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Spoken Word Charleston

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”  -Robert Frost

Here in Charleston, the poetry spoken word movement is making its mark on the Lowcountry. Spoken word has been around for many years and is performed by people of all walks of life: Poets, musicians, alchemists, cosmonauts, artists, wordsmiths, free spirits, robots.

In our LGBTQ community, spoken words are demonstrated to express one’s self and share a thought or experience with others. TyQuan Morton of Charleston began writing poetry in the 5th grade, but it wasn’t until recently that he started taking it more seriously. Two years ago, he hit the spoken word stage of Charleston and has been going to open mics around the city to let his voice be heard. Last week, he hit the stage at Fabulon, an LGBTQ friendly art gallery with an art school space where people can collect and create art while inspiring other students. This was the first of more to come “Fabulous Nights” presented by The Unspoken Word and We Are Family. Fabulous Nights begins a series of events in this creative space where all queer and trans folks are welcomed and everyone can perform and enjoy poetry, music, stand-up comedy, and more.

The night was alive with heart felt art as people performed and shared poetry. TyQuan’s poetry was personal and he let his audience feel the emotions of the words through music. “Spoken word is for everyone,” TyQuan says, “You find your voice, but also realize finding your voice takes time. And no matter what it is, someone will fall in love with it.”

I surrender my body to your circadian rhythm and dance, to these words I am unfamiliar with and do not have time to examine…

On Venus, I can open this painted Pandora box in my chest, so you can leave your carbon footprint…

Earth’s gravity has denied this sonnet from my lips”

-TyQuan Morton

To join the Spoke Word movement, submit poetry to

To stay up-to-date with open mics and slams, follow The Unspoken Word on Facebook @UnspokenWordsmiths

Photo’s and Words by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez

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Bring Your Own Bag

I don’t go out much anymore. My assessment of LGBT nightlife in Charleston can be summed as this: If gay bars are the oceans, bachelorette parties are that single use plastic bag that sticks in the marshes and chokes our turtles.

Listen, I’m all for inclusion of “us” and “them.”  It’s awesome that we can go to most bars on any given night and not be seen as a novelty or a threat. Or that we can take our best girlfriend or bro to our bar. On a recent Saturday night, one of my besties and I ventured out to our local gay watering hole (that’s a great name for a bar btw), and the gays were outnumbered by straight girls 3 to 1.

Barbie, I get why you want to come to our bar. Better music, you won’t be harassed by douche bags, drinks are cheap and strong! But here’s the thing ladies, don’t come in our house and be disrespectful. On this particular night, I noticed all of us were pressed against the bar and the floor was filled with the squeals and screeches of at least 3 brides and their minions, I mean bridesmaids.

Rupaul recently made some waves with his comments about this topic, “People who live in the mainstream and the status quo think that everyone else is there to serve them. They think: ‘Oh, you must be here to make me look good. That’s what gay guys are right? You’re an accessory for my straight life.’”

Let’s start by asking what purpose does the gay bar serve? For our straight counterparts, a bar is a place to hang with your friends, get drunk, maybe get laid. Yeah, it’s all those things for us too! But, it’s also a haven of sorts for us. A place we can safely Kiki with our friends (if you don’t know what that means, you’re not allowed in), a hunting ground of sorts for people with similar “interests” let’s say.

I love my A’s in the LGBTQIA alphabet soup, but when I see these gangs of bridal celebrations in the bar, I don’t think, “oh, look how supportive they’re being of us!” Instead, it’s weirdly exploitative. It doesn’t feel like a celebration of gay people, or the joy of having gay friends. It feels more like the novelty of gay people. And heaven forbid it’s Drag night! Then we simply become the props from some shitty rom-com.

I get that me pounding the exploitation drum is rich in comparison to what women deal with, but can you imagine a bachelor party attempting to have their party at a lesbian bar.

