Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey stands to the right of Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson.

Rainbow Rundown: Task Force’s first Black leader, Trans woman shot, Boystown is no more, Upcoming events

Oh! Wow! A whole month! We are so happy to welcome to your fourth installment of the Rainbow Rundown, Charlotte Pride’s weekly recap and review of important, engaging, and timely LGBTQ news, arts, entertainment, upcoming community events, and more. Here, you’ll find recaps from local, regional, national, and international sources to round out your week. (Read our first installment from the beginning of September to learn more about the Rainbow Rundown and why we’ve started this series.)

In this issue of the Rainbow Rundown:

  • Task Force appoints first Black executive director
  • Trans woman in Pennsylvania shot 16 times by police
  • ‘Boystown’ neighborhood name is no more — sorta
  • News from around the country and world
  • Local and regional news spotlight
  • Upcoming community events

Task Force appoints first Black executive director

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey stands to the right of Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, left, and Deputy Executive Director and incoming Executive Director Kierra Johnson, left. Photo Credit: The Task Force.

The National LGBTQ Task Force announced this week that longtime executive director Rea Carey will be stepping down from her role in early 2021. Stepping into the role will be current deputy executive director Kierra Johnson. The announcement makes history, as Johnson will be the first Black executive director at the nearly 50-year-old organization. Johnson’s appointment to lead the second of the country’s two primary national LGBTQ civil rights groups follows the Human Rights Campaign’s historic appointment of Alphonso David as their president. Like Johnson at The Task Force, David is the first Black person to lead HRC.

Carey joined The Task Force in 2003 as a senior strategist, then deputy executive director, and then took on the executive director role in 2008.

Johnson has served as deputy executive director since 2018.

In announcing the transition, Johnson said, in a press release:

“I am thrilled to join the long, proud legacy of the many powerful activists that have led this amazing organization. While the world grapples with the convergence of so many storms rooted in injustice, we are proud to stand at the center as an LGBTQ+ voice across our many identities and issues. I am inspired by the multitudes of Black, Brown and Indigenous people that have unapologetically claimed space, power and influence to make change so desperately needed for our communities. I am moved to action by the defiance, creativity and persistence of transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, bisexual, and intersex people that push us to demand a world where we all thrive. The Task Force will work to create a world where checking boxes is obsolete, but health, wellness, equity, justice, joy and pleasure are accessible to everyone. I look forward to building on the powerful legacy of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Through devastating defeats and glorious victories, the Task Force has always been there for our entire community. Whether we are in the streets or in the halls of Congress, we will lead and leverage our LGBTQ+ power alongside our allies and colleagues to rebuild our democracy, combat discrimination in all forms, and ensure economic stability and equity for all.”

Founded in 1973, The Task Force is the oldest national LGBTQ civil rights organization. Among its founders were key, early LGBTQ leaders and visionaries, including Dr. Howard Brown, Martin Duberman, Barbara Gittings, Ron Gold, Frank Kameny, Nathalie Rockhill and Bruce Voeller.

Read the full announcement from The Task Force.

Pennsylvania trans woman shot 16 times by police

Family members of Roxanne Moore, a 29-year-old Black trans woman in Reading, Penn., and local activists are decrying the actions of local police, after an altercation between Moore and police led to her being shot 16 times. Moore is in a local hospital and fighting for her life, say family members.

The incident took place on Sept. 13, but activists and family members held a rally this week after the Berks County District Attorney said the shooting was a “justified use of force.”

Moore is known to local police and she has a history of mental health challenges. She was shot 16 times by local officers after she fled an apartment with a gun. The gun had a safety lock on it and was inoperable.

Activists say police overreacted.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Jane Palmer, one of the speakers at the rally, told the Reading Eagle why she was supporting someone who had apparently committed a crime.

“Let me tell you.” Palmer said. “It’s because we see in their treatment centuries of racism and homophobia, and we have had enough. Do Black people ever get the benefit of the doubt in a situation involving the police? Add trans or gender-nonconforming on top of that, and you’re in real trouble.”

“We’re here today for Roxanne, who is, at this very moment, still in the hospital in critical condition because of who she is: a Black trans woman,” Palmer added. “Any one of those things, being Black, being trans, being a woman, would make her vulnerable, but she lives at the intersection of all three.”

The three cops involved in Moore’s shooting will return to work.

‘Boystown’ neighborhood name is no more — sorta

A photo of public art with the rainbow flag on a sculpture in Chicago's Northalsted neighborhood.

Photo by Ryan, via Flickr. Licensed Creative Commons.

The world-famous Chicago queer neighborhood long known as Boystown is no more — at least in local marketing efforts.

The local business association in the neighborhood announced this week that it would drop the name in all its marketing efforts and switch to calling the neighborhood Northalsted and promoted as “Chicago’s Proudest Neighborhood.”

GoPride.com reports:

The announcement follows a three-month online survey – answered by 7,890 people – that was generated by Northalsted Business Alliance in the wake of a petition calling for a name change.

The Change.org petition was created in June by local activist Devlyn Camp and has received 1,508 signatures to date. Subsequently, 2,138 people have signed a second petition created by Lakeview resident Blake Taylor in support of the Boystown moniker.

