CoastLine: Queer in the Cape Fear - what straight people can't see
LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. There are a host of other ways people in this community identify: including Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Agender, Gender Queer, Bigender, Pangender. It’s why some use the more inclusive acronym: LGBTQ+.
It’s certainly not news that growing up this way is complicated and difficult. Stories about the violence and discrimination perpeptrated on LGBTQ+ people are also well-known and well-documented. And while this violence and discrimination is lessening as representation in mainstream culture increases, it’s still here.
Just a scan of news headlines in April 2021 tell us this: Sports Remain Hostile Territory for LGBTQ Americans, Russian LGBTQ Asylum Seekers Stranded in Guam, Anti-LGBTQ Protestors Target School Board Member’s Florida Home, Business Owner Faces Scrutiny Over LGBTQ Policy.
But then there are also these headlines: How a Georgia Pastor Practiced What He Preached by Accepting LGBTQ members into his Southern Baptist Church, Maine Congregations Break Away from United Methodist Church Over LGBTQ Policies, Montana faith groups, advocates show LGBT Support.
It’s still a fight over legitimacy. People who identify as LGBTQ+ must constantly consider whether they are safe – physically, socially, psychologically – in a way that straight people need not.
On this edition of Coastline, we meet two people from this community. One woman, one man. One in mid-life. One a young adult. They both live in the Cape Fear region. And while neither of them would say they feel despised or hunted or under attack here, they still must think about how mainstream local residents might respond to them. And this – the constant, necessary vigilance is the part that should not have been – but was news to this journalist.
Vic Roberts: She was born in Cyprus, raised in England, went to University in London, and now lives in southeastern North Carolina because she is married to a woman who was born and raised here. She is a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States of America. And full disclosure, Vic and her wife have also become personal friends of this host.
Tony-Elias Choufani graduated with a degree in theater performance from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, is pursuing a career as a professional actor and will soon head to the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco to continue his studies. He was also part of Out, NC, a documentary play about being LGBTQ+, produced by Mouths of Babes Theatre Company.
North Carolina Gay Travel Guide
PFLAG, first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies
Wilmington, NC Chapter info: firstname.lastname@example.org