That being said, here are few tips to the straight ladies to make your night a bit easier to navigate:

1. Bring your gay friend. Show the tribe that you’re not just tourists in our big gay jungle. If you don’t have one, please, don’t draft one of us to fill that role for the night.
2. Sweetie, you might be the queen of the night, but this ain’t your kingdom. Give us room. Just as you came here because you don’t want some dudes boner rubbing up on you, I don’t need your breast up on me…but I’ll totally take that boner.
3. Trying to make a drag queen kiss you is not the same as kissing a girl. It is not your Katy Perry moment.
4. Just as we don’t want to be your props, leave yours at home. Want to fit in? Leave the sashes, crowns, etc… at home.
5. Try not to take it personal. We invented shade, perfected the art of the read. If you don’t like some side eye, I’m sure there’s a Wet Willie nearby.
6. It’s not that you’re not welcome in our home, it’s that you’re a guest in our home.



All RuPaul is asking for — what we are all asking for, is show some respect, some etiquette“Check yourself, before you wreck yourself! ” And the mic falls from my glitter guy hang.

Photo by Abigail Marie

Words by Steven Willard

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Dining Out For Life


What: Dining Out For Life® hosted by Subaru® benefitting Roper St. Francis Ryan White Wellness Center

Dining Out for Life, is an international event that takes place on Thursday, April 27th in more than 60 cities across North America each year. This will be the 7th year that Roper St. Francis and The Ryan White Wellness Center will host and is the only agency licensed to hold the event in Charleston. Find Your Favorite Restaurant HERE 


Diners enjoying their favorite restaurants on Thursday, April 27th will support the Ryan White Wellness Center’s fight against HIV/AIDS through its annual Dining Out For Life (DOFL) event. Generous local restaurants have been able to raise more than $110,000 over the last six years. Thirty local restaurants and food trucks are participating this year.

Community Events:

There are 4 community event locations where you could purchase a raffle ticket from a Ryan White staff and win an all-inclusive trip for 2 to Asheville.  Tickets are only $5 each and can be purchased at the following locations:

  • Santi’s Takover Charleston Event – DJ, music, and an appearance by Pam Grier sponsored by Subaru of America
  • Connections Niteclub
  • Dudley’s On Ann – Charleston Blockade Rugby team will host a happy hour cookout and then later that evening a special Patti O’Furniture show dedicated to Dining Out For Life
  • Kingdom Bar & Grill – partnership with Charleston Grit to host afterparty as well as a special drink that evening where %100 of proceeds will go towards Ryan White


The Ryan White Wellness Center was selected as the national Dining Out For Life host site. National Host Sponsor Subaru is sending DOFL spokesperson and film star, Pam Grier, to Charleston to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.

Pam Grier was the first African-American woman to headline action films, playing bold, powerful women in Coffy, Sheba Baby, Friday Foster and Foxy Brown. She rekindled her superhero appeal with hits like Jackie Brown and hit television series The L Word, and is currently in development on several exciting projects. 2017 is Pam’s seventh year serving as a spokesperson for Dining Out For Life.


It couldn’t be easier to participate and give back.

“Grab breakfast on the way to work, grab lunch with your coworkers or meet a group of friends for dinner and drinks’,” said Kim Butler, Director of the Ryan White Wellness Center. “The restaurant does all the work and makes a donation on your behalf.”

Pick your favorite restaurant from the list at, eat, and support the Ryan White Wellness Center during Dining Out For Life.

Follow the Ryan White Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates as we continue to add more restaurants to the list.


About Roper St. Francis Ryan White Wellness Center

The Ryan White Wellness Center is a comprehensive HIV medical home. The name reflects our commitment to a holistic approach to wellness, as well as helping to ensure that patients feel comfortable about receiving care in a welcoming environment. The Center reaches out to HIV-positive adults throughout South Carolina, but particularly in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, to provide access to essential medical care, case management, and other supportive services as well as housing, mental health, and health insurance assistance.

 About Dining Out For Life

Dining Out For Life began in Philadelphia in 1991 and has since grown into an international event held across North America and raising an average $4 million annually. The idea behind the single-day event is simple and effective: Dine Out, Fight AIDS. Each restaurant donates a percentage of the day’s food sales, which goes to local organizations to fund care, prevention, education, testing, counseling and other essential HIV/AIDs services. For more information, visit or Facebook/DiningOut4Life.  

Contact Topher Larkin for Ryan White Wellness Center