"A Surprise for Gay Marriage in the South?"
article in The New Yorker - May 1, 2012
We are proud to recognize the Rev. Dr. William Barber II for his coalition building as the Center’s 2017 Distinguished Service honoree. Come help us honor Dr. Barber at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 6th as a part of our celebration of National Coming Out Week. Tickets are available.
Jenna (they/them) originally got involved at the LGBT Center of Raleigh through Youth Coffee House in 2014. They went on to attend ASPYRE Youth Leadership Camp that year. ASPYRE is A Safer Place for Youth to Reach Excellence, and upon their return from camp, Jenna was ready to take the next step. Jenna applied to be on the youth leadership team for the Center for the following year and served in numerous roles during their tenure.
Jenna first served as the ASPYRE Chair on the leadership team and helped run the annual leadership camp in Greensboro, NC. Jenna was then given the opportunity to serve as Program Chair in which they oversaw all the Center’s youth programs. During their time on the Youth Leadership team, they continued to help run ASPYRE. Jenna showed a willingness to adapt and take on new challenges with excitement.
Nick, the Youth Program Manager at the Center, says, “Jenna is a creative, driven, and dedicated leader who led two very successful ASPYRE Leadership Camps and a year of growth for the youth leadership team. They have always been willing to go the extra mile and take on whatever is needed to accomplish goals.”
Jenna is an inspiring leader who is proud of the Center’s Youth Program. They commented on the effectiveness of having youth leaders run the programs. The Center provides this opportunity for leaders like Jenna to emerge, and because the best opportunity for progress comes from listening to people striving for it.
Jenna is being awarded the Rising Star Award this year because of their commitment to the Center’s Youth Program, and for all the accomplishments and growth within the program during their time on the leadership team. They are off to do amazing things this year at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. We are wishing for their continued success, and sending our deepest gratitude.
We are proud to recognize Jenna Travis for their amazing work as the Center’s 2017 Rising Star of the Year. Come help us honor Jenna at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 6th as a part of our celebration of National Coming Out Week. Tickets are available.
As Mayor of Raleigh, Nancy McFarlane has always been there for us. When we needed to file a new permit or secure another service for the huge Out! Raleigh street festival sponsored by the LGBT Center of Raleigh, she made sure we knew exactly how to do that. She has issued many proclamations recognizing the work of our Center. Because she believes in the value of every individual in Raleigh, we’ve always known that she has our back for important issues that affect our Community. So, it is no surprise that Nancy McFarlane is our LGBTQ Ally of the Year.
But there’s more. Long before she became Raleigh’s Mayor in 2011 … at the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, Mayor Nancy experienced first-hand the devastating effect that the HIV virus was having on our Community.
At the time, she worked as a pharmacist for Raleigh Community Hospital (now known as Duke Raleigh North). She watched as healthcare workers panicked in the face of the disease, and it broke her heart. “The mother of a patient sat outside her son’s room,” Mayor Nancy remembers, “and she looked at me … pleading with me to do something for her son. I cried all the way back to the Pharmacy because there was nothing else we could do,” she said. “I have never forgotten that.”
Her husband Ron, also a pharmacist, was on the first board of the AIDS Service Agency and gave at-home care for many who were afflicted. Her daughter did a study abroad in 2004-2005 South Africa at a time when that government refused to acknowledge that the disease affected that country. Our Community’s issues came at her from every direction.
In 2002, after 22 years as a retail and hospital pharmacist, Mayor Nancy launched MedPro Rx, Inc. (now a part of Diplomat Specialty Infusion Group), an accredited specialty infusion pharmacy that provides infusion medications and services to clients with chronic illnesses such as HIV and AIDS. Her compassion for those afflicted continues today.
“It IS North Carolina,” Mayor Nancy says, “and even when I went to France, people wanted to know what was going on with HB2. I had to explain that the City of Raleigh is not the same as the State Government – even though the legislature meets here.” She continues, “Raleigh is the same, loving, accepting city that it has always been. HB2 didn’t change who we are. Having that conversation has been very frustrating.”
