A photo of trans activist Monica Roberts standing at a podium in front of a screen that reads Educate Out Loud

Rainbow Rundown: Pioneering trans activist Monica Roberts passes, N.C. student suicide risk rises, PFLAG Charlotte shares stories

Welcome to your sixth edition of the Rainbow Rundown, Charlotte Pride’s end-of-week recap of LGBTQ news, arts, entertainment, upcoming events and more. If you missed last week’s edition, check it out here and read about some of the changes we’ve started implementing and how you can contribute and get involved.

In this issue of the Rainbow Rundown:

  • Pioneering trans activist, journalist Monica Roberts passes
  • PFLAG Charlotte shares families’ stories
  • N.C. student survey shows increased risk of suicidal ideation, attempts for LGBTQ youth
  • News from around the country and world
  • Local and regional news spotlight
  • Upcoming events

Pioneering trans activist, journalist Monica Roberts passes

A photo of trans activist Monica Roberts standing at a podium in front of a screen that reads Educate Out Loud

Monica Roberts, a pioneering transgender activist and journalist from Houston, Texas, passed away this week — news that broke yesterday to a stunned LGBTQ community across the nation.

Well-known as the TransGriot — which was also the name of her GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and her YouTube series — Roberts made a national name for herself as a fiercely outspoken and unapologetic advocate for all LGBTQ people, but most especially for Black trans women. Roberts, who was 58 at the time of her passing on Monday, founded her blog in 2006 and wrote on trans issues long before many mainstream, or even queer, news publications were doing so.

Accolades, condolences and remembrances have poured in from all corners of the community, from high-ranking leaders of the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups to community members whose lives were touched personally by Roberts.

Read obituaries and remembrances of Monica at:

A personal note from the author: I first met Monica virtually as a young college student through a network of LGBTQ bloggers, and we often contributed to the same national LGBTQ blog, Bilerico. In my youth, Monica forcefully and unapologetically confronted my internalized racism and biases — our war of words via competing blog posts naturally resulted in a win for Monica and a personal embarrassment for me. I’d eventually meet Monica and come to respect her not just as a journalistic colleague, but more importantly, as a hero and visionary. I’m eternally grateful for Monica’s leadership and the many values she taught me through her work, her writing, and her example. I am an immeasurably better advocate, better writer, and better all-around human because of her, and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. Rest in Power, Monica. — Matt Comer

PFLAG Charlotte shares three families’ stories


In a new video released on YouTube this week, PFLAG Charlotte interviews and shares the stories of three local families and their journeys of affirmation.

Featured in the short film are families previously profiled on PFLAG Charlotte’s blog. Learn more about them via the video above and click over to read their stories below:

Want to learn more about PFLAG Charlotte? Click here to visit their website.

N.C. student survey shows increased suicidal ideation, risk for LGBTQ youth

An information slide showing different risk levels for suicidal behaviors among youth.

Recently released data from a statewide survey of students in North Carolina shows an increasing risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among the state’s high school students.

The data comes from the state Board of Education and its most recent statewide youth risk behavior survey, conducted in 2019.

Of most concern is rising suicidal ideation and other risks. After slightly decreasing in two prior years, the number of students seriously considering suicide jumped three percent in 2019.

The risk was also significantly higher for LGBTQ youth. While 16 percent of non-LGBTQ students reported seriously considering suicide, that number was nearly triple — at 44 percent — for LGBTQ youth, who also had significantly higher risks of attempted suicides and suicide attempts which resulted in serious medical care.

Read more on the survey in a full report by EdNC.

News from around the country and world

Local and regional news spotlight

Upcoming Events

Free legal services offered for LGBTQ community

The North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, Bank of America, Duke Energy and McGuireWoods are partnering to provide LGBTQ+ community members and their supporters with preparing healthcare powers of attorney and living wills remotely and free of charge.

These documents enable you to convey your healthcare decisions in advance should you become incapacitated or unable to communicate your wishes to your healthcare provider.

A document that allows you to designate a healthcare agent (someone who will make decisions about your healthcare when you are unable to do so).

A document that provides your instructions to your doctors to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging measures in certain end-of-life circumstances.

If you are interested in participating in this project, go to the link below: http://bit.ly/adp-form.

