LGBTQ Articles

Trans Facts #2

By Jay Corprew.

Trans FlagToday’s Transfacts are brought to you by the salty assumptions of cis people.

1. Did you know the brain of a trans person matches their gender and has been proven through brain scans and a variety of other technology? Let me clarify more: If you took images of my brain through an MRI, it would look just like other cis male’s brain image scans. Why? Because we are the gender we say we are! Shocking.

Read more: Trans Facts #2

How Can Norfolk Be More LGBT Friendly?

Cathleen Rhodes and Barbara James
Cathleen Rhodes and Barbara James answer questions from the audience.

“How can Norfolk be more LGBT friendly?” was the topic of a town hall panel discussion at the Hershee Bar on Thursday, August 2, 2018. LGBT citizens and Hershee Bar supporters showed up as part of an ongoing campaign to save the bar.  Earlier this year the Norfolk City Council made plans to buy the building where the Hershee Bar is located.  This plan will displace the bar at the end of October this year.  Hershee’s or HB’s, as the bar is known, has been an institution in the local LGBT community for over 35 years and is one of the oldest traditionally Lesbian bars in the country.  The Norfolk City Council has no immediate plans for the site, and many believe that homophobia might play a role in the City Council’s decision to buy and demolish the bar.

"We are fighting the bravest fight I’ve ever seen."

Thursday’s town hall meeting at HB’s was moderated by Nicole Carry.  Carry thanked folks “who took the time to show up and care.”  Annette Stone, co-owner of the bar, also thanked folks for showing up at the City Council meetings and for their support.  She said that she found out about the city’s deal in February and that it wasn’t communicated to her in an appropriate way.  She said as she investigated the situation further that she was lied to and given the runaround. She believes that “we are fighting the bravest fight I’ve ever seen.”  She went on to say of LGBT acceptance “We’ve come very far, but we have a long way to go.”

Read more: How Can Norfolk Be More LGBT Friendly?

Hampton Roads Pride Celebrates Its Volunteers

Hula Dancing
This year's volunteer party featured a Luau theme. Fawn Faulks and Juan Alonzo, Jr. learn the hula dance.

On Monday, July 30, 2018, Hampton Roads Pride held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Party.  The event is always held shortly after the Hampton Roads PrideFest to celebrate those volunteers who helped during the PrideFest, Pride Week, and throughout the year.

This year’s party featured a Luau theme.  Guests were able to partake of Hawaiian themed food, to get drinks from the bar, and there was also cake.  Hampton Roads Pride’s newest promotional video was unveiled.  Later in the evening, folks were encouraged to learn how to hula dance.

Read more: Hampton Roads Pride Celebrates Its Volunteers

Conversation Continues Over Hershee Bar at Norfolk City Council Meeting

Cathleen Rhodes
Cathleen Rhodes, ODU Queer Studies instructor and founder of the Tidewater Queer History Project, steps down from the podium.

For a third time, supporters of the Hershee Bar converged on the Norfolk City Council to challenge the city's redevelopment plans that will result in the bar closing its doors in October.  After the regular business of the June 24, 2013 City Council meeting, supporters continued to tell their stories.  These stories included heartfelt anecdotes about how the bar has been a safe place for LGBTQ persons in a world that even today isn't always safe for these people to be themselves. Hershee's and other LGBTQ bars have provided shelter for folks who can't safely walk down the street holding hands with their partners, whose families might reject them, who might be turned away by their churches, and who might be questioning their sexuality and self-worth with nowhere else to turn. Others challenged how future historians might view the Norfolk City Council decades later for forcing this historically Lesbian bar to close.  Some City Council members were noticeably moved by these testimonies showing expressions of empathy and concern.

Read more: Conversation Continues Over Hershee Bar at Norfolk City Council Meeting

Are you Guilty of Bi Erasure?

