According to North Carolina’s Charlotte Post, the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte has elected Ranzeno Frazier as its youngest and first African-American chair of its board of trustees. But not everyone is happy about his groundbreaking role.
Frazier’s selection was met with both positive and negative responses, with naysayers taking issue with his age and experience, the paper reports. Most disturbing: Some explicitly attacked the 26-year-old with race-based insults, according to the paper.
Frazier says he received derogatory emails and text messages, including one in which he was called a “dumb n–ger” who didn’t deserve the position.
“Some people felt like I was going to make this ‘the black center,’” Frazier told the Post. “I never knew that the LGBT community had a race or a color, a specific gender or age.”
While the dissention and name-calling have cut Frazier deep, he told the paper that it has motivated him to tackle the center’s considerable financial problems that he inherited upon taking the position.
“It kind of hurt, coming from the community that I love and care about,” he said in an interview with the Post. “But it actually made me stronger in wanting to prove them wrong … but it saddens my heart that we are still dealing with stuff like that.”
Frazier has his hands full dealing with the center’s financial situation, which includes having about $600 in the bank while owing $7,000 in state and federal taxes, rent being overdue, and the operating manager going without pay for several months, the Post reports.
Frazier held a town meeting in his first week and established an advisory committee made up of community members to help oversee the center’s road to recovery.
Frazier is an unpaid board member, but he is committed not only to establishing new partnerships with other organizations—such as Power House, Time Out Youth, the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund, and the Foundation of the Carolinas—but also to repairing damaged relationships.
Frazier explains that he stepped up to the plate because he believes that the LGBT Community Center is invaluable to both the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the greater city of Charlotte.
Still, “being what they call a ‘high-power’ Black gay man is where the problem comes,” he told the Post. “You kind of have to prove yourself before people really get to know you and give you a chance.”
Read more at the Charlotte Post.