Letters to the Editor

Jun 7 • Letters to the Editor, NEWS & VIEWS, Views31 Comments

encore magazine coverNOT SO PROUD…

To Shea Carver and whom it concerns,
I have never been so appalled by a cover of a magazine in my entire life [encore, June 1, 2011, “Pride Week”].  Being a member of the GLBTQIA community and having a degree in journalism, I am absolutely shocked by the photograph of TR Nunley being associated with Pride Week. Pride Week is supposed to be inviting to everyone. In my opinion, all this cover has managed to do is make people uncomfortable.

This photo creates the exact same paradox as a photo of an African American with a noose around his neck during Black History Month. Ignorant people across Wilmington are looking at the cover of encore right now.  It seems to me they are more likely scratching their heads with confusion, following this by throwing this week’s edition away, choosing not to read about all the good things that are taking place during Pride Week.  Educated people across Wilmington are probably doing the same, simply because they know symbols of violence (i.e. duct tape across someone’s mouth) breed negativity.

I was at work when this week’s edition was dropped off.  Two seconds later, a coworker was in my face, asking me how this encore made me feel.  Asking me if I knew the person with the duct tape on her face.  I’m not sure how this escaped the creative minds over at your publication, but what would have been so wrong with a nice, inviting, smiling portrait of TR Nunley, making gay and straight people in Wilmington realize that Pride Week is a good thing?  The movement has evolved from “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” to “we’re here, we’re queer, let’s be friends.”  It’s completely unfair that the GLBTQIA community doesn’t have the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, we aren’t going to be granted the right to marriage based on one week in Wilmington. In order to change laws, we need the majority of Americans on our side, not a small group of angsty people causing a scene in a fairly tolerant city. Pride Week is about bridging a gap, one that, in my opinion, this week’s encore has only made wider.

I think this publication owes its readers an apology for the representation of Pride Week they’ve put together. I think TR Nunley owes Wilmington an apology for allowing this photograph to hit the stands. I will be contacting Wilmington Pride to share my distaste as well.  In the future, I suggest you use a little more discretion when you are about to represent an entire community, especially ones as controversially as the article accompanying the cover makes us out to be.

With deep disappointment,
Meghann Childers

[Ed response:]
Hi Meghann,
Thanks for writing and reading. I truly love reader feedback, and I will print your letter to the editor next week.

I apologize on behalf of encore for offending you, personally. I am hesitant to say your opinion represents that of everyone in our community—even educated people. Just as your opinion is your own, many in the community are seeing the coverage quite differently per other responses we’ve received already.

I also think it’s a stretch to compare TR Nunley’s photo to anything violent or like that of putting a noose around an African American’s neck. TR’s photo is not in any way advocating hate or murder; it’s begging to abdicate the silence from a rightful group of society, and with a pretty literal message “no h8.” I appreciate your view on it regardless, but no one here sees this photo “too much for print.”

I want to respond to two points specifically in your letter:

1)”What would have been so wrong with a nice, inviting, smiling portrait of TR Nunely, making gay and straight people in Wilmington realize that Pride Week is a good thing?”

If people base one corner photo of this cover and assume Pride Week isn’t a good thing, I will make the grand generalization that they aren’t GLBTQIA allies. I can’t control how TR chooses to photograph herself (we did not set up this photo; she sent it as a suggestion, which we liked), and I am certainly not going to silence her opinions on how she views the movement at hand—which I commend her for her honesty in sharing in the article.

Also, not everything in this movement is puppy dogs and rainbows, as I am sure you know. I fervently believe, like TR, that the same rights should be afforded to everyone in our society; that she stands up for and expresses this is a good thing in my opinion. The civil rights movement didn’t happen before because someone remained reticent to speak up.

2) “The movement has evolved from “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” to “we’re here, we’re queer, let’s be friends.”

In no way do I think our coverage isn’t inviting to friends who want to support the GLBTQIA community. There is plenty to celebrate in the coming week for everyone, such as the Pink Sheep Film Fest, and the rally and picnic, the flash mob or the T-Dance. We covered every event, educational and entertainment. I do not serve on the Pride Week board to determine the events, only report what they share with me. If we missed something you wanted to see, please let me know—or suggest to the board how you think Pride Week should be represented.

We focused only on the “not-so pretty side” of the issue in the “Lavendar Monologues” write up because, face it: Teen suicide among the GLBTQIA community is a serious topic. Again, I commend the Wilmington Pride committee for working with the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign during this week and staging this production. To me, that is one of the most important educational aspects of the week.

I tried to make it very clear that compassion, diversity and acceptance are always at the forefront of Pride Week, as well as love. I am pretty sure that came through; I apologize to you if you did not see it that way.

Again, thank you for reading and especially writing. I have forwarded your letter, as well as my response, to TR Nunley. I do feel your opinion should be shared with Wilmington Pride as a member of our community and someone representative of GLBTQIA.

All the best.
Shea Carver
encore editor


WORD ON THE STREET, JUNE 2, 2011


orangeGETTING JUICY…

Dear Ms. Carver,

On behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus, I am writing in response to the article in Encore Online, entitled “Food 101: Real trumps processed every day of the week.” Please allow me to share further information.

One of the healthiest morning beverages, people choose 100 percent orange juice for its great taste and nutrition benefits. In fact, an 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice contains a host of phytonutrients that may help the body’s natural ability to support good health throughout life. Additionally, one serving of 100 percent orange juice is more nutrient dense than many commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices.[1]

Approximately 80 percent of America’s orange juice is made from Florida-grown oranges.  By utilizing state-of-the-art technology, Florida is able to provide a consistent supply of high quality, nutritious orange juice year round. By law, 100 percent orange juice is made only from oranges with no added sugars or preservatives.

The basic principle of orange juice processing is similar to how you make orange juice at home. Oranges are washed and the juice is extracted by squeezing the oranges. Seeds and particles are strained out. Orange juice is pasteurized to ensure food safety.

Please visit www.OrangeJuiceFacts.com for more information about orange juice.

Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss in more detail. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Karen Mathis
Public Relations Director

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CITRUS
605 E. Main Street
Bartow, FL  33830

[1] Rampersaud GC. A comparison of nutrient density scores for 100% fruit juices. Journal of Food Science. 2007;72(4):S261-S266.

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31 Responses to Letters to the Editor

  1. Appalled, Educated, and Artistic-----Supporting Encore!!!! says:

    I am straight. I am an activist for the gay community.
    As citizens desiring change, we cannot tiptoe around people who do not desire change on eggshells because we are afraid of reactions. This magazine cover is art. Someone took a beautiful and powerful photograph of TR Nunley, and it is obviously provoking some powerful reactions already! Congrats to the photographer! Activism requires honesty, courage, and revolution. Activism for the gay community isn’t about hush hush, let’s fit in and keep quiet, maybe some people will see gay people as people. Obviously this cover is about speaking out, it is about being proud, it is about saying something-something that people may not find easy to hear but it needs to be heard! This coveris demanding attention, and after all the struggles the gay community has endured, they need to get people’s attention, emotion, empathy, understanding-to achieve equal fair treatment!!!!!!!!!! Being gay and speaking out on a magazine cover and in an article about feelings of suppression and mistreatment is not a crime!!!! This should be encouraged-everyone has a voice!
    The gay community is struggling to be recognized as people with feelings and lives just like everyone else. Like any other kind of human, there are all kinds of gay people. Gay people cannot be generalized, just like minorities, men or women cannot be generalized. A few sexual preference labels have been created-gay, lesbian, transgendered….and this cover depicts an artistic approach to representing the gay community. It has 3 people on the cover. We cannot fit 100 people on a magazine cover. These three people appear to be a man dressed as a woman, a “normal” looking gay man-(WHAT IS NORMAL ANYWAY/WHY PERPETUATE A STEREOTYPE OF NORMAL WHEN WE ARE ALL WORKING SO HARD TO BREAK THESE BOUNDARIES/STEREOTYPES IN SOCIETY?) and a trans-gendered woman who may or may not define herself as a male -(in this case i refer to this individual as himself.) I am basing my observations off of merely looking at the cover since your main focus is that people will have negative reactions to this cover. My feelings about the tape over the mouth are that this metaphorical and artistic approach to representing a trans-gendered person is completely relevant. Not only have i taken countless sexual psychology courses— (I am “educated”) —but I have trans-gendered friends who struggle to have a voice. This duct tape and these labels written on the duct tape are simply a representation of how a portion of the population feels about the ability for the trans community to speak out and be treated equally and fairly. It is showing a stifling suppression that whether or not you would like to admit, exists in our society, ESPECIALLY in the Bible belt. And let me tell you, when I say Bible belt, I am also a Christian.
    No magazine cover can fully represent every person’s broad view and opinion about the homosexual community. The fact that the South, YES I SAID IT! THE SOUTH is publishing a magazine cover that celebrates and promotes the rights of people who are not white male republicans—is progress—let alone promoting a group of people who has endured great discrimination and violence, mistreatment-heartache-by the hands of prejudiced hateful ignorant individuals. Cheers and encouragement to Encore for this cover-thank you Encore for the liberal, honest media and coverage of the arts and counterculture. We are thankful and honored to have you here in Wilmington! This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius! Let’s keep progressing with logic, emotion, empathy, service work and openness-it is beautiful the way things are progressing!

  2. reader says:

    Hey Meghann,

    Just wanted to quickly respond to your letter. I’m a big equal rights supporter and am currently working on a master’s in journalism (totally irrelevant to this post, but since you wanted to show off your education, I thought I would play my hand, too). Unfortunately, there will always be some kind of foghorn trying to undermine advocacy by trying to pick it apart. TR Nunley owes no one an apology, least of all someone who completely misinterprets the photo. Does this visual metaphor really need that much explanation? I think the “tape over the mouth” symbol is pretty obvious: it simply points to a topic that is not talked about enough or even worse, censored. In the interest of drama, you’re clearly looking for something that isn’t there. I see no violence in this issue and the cover is far from offensive. Last time I checked, Gay Pride Week was not about catering to overly-sensitive people. It’s about being PROUD and showing off one’s identity. Did you really expect the cover to be a black-and-white photo of a lawn chair? Would that be comfy enough for the masses?

    I also think it’s pretty lazy of you to automatically compare it to another oppressed group in order to illustrate a point. Sorry but not all minorities share identical experiences that can be lumped together. My suggestion would be for you to take a few more media literacy classes before trying to stir up controversy where enough already exists. Some people just don’t have enough to fill up their days….

    Maybe you’re the one who needs to use a little more discretion when trying to represent an entire community. I think the movement would prefer a spokesperson that was a little more experienced…and a little less hysterical. That sure isn’t going to win the majority support anytime soon.

  3. anghus says:

    there’s always somebody… the person who basically can see one tiny thing they perceive as bad and then proceed to piss all over everything that is inherently good.

    let’s just forget about all the good that comes from pride week and the coverage of it because you had an immediate negative reaction to something. You’re what’s wrong with this country. Not for who you are or your lifestyle choices, but because you made a kneejerk reaction about something and went apeshit before even thinking about the idiotic ramblings you wrote. Let’s just throw away the issue and not even bother reading all the great coverage for Pride Week because there’s something on the cover that you personally don’t think was in good taste.

    Congratulations on adapting the conservative mindset. You don’t understand something, you get frustrated, and then you decide to write something long winded and pointless demanding apologies so that you will feel as though your pointless anger has been satisfied.

    Art is subjective. And just because YOU react one way doesn’t mean everybody will react the same. You’re entitled to your opinion, but when you start demanding apologies you just become the kind of loudmouthed, windbag that i have a difficult time taking seriously.

    I mean, come on. You saw a picture which you misinterpreted, made an incorrect comparison to a noose around an African American’s neck during Black History Month, and demanded an apology. Ridiculous. The problem with America is that everyone thinks their opinion is relevant, even if it is based on nothing more than a subjective feeling.