Bisexual FlagBisexual erasure is the tendency to deny the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality and bisexual individuals.  The most common forms of bi erasure include simply ignoring bisexual identity, and also believing that bisexuals are going through a phase and that they will eventually realize they are either homosexual or heterosexual. Extreme forms of bi erasure involve denial that bisexuality actually exists, removing or falsifying evidence of bisexuality from history, and ignoring bisexuals in the news media (even in the LGBT media). 

Read more: Are you Guilty of Bi Erasure?

Equality Virginia Hosts Transgender Event in Norfolk

Participating organizations included PFLAG and the YWCA.
Participating organizations included PFLAG and the YWCA.

On July 21, 2018, Equality Virginia hosted a TIES Pop-up at the Slover Library in Norfolk. TIES stands for Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit. The event was co-hosted by the Transgender Assistance Program and the Slover Library. Other Pop-ups have been scheduled for Winchester (July 14) and Roanoke (July 28). A statewide TIES conference is scheduled for October 20 in Richmond.

Read more: Equality Virginia Hosts Transgender Event in Norfolk

Gay Voices and Gay Coded Villians

Photo from the Wikimedia Commons.

Why do so many animated villains have stereotypical gay voices and mannerisms?

That’s something you may have noticed but not really thought much about.

A 2014 documentary titled “Do I sound gay?” by David Thorpe explored a surprising number of animated villains with gay voices and mannerisms, and apparently a thing for extravagant hats.  Disney films were mentioned specifically, but Disney isn’t the only studio to do this. 

Read more: Gay Voices and Gay Coded Villians

Trans Facts #1

Transgender Pride FlagBy Jay Corprew.

Welcome to TransFacts! These are facts about anything and everything transgender and gender nonconforming related.

1. Transitioning to us means becoming who we truly are,not becoming someone entirely new. It means no more lying or acting. Transitioning to us is finally living. It’s not always about hormones, surgeries, or clothing changes. It’s having self-confidence. It’s personal growth. And with that can come struggles. Those around us also go through a transition. This is new to us just like it’s new to you. Be kind. You know not to disturb a butterfly cocoon. So try to do the same with us.

Read more: Trans Facts #1

Norfolk City Council Accused of Homophobia in Hershee Bar Buyout

Mary James
Mary James was one of those speaking out on behalf of the Hershee Bar

On July 10, 2018, the “LGBTQ City Hall Takeover” continued in support of Norfolk’s Hershee bar.  Back in February, the Norfolk City Council voted unanimously to purchase the bar as part of the city’s revitalization plan for the Five Points neighborhood.  The vote was taken with no public discussion or mention of the Hershee Bar.  The Hershee Bar is an iconic Lesbian bar owned by Annette Stone and Bill Tyndall.  It celebrated its 35th Anniversary back in March of this year. Concerned citizens and Hershee Bar supporters held their first rally in support of the bar at the Norfolk City Council meeting on, June 26. 

At the July 10 City Council meeting, folks continued speaking out on behalf of the Hershee Bar and its owners.  Some folks are questioning whether the decision to demolish the building comes from a place of homophobia and LGBT discrimination.  Annette Stone previously went on record stating her belief that the redevelopment plan is an effort to “sanitize” the area.  City Council Woman, Mamie B. Johnson of Norfolk Ward 3, where the Hershee Bar resides, was especially singled out for possible homophobia.  Johnson was absent from the June 26 meeting and in a recent Facebook post, a Norfolk citizen, Alma Kesling, congratulated Johnson on her reelection and asked her to “save a landmark in our community, the Hershee Lounge.”  Johnson replied with three sad face "laughing so hard you cry" emoji’s. 

Read more: Norfolk City Council Accused of Homophobia in Hershee Bar Buyout

Alternative Pride Picnic Offers a Relaxed Day in the Park

Alternative Pride PicnicAlternatives HR held our 2nd annual “Alternative Pride Picnic” on Saturday, July 7, 2018.   The picnic was started last year to offer an Alternative pride event that is non-corporate and focused on the local community.  The picnic also offers a safe space for marginalized folks within the LGBTQ community, as well as others who are not quite mainstream.

