By empowering Southern queer youth and building community through music and the arts, QORDS is a vehicle for expressing gender and sexuality, and harbors an environment of self-discovery and social change.
Our Core Values
We are committed to promoting the creativity, affirmation, leadership, abundance and voices of Southern queer youth. We recognize that gender and sexuality are multidimensional concepts that intersect with issues including, but not limited to: institutions, race, class, heritage, ability, documentation status, language, or spirituality. We aim to cultivate intersectional spaces and claim music and arts as a vehicle of queer empowerment.
QORDS (Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer) was founded in August 2012 and held the first overnight camp in Lenoir, NC in July 2013. QORDS is a grassroots, nonprofit organization.
Our board members are scattered across the United States and fundraise year-round. Currently, all teams are seeking more volunteers. If interested, please see our Volunteer page!
Co-Chair | They/Them
Laz hails from the land of enchantment and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Mexico. Laz comes from a musical family and has transitioned from the classical viola world to being a folk musician and performance artist. Laz spent many summers at Jesus camp trying to pray the gay away and spending their summers now with strong brilliant queer and trans youth is a dream come true.
Co-Chair | He/Him
Felix is a social worker who lives and works in Durham, NC. He is queer, disabled, and nonbinary transmasculine. Felix has been playing the trumpet for over 20 years and started playing ukulele in 2019. He has a passion for music, hiking, running, and knitting. He has been serving on the QORDS board since November 2018.
Treasurer | She/They
Jenna is a queer Durham based teacher and creator. Jenna has been a part of QORDS since the Summer of 2020, first volunteering as a band coach and is currently the treasurer and on the Board for QORDS. Jenna currently teaches high school math but has also led improv and musical improv workshops in MA and NC over the past few years. Music, dance, art and self reflection has always been key components in their life and they’re looking forward to continuing that excitement with all the lovely people here at QORDS.
Secretary, Marketing | They/Them
Kevin is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in long-distance transgender vocal training. Kevin has a a passion for entertaining and building up others, and loves the opportunity to bring all of themself to this space. They have become more and more involved in QORDS since initially volunteering as a singing instructor in 2017.
Social Media & Outreach | They/She
Crysta is a neurodivergent speech language pathologist, artist/vocalist, educator, and community organizer. They are passionate about food justice, dismantling racialized capitalism, self determination, and community care. They are originally from unceded Lenape land, known today as New York City and currently reside in Staten Island with their plants (unnamed) and cat Bandit. In their free time, they enjoy crafting, playing board games and video games, hiking and camping, and listening to podcasts. They have been volunteering with QORDS since 2020 and will always encourage you to MAKE WEIRD ART!
Marketing & Social Media | He/Him
Raafe-Ahmad Purnsley, a North Carolina native, has a great love for the environment of the state and chose to get his BS from Elon University in Environmental and Ecological Science. With a background in education that has focused on local NC history and science, Raafe has added a focus of social justice and activism to his teachings. Currently, Raafe is the Community Outreach Coordinator for his home co-op market in Durham, NC. When he isn’t connecting neighbors to resources or leading tours of the market Raafe moonlights at the electrifying Stormie Daie, who is a part of Durham House of Coxx.
Board Member | She/Her
Dana is originally from Atlanta, but recently moved to Austin, TX, where she works as a Program Coordinator for UT Austin’s Center for Community Engagement. She is passionate about bringing together education, art, and activism, and is dedicated to being a mentor and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth. Dana has been a volunteer for QORDS since summer 2020. She plays cello and guitar and loves to stay up way too late writing songs. As a graduate of a performing arts high school, she genuinely believes that the arts can make the world a better place.
Development & Technology | (Zie/Hir)
Penrose is a composer, choral singer, and graduate student. Penrose first became involved with QORDS as a band coach in 2020. When Penrose is not researching trans history or making and writing about music, zie spends hir time baking and keeping hir cat out of too much trouble.
Technology | (She/It)
Cassiopeia is an instrument builder, educator, event organizer based in Dallas, TX. She is dedicated to creating accessible events and workshops that highlight queer artists and teachers and empower folks of all ages to make weird art with technology. As an educator, she has worked to create curriculums centered around creative coding, hacking, and trans music and art history. When she isn’t accidentally burning herself with a soldering iron, she’s hunting for cryptids or hanging out with her dog Bilbo. She joined QORDS in 2021 as a band coach and is beyond excited to support such an incredible community.
Savon is a DJ, aspiring visual artist, and avid community member of Durham’s music scene. They are passionate about their activism in transformative justice, finding self-expression and identity through music, and liberating black and brown people on the dance floor through movement. Savon is a Detroit, MI native who is no stranger to the south, brings a plethora of intersecting genres from their hometown including techno, Motown music, proto-punk, and jazz and blues through their mentoring and advocation for LGBTQ+ Youth. In their free time, they enjoy putting together succulent meals and flavors, reading black sci-fi books, gaming, and getting out to be one with nature.