    You keep referring to ‘educated people’, but ‘educated people’ are well aware that duct tape over the mouth has been used for years in photos dealing with silence and censorship. That’s what i’m sure 99% of the people who saw the cover thought: That the GLBTQIA community will not be silenced by hate. If someone thought otherwise, i would debate ever using the word ‘educated’ to describe them.

    How as a country do we keep getting dumber AND louder? That’s a bad combination.

  4. Becca Rhodes says:

    This letter was initially addressed to WilmingtonPride@gmail.com. As of yet I have not received a response.

    My name is Becca Rhodes. I am a resident of Wilmington, student at UNCW, and a member of the GLBTQIA community. I am very disappointed with the way Wilmington Pride and Encore chose to promote Pride Week 2011. I am so thrilled that Encore elected to give WP the cover story this week but I am not impressed with the cover itself. I understand the message of repression the photo of TR was trying to send and I believe it is an important and relevant one but I feel that the image on the cover will hinder people from embracing Pride Week rather than spark their interest.

    I am familiar with the NOH8 campaign: a silent protest against California Proposition 8 via photographs which are very distinct. The people are always in white, always in front of a white backdrop, and always have a piece of duct tape across their mouth and NOH8 painted on their cheek. The photo of TR was not in line with the NOH8 campaign as it contained a label that I find personally offensive. In my opinion “Tranny” is a derogatory term. On the days I choose to identify as a man I do not want to be referred to as a tranny. I find that degrading and embarrassing.

    I understand the need to push the envelope in order to facilitate change. I understand that Pride Week is about celebrating something that makes our community different, embracing the part of us that we should all be so proud of every day but feel we are forced to repress in many situations so we can fit in or avoid ridicule. If WP wanted to include an edgy photo on the cover of Encore why not choose something that promotes love, community, or diversity? A photo of a same-sex couple kissing, a portrait of a same-sex couple with their kids, or a photo from last year’s Pride Rally, obviously a GLBTQIA friendly event, with everyone gathered together on the river front. Any of those choices could have served to bridge the gap between the GLBTQIA community and society as a whole by highlighting our universal need for human connection and love without compromising the fact that “we’re here we’re queer get used to it.”

    I realize it is not all fun and games. There is a dark side that must be addressed. We are second class citizens who are denied our unalienable rights! How can we posses the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if we cannot marry the one we love, have a family, or confidently move through society without fear of discrimination? We will never be afforded the rights we deserve by compromising our integrity to make others feel comfortable. In that regard I understand what the photo was trying to represent. However we will also never be afforded those rights by putting a shocking photo on the cover of Encore. Loyal readers of Encore more than likely saw nothing wrong with the cover because the magazine promotes itself as “The Cape Fear’s Alternative Voice.” However the cover is visible to everyone. The images promoting Pride Week should have served, in my opinion, to welcome not only allies of the GLBTQI community but those who truly need to be educated. Instead I fear it will keep the latter group from even reaching the article which portrays Pride Week as what I hope it will be, a means to “bring together groups throughout the community for a peaceful celebration of every type of person in its makeup.”*

    I am excited about all of the fun times and educational opportunities this week holds. It is my hope that the upcoming events serve as platform to not only address the existence of repression in the GLBTQIA community but also take steps to end it, something I feel the cover of Encore failed to accomplish. This is not an attack on WP as an organization I simply feel that the decision to include the photo of TR Nunley, as such, was poorly made and will have a negative impact on Pride Week 2011.

    *Encore Vol. 27 Pub. 48 p. 12

    Let it also be made clear that Meghann Childers is a member of the GLBTQIA community. Therefore I am assuming that equal rights and fair treatment are important to her. The previous responses are targeting the wrong issue. I think what we have here is not an argument over the right to speak out and facilitate change. I am under the impression that everyone wants change. Instead I believe Meghann, and myself, simply support a different way of achieving change. Instead of shaking people up I feel it is more important to educate them. I think a more effective way to evoke change is to play on our similarities rather than our differences.

  5. cover fan! says:

    In regards to Becca’s response: I, too, believe that all opinions should be heard, especially when they come from the community. My biggest problems with Meghann Childers’ response were 1) her claiming to represent the “educated” population, therefore creating a larger divide by needing to express her deluded feelings of superiority 2) immediately comparing it to the first shocking minority photograph that came to mind in order to put it in a negative light and 3) inferring that pride week needed to sugarcoat its message, just in case some close-minded person got uncomfortable. I think that the cover DOES show positive images: people expressing themselves as proud members of the community. TR’s photo fits perfectly into this message. I disagree that putting it on the cover will hinder the community’s ability to achieve equal rights. If someone doesn’t support homosexuality or equal rights, a photo of two people kissing isn’t going to offend them less. Besides, the cover is clearly promoting “all colors”, meaning all different aspects of the community, whether they are perceived as “normal” or not. I’m disappointed that you suggest encore feature some LGBTQIA members and not others. That is so discriminatory! Isn’t that exactly what we’re fighting?

  6. admin says:

    Well said, Becca, “Appalled, Educated,” Anghus, cover fan!, reader and others! Becca, we’ve been waiting for others who agree with Meghann to weigh in—so thank you for sharing.

    Likewise, we thank everyone for expressing their opinions, and we continue to encourage this talk regardless of which side of the issue one stands. We want to open this conversation in hopes that it will spread and create a dialogue that otherwise may have remained closed, something maybe we can all learn from.

    All the best,
    Shea

  7. Becca Rhodes says:

    I did not mean to suggest that some LGBTQIA members should be featured while others should not. As a person who bends gender and sometimes identifies as a man I have no problem with a transgender person appearing on the cover. But I am offended by the way Wilmington Pride chose to feature someone who is transgender (specifically the use of the word “Tranny”).

    Also, I took Meghann’s use of “educated” and “ignorant” to refer to those who are knowledgeable about the opposition the gay community faces and those who are not.

    To Shea:
    Thank you for opening the floor and encouraging this discussion. While others may not agree with my point of view on this isolated incident I am happy to read that there are many individuals in Wilmington who support gay rights.

    I hope to see all of you out this week at the various Pride events. Thank you for your continued support.

  8. cover fan! says:

    Becca, agreed. It is awesome to see all the support for equality.