It was a perfect day for a picnic. Unlike the extremely hot day at the Hampton Roads PrideFest the weekend before, temperatures were mild in the upper 70s.  While the morning rain showers may have turned some folks away, the rain was over by the time the picnic started at noon.  The day was mostly cloudy though the sun did peek out in the afternoon.  A cool breeze also kept the weather mild.

Read more: Alternative Pride Picnic Offers a Relaxed Day in the Park

Therapy for Black Girls: Bringing Mental Health to Light

Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D.
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D.

For centuries, black women have been superheroes in their families, communities, and beyond. With the various hurdles they face daily, sometimes mental peace can be compromised. Addressing one’s mental health illness in the black community and utilizing resources is usually avoided in fear of being labeled as “crazy” or weak because of the need of another individual having to step in and help. In honor of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to shed light on a resource that has helped me destress and not feel alone in my own issues: Therapy for Black Girls.

Read more: Therapy for Black Girls: Bringing Mental Health to Light

Not Another PrideFest Review Part 2

PrideFest Volunteers
That’s me in the middle. Also pictured: Janet Wrenn Moore (former Hampton Roads Pride Board member), Yolanda from KMK Productions, and another Pridefest volunteer. Photo by David Coffman.

This is not another PrideFest review.  While I'd originally planned to write one, I've decided to take a different approach this time around.  It might have begun with commentary on the lack of thunderstorms at PrideFest this year (instead we got sweltering heat) and ended with kudos for showrunner Jussie Smollett, Grand Marshal Tona Brown, the Hampton Roads Pride Board, and all the little people who helped make the event run smoothly – or at least as smoothly as possible.  This year I was one of those little people volunteering, and I thought I'd share why.

Read more: Not Another PrideFest Review Part 2

Not Another PrideFest Review Part 1

PrideFest 2018This is not another PrideFest review.  I’ve written a number of PrideFest reviews over the years and I’ve decided to do something different this time around.  It’s hard to follow up on last year’s comprehensive take on Pride month as featured in the Alternatives HR Fall 2017 Quarterly.  Also I volunteered at PrideFest this year.  Between volunteering and feeling a bit ill in the sweltering heat, I didn’t get to take in as much as I normally would this year.  I was disappointed I didn’t feel well enough to stay for the live concert by Jussie Smollett, and some of the other performers and activities that took place later in the day.

Rather than doing a full review, I’ve decided to share photos of a few things I liked during the time I was there.  I’ll also be writing a second part to this article about why I thought it was important to volunteer this year.

Read more: Not Another PrideFest Review Part 1

Crafty Queens Invade O’Connor Brewery

Bartender serves them upPride Week continued on Thursday, June 28, 2018, with an event at O’Connor Brewery on 24th Street in Norfolk.  The O’Connor’s venue has become a staple of Pride Week over the past several years.  The event was laid back and mostly social.  Folks had their choice of beverages including ‘Crafty Queen Shandies’ made especially for this event.  There were also two food trucks on hand – Captain Crabby and New York Souvlaki.  DJ Matty provided music while Mercedes Douglas and her Drag Race Girls provided entertainment.  There was also a 50/50 with proceeds benefiting Hampton Roads Pride.

Read more: Crafty Queens Invade O’Connor Brewery

Summer Block Party Held in Honor of National HIV Testing Day

Jacqueline and LaDell
Jacqueline and LaDell staff the information table and prize wheel.

The LGBT Life Center and LIFE held a Summer Block Party in honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 28, 2018.  The block party was held at the LGBT Life Center’s offices at 1001 Monticello Avenue in Norfolk, not to be confused with the LGBT Life Center’s community center on 24th Street. The LGBT Life Center serves the greater Hampton Roads LGBT community.  LIFE stands for “Leaders Involved in Futures and Empowerment.”  The program is for young Black males who have sex with other men regardless of how they label themselves.  The program promotes safe, healthy relationships, and personal growth.

