Yesterday, the Charlotte, North Carolina, LGBT and allied community gathered to celebrate Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the seven members of the Charlotte City Council who voted in favor of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. They were honored at the ninth annual Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund luncheon with a standing ovation for their strong support of Charlotte's LGBT community.
Mayor Roberts recognized the contributions of her fellow council members and the crowd welcomed her with much enthusiasm.
"We are greater because you are telling your stories, and we are moving forward together,” she said.
HRC Board member Scott Bishop and HRC Board of Governors Jeremy Carter, Ann Hooper and Dan Mauney, as well as HRC Charlotte steering committee members Crystal Richardson, Chris Turner and Jamie Hildreth, were on-hand to help cheer Mayor Roberts and the Charlotte City Council’s staunch supporters of the LGBT community.
“We stood up and proved we support equality and inclusion. Regardless of how or what has come out if it, regardless of how the politics play out, Charlotte will continue to promote and support and display for the world to see, our values of equality and inclusion,” Mayor Roberts said. “That is not negotiable.”
The seven members of the Council who voted in favor of adding transgender protections to Charlotte's non-discrimination ordinance were At-large council members Vi Lyles, Julie Eiselt, and James "Smuggie" Mitchell, as well as council members Al Austin, John Autry, Patsy Kinsey and LaWana Mayfield.
The Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund announced 17 grants this year totalling a record breaking $133,000, including a grant to the Charlotte-based, national organization Campus Pride, whose Executive Director Shane Windmeyer and staff were in attendance. Other grant recipients include Time Out Youth and PFLAG Charlotte.
Weeks after the Charlotte City Council passed local LGBT non-discrimination protections, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBT bill. The bill, HB2, was passed in rapid succession that same day by the North Carolina House and Senate, led by Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore.
HB2 not only prevented Charlotte's much needed protections from being enacted, it also eliminated all other existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people; forced transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity; eliminated the ability of individuals to file state lawsuit for discrimination including on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin; and prevents municipalities from passing living wage ordinances.
HRC is a member of TurnOUT! NC, a coalition that includes Equality North Carolina, the ACLU and the Campaign for Southern Equality with the simple goal of mobilizing thousands of pro-equality North Carolinians to speak out for full repeal of HB2. If you live in North Carolina and want to join the efforts to repeal HB2, RSVP for upcoming phonebanks and volunteer opportunities. For more information about our work in North Carolina, contact HRC Associate Regional Field Director Ryan Rowe at Ryan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey with HRC Scott Bishop
Above: Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield and HRC Scott Bishop
Above: Mayor Jennifer Roberts and HRC Jeremy Carter
Above: Equality NC's Crystal Richardson and HRC's Ryan Wilson
Above: CHRC Jeremy Carter with Councilwoman At Large Julie Eiselt