Dan Kirsch was one of the original pioneers to organize the LGBTQ community in North Carolina.
Dan came to Charlotte in the late 1980s, moving from Philadelphia, where he had been a member of the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. “It was a life-changing experience to be part of that chorus,” Dan remembered. “It gave me courage and confidence to be fully out and ready to do my part for equal rights.
From 1989 to 2004, Dan was instrumental in the founding of four community-altering organizations: One Voice Chorus, OutCharlotte LGBTQ Cultural Festival, the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte and the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund. Each of these organizations were ground-breaking, introducing Charlotte to LGBTQ arts, events and philanthropy in new and exciting ways.
In June 1994, Dan and Sue Henry were co-chairs of NC Pride, and they brought the largest statewide LGBTQ event ever held to the Queen City. That same year, Dan put Charlotte on the map with LGBTQ community leaders nationwide when he hosted the Gay & Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) Annual Leadership Conference here. The three-day event attracted 250 chorus delegates from across the country and gave a young One Voice Chorus an important audience.
The success of NC Pride led to the start of OutCharlotte in 1995. OutCharlotte encompassed a broad range of activities, including the annual October cultural festival, FilmOut (taking over the reigns of the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival), OutMedia (which created the six-episode soap “Southern Disclosure” for the local cable TV station), and ReachOut, which provided training and education programs. During 2001, OutCharlotte was a host site for the Colorado-based Gill Foundation’s InCommunity program, offering 10 free fundraising training session to members of any non-profit organization. More than 250 participants from 97 organizations participated. OutCharlotte also led the feasibility study for a future LGBTQ community center.
In 2016, Dan returned to Charlotte where he served as Development and Strategy Consultant for Time Out Youth Center’s successful capital campaign. Adding to his collection of firsts, Dan coached this treasured local non-profit to raise more money than any LGBTQ organization in Charlotte ever had and set them on the path to building what will be the city’s first transitional housing facility for homeless LGBTQ youth.
On January 1, 2018, Dan began a new job as Managing Director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville, North Carolina.