  9. a voice says:

    I would like to respond to Becca. First off of course you are going to agree with your girlfriend Meghann. She is your partner so there for I know and agreed with the fact of you having her back. But with that said I dont want people believe you are someone not connected with Meghann to have the same responce.
    With that said I would like to comment on something you said.

    “On the days I choose to identify as a man I do not want to be referred to as a tranny. I find that degrading and embarrassing. ”

    You choose to identify as a man when you are performing as a Drag King. That is completely different that being transgendered. You choose to dress up and perform. TR does not. Its who he is, he didnt choose to want to be a man. Also, if he wants to use the word Tranny that is his choice. Not yours. I personally take offense to the word dyke. I have come across many lesbians though who throw the word around and it doesnt bother them. I dont have the right to tell them they cant use that word because it is offensive to me. Tr can use whatever word he would like. Its his choice, not yours.

    Also the picture that TR put up was not one that was taken for the magazine. you can look on his facebook and see that he has had that picture for a while now and had it up way before the magazine needed one. So it could very well be connected to the NOH8 campaign. Just a side note though, I have taken the NOH8 pics in my living room (no white shirts, no white backdrop) just to take the pics because I thought it would look cool. So he could of just wanted a picture that was bold and that was it.

    I want to thank encore for being bold. We are not here to make people comfortable. They (being people who believe gay rights shouldnt be allowed) make us uncomfortable. Its their mission to make sure we never become comfortable in a family, in our work place, in our own skin. Why do we need to be quiet and subtle to cater to them? No we should not be in their face yelling at them to accept us 24/7. I believe that one article with one bold picture is ok. Make them uncomfortable. Make them fidget. Because no matter if we do it once or everyday… they arent backing down.

  10. Stephanie Hart says:

    TR Nunley owes an apology to NO ONE. Encore owes an apology to NO ONE. I think the fact that a certain faction of people misconstrue,do not understand,or flat out do not like the image only proves the idea of SUBJECTIVE and ideas being relative.
    TR Nunley has always been nothing more than one of the greatest fighters for the GLBT,etc community that Wilmington has probably seen in years. Sad that someone would target TR Nunley when the photo clearly is meant to have a positive message,to show that those in the community should not/will not be silent. A journalism degree does not equal “voice of the people”.
    It is people like TR that are out on the front lines making the world a better place for people like the person who had the problem with the photo. While they believe people like TR are going too far,the truth is people like TR are making sure people like Meghann can live more comfortably in this world-fighting bigotry and hatred at every turn,especially in the south,INCLUDING using images like the one people like Meghann so abhor.
    How aweful that TR,and people like her have to fight people in their own community as well!
    There are definitely more well thought out,”journalistic”,ways to go about getting your point across. It is quite clear that people like Meghann want to live freely in the world and have all the freedoms that people like TR fight for,but are embarrassed by the way people like TR get those freedoms for them. Well,that’s a shame,because they could be standing beside her MAKING change and reaping the rewards of the change instead of standing by criticizing while others do the work.
    And if I am wrong,why would you have a problem with the photo at all,because the statement of “tranny” and NO H8,is hardly as negative to a THINKING person as you have made it out to be. Well,regardless,the community still embraces people like Meghann,even while they turn they’re nose up at one of it’s greatest allies.
    Kudos to TR and to Encore,for fighting the good fight,for being a positive force in the community and for publishing about Pride week and all the events involved. Keep the great work going,and NEVER APOLOGIZE! Signed,forever an ally-Stephanie Hart

  11. [Sigh] says:

    First off.. according to other comments, Meghann and Becca are dating; which may explain why they have two opinions that are perhaps too similar (like a literal copy/paste, word change, let’s hope the teacher doesn’t notice bullsh!t.. As a journalist, Meghann; you should be ashamed to let someone [even your gf] copy off your work.)

    But to some extent, I do agree.. why the H3LL does TR have “Tranny” spread across her forehead?! It might as well be a guy wearing “F@G” or a lesbian sporting “bull dyke.” Using a derogatory term just because you fall into that category and ‘can’ is completely DUMB (ex. African Americans who call themselves and others “n!ggers”)

    OK, so “tranny” may not hurt people’s feelings as much as over-generalized slang words.. but it’s still one, and you’re putting it on the cover of a magazine that’s contents are supposed to support the LGBQABCDEFwhatever community. Stupid of Encore. Stupid of TR. Stupid of PRIDE. And don’t tell me it’s trying to pass as ‘art’ ..because it’s the ugliest cover I’ve ever seen on the mag and a two-year-old could finger-paint something better. Attention-grabber? More like attention-loser.

    When it comes to the gay community (which I am a part of.. ZOMG!!) I feel like we’re always taking steps backwards instead of forwards when it comes to sh!t like this. Want to prove we’re worthy of the same rights as straight people? Then stop listening to Lady Gaga and being so in-your-face and abrasive. Like others have pointed out, there are easier, gentler ways of bridging the gap between our world and theirs. Want to be considered normal? Then act like it.

  12. Becca Rhodes says:

    To A Voice:

    I am a person, separate from Meghann. Yes we are partners but we saw the cover on separate occasions and developed our points of views separately. If by not making it known that I was her partner was misleading I apologize, I did not think it was relevant. Meghann did not sign her letter to editor “Meghann and Becca” because I had nothing to do with what she wrote. She and I disagree of many things, multiple times a day. This was not one of them. To use my relationship with Meghann as a means to weaken my statements is a pretty low blow. Perhaps I should have posted anonymously in order to avoid dragging my personal life into this dialogue.

    My comments are in no way a personal attack on TR. TR can use the word tranny as many times a day as he likes. However, when TR becomes “TR Nunley, President of Wilmington Pride” he no longer represents himself. He represents an organization and more importantly a community. There in lies the difference.

    I do not carry the label transgender. However, I identify as a man on a much more personal level than drag shows at Ibiza. I would be grateful if you would please refrain from anonymously making assumptions about my personal life on a discussion board. My e-mail address is rdr1466@uncw.edu if you would like to discuss something besides the cover of last week’s Encore.

