There’s a lot going on these days. For me, my personal and professional lives are jam-packed, especially after returning to college again this semester. The community is moving full-steam ahead on many fronts nationally, statewide and locally. It’s hard to fit everything in, but I’m gonna try.
Relationship equality rolls along
In Hawaii, a bill that would legalize civil unions is moving through the legislative process. In Maryland, advocates are inching successfully toward full marriage equality. Freedom to Marry, a national marriage equality advocacy group, has announced a nation-wide public education campaign. While some states are facing potential setbacks (Iowa’s legislature is considering a constitutional amendment to overturn marriage there), the progress in others is refreshing. As of press time, North Carolina legislators had yet to file bills to restrict marriage in the House or Senate. When writing my last column, I could have sworn my words would be dated by the time the papers hit the streets, assuming GOP lawmakers would see fit at anytime to launch down their path of anti-LGBT bigotry. I was wrong. Hopefully, last issue’s luck will pull through this time. But, to be on the safe side, I encourage you to head to goqnotes.com for the latest news.
LGBT advocates around the country are calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A. The restaurant has long been known for its conservative bent, but recent efforts by New York City blogger Jeremy Hooper (GoodAsYou.org) have brought the issue into the national spotlight. Hooper’s phenomenal coverage — including details of the millions of dollars Chick-fil-A’s foundation spends on virulently anti-gay causes — can be partly credited for the scores of college and university students now organizing to see the restaurant chain booted from their campuses. The activism inspires me: LGBT and ally young people are clear in their desire to support only those businesses which treat all people equally and who undertake no actions to harm others.
A landmark survey from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, released during the Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference in Minneapolis in early February, shows that transgender people continue to face extreme hardships.
The nearly 6,500 respondents were more likely to live in extreme poverty (less than $10,000 per year), more likely to be unemployed and more likely to experience discrimination or harassment in healthcare facilities, workplaces or in housing.
There are many actions our communities, locally and nationally, can take in order to start addressing these problems. First and foremost, we must continue to be intentionally inclusive of all people in our movement including transgender people. When undertaking lobbying initiatives, especially, we must push harder for transgender-inclusion and give transgender people a presence in political conversations. These two examples, among others, will do much to create change, and we should all be more cognizant of those whose voices often go unheard even among our own community.
Charlotte nets the DNC
Organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention announced on Feb. 1 that they had chosen Charlotte as the host city for their September 2012 event. The news is great for the Queen City, especially when you consider the convention’s potential $150-$200 million economic impact. However, this city continues to be a place where LGBT people are politically irrelevant. Our local community should partner with national LGBT leaders and Democratic Party activists to force a major conversation on equality, the likes of which Charlotte politicians and voters might have never had before. This, and more, was the subject of my Feb. 3 commentary at The Advocate. I hope you’ll take a read: advocate.com/Politics/Commentary/Dems_in_Charlotte_No_LGBTs_Please/.
School spirit? Nah.
I’m not entirely sure what I expected when I transferred my college credits from UNC-Greensboro to UNC-Charlotte. Would I feel like a college student again? Would I be anxious to get involved in campus activities? Would I feel a part of some sort of college community? As it turns out, I’m more interested in class, studying and where exactly my money is being spent. And, while the occasional chat with a good-looking college guy or a stolen glance between me and a hot frat boy is nice, I find myself feeling as though I’m a lifetime ahead of most of my classmates. It’s a weird feeling, but one I’ll just have to get used to as I work toward finishing my degree. : :