving their referral systems from phone-based operations to the internet.

In recent years, ART has also expanded its mission to include more events and activities geared toward creating social outlets for the LGBT community. The Greensboro Out at the Movies series was started in 2005 and the group recently held its second annual Triad Pride festival.

Despite their success in adapting to 21st century LGBT organizing, the organization is now falling under the shadow of alleged misdeeds by former board officer John Johnson, who was charged May 20 with embezzlement of North Carolina and Guilford County sales tax.

Read the rest at Q-Notes Online.


Is Planned Parenthood crazy?

A N.C. House committee has given their tentative approval to a new specialty license plate. A portion of the new “Choose Life” (as in “pro-life,” anti-abortion) tag’s proceeds would be donated to crisis pregnancy (i.e. anti-abortion) care centers.

Planned Parenthood speaks (h/t CapBlog):

Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina spokeswoman Paige Johnson said her group opposes the bill and believes legislative leaders won’t support allocating money for centers that fail to provide information to women about all of their options if they are pregnant.

If Planned Parenthood really believes that, then they are out of their minds.

One sizable constituency and voting bloc
+ One bill that voting bloc loves
Instant Political Capital

Yeah. Planned Parenthood has barely a chance. Maybe they should work on a “Defend Choice” tag. Let’s see how much the Right goes stark-raving mad then. Actually… that would be kind of funny to watch.

The News & Record‘s Mark Binker and CapBlog tip us off to this amazingly hilarious tale from N.C. Sen. Stan Bingham (R-Davidson).

Click here to tune in.

In a campaign modeled after the 2006 Soulforce Right to Serve Campaign (I was the Greensboro City Organizer for the Soulforce action), students from Harvard University have set out upon their journey toward creating discussion and bringing attention to the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gay ban of the U.S. Military.

They’ve already hit their first of four stops. On May 24, one youth attempted to enlist in the Army as an openly gay American. When he was turned away, others in the group sat in until police arrived.

Video below:

The group’s next stops will be in Portland, Maine; New York City; and Washington, D.C.

Learn More:
Harvard Right to Serve
“Touring To Protest ‘”Don’t Ask'” Harvard Crimson May 22, 2008
InterstateQ’s Soulforce page

The American Family Association’s recently ran an article titled “Schools out forever… for NC illegals.”

The article profiles Americans for Legal Immigration PAC or ALIPAC. The group is “commending” N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper for his ruling that illegal immigrants cannot enroll in state community colleges.

It is already known that the American Family Association has a strong base in North Carolina. The group has a new official affiliate, the Faith, Family, Freedom Alliance led by radically conservative wanna-be elected official Nathan Tabor. They are also associated with a number of other right-wing religious organizations including the Christian Action League of North Carolina.

Is the American Family Association also associated with ALIPAC, a group funded in part by Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization officially listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center? (please see update below)

Why does a “family values” organization and its news network care about illegal immigrants getting an education? Wouldn’t you think a “family values” organization would support giving education to the uneducated, thereby allowing those individuals to offer better financial stability to their spouses and children? Evidently not.

UPDATE: William Gheen, ALIPAC director, has responded to the claims above. I direct your attention to his comment, where he says ALIPAC does not receive funding from FAIR, 20% of his membership is made up from minorities and that neither ALIPAC or FAIR are hate groups. He also claims the Southern Poverty Law Center is on a “smear campaign.”

The controversy of Irmo High School (Irmo, S.C.) principal Eddie Walker and his resignation (effective June 2009) over the formation of a gay-straight alliance has highlighted divergent opinions and points of views within the queer community.

The Rev. David Gillespie, a queer pastor who writes as “The Queer Heretic,” has come out disagreeing with activists who are calling for Walker’s immediate termination.

Read more at Q-Notes‘ InsideSource.


Gay leader caught embezzling sales tax

John Worth Johnson (Credit: N.C. Department of Revenue)

As reported by Q-Notes, John Johnson, a former board member and officer of Alternative Resources of the Triad/, was charged with embezzling North Carolina state and Guilford County sales tax this week:

John Worth Johnson, 38, formerly of 111 W. Washington Street, was originally arrested last week by Myrtle Beach police. He was extradited back to North Carolina. He is currently being held on a $100,000 bond by Wake County Police.

According to arrest warrants obtained by The News and Record, Johnson is alleged to have aided Worth, Inc. to embezzle state and county sales tax totaling $48,584.93. The embezzlement occurred from Jan. 1, 2004 through July 31, 2007. Worth, Inc. was the managing company through which Johnson managed the hotel business, where he also resided.

Alternative Resources of the Triad was created in 1988 and came to be the sponsoring organization of the now-passed Gay and Lesbian Hotline. After the rise of the internet, the organization moved their information referral services to, currently being re-tooled as The organization is also the main sponsor of the annual Triad Pride festival and multiple other events.

Disclosure: I served as a member of the Alternative Resources of the Triad board of directors with John Johnson from Jan. 2005-May 2006. I was also employed as a front desk receptionist at the Biltmore Greensboro Hotel from Jan. 2005-Sept. 2005, while a student at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.


Marriage Equality

Marriage equality matters to many readers of InterstateQ I imagine. “Democrats are for LGBT rights, Republicans are against them” seems to be the generally accepted view of American politics, but after listening to the views of the presidential front runners, I can’t help but notice they sound rather similar to one another. That’s not to say they don’t differ in important areas, just that when it comes to legal recognition of gay relationships, they seem equal. Watch for yourself after the jump.

Continue reading this post…