Leaders of Charlotte’s gay communities are determined to prevent this year’s vote to ban same-sex marriage taint the state’s national perception. In an effort to counter negative perceptions, the LGBT communities united to create Unity Through Community, an LGBT welcome reception on Sunday.
“The LGBT community in Charlotte-Mecklenburg is very strong and very active,” said Tracy Russ, Senior Advisor for Communications & Marketing for Charlotte In 2012. “It’s an important part of the community to lift up and celebrate.”
The reception is one of several events planned around the Democratic National Convention. Unity Fellowship Bishop Tonyia Rawls organized The Impact of Labels on Democracy, a community forum, today at the Wadsworth House. The Human Rights Campaign teamed with Google to present The State of the LGBT Movement on Wednesday, and there’s a welcome reception for LGBT elected officials next week. The organization Partying with a Purpose: is hosting a screening of the Bayard Rustin biopic of “Brother Outsider” with Director Bennett Singer on Thursday.
Scott Bishop, director of Project Management for Charlotte in 2012, said the LGBT community in Denver was the first to organize events during the DNC in 2008. Charlotte organizers wanted to continue the tradition here.
“This is really going to be our opportunity to show that Charlotte really is an LGBT friendly city, he said. “We can have events like this. We can welcome our straight allies to these types of events.”
Celebrating the community is important to Bishop Rawls who is also part of the Unity Through Community, but she also wanted to use the convention as chance to discuss labels. Rawls’ Freedom Center for Social Justice teamed with the Wadsworth Estate to host Saturday’s forum.
“Labels just impact so much stuff and they’re used so manipulatively. The public has be aware of the impact of it,” Rawls said. “This is not just gay. We’re not shying from it. Gay is just a label of many labels – even the whole northern-southern thing. “