“At the same time, HB2 has given us an opportunity to engage with each other and learn about Transgender issues,” she says. “I’ve had conversations with some of our shelters. What do they do? Where do trans kids and adults go? How will the shelters provide for appropriate safety? … These issues matter to us. HB2 has given us the opportunity to educate ourselves about our irrational fears.”
In general, “I think acceptance of the LGBTQ Community is growing in Raleigh,” Mayor Nancy says. “It may be generational in that older people may still have difficulty, but I think that more and more people are standing up for each other in good ways. This is the human rights struggle of our time. It is our responsibility … everyone’s responsibility … not just the LGBTQ Community … to recognize everyone’s value in our community.”
Mayor Nancy McFarlane wants us to be more involved in Raleigh’s community. “The more that LGBTQ people are a part of the larger community, the more that LGBTQ people will be accepted in the larger community,” she acknowledges. “Become a part of the City’s boards and commissions and show that you care about others.”
She continues, “Teach your children not to bully, and teach them to stand up for others when they see something that is not right. Take personal responsibility for every one of us every single day. Reach out to the shelters and other service providers to have conversations. We must learn to treat all people with respect. That’s basic, and that’s what I do and who I am.”
The LGBT Center of Raleigh is proud to honor Nancy McFarlane as our 2017 Ally of the Year. The Award will be presented to her at the LGBT Center’s Annual Awards Gala on Friday, October 6th, 2017 as a part of our celebration of National Coming Out Week. Come help us honor Mayor Nancy at the Gala. Tickets are available.
Through the years, Planned Parenthood has taken pride in providing healthcare services for all their patients in a space where they feel cared for rather than judged. In a recent interview, the Raleigh-based Planned Parenthood South Atlantic CEO, Jenny Black, continually referred to the “radically compassionate care” that they have for all people.
Because of that care, the LGBT Center of Raleigh has named Planned Parenthood South Atlantic as our Organization of the Year for 2017.
“The issues that the LGBTQ community have are inextricably linked to the same issues others face in their effort to become a whole person,” says Jenny Black. “We believe everyone should be treated with the same radically compassionate care. We are especially proud that the Raleigh Center offers hormone replacement therapy and other treatment geared toward helping transgender patients who are on their way to being their authentic selves.”
Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of health care services, taking a broad view of what health care is for the thousands of women, men, and young people who rely on them every year for affordable, non-judgmental health care. Their services include life-saving cancer screenings, breast health care, well-woman exams, STD prevention and treatment, birth control, high-quality abortion care, tubal ligation, vasectomy, and more.
“We try to provide our services to everyone regardless of their ability to pay,” says Jenny. “We don’t want anyone turned away from the radically compassionate care that they need – even if they don’t have insurance.”
They have a three-pronged mission: health care, education, and advocacy. “Some of the people we work with are not patients at all,” she says. “Some are parents. To help them be the best parents possible, we give them the most accurate, non-judgmental, scientific tools that they can use with their children.”
Planned Parenthood provides educational workshops and parent training in community locations throughout the Triangle. Jenny says, “We go where the people need us.”
“It is incredible how resilient the LGBTQ Community remains in the face of all of the opposition that is coming from Washington like the ban on Transgender Service Members. There is still a lot of work to do. In North Carolina, we are battling things on so many fronts. The Bathroom Bill was an example. There will be many more hurdles thrown in front of us. We must keep imagining the world we want to live in and must keep putting in the work to make that happen. It isn’t going to create itself. We must keep working to create that world we want,” Jenny says.
From a recent Planned Parenthood South Atlantic press release...
How can we help Planned Parenthood? Jenny Black says, “I encourage all our supporters to bring us their healthcare needs. Letting us take care of you as a patient would be a privilege. You can also sign up for our action alerts that will let you know when we need you to take legislative action.”
The LGBT Center of Raleigh is proud that Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is our 2017 Organization of the Year. The Award will be presented to them at the LGBT Center’s Annual Awards Gala on Friday, October 6th, 2017 as a part of our celebration of National Coming Out Week. Come help us honor them at the Gala. Tickets are available.