    I do not want to go down this road. I do not want to defend my personal life in a public forum. I want to defend my opinion. I have said nothing negative about TR. I have only voiced my opinion about a single executive decision and provided alternatives I felt would have been better. That is as far as I will take this.

  13. Tim B says:

    Becca: Just a few questions and a comment;

    You said, “My comments are in no way a personal attack on TR. TR can use the word tranny as many times a day as he likes. However, when TR becomes “TR Nunley, President of Wilmington Pride” he no longer represents himself. He represents an organization and more importantly a community. There in lies the difference. ”

    By representing an organization and community, he represents all those within it. That includes people who refer to themselves as trannys (trannies?). By denying him permission to use that word, you are suppressing (or worse, offending) all those who are fine with its usage, and maybe even pleased that it is exposed on the cover of a magazine. Only when a word is used in a new context can its negative undertones be removed (or at the very least, diminished). This seems very counterproductive. After all, isn’t this movement in part about changing the way the community is suppressed?

    “However, I identify as a man on a much more personal level than drag shows at Ibiza. I would be grateful if you would please refrain from anonymously making assumptions about my personal life on a discussion board.”

    How do you know you identify as a man on a much more personal level than those of the shows at Ibiza? Doesn’t that seem to be a great assumption about others personal lives on a discussion board?

    (Please note, I care not about your personal connections. You are your own entity, and it seems trivial to bring it up in a so-far fantastically civil and entertaining conversation on a message board ( a discussion, by the way, that I attribute to Tr’s photo and Encore’s choice of cover art)).

  14. sally says:

    I think the biggest problem failing to be addressed here is having TR Nunley as the face of Wilmington’s LGBT community.
    TR is unqualified to do this work and is abrasive and fails to bring different communities together. Events are always filled with unnecessary confusion and hampered by poor planning. Many organizations who work with Wilmington Pride find themselves refusing to do so again, and TR refuses the advice of those who offer it. Way too many of the Pride events are connected to bars especially Ibiza (and I am well aware of the history bars have played in the LGBT community, even before Stonewall) further perpetuating the image of gays and lesbians as promiscusous partygoers.
    The pic in question was a silly picture taken from TR’s facebook. Encore’s real letdown here was not being more professional in taking a picture to put on their own cover. It is fairly shoddy journalism to simply lift a Facebook pic.

  15. admin says:

    Sally, we didn’t “lift” a FB pic. TR sent us the pic personally, and we liked it (see my response at top for all details); if she uses it as her FB pic, so be it. But we received her permission specifically. Call it shoddy all you want, but nothing was “journalistically wrong” here.

    Also, I would like to point out that we are offering this forum for people to discuss the image itself, and what it means to those who are offended or not offended by it and why. We ARE NOT perpetuating the use of this forum for people to air their grievances and dislikes of others. Please, consider such before responding.

  16. Tim B says:

    Sally;

    Who would you suggest as the face of Wilmington’s LGBT community, and what have you done personally to further the causes of this Pride movement?

  17. TR Nunley says:

    Dear Meghann and others:

    This is TR Nunley and that is my photo. Wow…there is a lot of talk about a tiny picture of me. I took the photo several weeks ago during National Day of Silence Day, in which I duct taped my mouth closed with the words “No H8” and put the label “tranny” on my forehead. I wanted to thank Meghann for commenting on the photo. Yeah, I said it… Thank you! I also wanted to thank everyone for having a good discussion. However let’s keep the name calling out of it. Meghann is a community member just like me and I respect her opinion greatly and try to gain knowledge from everyone I meet. In fact I want to sit down with Meghann soon and talk about it. I am also a big fan of Becca, actually Becca performed in a fundraiser for Wilmington Pride. So I don’t think they are attacking me or Wilmington Pride. They are expressing their thoughts. I am glad that we do live in a world in which that can happen. Becca can also identify as transgender one day and lesbian the next or even the newest identifier “genderqueer”. Gender or sexuality can be fluid or concrete. It’s up to the person. If anyone out there considers themselves transgender contact me at wilmingtonpride@gmail.com and I can put you in contact with a therapist that facilities a monthly support group for the transgender community.

    What I wanted to touch on was my meaning behind the photo. Last week I attempted to talk about the photo with a friend I ended up crying because thus far nobody has really gotten the real message from the photo that I originally meant. I am not angry in the photo, I am sad. I feel silenced about being transgender everyday. Even in the gay and lesbian community, transgender people are not easily accepted; either are bisexual or intersexed people for that matter. Most of the people in my community still use female pronouns when referring to me and call me “girl”. Even with the word “transgender” on my forehead on the cover of Encore people still come up to me and say “girl, I love that photo”. I am not a girl, lady, female, or woman. I am a man trapped in a female’s body. It’s hard for me to stand up for myself… I can do it for survivors of violence, gay youth and the GLBTQIA community all the time. Thank goodness for the Transgender Support Group here in Wilmington. They give me strength to be myself and to be one of the only OUT transgender people in the community. Other than the transgender support group, I have asked a few close friends to start using male pronouns in the hope that it would catch on. In my tiny speech for the Pride Rally on Saturday I will be addressing the gender pronouns. I recently changed my birth name to my initials and people are still getting used to it. So I am sure that getting people used to calling me “he” will take a long long time since people still call me by my birth name.

    By the way, the encore did an amazing job with the article and I am so happy that they included my photo on the cover however I didn’t expect it. What I love the most is all the talk that has come from photo. I hope people read the article last week about all the Pride events happening. We still have several events to go including the Pride Rally and Potluck Picnic this Saturday from 1-5. 5 bands will be there as well as a DJ.

