It was a pleasure having the opportunity to discuss this important local LGBT issues on a national stage, an opportunity of which queer Charlotteans will see more as the Democratic National Convention nears in September 2012.
My commentary from The Advocate:
The Democratic National Committee’s decision Tuesday to have the party’s 2012 national convention in Charlotte is a positive for North Carolina and its largest city. In addition to bringing national and global attention and financial resources to the city and state, Charlotte’s hosting of the convention serves as a unique and rare opportunity for local and national LGBT leaders alike.
In case you aren’t familiar with Charlotte, let me provide a quick introduction. We’re the largest city between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and home to the nation’s largest bank, Bank of America. Our NFL team is the Carolina Panthers, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame recently opened here. Oh, and one last thing: Charlotte is not a friendly place for LGBT people.
Though Charlotte is progressive and accepting in many social and business circles, its political and religious landscapes offer little comfort to LGBT citizens. Democratic candidates and elected officials have never considered LGBT equality anything more than an election year talking point delivered to carefully selected audiences. Locals have only two substantial pieces of pro-LGBT law on which to rely, both of those passed by the county as Democratic city leaders, despite their majority on city council, have continued their decades-old stalling techniques.
“But it’s an election year.” “The mayor would veto it.” “I just don’t have the support,” they said. Year after year, any attempt by LGBT residents at forward movement has been blocked by cold shoulders, dead ends and half-cocked solutions and sound bites to appease and quiet us.