The date of Mayor Anthony Foxx’s forum at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center has been changed from Dec. 9 to Dec. 8. The forum will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
The Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte has announced it will hold an open forum with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The event is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at the center, 820 Hamilton St., Suite B11.
Foxx’s event with the LGBT community follows Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe’s open forum at the center on Oct. 12. Monroe’s presence there marked the first time a local police chief spoke publicly to the LGBT community. Foxx’s appearance marks a similarly historic occasion. Although Harvey Gantt, who served as mayor from 1983-1987, was supportive of the LGBT community and included them in his 1990 Senate campaign, he never held a public forum or town hall-type event with LGBT citizens while he was in office.
Foxx was elected mayor in 2009, succeeding longtime Republican Mayor Pat McCrory. Many LGBT community members had criticized McCrory’s lack of support for the local LGBT community. In a post-election Q&A with qnotes in November 2009, Foxx pledged to be more responsive.
“I think it is important to be sensitive to all the voices in our community and that means being sensitive to the voices that believe Charlotte is behind the curve and hasn’t been as aggressive as we should be on embracing the LGBT community,” he said. “Then there are the voices that think we’ve done too much. I represent all of those people and part of the role that I play is to, on the one hand, not infusing more emotion and rhetoric either way into the decisions we face as a community and trying to make dispassionate, practical but good choices for our community going forward.”
He added, “I look forward to earning the respect of a wide swath of our community in terms of moving forward not only on this issue but also on others.”
In the same interview, Foxx said he’d like to see the city council move on LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies early after their installation in December 2009. Those progressive moves didn’t happen until the end of March 2010, and were approved not by the city council but instead by the city manager. Even then, the policy changes failed to include protections on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Charlotte’s lack of progress on LGBT issues stands in stark contrast to other North Carolina municipalities. The cities of Durham and Raleigh, for example, added “sexual orientation” to their non-discrimination policies in 1987 and 1988, respectively. Charlotte is the last major city in the state to make similar changes, and was beat to the punch by cities and towns as small as Bessemer City (population, 5,119) and Boone (population, 13,843).
Charlotte city leaders have also failed to deliver on domestic partner benefits, which are offered to county employees, as well as those in various other municipalities across the state.
Originally published: Nov. 16, 2010, 12:53 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 3, 2010, 11:40 a.m.