“The announcement is a necessary first step forward toward inclusivity,” Camp, who has been critical of area business owners, told GoPride.com. “How will the [Northalsted Business Alliance] continue to implement systemic changes that reflect this, specifically in their own businesses?”

Of those taking the survey, 58% favored keeping the Boystown moniker and 80% did not feel unwelcome by the name. Those identifying as lesbian, transgender, non-binary and queer primarily favored the name change, according to the survey.

Neighborhood officials told other local media that it was time for a change, according to LGBTQ Nation, which also reports on the history of the neighborhood’s challenges with racism and transphobia.

“It definitely felt like we should be doing something about it,” Northalsted Business Alliance spokesperson Jen Gordon told Chicago Tribune. “If (the name Boystown) was making even a small percentage of people feel uncomfortable, it’s not something we should be using to promote the neighborhood.”

The official name of the neighborhood was recognized in 1997 by the city of Chicago, so any official name change will be left with city planners and the city officials.

News from around the country and world

Local and Regional News Spotlight

Upcoming Events

All events listed below are online/virtual.

ImaginOn Family Storytime: Freedom to Read Week!

Monday, September 28, 2020
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Click here for more information and to register

You’re never too young to celebrate the first amendment, we say! Libraries all across America celebrate Freedom to Read Week each year, in support of free expression and the dangers of censorship. In honor of this year’s celebration, which takes place on September 27 – October 3, 2020, we’re providing programming for a variety of ages. If you have a little one age 0-5, you are welcome to join our special Banned Books storytime, where we will be reading age-appropriate picture books like And Tango Makes Three or This Day in June or Prince & Knight that have been banned or challenged in other communities for their representation of gay and trans characters. We invite you to join us virtually with an open heart and an open mind for a gentle storytime celebration of acceptance and free expression.

Charlotte Film Festival

Now through September 27, 2020
Click here for the full film guide

The annual Charlotte Film Festival, presented by the Charlotte Film Society, runs online this weekend! Among the dozens of films being presented are several short and feature-length films with LGBTQ storylines, themes, and characters, among them:

A Dim Valley: A curmudgeonly biologist and his slacker graduate assistants muddle their way through a summer research project. Deep in the Appalachian woods, they encounter a trio of mystical backpackers who change their lives in mysterious ways.

Faraway, so close: A young man relies on the support of his greatest ally in order to live the excitements of a double life.

Pasture: Banished and “unnatural”, Levis and Giles must learn to adapt to a secular world.

Pridezilla: Gabe, Alli, and Evan are three twenty-something New Yorkers preparing for the biggest Pride parade of their lifetimes. Join our fab friends as they roll with the punches and learn the true meaning of Pride in this very queer comedy of errors with a healthy dose of camp, sass, and heart.

Surviving the Silence: The Untold Story Of Two Women In Love Who Helped Change Military Policy: Surviving the Silence is the powerful, untold story of the quiet heroism of Col. Patsy Thompson who headed the military board tasked with the expulsion of highly decorated Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer in 1992 for being a lesbian.

Swindled: After a year of being single, Darius reluctantly agrees to go on a blind date. When the mystery guest arrives, it’s not who anyone envisioned…or is it?

Cocoon: In the heat of a shimmering summer, Nora falls for Romy and discovers a whole new world.

Tender: After an unexpected one night stand, two women at very different stages of their lives, share an even more intimate morning after.

Click here to see the full film guide.

LGBTQ Law and Practice in North Carolina

Thursday, October 1
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Click here for more information and to register

Presented in partnership with the Mecklenburg Bar, PFLAG Charlotte, and Moore & Van Allen PLLC, this special event includes several speakers who will address relevant federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies impacting employment, healthcare, education and more. A panel of local attorneys will discuss what is happening in their organizations and share perspectives on how to be effective and educated advocates for clients. Among the speakers are Equality North Carolina’s Ames Simmons and local LGBTQ attorney and community leader Connie Vetter.

At the Intersection of Faith & LGBTQ Identities, with Bishop Tonyia Rawls

Saturday, October 3, 2020
1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Click here for more information and to register for free

PFLAG Charlotte invites you to our third annual conversation At the Intersection of Faith and LGBTQ Identities! All are welcome! Bishop Tonyia Rawls leads off the event with an inspirational keynote address. Event Moderator, O’Neale Atkinson, Time Out Youth’s Interim Executive Director, will introduce interactive table group discussions, followed by a moderated Q&A with Bishop Rawls. We can’t wait to “see” you! Tickets are FREE. Please plan to attend “live” as this session will not be recorded.


Don’t forget: Charlotte Pride is truly 365! There are several ways you can get involved in the work we do throughout the year. Check out our recent blog post on ways to get involved this fall and throughout the year!

Want to get involved specifically with our increasing online content and blog coverage? We are looking to increase our online news, commentary, and community features on the Charlotte Pride Blog, as part of our continued digital programming through the fall. Are you a freelancer, commentator, essayist, or other writer and want to contribute? Email us at media@charlottepride.org and we’d be happy to chat about opportunities to contribute! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and bookmark our website’s news section to get the latest updates.