Read more: Summer Block Party Held in Honor of National HIV Testing Day

Pride Interfaith Celebration is Truly Diverse

Pride CenterpieceOn June 26, 2018, the Hampton Roads LGBTQAI Interfaith Group held their 6th Annual Interfaith Celebration as part of Pride Week.  The group is made of local faith communities “who are part of and/or supportive/welcoming/affirming/friends/allies of the LGBTQAI Greater Community.” Unlike many interfaith celebrations that only feature various Christian denominations and cisgender white folks, this event is always truly diverse.  Besides the Christians, there was representation from the local Pagan community and a Jewish Rabbi also spoke at the event.  There were People of Color and even a Transgender soloist / guitarist.  The event was held at the New Life Metropolitan Community Church of Norfolk.

Read more: Pride Interfaith Celebration is Truly Diverse

Rally Tonight in Support of the Hershee Bar

I Am Hershee BarA rally is set to take place tonight, June 26, 2018, at the Norfolk City Government offices in support of the Hershee Bar.  The Norfolk City Council voted to purchase the Hershee Bar as part of the city’s revitalization plan for the Five Points neighborhood.  The Hershee Bar is set to close its doors on October 31.  In the meantime, the bar is looking for a new home.

Read more: Rally Tonight in Support of the Hershee Bar

Rainbow Pride Flag Celebrates 40th Anniversary Today

Pride Flag
Pride flag image from the Wikimedia commons.

The Rainbow Flag, also known as the Pride Flag and Gay Pride Flag, is a symbol of LGBTQ pride. The colors reflect the diversity within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of pride in LGBTQ rights marches and parades. The Rainbow Flag was originally designed and hand dyed by San Francisco artist and drag queen Gilbert Baker in 1978. It first flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

Read more: Rainbow Pride Flag Celebrates 40th Anniversary Today

Pride Kicks off at Chrysler

HR Pride Board
Hampton Roads Board members pose for a photo. Left to Right: David Coffman, Rudy Almanzor (Secretary), and Fawn Faulks (President).

Hampton Roads Pride kicked off its official Pride week activities with an evening at the Chrysler Museum on June 21, 2018.  The event took place as part of the Chrysler Museum’s Third Thursday programming.  The party included socializing, a selection of food, a cash drink bar, and music.  Musical guests included Melody & Company, Ju Ju Drum, and other performers.  Folks could tour the museum, make their own mini Pride flags, and get their picture taken by the LOVE sculpture in front of the museum.  Other props, masks, and signs were spread about inside for folks to create their own photos.  Bhav Brigade Hampton Roads was on hand to support Pride and International Yoga Day with an all-levels vinyasa flow on the Chrysler Museum lawn.

Read more: Pride Kicks off at Chrysler

Pride Events 2018

PrideFest Boat Parade
The Pride Boat Parade is a PrideFest favorite. Photo by Mel Mystery.

This year’s official Pride activities extend beyond the typical week.  Unofficially Pride month kicked off with the LGBT Life Center’s Reel It Out Queer Film Festival, June 7-10, will reach a climax at the official Hampton Roads PrideFest on June 30, and will be capped off with our own Alternative Pride Picnic on July 7. In between, there are a number of Pride month events - both official and unofficial.

Is it a Pride week, a Pride month, or a Pride fortnight?  We’re not really sure, but here’s your guide to this year’s official and unofficial Pride events.  We’ve also included a few other causes and LGBTQ events of note that are happening during this time.

For more details on each event and to see a comprehensive listing of LGBTQ and other “alternative” events in Hampton Roads , please check out the calendars on the Alternatives HR website (  We’ve been maintaining our calendars since 2013.

Read more: Pride Events 2018

Reel It Out Queer Film Festival Kicks Off Pride Month

Reel It Out Film FestivalHampton Roads LGBT Life Center will kick off LGBT Pride month with their 5th annual Reel It Out Queer Film Festival June 7-10, 2018.  The festival celebrates “the lifestyle, struggles, joys, and hardships of the Queer community through the world of film and media.”

