It’s almost here and I haven’t written a word yet, Blenders. It’s not as if I don’t know what I’m going to say in my 15 minutes at the podium on Saturday at our statewide NC Pride.
Matt Comer of QNotes rang me up the other day to pick my brain about some of the messages I planned to deliver. So here’s a preview…
“I want to talk about our successes – the anti-bullying bill, the Healthy Youth Act, and the resolution by the Durham City Council,” she said. “Those are positive things, but I also want to talk about what happened at the council meeting and the experience of so many people of color in the audience sitting down when it passed.”
…Most recently, Spaulding said she was shocked when participating in Equality North Carolina’s 2009 Lobby Day, when African-American legislators told her social justice issues and LGBT issues weren’t the same thing.
“I don’t choose to be in one community or another,” Spaulding said. “I am a part of both, and we need to start talking about that and start seeing how that hampers LGBT progress when we ignore the elephant in the room.”
…She blames a good chunk of the tension on self-segregation. “We can’t build bridges if people don’t even socialize in the same circles,” she said. “It seems as if no one trusts each other.”
Read the rest; the print version of the issue will be available at Pride. The parade is at noon, I am scheduled to speak at 2:40 – 2:55 PM.
On a lighter note, what’s kind of surreal about the experience is that I’ll be riding in the parade in one of the cars since I’m on the program, instead of marching with my former neighborhood, Old West Durham, which is the host neighborhood for Pride. I usually jump out along the parade route to videotape the bizarre and gut-busting antics of the fundies on the sidelines. Someone else better share their video and pix of the loser bible beaters who show up this year.
Surely Flip Benham will make the pointless drive from Charlotte to Durham to make a jackass out of himself and his organization, Operation Save America. Perhaps some of the members of conservative black churches and local pols will show up after I “invited” them in my last Durham News column, “Night at the City Council”:
As I recorded the goings-on, I suddenly noticed the racial divide in the room — those who were standing and who remained seated. I didn’t see any people of color standing or clapping. I jetted home to load up my video to YouTube and spread the news; you can see it: tinyurl.com/m3fj9v
The reaction I saw makes it clear there is work to be done to build bridges in the community regarding LGBT equality. That, however, is for another day — I will be the keynote speaker at NC Pride on September 26. The parade weaves through Old West Durham to Duke’s East Campus, ends with the keynote and other guests. It will be a good opportunity to celebrate the victories — and address this sad divide in understanding. I hope you’ll stop by.
Chapel Hill and Carrboro will share the NC Pride spotlight
Many Blenders are probably aware that out of the points in the Triangle area, the most LGBT-hospitable and affirming places are Durham and the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, so many traveling to celebrate Pride weekend (September 24-27, 2009) have a chance to take a tour of Chapel Hill and the surrounding communities during the Discover North Carolina IGLTA Travel Symposium, sponsored by the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau. QNotes:
Attracting travel trade professionals including media and tour planners, planned events include cooking school at the kitchens of restaurant A Southern Season, a private reception at an antebellum home, a back porch musical concert and historic tours and chats with gay and lesbian elected officials and others.
“We are thrilled that Chapel Hill and North Carolina will be the site of an International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association Event,” Richard Brower, the strategic development and marketing manager of International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), said in a release. “The itinerary is very unique and gives members of our association a new way to look at this dynamic state and college town area.”
…”We want the gay traveling public to know that Chapel Hill is inclusive, welcoming and beautiful year-round. We want more gay and lesbian travelers, families and business conferences to discover our unique role in the state,” said Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.
You’ll be able to catch me on one segment of the tour, as I cover a panel session this Friday at the Sheraton Chapel Hill, “Getting to know Chapel Hill from the LGBT leaders and citizens.
More below the fold.
It will feature some truly well-connected and active area advocates and elected officials:
Sharon Thompson: provides the legal servicess to a wide variety of clients in the area of family law, including domestic partnership issues.
Mark Kleinschmidt: a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council and one of nine openly gay North Carolinians to be elected in state history. He’s also a Chapel Hill mayoral candidate this year and heads up the Fair Trial Initiative.
Lydia E. Lavelle: she serves on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and teaches “Sexual Identity and the Law” at North Carolina Central University School of Law (in Durham). She lives in Carrboro with her partner Alicia Stemper and their children.
Mike Nelson serves on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. A Democrat, Nelson is a former mayor of Carrboro, North Carolina and the first openly gay person to be elected as a mayor of a North Carolina city.
Joanne Fiore, Esq. is the incoming chair of the board of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. She relocated to Chapel Hill from southern Vermont with her partner and their three children with the relocation to the Triangle of the American Institute of CPAs, where she is the director of magazines and newsletters
Did you know…
* Carrboro – the town right next door to Chapel Hill, was the first community in the state to elect an openly gay mayor.
* Chapel Hill was the first municipality in the South to include sexual orientation as a category under its non-discrimination policy.
* The Chapel Hill town council was the first in the state to support the repeal of the North Carolina Defense of Marriage Act.
* Chapel Hill was the first municipality in the state to elect an openly gay council member, Joe Herzenberg.
* Orange County was the first county in North Carolina to extend domestic partner benefits to all employees and the first to elect an openly gay-county commissioner.