It’s a first. Well… at least it’s a first in a very long time. After more than a decade of McCrory’s cold shoulder, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx has put his official acknowledgement of our lives on paper.
Most mayors and other government officials across the country and world write these sorts of things. They’re customary and tradition, mostly. Given our history here in Charlotte, however, it’s a sign of progress. Although there are a few positives — CMPD is reaching out and will hold a public forum with LGBT community members in October, and sexual orientation was finally added to city employment policies this past March — the Queen City still has a long, long way to go before its LGBT citizens are fully accepted and embraced in the full life of this city (like the most recent example in which city-county officials couldn’t bring themselves to simply say, “No, we don’t discriminate against LGBT people”).
I’m happy Mayor Foxx issued this letter. In fact, we owe him a “Thanks.” It’s a welcoming and encouraging sign that progress is possible. But, that’s all it is — a sign, a symbol. This letter furthers no substantive or concrete policy initiatives or successes. In fact, Mayor Foxx doesn’t even take the time to tell us exactly how he will help LGBT Charlotteans fully enjoy and participate in that wonderful city he talks about. At the end of the day, the letter represents only words, not action.
While we celebrate this year a mayor who isn’t afraid to acknowledge our existence, I ask that we also do two things: (1) Use this letter as a continued starting, not a stopping, point, and (2) Take time to remember the the legacy of the late Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess, who in all the years of McCrory stepped up to the plate and welcomed us with open arms.
Mayor Foxx’s letter to Pride Charlotte is reproduced below…
On behalf of the citizens of Charlotte, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the attendees of Pride Charlotte 2010. I am happy to know that The Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte is helping make this opportunity possible for Charlotte’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender citizens along with family and friends.
As some of you are most likely residents of Charlotte, you know what a charming place the Queen City is and the many wonderful attractions and entertainment opportunities that are available. For those who are visiting Charlotte, it is a community of pleasant tree-lined neighborhoods, parks and museums, restaurants, and sports facilities. We are especially proud to be the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the NFL Carolina Panthers, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center and also Pride Charlotte 2010 location, The NC Music Factory. In addition, the activities available in our vibrant Center City, mixes dining, entertainment, and cultural amenities all within walking distance of each other, with additional shopping and entertainment options that are distinctly Charlotte. I encourage each of you to venture out and explore the wonder, the beauty, and the people who make this great city.
Again, welcome to Pride Charlotte 2010!
Anthony R. Foxx