Alex Thomas found his way to the LGBT Center of Raleigh in April 2013 fresh out of college from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. When asked why he wanted to volunteer, Alex responded with, “I want to learn how to be more gay.” Alex is full of witty mannerisms, and if you get the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon volunteering with him, you’ll be sure to cackle.
Alex has donated an incredible 523 hours of his time in the Center. In addition to his regular volunteer hours, early on in his time as a volunteer, Alex took on a program called Single in the City. Alex says he enjoyed running the program and meeting incredible people, but leadership was always going to be an issue for anyone running the program who became romantically involved, as it did with Alex. So after his successful tenure, the program came to a close. And finally, Alex has been a dedicated leader for Out! Raleigh the past four years. Spending two years assisting Holly Owens with Kids Zone and the past two years as Kids Zone Coordinator. Amy Cox from Deep South Entertainment says, “Every year I love working with Alex Thomas on Out! Raleigh. He always creates a safe, but fun Kids Zone. More importantly, Alex is a radiant, joyful person that makes all the hard work more enjoyable.”
For his time at the Center and his heartfelt dedication, Assistant Director Kelly Taylor says, “Alex has shined, like very few other volunteers. He has a matchless charm, the ability to make working hard for a great cause fun, and an exceptional sense of humor. The Center has been fortunate to have Alex around for the last five years, and many of us are grateful to call him our friend."
Alex says when it comes to volunteering at the Center, “I don’t think about not doing it.” Volunteering has become habitual for Alex, something that is simply a part of his life. We appreciate his unwavering commitment, and the Center is awarding Alex, Volunteer of the Year. Thank you for including your volunteer time in your normal routine, and thank you for the genuine joy you bring to the Center.
We are proud to recognize Alex Thomas for his awesome work as the Center’s 2017 Center Volunteer of the Year. Come help us honor Alex at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 6th as a part of our celebration of National Coming Out Week. Tickets are available.
Holly Owens began donating her time at the LGBT Center of Raleigh back when Amendment One was causing mayhem in the community. She was a nervous ally who simply wanted to help her LGBTQ friends, and has since created a place for herself and other allies by running and maintaining the Raleigh Allies program at the Center. Because of her commitment to the program, the Center, and the community, we are awarding her Program Volunteer of the Year.
Holly has been a dedicated ally to the community for several years, and she has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of volunteers. She is quick to give credit to the other amazing volunteers who have helped with Raleigh Allies, but because of her dedication, the program exists today. All because she felt it was necessary for allies to feel comfortable fighting beside us.
Jeremy Billow, a Raleigh Allies alum, had this to say about his time working with Holly, “Holly’s ability to go out of the comfort zone of what she knows and into the unknown is what made me work with her on Raleigh Allies. I was consistently amazed by her ability to reach out to people whom she may not have anything in common with, learn from them, and then use what she learned to help serve them and others. Her drive to not only learn, but to do something to improve herself and her community is what makes her the ideal ally.”
Holly has a passion for educating those outside of the LGBTQ community, because with education, we have more understanding. That is her commitment in working with Raleigh Allies, to make it easy and comfortable for people who want to learn, and to create a path for those people to become allies. Holly has dedicated a lot of time to this program, and she has still found time to run the Kids Zone at Out! Raleigh and help with the ASPYRE Camp for our Youth. James Miller, the Center’s Executive Director, says “Holly has been one of the most dedicated and loving people in our Center. She has given her time unselfishly to many different programs. Her smile is infectious and her personality can immediately build trust.”
“We could not choose a better person to represent the values that the Center stands for: Love, Trust, and Empathy.” -- James Miller
We are proud to recognize Holly Owens for her amazing work as the Center’s 2017 Program Volunteer of the Year. Come help us honor Holly at the LGBT Center of Raleigh Awards Gala on Friday, October 6th as a part of our celebration of National Coming Out Week. Tickets are available.