The deadline for completing this form, and participating in this project, is October 16, 2020. We will contact you and provide clinic details once we receive and review interest forms.

For questions about the project, please contact Brandon Cole at 704 343 2154 or bcole@mcguirewoods.com.


Sunday, October 11, 7pm
Via Facebook Live

Black LGBTQIA, Do you think your vote don’t count? Lets Talk!!! Hear why we need to Vote the whole ballot and understand the voting process. For this important Sunday Conversation we welcome three prominent Black Woman leaders to help you understand why your vote matters. If your vote didn’t matter, they wouldn’t try so hard to suppress it! Moderated by former Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield with guests Collette Alston of the African American Caucus of Mecklenburg County and Kendra Johnson of Equality NC.

Queer and Trans Latinx Power Hour – GOTV

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 2PM PT / 5PM ET
A national dialogue on the Queer and Trans Latinx power to mobilize the community and Get Out The Vote.
Hosted by Latino Equality Alliance, Hispanic Federation, Unión=Fuerza Latinx Institute, Los Angeles Blade, and Washington Blade

Free Virtual Event. Register online here.

This free nationwide virtual event will feature a panel discussion including Charlotte Pride President Daniel Valdez as a panelist. Valdez is also the director of North Carolina and Mid-South Operations for the Hispanic Federation.

The panel’s moderator is Tony Lima of Arianna’s Center of Florida and other panelists include:

  • Maria Roman-Taylorson, Vice President & Chief Operation Officer, TransLatin@ Coalition
  • Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Deputy Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
  • Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
  • Louie Ortiz Fonseca, Founder, The Gran Varones Project

Learn more on Facebook


Wednesday, October 14, 7pm
Via Zoom – Click here to register for free
Click here for more detailed event information

Park Road Books hosts a Q&A with three young adult novelists, with each author exploring topics ranging from their LGBTQ characters to race, intergenerational trauma, and feminism. Authors at this event include Charlotte-based Adam Sass, Raleigh-based Tracy Deonn, and Durham-based Nita Tyndall.

Adam Sass’ book, Surrender Your Sons, is about a boy sent to a conversion camp, and “…while the narrative does explore queer pain, family rejection, depression, emotional and physical trauma. Surrender Your Sons more importantly celebrates queer strength and resilience. Connor is a strong, brave, and confident protagonist in an alarming situation, backed up by a richly developed cast of supporting characters, fighting against an enemy straight out of the headlines.”( American Library Association).

Nita Tyndall’s book, Who I Was With Her, is about a girl who is bisexual but is not ready for everyone to know, the book alternates between the time following her secret girlfriend’s untimely death and their time spent secretly together, focusing a lot on how she is forced to grieve in secret. This realistic fiction focuses on bisexuality, identity, and gender norms.

Lastly, Tracy Deonn’s book, Legendborn, focuses heavily on topics such as institutional racism, intergenerational trauma, and feminism. The book’s narrative is a blending of Arthurian legend and traditions of the African American South set at UNC Chapel Hill.

Live Q&A with Kareem Tabsch

Director of “Mucho Mucho Amor”
Wednesday, October 21, 7pm
Live viewing links to scheduled broadcasts coming soon

Kareem Tabsch is a documentary filmmaker whose storytelling focuses on documenting that which exists on the fringes of mainstream society. His feature films include Mucho Mucho Amor (2020) and The Last Resort (2018). Tabsch work has been included at prestigious festivals like Sundance, SXSW HotDocs, and been featured in outlets like The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and NPR among others. He is a recipient of the 2020 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, was named a ’40 under 40′ Documentary filmmaker by DocNYC, America’s largest documentary film festival and was the recipient of the Knight Arts Champion award for his contribution to South Florida’s film culture. Tabsch is a first-generation American of Latino and Middle Eastern descent. He lives and works in Miami, FL.

You can contribute to the Charlotte Pride Blog! Plus, ways to provide event information and news tips

We always welcome your contributions and additions — particularly on upcoming local and regional events, as well as news tips. As we continue building our online and virtual programming, our goal is to drastically increase the ways and frequency with which we are sharing local experiences and stories. With that in mind, we’ve created opportunities for you to either contribute your own written pieces/essays/artwork/etc. or to easily and quickly provide us information on upcoming events or news tips.