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Charlotte, NC City Council Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 6-5 Vote: VIDEO

Charlotte

After hours of contentious debate, much of it centered around the use of bathrooms by transgender citizens, the Charlotte, North Carolina City Council voted down several LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, the Charlotte Observer reports:

Before the final vote, council members had removed the section of the ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. That issue drew the most vigorous opposition from dozens of speakers.

“All over the world, there are restrooms for men and restrooms for women,” said Driggs, a Republican. “It does not place an unreasonable burden on them and it does not stigmatize them.”

But even with the bathroom portion removed, council remained divided. Several council members had said they were opposed to removing that part, which would also have applied to locker rooms and showers, because it weakened the ordinance.

Q Notes adds:

The 6-5 vote is the second time in two decades that Charlotte has rejected LGBT-inclusive protections. LGBT advocates are condemning the vote.

...If passed, Charlotte would have become the first city in North Carolina to pass LGBT-inclusive public accommodations and other protections. Other ordinances proposed for amending — adding marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression — included commercial contracting, passenger vehicles for hire and regulations for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee.

Watch a report from WSOCTV, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Charlotte, NC City Council Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 6-5 Vote: VIDEO" »


North Carolina Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher: VIDEO

Lonnie Billard

In yet another case of anti-gay discrimination in Catholic schools, Charlotte Roman Catholic diocese, North Carolina fired teacher Lonnie Billard (above left, with his partner Rich) after he announced his engagement on Facebook, reports the Advocate.

Before his dismissal, retired Billard had continued to work as a regular substitute teacher in Charlotte Catholic High School.

Although the diocese has claimed that the school made the decision, Billard has challenged this version of events:

“This was not a decision by Charlotte Catholic High School. I had talked with one of the administration officials. He knew [about the engagement announcement]. He didn’t care. He said he knew me to be a good teacher and a good person.

“Apparently there were a couple teachers there who are super-conservative Catholic. They are not friends of mine on Facebook, but they found out about it and escalated it so it got to the diocese.

I knew the Catholic Church is behind the times when it comes to understanding and acceptance of gay people, but I thought with the current pope saying, ‘Who am I to judge?’ that maybe things would be better, but apparently that’s not the case.”

According to diocese spokesman David Hains, Billard was not fired for being gay but for violating an employment contract that prohibited him from opposing church teaching.

However, responding to objections from the diocese on the facts as presented by Qnotes, the Charlotte-based LGBT community newspaper stated:

“The violation of Billard’s contract was his statement on his intention to marry. Without this statement, Billard wouldn’t have been fired. Therefore, it is factual and accurate to report that Billard was fired because he is a gay man who announced his intention to marry his same-gender partner — an act the church calls ‘disobedience,’ but which is also a fundamental human and civil right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, as recently upheld by North Carolina’s U.S. District Courts and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

In March of last year, an assistant theology professor at Charlotte Catholic caused a furore - and a backlash from parents and students - when she claimed in a speech that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of pornography and parents' shortcomings.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP... 

 

Continue reading "North Carolina Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher: VIDEO" »


Charlotte Pride Festival Draws Thousands

Pride

Thousands of people marched and celebrated in uptown Charlotte over the weekend for the city's gay pride festival, Charlotte Observer reports:

The parade drew corporate sponsors, City Council members, allies and members of the gay community. Parade goers supported the parade participants with rainbow-colored dogs, pink boas and signs like “God Adores You.”

The festival, which ran Saturday and Sunday, was expected to draw more than 80,000 people, event organizers said, though Charlotte Mecklenburg police Capt. Mike Campagna declined to provide a crowd estimate. [...]

Several churches made appearances in the parade, with signs like “God Loves Everyone” from St. John Baptist Church, “God Invites. We Welcome. All.” from Caldwell Presbyterian Church and “Discrimination is a Sin” from Wedgewood Church.

There were few protesters out on Sunday. A half-dozen people stood along Tryon Street, holding signs like “God Hates Pride” and “Pornography/Pathway to Hell’s Fire.”

The AP adds that one of the honored guests at the parade was Crystal Moore, the Latta, SC police chief who was fired earlier this year by the town's homophobic mayor. Moore was subsequently reinstated by a public vote. 

[photo via Facebook/Wayne White Music Photography]


Students at Catholic HS Reject Nun's Offensive Speech About Homosexuality: VIDEO

Laurel

An assistant theology professor at a Catholic high school in Charlotte, NC has caused a furor among students with a speech about homosexuality. We reported on this back in March but it has since blown up.

