N.C. — Members and friends of Charlotte’s gay and lesbian
Business Guild gathered at the VanLandingham Estate in the Plaza-Midwood
neighborhood July 19 to pay tribute to the accomplishments and contributions
of local LGBT activists and organizers Linda Breen and Shane Windmeyer
with the Charlotte Business Guild/Don King Community Service Awards.
For the first time in the history of the guild, the board also chose
to honor a business that has contributed to the LGBT community. Q-Notes and
the newspaper’s publisher Jim Yarbrough are the recipient.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Guild President Kelley Doherty. “When
we finally decided on this, it was so obvious. I’m glad that we decided
to create the new category and I’m proud that Q-Notes is the first
business to be a recipient of the award.”
A crowd of a hundred or so were on hand for the event, which included a
cocktail hour and a wine and hors d’oeuvres tasting that preceeded
the award ceremony.
Yarbrough was excited to be the recipient of the award. “I’m
very happy that Q-Notes is being honored,” he said. “So many
people have made this possible. This award belongs to all of those people.”
Yarbrough introduced staff members that were on hand for the event and
thanked each of them for their contributions.
A look back
The first issue of Q-Notes was published in September of 1983 by Queen
City Quordinators (QCQ), an umbrella organization dedicated to raising
funds for other groups.
The debut issue — four pages on photocopied paper — contained
information on Charlotte’s five LGBT groups (Acceptance, Gay/Lesbian
Switchboard, Lambda Political Caucus, MCC Charlotte and QCQ), details on
upcoming community events, a listing of the city’s five gay bars
(Brass Rail, Odyssey, Oleen’s, Scorpio and Tags) and a selection
of books available for sale at Don King’s Friends of Dorothy Bookshop
on East Blvd.
For just over two years Q-Notes was issued monthly in that format, growing
to encompass 12 pages of local news, features, reviews and, significantly,
paid advertising. Despite its success, the newsletter ceased publication
due to lack of volunteer manpower.
In June 1986, Q-Notes was relaunched by QCQ to coincide with Pride month.
In contrast to its first incarnation, the publication was reborn as a monthly
tabloid newspaper. Rather than relying solely on volunteers once again,
QCQ hired Don King part-time to serve as editor.
King continued in the position until Fall ’87, then he stepped down.
A quartet of QCQ members, President Jim Yarbrough, Dean Gaskey, Joel Smith
and Robert Sheets, kept Q-Notes going. Although QCQ folded not long after,
the paper expanded its distribution during this period from just Charlotte
to all of the Carolinas.
In December 1989, Yarbrough, who worked in retail management, purchased
all rights to Q-Notes. He published the newspaper as a side business until
1991. Ready to gamble on its potential, he left his job that Spring and
devoted himself exclusively to the continued growth of Q-Notes. The move
paid off with a steady increase in page count, readership and advertiser
Q-Notes took its next giant step in June ’96 when it moved to an
every-other-week publishing schedule. The start of 2002 ushered in a complete
redesign of Q-Notes. Full color printing, which had only been used occasionally
in the past, became standard with the makeover.
Today, the paper continues to grow and change and strive to be a better
community resource. One point of emphasis in this effort is to ensure that
Q-Notes is easily accessible to everyone. The company continues to work
towards that goal through a free subscription program and a website, www.q-notes.com,
where the entire publication can be read online every issue.
The next event for the Charlotte Business Guild is the August Lake Party
to be held at a private facility on Lake Norman. Mark your calendar for
Aug. 20 and visit www.charlottebusinessguild.com for more details.