    Sally: I am only one person and I try to do my best. There are days when I hang my head and think, why am I putting myself through this. I am a shy person and it’s emotionally draining for me to be the face of Wilmington Pride. Your comment like this hit me so hard because I put my entire self into trying to improve my community. But then I have a long discussion with a youth member about their home life or watched the Lavender Monologues this week or meet some new people and I think, I am doing the right thing. I am qualified to lead the community because I don’t claim to be perfect. I have horrible grammar, I am not the best conversationalist and I am not the most knowledgeable person about politics. The political person in our group is Ryan Burris who would make an amazing President someday. I would much rather be spending my time on a beach with a cold beverage but every day I wake up and think about how to improve the community and I am tired of sitting back not doing nothing about it. If you don’t think I am doing a good job then help me be better. Join Wilmington Pride! As for other groups not working with us, we have never had a group not work with us after an event. We have only had 4 events and two of those events were at Ibiza. And for Wilmington Pride Inc, Pride Week is an awareness event that allows the community to celebrate our diversity and to show the Wilmington Community that we are apart of the community. But our mission is to do more for the community through programs like the Youth group and set up an anti-bullying program in schools. Someday Wilmington Pride would like to open emergency housing for GLBTQIA youth. Some of friends were homeless and I myself was homeless for a week when I lived in South Carolina. I lived for a week in the back of a store that I managed so I had a roof and an air mattress so I felted pretty blessed.

    I am feel good about this first Pride that we coordinated. We had no money for this 9 day event so Ibiza let us hold a few fundraisers to raise funds. Also the bars including Ibiza wanted to be involved because they are part of the community. People who regularly attend the local bars are part of the community and support the community every week. People always seem to forget that. That being said, there were more events that were not alcohol related that previous years because a few close friends of mine are recovering alcoholics and I wanted to make sure they had events that could participate in, including the Queer-themed service at St. Jude’s, Lavender Monologues, Family Fun day at Jungle Rapids, the Born this way Flash Mob and the Potluck Picnic and Pride Rally.

    As for Meghann I wrote you a private message the day I received the email from you. After I wrote you I realized that I needed to talk to you privately to really understand where you are coming from.

    This is the message I sent to Meghann:
    “So you want us to fit in….use the phrase….”we are just like them”. Well guess what, we aren’t like everyone else. We are a community that isn’t heard until we force them to hear us and sometimes that means that we put ourselves out there. There is a community of fighters that fight against laws and society every day and yes we choose to make a celebration about how proud we are together but we also need to bring awareness to the simple fact that we are not given the same rights as straight people. Choosing to assimilate into the straight world and be like everyone else is your choice. But for me, I know that I am not accepted in the community and in fact when you wrote me you choose to say “she”. Even though clearly my forehead states that I am transgender…..Gender/sexuality should NOT be a factor but guess what….it is. And until we have the same rights as everyone we will continue to fight for those rights. I am proud to be trans and I am part of the community. Duct tape to you is negative but it’s the fact that everyday we go unheard is the negative part of being is the GLBTQIA community.”

    Meghann I really would love an opportunity to sit down and talk. Hey….I might learn something. After Pride week ends would be better for me.

  18. Hey,

    I’m Ryan Burris Vice-President of Wilmington Pride….

    Some folks may not approve of the organizational structure of some of TR’s past events, or Wilmington Pride’s for that matter. If you have enough time to complain on here about this, my suggestion to you would be to volunteer some of your time towards helping with organization. I’m sad that there are so many people that want to complain, but are willing to do nothing to help.

    We are humans, as in we have our own friends, family, jobs, school, etc…. I cannot even begin to count the 1,000’s of hours that both TR and myself have devoted to activism, lobbying, and providing to the comunity of Wilmington. We have opened our homes to charities, fundraisers, and meetings. We have financed with our OWN money – trips to DC, Raleigh, Greensboro, and many other places.

    Did Wilmington even have Pride events last year? When was the last time you met with your Congressmen? When’s the last time you met with your State Senators? When’s the last time you spent 3 hours on a Friday night on a Conference call, or your Saturday morning phone banking?

    While I admit we may not be the most organized at times, we’re trying to help here.

    Next time you have time to type out an e-mail about organization, give me a call 910-262-7787, and I’d love to give you a list of opportunities to help!

    Thank you,

    Ryan Burris

  19. Taylor Herbert says:

    I’ve spoken personally with both Meghann and TR in regards to the Encore controversy. Whether I agree with a contributor’s opinion or not, I appreciate the public discourse that has resulted from this. Thank you, encore, first of all, for allowing the community to have this open forum for discussion on your domain.

    1) To encore magazine: I am thrilled you provided coverage of Pride Week. The Wilmington community-at-large is diversified in many aspects, including sexual orientation. As a lesbian, certain pockets of our society have obviously challenged me in innumerable areas of life. From drive-by name-calling downtown to being denied equal opportunities in work and marriage, society, at times, makes me hyper-aware of my orientation in a way that has caused me to project myself to others as either very angry or very proud. Certain pockets of the “LGBTQIA” community have also challenged other parts of my identity in the same respect. Like the alphabet soup that we now use to describe ourselves, I feel that our “pride”, like collective pride for anything such as state and church and nation, has become a big, multi-faceted mess.

    I am unimpressed with some of the content your magazine chose to publish. My opinion on the cover is my opinion, however, I am disappointed that the “alternative voice” of Wilmington failed to double-check certain “facts” that promote reverse discrimination indisputably. I spoke with TR about her disappointing word-choice in saying that LGBTQIA community members are the ONLY ones who are bullied at home, school, church, work, society, etc. I think that the exclusivity of the word “only” undermines the still-present pain of being bullied for physical features, disability, race, religion, and innumerable other qualities that enable weak-minded people to criticize and hurt others in ways that lend to suicide and depression for people outside of the community being offered coverage. TR admitted that the word-choice wasn’t what she meant. I believe it is the editor’s job to review all content, including quotes. I believe the editor should have double-checked to see if that’s how TR had meant to word it. If it was, (and it wasn’t), then they shouldn’t have published it. It makes the community (and magazine) appear ignorant and insensitive to discrimination-at-large. Reverse discrimination is something that opponents of any minority’s cause will latch themselves onto in conversation and campaigns. I believe we should, at all costs, not have an opportunity for them to do so available at a newsstand near you.

