As Charlotte grows in size, it also expands its offerings for lesbian and gay citizens. There are numerous opportunities in the metro region to socialize, to gather for support, to rally for causes, and to find a faith community. Smaller outlying cities, however, do not provide even a fraction of the options that larger cities can offer. As a result, LGBT individuals, especially youth, struggle to find acceptance and support.
PFLAG Gaston, formed in 2009, is a national organization that focuses on supporting the parents, families, and friends of those who identify as LGBT, as well as raising awareness in their communities. The Gaston chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gastonia. They have become a visible presence in the area by attending local events, inviting speakers to their meetings, gathering in local restaurants, putting on plays, and supporting GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances) in several Gaston County high schools. They recently partnered with Time Out Youth of Charlotte to offer a monthly program specifically for young people.
The current president of PFLAG Gaston is Ginger Feimster, a lifelong resident of Belmont, NC and former educator for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She is the mother of Fortune Feimster, an “out” L.A. based comic/writer/actor who has appeared on Last Comic Standing, Chelsea Lately, Glee, 2 Broke Girls, and is currently a regular on The Mindy Project.
Ginger will be my guest on Oral Fixation March 7th to discuss the unique ways in which small towns struggle to support LGBT families. We’ll also highlight the upcoming PFLAG State Conference on Saturday, March 12th at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte. The conference is for both North and South Carolina, and you do not need to be a member of a PFLAG chapter to attend. More information can be found on the PFLAG Gaston Facebook page.
Oral Fixation with sexologist Becky Knight airs every other Monday from 9:00pm to 10:00pm on CharlotteCommunityRadio.org, CLTCRadio.org. You can also listen via Mixlr.com/CLTCRadio where you can chat with hosts and guests as well. We enjoy hearing from you!
Becky Knight @livingsexuality