Thursday, February 15, 2007

The gay agenda in Charlotte

Poetry flowed, bodies danced and women connected at the one-year anniversary party for In the Lyfe, a promotions company for lesbians of color that is building a following with its parties at Wine Up in NoDa.

At Wine Up last Friday, the evening started with a poetry open-mike. (Let me just say that I don’t understand why they continue to have open-mike poetry when the audience refuses to be quiet. They need to either start asking rude patrons to leave, or add a separate open-mike poetry night where talking won’t be tolerated.)

After the poetry, the dance floor opened and filled quickly. Some women danced, a few shot pool and others talked around the bar.

The In the Lyfe parties draw a mix of lesbians of all ages and styles, from baby butches(young lesbians who dress like teenage boys) to stylish ones rocking cool hats (not just me) to older ones content wearing jeans and sweaters. They remind me of when I used to party in my 20s at Club Myxx, Scorpios and a now-closed spot that used to be on Morehead Street near WBT studios.

The parties come at a time when Charlotte is struggling to find leaders in the gay and lesbian community. The Lesbian and Gay Community Center, which hasn’t reached out to homosexuals who aren’t middle-class and white, is in danger of closing. On Tuesday, the Center’s leadership held a town hall meeting to discuss the future of the Center.

On Sunday, Unity Fellowship Church is launching culture week at Spirit Square. It is trying to raise money to support a tutoring and career development program for at-risk high school students at UFC Charlotte's Freedom Center. Sunday’s event will feature “Black and Like Us Too,” a photo exhibit that looks at the lives of gay African-Americans through the lens of photographer Moye.

There will also see a play “WORDS: The Isms,” which tackles issues related to fear of people who are different. It's at 8 p.m. Sunday at Spirit Square, and tickets are $25; 704-567-5007 for details. The photo exhibit will also be at the Afro-American Cultural Center on Wednesday, and will be part of a discussion that evening beginning at 7 p.m.

In March, several black gays and lesbians will meet to develop ways for African American gays to take more active leadership roles in the politics and the happenings of this city. (At least, I hope that’s the overall goal of the meeting.) Assuming the Lesbian and Gay center remains open the meeting will be there.

Others are organizing as well. Next week, according to an e-mail I received Wednesday, several local church leaders will meet at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center from 7-9 p.m. Monday through Friday of next week for a lecture series to discuss the homosexual agenda (you know there is one gay agenda for the entire world).

These organizers have timed their meetings to protest the 12th annual Human Rights Campaign Gala “Equality is Forever,” which will be on Feb. 24 at the Charlotte Convention Center. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to protest equal rights for everyone, but I digress.

The annual fundraiser will feature singer Jennifer Holliday, but will also address serious issues facing gays and lesbians throughout the country. In Wednesday's Paid to Party: Hump Day column, I will run the list of HRC dinner pre-parties and after-parties. Until then, get info at

The city’s gays and lesbians face some challenging days ahead, and it’s encouraging to see that many are coming together to tackle the challenges.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing gays and lesbians in Charlotte? Post your replies below.


kd80 said...

Talk about having an "agenda." Other columnists in this (and every other mainstream paper in the universe) write articles and other pieces that at least pretend to be slightly universally applicable. This particular space is incredibly one-sided, and devotes page after page and word after word to issues and events that are of interest to only the most miniscule portion of the city's population. It takes ridiculous, unsubstantiated jabs at things different (even going so far as to lambast the Gay and Lesbian center thing for not reaching out to people that aren't "middle class and white.")The things written and posted here are completely ludicrous. (I wonder if Tonya would have a problem with people typing furiously on their handheld/laptop devices during the "no talking" poetry sessions that she proposed!-If you'll recall the series of posts last year where she viruently attacked the ushers at the Blumenthal who asked her (how DARE they!) to stop annoying the other patrons that had come to hear the lecture!)
But I digress, and how about the use again of the term "baby butches" for the second time in nearly as many weeks. What does that even mean?!?
This column/blog/whatever has no place in a respectable newspaper. I doubt that even Creative Loafing would find its one sided/narrow minded approach to reporting appropriate fare.
Please stick to being "Paid to Party" and keep your ludicrous opinions and views to yourself!

Anonymous said...

Tanya, I really appreciate how you bring different issues to light for those who may not be familiar with things outside their own lifestyle, but I do feel like you should have this information in your That's Wassup!column. I think the "Paid to Party" column should be strictly about informing people about what's going on (or not) in the social scene and reviewing new bars, clubs, etc. You're great, but I do think social issues should be in one column and things about partying should be in the other. Just a suggestion.

confused said...

Could you please give your loyal readers some idea of what a "baby butch" is? You use it all the time in your column, much to the chagrin of some, it seems, but I can't seem to find a definition anywhere. I even checked out the urban dictionary, to no avail. Please help!

lj said...

In March, several black gays and lesbians will meet to develop ways for African American gays to take more active leadership roles in the politics and the happenings of this city. (At least, I hope that’s the overall goal of the meeting.)

Where??? Is this meeting open to the public or is it by invite only??? To the person that believes that we are only a miniscule portion of the population, there are more of us than you realize! The Charlotte region's overall gay and lesbian population (not just African-American) is huge, yet politically inept. Maybe this too will change!

Anonymous said...

All the religious wacko's that live here is the biggest problem.

Anonymous said...

nothing to see here folks, move along.....

Dwayne Wayne said...

this type of stuff belongs in a gay publication, not websites children log onto. Not to mention the rest of us who aren't interested in your issues, struggles, or who you decide to share your bed with.

At least you'll have a lil "sumpin sumpin" to write about now that Anthony Hardaway denounced all gay people. He be one a' yo homies too! Maybe he had been sipping on sum Sizzzurp!

Reecie Jackson said...

Baby butches are mostly heterosexual young ladies with a latent curiousity about bisexuality. They are usually young,feminine, and attractive. (the exact polar opposite of Tonya Jameson)

They are then pounced upon and corralled by older, gruff and mannish lesbians and intimidated and subsequently brainwashed into becoming their "girlfriends".

Anonymous said...

Kd80 you obviously enjoy reading as you refer to an article written a long time ago. Or do you just enjoy reading stuff you dont like?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Tanya should rename her column "Paid To Be Gay" because that is all she ever talks about.

Anonymous said...

Tonya uses descriptions that are degrating to her own kind. SHAME!

Overall, I like most of her Paid to Party items, but this seems to not really be a Paid to Party item.

Overall, the gay community in Charlotte is booming, just like everything else. Things will come in time just as things should.

Please stop embarrasing us gays with your militant style slanted articles Tonya! Most of us in the gay community think you do more harm for us than good.

bwahahah said...

I thought Dwayne Wayne was serious...then I read the second sentence and almost fell out of my

Anonymous said...

It's good to see that we finally figured out what a 'baby butch' was.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see someone finally explained what a 'baby butch' was.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 2:28 pm. Tonya, "Paid to Party" should be about parties and happenings around town, not about your opinions about the GLBT community. You wanted to know what the challenges are for the gay and lesbian community. I wouldn't know as I'm not gay. I don't even care. I just want to know what's going on around town, especially with CIAA around the corner. Please stick to the subject matter, and mention gay people only in the context of publicizing parties that may interest them...after all, this is a party column, right?