    2) To everybody: Not to be too whimsical here or anything, but the cover photo of TR brings to mind a favorite quote by French author de Saint-Exupery. It says, “Language is the source of misunderstandings.” Obviously. What is “TRANNY” being used to describe? Everyone feels differently about it. Obviously. That is the flaw here. I spoke to TR about this too. It’s the fundamental difference between “show” and “tell.” Tell me what a tranny is, and my own social constructs and experiences allow me to define the word and interpret the photo in a manner that I find non-offensive. Putting myself in the shoes of others, however, the result of being “told” TR is a “tranny” continues to slide down the continuum of support and controversy that we find ourselves embattled with today. I think a lot of people here are missing the point. It’s not about some hyper-defense of TR’s right to be transgendered and have her forehead tell everyone she is transgendered. It’s not about promoting “puppies and rainbows” either. It’s that the photo a) failed to be accompanied by an article that “shows” readers the personal struggles of being transgendered; and b) failed to “show” the difference I described originally between one’s reflexive projection of “anger” and “pride.” I could make an argument for either. There should be no question. And I’m not saying everything in life is black and white, cut and dry. But the fact is, the photo had a shock value, and shock value diminishes the necessity of tact. If the magazine really defends that they published the photo to shed light on the harsh realities that drive our movement, then where was the story to accompany that? The brief clips of quotes from an interview “show” me nothing. No one is outraged by Tara Nicole in drag, because the magazine’s content covers a schedule of her performance; the photo is of her being an MC. It is in this disconnect that I’ve found failure.

  20. Will Cutrell says:

    Well it looks like someone “important” wasn’t consulted on the marketing aspects of Wilmington Pride Week…

    Now, this “person” writing this “letter to the editor” is a member of the GLBTQIA community AND has a degree in journalism, apparently disagrees with T.R’s picture and it affected them so much, they had to stop and write a lengthy letter to the editor, which by the way was written well; But i wouldn’t expect anything less from someone with a degree in journalism. And by the way, was it that important for us to know that the person writing this letter to the ENCORE editor held such a degree or just a lousy attempt to elevate their credibility of the content written…Blah, Blah, Blah,…Point taken….

    The first question that comes to mind is “Where was this valuable journalist when T.R. was preparing, planning, organizing, meeting, writing, and collaborating with hundreds of Wilmington Folk to make this event a successful and productive one, and most of all FUN…that’s right, FUN…

    What valuable effort did this “member of the GLBTQIA” put forth in assisting T.R. and the “community” in bringing this challenging event together, which has proved to be successful and fun-filled thus far.

    Whatever the case, I applaud T.R. personally and thank Her for the hard work and effort that she has contributed to this event and Wilmington Pride as an organization.

    As a business proprietor Myself, I truly understand how difficult it can be to volunteer Your time, energy, and most of all your heart to a cause that is important to You whether it is work, play, community events, etc. Who truly has time to do that and still finds time to do so?”

    Keep up the good work T.R., Your contributions to Our community, GLBTQIA or Not, is greatly appreciated.

  21. TR Nunley says:

    While I have everyone’s attention…

    I wanted to clear some stuff up. If you have known me for several years and have alway called me “She”, I understand that changing the pronoun will be hard for you. If I haven’t told you that I would like you to start using male pronouns then I apologize. Feeling connected to “he” and “him” is a recent development. But I will understand if you need some time. Change is hard for me too. I find myself entering into the women’s restroom only to apologize and turn around and head towards the men’s room. And if there was a woman in the bathroom who sees this, I am absolutely sure she has no earthly idea why I am apologizing because I still look like a female. But I am giving everyone that opportunity to make some mistakes. Also, if you believe that you can only call me “he” when I have chest surgery and hormones then I kinda understand that. Its an old school way of thinking but I must be honest that up until recently, I thought the same thing. For transmen, like myself bottom surgery is not something that I am considering. There are two options for bottom surgery and neither are too impressive. For me gender doesn’t have anything to do with what is between your legs, it’s what is between your ears…ie brain. If there was a better option for bottom surgery I might do that too but right now I am concentrating on researching doctors for Chest surgery. Chest surgery costs about $7,000.00 and is not covered by insurance so that option will be taken advantage once my job situation changes. Also before heading to the doctors office, I must have a year of therapy under my belt. Currently I wear two x-small sports bras to conceal my very large chest but honestly it doesn’t help as much as I was hoping. So you see, being transgender is a process. But just like when I came out 7 years ago as queer, I felt relief. But I will say that it was so much harder to come out as transgender because its not really accepted in our society.

    I am hoping to change that. I think that because so many people know me and respect me, it’s been easier for me. I made transgender personal for people that never thought about it. And they are my advocates now more than ever and I love that fact about Wilmington. Everyone’s support has been key to my success as a leader in the community. And I hope everyone knows that I appreciate everyone’s support in coming out as transgender. I know that comment on the photo had nothing to do with the fact that I am transgender but while I had everyone’s attention, I thought this would be good way to bring awareness to some issues that face transgender folks. Thanks for listening…

  22. Not really says:

    TR, this is hardly the place for such discussion. It is a distraction. Talk about pronoun usage in the appropriate forum please. Once again, you are unable to separate Wilmington Pride issues from your personal business. Not everyone in the community wants to continuously deal with this kind of drama.

  23. cover fan! says:

    will: meghann is not a journalist, she is a waitress at green grill. and now that she got the attention she wanted, hopefully she will return to making cheese fries until she figures out another way to create unnecessary drama.

  24. cover fan! says:

    and “not really”, you are being a bit hypocritical about things getting too personal on here. you are clearly using the forum to spit negativity about someone who works very hard for Wilmington Pride and the community. until the day comes when gay rights are NOT about others thinking they have a say in someone’s personal life (which is exactly the struggle the community faces everyday), sharing stories like TR’s are necessary to put a human face on the cause.

  25. TR Nunley says:

    What better time would it be to discuss GLBTQIA issues other than during Pride Week?

  26. Not really says:

    I don’t feel “represented” by TR in anyway. Just because you’re a member of the community and do wonderful things to help does not mean you should be a leader or the face of an organization. Say what you will- but uniformed readers will look at the cover of this magazine, this controversy, and THAT’s what they will associate with Wilmington Pride, unless they are directly involved. It takes away from the amazing things that are being done. This should not even have turned into such an issue. Point blank, it was TR’s responsibility to think of the image being portrayed. It should be more beneficial to Wilmington Pride and the community as a whole- not just some symbolic picture that had meaning to one person or a few.
    They will take the picture literally and see “tranny” or whatever. I believe there is an appropriate place to discuss these issues. The comment above was about TR’s mention of… Oh, I don’t know…how many bras are worn– this is for discussion of the Encore cover. Post the rest on facebook if you want attention.

