CHARLOTTE — The Democratic National Convention is expected to bring 35,000 convention delegates, journalists and other guests to Charlotte next week. Among them will be big names in the LGBT community known for their work in national and regional politics and in the media.
Sunday’s LGBT welcome event, the “Unity Through Community” party (click here to enter for your chance to win free tickets to the event), will mark the beginning of the week’s celebrity affairs. Club singer Kristine W, popular among the gay community, will headline the event.
Openly LGBT delegates, politicians and others have been invited to the LGBT welcome event, though no one is certain who will attend. A source familiar with the party’s organizing told qnotes that former Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese could be in attendance, along with North Carolina’s openly gay Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Charlotte’s openly lesbian City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, a favorite of local LGBT voters.
Other big names include several openly LGBT politicians and activists. Colorado’s openly gay Congressman Jared Polis will be here, as will openly gay Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio. Both are serving as delegates to the convention, along with Congressman Barney Frank’s transgender legislative assistant Diego Sanchez. Other well-known LGBT delegates will include New Jersey trans activist and Democratic National Committee member Babs Siperstein. New York’s delegation will include openly gay State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, openly lesbian labor leader and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and trans activist Melissa Sklarz.
In addition to Polis, other openly gay or lesbian members of Congress are expected. Massachusetts’ Barney Frank is a member of the convention’s Platform Committee. The Democratic Party became the first of the nation’s two major parties this year to include support for full marriage rights for same-sex couples in their platform. Rhode Island’s openly gay Congressman David Cicilline will also attend, as will Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in that state.
North Carolina’s only openly gay member of the state legislature, Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), is also slated to attend the convention as a delegate.
In the entertainment world, the oh-so-gay Scissor Sisters will perform at a private, invitation-only concert at The Fillmore at Uptown’s NC Music Factory after President Barack Obama gives his renomination speech.
But, there’s no word yet on whether Anderson Cooper, freshly out of the closet as America’s most widely-respected openly gay television journalist, will appear in Charlotte. He spent his time covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa from afar, working from New Orleans to cover Hurricane Isaac.