The kids aren't having it, and have alerted their parents to the nun's nonsense, USA Today reports:

Administrators at Charlotte Catholic High School met Wednesday with about 900 parents who learned about the March 21 speech from their children, upset at Sister Jane Dominic Laurel's assertion that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of parents' shortcomings and pornography. Students said the assistant professor of theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., told them that single and divorced parents caused kids to become gay; that homosexuals cannot live normal, productive lives; and that gays can't be good parents.

About half of the one-hour talk centered on homosexuality, according to a statement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte's official newspaper.

Some parents at the 1,400-student school say they wanted to know about the topic of the assembly ahead of time and would not have allowed their kids to stay.

Watch the WCNC report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Charlotte, NC Man Fired From Job After Altercation With Governor Now Receiving Help From Mayor

Drew Swope, a gay grocery store employee who had a verbal altercation with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (right) on Sunday wound up fired. Now, in a remarkable turn of events, he is receiving help from Charlotte's mayor, Pat Cannon, to secure a new job.

PatmccrorySwope reportedly said, "Thanks for nothing" as McCrory passed by him at Reid's Fine Foods, an understandable sentiment given McCrory's already tumultuous term, fraught with anti-abortion measures and slashed education budgets. Swope claimed that McCrory's response may have had something to do with the employee's sexual orientation.

Talking Points Memo reports:

"...he started yelling at me and eyes were bulging out of his head," Swope told TPM in a phone interview on Tuesday.

The openly gay Swope also told TPM that McCrory was hostile to him "for being a fag."

A spokesman for the governor said that McCrory did not raise his voice, and claimed that Swope actually made an obscene gesture — a charge that Swope vehemently denied.

McCrory's office did not respond to TPM's request for comment.

PatrickCannon2009Swope subsequently lost his job, an action which he understood and respected given the behavior he exhibited while at work.

“I wasn’t surprised at all," Swope told TPM. "I mean, I would have fired me. I’ve been in the restaurant business for 25 years. I know the rules.”

Charlotte's mayor, Pat Cannon (right) has not taken the situation lightly, however, and he asked Swope to send him his resume so that he could help secure a position for him in the city's private sector.  

“To lose a job is nothing that someone wants to do,” Cannon said. “I felt that I would do what I could to help him along the way, if I could make something happen. I have a few leads for him to help him continue being a contributing citizen of Charlotte.”


Transgender Student From Charlotte, NC Nominated For Homecoming King

Blakebrockington_feat

Blake Brockington, a 17-year-old transgender student at Charlotte, North Carolina's East Mecklenburg High School has been nominated for homecoming king. Brockington, who had a difficult childhood and coming out experience, hopes to win in order to set an example for other transgender youth. His nomination comes after a tumultuous fall in which Cassidy Campbell won homecoming queen at her California school (only to find herself intensely bullied) and Casey Karon was denied the option at his Pennsylvania school.

Be that as it may, Brockington has a chance to make a huge difference in the lives of others.

QNotes reports:

“I honestly feel like this is something I have to do,” says Brockington, noting few other transgender male students have had the opportunity...

Brockington says winning will mean the most for several younger transgender students he mentors, including a nine-year-old boy.

“He really looks up to me. That’s my heart,” Brockington says of his mentee. “He has support now and he will be able to avoid just about everything I’m going through and I don’t want him to ever have to be scared. I feel like if I do this, that’s one red flag for everybody to say, ‘Nobody should be scared to be themselves and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience.’”

Brockington faced a great deal of difficulty when he came out as transgender during his sophomore year at East Mecklenburg. His step-mother supported him, while his dad did not, and various peers, teachers, and guidance counselors were none-too-helpful either. After having good experiences coming out to several friends and attending a local Queer Youth Prom at the Time Out Youth Center, though, Brockington gained confidence.

“After that, I was like, ‘I don’t have to do this anymore — I don’t have to hide anymore or not be myself,’” he says. “I came to school my junior year and said, ‘Hey, I’m Blake.’”

He now lives in foster care, a more supportive environment, and will head off to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte to study math, music, and education in the fall. And though his positive intentions are reason enough to encourage Brockington's homecoming win, the crown will eventually go to the student who raises the most money for Mothering Across Continents, a non-profit building schools in South Sudan. 

...even if he doesn’t win, he’ll still be among a dozen guys on the school’s homecoming court, though Brockington is aiming for top spot.

“We’re hoping for king,” he says.

Head over to QNotes for more information about the fundraising effort and donations. We'll be rooting for you at Towleroad, Blake! 

Photo via Qnotes.


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