  27. Taylor Herbert says:

    cover fan!: first of all, that’s highly offensive. i wait tables for a living. don’t preach non-judgment for trannys if you’re going to typecast the opinion of people in the service industry as ineligible for attention that you’ve already given them. and if you really feel as if you have adequate grounds to do so, then list your real name so we can taper the substance of your own employment to something as frivolous as making cheese fries.

    oh yeah. she doesn’t work at green’s grille anymore either.

    secondly, the service industry has enabled me to “outreach” to co-workers and regulars without a sometimes heavy hand of activism. for example, no one in my restaurant calls each other “faggots” anymore in the back line because they’ve grown to respect the “human face” of me as a person, regardless of my sexuality. i can certainly qualify any right to my own opinion, as could Meghann, because of the work i do every day by just existing in the [omg] “straight world.” it’s everybody’s world. that’s the point, right? we’re everywhere, not just concentrated into tolerant pockets of downtown wilmington. this is more directed toward what ryan said about his and TR’s formal involvement as activists. there are many layers to which you can be “active” in the bigger picture, especially at the real grassroots of our society. are you telling me i can’t be proud of that? maybe it’s just me, but hosting a pride event somewhere other than the downtown locations that obviously support being a homosexual seems less nonsensical than patting yourself on the back for telling wilmington you’re a “tranny”, not backing it with an article of enough substance to get a strong, tactful message out. instead, we’re telling people that our definition of “outreach” is flash mobbing the farmers market while some poor old lady tries to buy a head of cabbage.

    the “human face” for the cause, as i’ve said, should have been an article in the encore issue with her already duct-taped forehead on it, not in a forum discussing whether or not the photo was appropriate.

    TR: discuss these issues to an audience that needs to hear it. some real outreach, please. i don’t think anyone on this forum, on either side, questions the hardships of being transgendered. the nature and placement of your emotional rhetoric was distracting and completely irrelevant to the points people are trying to make here.

  28. Chasity Scott says:

    My name is Chasity Scott and I recently moved to Wilmington NC, in hopes of working with a wonderful community. I have found nothing but love and acceptance from Wilmington Pride. What is an organization really? An organization, by definition, is a social group which distributes task for a collective goal. I have been to board meetings, youth meetings, and was a willing participant in this years pride events. I have worked with TR Nunley and Ryan Burris, and many other members of the board of Wilmington Pride. When task were being asked to be filled, where were you? When you were asked did you volunteer your services or offer your opinion. Remember opinions are like ***holes, we all have one. For all of the people that cover their bigotry, insecurity and self-hatred up by bullying others with their rhetoric, it’s downright deplorable. I myself am an intersexed individual. I love the word “Tranny” and have lived with that terminology all of my teen and adult years. I am intersexed and that is a group in and of itself. I choose to work for advocacy in the GLBTQIA social group here in my hometown, because change starts within me.
    When I started with the local support group here for Transgender individuals, I was met with nothing but love and support. I reiterate this point because that is what Wilmington Pride is all about. I know what the money is being raised for, I know how hard they have worked to incorporate a pride here in Wilmington NC. Evidently here in Wilmington, there are a lot of people who are not willing to let go of their own insecurities to realize that when mistakes are made, that we must first forgive ourselves for making a mistake and then ask others help and experience to ensure that we can move forward and learn from that mistake. How will we welcome anyone into our community when we are divided into two groups. The bullies and the victims. Which group do you belong to? Examine yourself and ask yourself this question, did I treat everyone today with the respect that they deserved? Did i stand up at all cost for myself today? Who did I encourage and uplift today? Who did I crumble under my feet with my harsh words and my derogatory demeanor? Was my personality today “flat” or “round”? What example did I set today for the youth that might have read this article or may have seen my actions today?

    I am living the change I want to see in my life. I believe that I have seen these attributes of change within the Wilmington Pride Board, and wholeheartedly exclaim that they are striving to move forward and not sit stagnate as the naysayers in this forum. I salute anyone in the community that is willing to make a positive change. Why don’t you join in the change instead of being a noncontributing bystander. Be the catalyst for change. As cliche as it may sound, “if you want to be somebody and go somewhere, you have to wake up and pay attention.” I am not perfect. I am not always cordial. I am scared in large crowds. I am insecure at times. I am a survivor of molestation. I am a survivor of rape. I was bullied for being different and having the courage to be different. I am woman. I am Human. I am willing to change for the better. The sacrifices i make today for unity in my own community will guarantee that there is a community for the ones will come after me. I am participatory. I am visible. I am willing to listen and yearn to be heard. I am a part of Wilmington Pride and yes, I am proud!

    Chasity Scott
    Playwright of “The Lavender Monologues” ( a featured event of pride and also a part of the cover that I couldn’t wait to share with my friends and family)

  29. Not really says:

    I think it’s a bit ignorant to assume that we are “stagnant” or “noncontributing bystanders” just because we have a different opinion. So, you’re saying because I don’t agree that I contribute nothing and am not a proud member of this organization or community?

  30. Not really says:

    The posts keep coming but the posters seem to forget the topic at hand.

  31. Lynn Casper says:

    On both sides, people are discriminating each other. And really, this is just unnecessary drama for our community. Especially when people choose to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.

    I agree with those who think the photo was used in poor taste. It would have be an extremely powerful photo for an article on “National Coming Out Day” and “Day of Silence” but Pride week is supposed to be fun and inviting to all. I just don’t think that photo was used in the right context.

    I do commend TR however, for meeting with Meghann and anyone else who expressed their opinions about the cover. I can see where both sides are coming from. But pointing fingers and reacting to things in a huff-and-puff way aren’t the solutions (and this goes to both sides). We should all note the things that worked and didn’t work and use better judgement in the future.

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