Films are chosen to reflect the Queer community, and not to accommodate mainstream audiences or to cater to the “status quo.” 

Read more: Reel It Out Queer Film Festival Kicks Off Pride Month

How Gentrification and Mainstreaming Hurt the LGBTQ Community, Part 2

Stonewall wasn't a Brand NameMainstreaming is the act of incorporating a social or cultural group into the mainstream society, but it is also the adopting of mainstream values and sensibilities by that same social or cultural group.

The modern LGBTQ movement is said to have begun with the Stonewall Riot that started on June 27, 1969.  At the time, it was common for gay bars to be raided by police and it was also common for those who frequented those bars to have their lives destroyed when their names were printed in the newspapers the following day.  On that particular night at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, a handful of Drag Queens, Transgender people, sex workers, and other folks resisted the police and a movement was born.

Read more: How Gentrification and Mainstreaming Hurt the LGBTQ Community, Part 2

How Gentrification and Mainstreaming Hurt the LGBTQ Community, Part 1

GentrificationGentrification is the process where upper and upper-middle income individuals, organizations, and businesses assert upper and upper-middle class values, standards, and expenses on a neighborhood or community, often displacing low income and marginalized individuals, organizations, and businesses.

LGBTQ gentrification benefits from and perpetuates the myth that all LGBTQ people are affluent, cultured in the arts, and unhampered by the costs and responsibilities of raising children.  This myth worked well to garner support from corporate America looking for untapped markets of potential customers. While this myth may be true for some, the privilege doesn’t extend to a large number in our community. 

Read more: How Gentrification and Mainstreaming Hurt the LGBTQ Community, Part 1

Equality Virginia Targets Virginia Beach

James Parrish facilitatesJames Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, facilitated a community meeting with Virginia Beach citizens on May 22, 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. According to Equality Virginia, the support of certain Virginia Beach state delegates is crucial to passing LGBT nondiscrimination protections in Virginia's state legislature in January 2019. This meeting began a campaign toward that end. The next meeting in Virginia Beach is planned for July.

[Photo and caption by David Coffman.]

What is Pansexuality?

Pansexual Flag
The Pansexual Flag

May 24 is Pansexual Visibility Day.  So what exactly is a pansexual? Pansexuals are individuals who are sexually, romantically, and emotionally attracted to other individuals regardless of their biological sex, gender, or gender identity.  Pansexuality is slightly different from standard bisexuality.  Bisexuals are attracted to both men and women.  Pansexual folks are open to relationships with people who do not strictly identify as male or female.   Pansexual attraction includes attraction to cisgender, transgender, intersex, gender-fluid, and androgynous people.

Read more: What is Pansexuality?

Community Spotlight: De Sube


De Sube


Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia a 501(c)(3) nonprofit run by a majority of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people who are all volunteers.

Roles in the Organization:

Board Member, Treasurer, Emergency Requests

What do you do and how does it benefit the local community?

The mission of TAPVA is to help homeless transgender people help themselves. We offer emergency housing, emergency food, and resources such as connections to sustainable housing programs, to physical and mental health care, and to support groups just to name a few.

Read more: Community Spotlight: De Sube

May 22 is Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Milk
Harvey Milk

May 22 is Harvey Milk Day.  The day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation to remember and celebrate the 1970s gay activist, Harvey Milk.

In 1977, Harvey Milk became San Francisco's first openly gay elected official, as a member of the city's board of supervisors. Milk considered invisibility and the emotional trauma that keep gay people closeted to be our worst foes. He urged gay people to "Break down those closet doors, and to stand up and start to fight." As a supervisor, Milk sponsored two laws one barring anti-gay discrimination and another forcing dog owners to clean up their dogs mess. Milk stood out publicly against Anita Bryant's "Save the Children" from homosexuals campaign and the 1978 California Briggs Initiative -- a bill that would prevent gay and lesbian people from teaching in public schools.

Read more: May 22 is Harvey Milk Day


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