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Charleston Blockade Rugby, Pure LGBTA Power!

They are your neighbors, successful local business owners, blue and white-collar workers, students, parents, and activists. Formed in 2012 and currently South Carolina’s only gay sports team, they are The Charleston Blockade Rugby Football Club. Charleston Blockade is a member of the International Gay Rugby Union (IGR) and as such, plays throughout the nation against other teams. The team is made up of both gay and bisexual men, as well as straight allies. Together they share a common goal: Ending the stigma of homosexuality in sports and engaging in meaningful civic action in our community.

Throughout the year you can see the club engage in various community outreach initiatives such as Lowcountry AIDS Services and the Ryan White Wellness Center. They also sponsor children for the annual Sue Kuhlen Camp for Kids Back to School BACKPACK Project, stuffing backpacks with all the necessities and needed to successfully begin the school year.


During the holidays, they participate in Giving Tree, an annual program through which children’s Christmas wish lists can be adopted. They also host their annual coat drive each year for TriCounty Family Ministries to organize their annual Christmas Bazaar and community lunch.

With all this manpower for the community, what keeps the club going? “These are but a few of the projects our team works on together. This does not include community service in which individual players engage in their own time. Rugby is a huge part of our lives, but creating and accepting and nurturing our community is just as important,” The club’s coach, Meg Smith, told BEAU.

Each year, the IGR hosts what is called Bingham Cup, The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or “Bingham Cup” as it is more widely known. This encompasses the biennial world Championship games of gay and all-inclusive rugby.


The tournament was first held in 2002 in memory of 9/11 gay rugby hero Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who fought back against hijackers on board United flight 93. While Mark and all on the flight tragically lost their lives when the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is widely recognized that through the actions of those brave individuals on board, the plane did not continue on to its intended target. As a gay man and regular rugby player, Mark played for San Francisco Fog as well as helping to set up Gotham Knights in New York City.

Mark’s legacy lives on through rugby players, supporters and staff from around the world coming together every two years in a celebration of equality, inclusivity and sportsmanship. 49 teams from 17 countries participated in Bingham Cup 2016 in May. The tournament moves around the world every two years landing 2018 in early June. It will be hosted by the Amsterdam Lowlanders and anticipating 70+ teams to compete. The Bingham Cup is the ultimate gathering of family. Lasting bonds have been forged in past tournaments through travel, seeking out other ruggers, and even social medias, which have been also strengthened and solidified at this event.

For the next 8 months, The Charleston Blockade Rugby Football Club, are raising funds to offset the costs of sending a team of 23 players to Amsterdam. The goal can only be met through exposure, sponsorship and donations, all of which are tax deductible. The Blockade works tirelessly on and off the field representing Charleston’s LGBTA community and consider international representation the ultimate reward.

Learn more

Follow Charleston Blockade on Facebook and Instagram @Charlestonblockade

Words by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez

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Taking action in supporting the LGBT Youth

“When you were a child, you were probably told to ‘man up’ or ‘you need to be more lady like’…but what if you don’t fit into any of those categories?” asks Dr. Alex Karydi, program director of the South Carolina Youth and Suicide prevention as she addressed an audience at the Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health. Dr. Karydi held a seminar on “How to support the LGBTQI youth” to help educate some local counselors, leaders, and social workers on one of the biggest issues in youths today.


Along with interesting and helpful reasoning behind certain behaviors of our LGBTQI you, staggering statistics supported the importance of addressing these issues. Many people at this conference were surprised that over 8% of the youth don’t feel as if they belong in the categories society expects us to be in. Which leads to a point that even the adults in the room felt special about.

“Think about it, you are the only one in the world who talks like you, you’re the only one with the same body type, height, weight, skin color, hair color of you, you’re the only one in the world who smiles and even laughs like you, then you are special! You are special! You are one of a kind! You are Badass for being special! Why should we tell our LGBTQI youths that they are not special?” say Dr. Karydi with enthusiastic positivity.


Our bodies are powered by our brains and it is a proven fact that our sexuality and our attraction to other humans comes from the chemicals in our brain. Therefore, how can you judge someone for liking someone of the same sex if that is what their brain is telling them? (Crazy! I know!)


Sadly, many political and medical leaders, as well as many residents of South Carolina do not see this biological scientific fact. This ignorance leads to the decimation of LGBT youths which create stressors. All this on top of school and trying to be a normal teenager too. This causes an increase of behavior and mental health issues. Not to mention, South Carolina is one of the 5 states in the United States that does NOT have hate crimes!! Surprised?


According to the Human Rights study, around 2.25 to 27 million students consider themselves as LGBT students. Keep in ind that in our LGBT demographic we have a higher rate of homeless, suicidal ideations, anxiety, depression, and are more likely to fall into the hands of smoking, alcohol, and substance abuse. Why? Because the impact and lack of support around them maybe?


Family rejections play a major factor in a LGBT youth’s life because a family is the youth’s main human contact. Kids look to their families as a nest for love, trust, and support. But then a family rejections the youth and this negative impact cases a youth to go into social isolation or self-cutting stage, or simply running away from the situation.


In America, there are around 1.6 million youth experiencing homeless with 40% that identify as LGBT. These youths run the risk of becoming a sex trafficking victim. Out of these 40%, 20% make it into the juvenile justice system with 85% of these youths being people of color. To make the situations worst, 6 LGBTQ youths die on the street everyday. 1 out of 2 of these are transgender.


The numbers and situations are scary and real. So what can you do to help?


  • Listen to your Child/ Youth (If it is important to them, it is important to you!)
  • Reassure your child/youth that it’s okay to be different.
  • Help your child/ youth connect with an age appreciate community by reaching out to We Are Family of Charleston who offers support for kids and parents.
  • Prepare your child/youth to deal with harassment (It’s going to happen at some point in their lives)
  • Advocate your child/youth. Give them confidence in themselves.
  • Get active in helping to work for social change! Remember, this is YOUR community, YOU pay taxes, so help take some action!


Think back to when you were a teenager. Remember how you felt, like no one understood you? As adults, it is our job to educate ourselves to learn about others differences and help prevent a tragedy. Most important, as an adult it is our job to provide support for our youth, the leaders of our future.


Words and Picture by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez

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Women Without Borders

Down on 183 King, there is a movement of women around the world growing into economic self-sufficiency through the art of their hands. Ibu, which on the islands of Indonesia mean a woman of respect, is a studio and showroom that collaborates with women in 79 cooperatives that are changing the world of fashion. Susan Hull Walker, founder and creative director of Ibu, travels around the world and meets women who have traditional textile skills such as spinning, dyeing, weaving. She meets these women and sees their culture and stories being told through the clothes and textile they produce.

Ali Macgraw, who you might remember from the movies Love Story and Goodbye, Columbus, is now an activist and IBU extraordinaire, collaborated with longtime friend Susan, to design a collection that celebrates the craftsmanship of women from around the world. The collection includes clothing, shawls, shoes, bags, and jewelry that are now available to shop at Ibu. The collection is a definition of powerful women who practice traditional age old textile methods that have been passed down from generations.

After a year of designing and traveling around the world, this past Wednesday, Ali and Susan presented the collection to a group of 400 people. Guest got the chance to watch the collection as it made its make debut and shop the collection. BEAU was there to give you a peek of the inspiring event.

Clothing is the cultural language and Ibu is making each piece statement from the group of people who inspired and produced it.Join the movement. Wear the Change. Shop the Ali4Ibu collection and to learn more at

Photo’s by Cristian Diaz

Story by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez

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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