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Florida beat us to it

Seems as though the Florida Legislature beat good ole’ N.C. in passing a state-wide anti-bullying bill protecting LGBT students. We’ve got a similar bill that needs to be passed by our State Senate this coming session.

No word yet on whether Gov. Crist is going to sign it, although the Florida Senate vote was 39-0.

Oh. By the way, North Carolina’s still the most progressive Southern state.

After hearing Gov. Mike Easley’s unfortunate use of the anti-gay slur, “pansy,” I immediately sensed the high probability that my governor’s words could have a huge impact on the way people outside of my state perceive our political leaders and its people.

As a North Carolinian (a very proud one at that) I also immediately felt a need to defend my state, its honor, its wonderful people and our leaders who are working hard every day to secure equality and fairness for all our citizens.

North Carolina already has a bad reputation. From Hollywood movies to old stereotypes about “backwoods North Carolina,” folks outside of my beautiful state and outside of the South tend to believe Tar Heels are nothing but redneck, gun-toting, gay-bashing, cigarette-chain-smoking Republicans who hate blacks, Mexicans, Jews and women.

The reality couldn’t be further from the stereotype. Despite our conservative nature, the people of North Carolina truly are fair-minded, at least when compared to the rest of the South. Are we as “fair-minded” as folks in California or New York? Probably not. But I think our LGBT track record speaks clearly for itself. Our state is Democratic-controlled. Are our Democrats as liberal as those in California or New York? Definitely not. But, I think our people and our leaders are among some of the most fair and equality-minded people in the entire South.

When the radical right looks at their map of states buying into their “save marriage” wedge issue ballot drives, they see a huge hole glaring at them, kicking them right in the face and reminding them of their failure. No matter what they do or say, they can’t get the good Old North State to follow suit.

As I’ve said before, the North Carolina LGBT community is well-connected, well-organized and effective. From statewide policies to municipal protections, North Carolina is ahead on the Southern curve.

Please, whatever you do, don’t let the Governor’s inarguably unfortunate choice of words cloud your judgment and perception of North Carolina and our people.

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National scrutiny: Not fun

The N.C. Primary campaigning is in full swing.

Everyone knows I’m a person with a reputation for going head-first into any adventure of mine. How ironic that my first journalism/media job puts me smack-dab in the middle of LGBT political coverage of the N.C. Primary… in a year where our wonderful state isn’t ignored as it is in almost every election year.

National scrutiny isn’t going to be fun and I have a sense I’ll be getting complaints from all sides of all issues over the next week and a half. In fact, I already have.

Stress? No, not at all! There’s no stress here.

In the next few days and next two weeks, I get the lovely opportunity to be the voice of the LGBT community and its needs and concerns during the N.C. Primary on May 6th.

Attending the Clinton rally in Uptown Charlotte Monday… talking to campaign staffers and volunteers… tracking the polling… and, perhaps, doing some unofficial (and highly unscientific) polling of LGBT leaders, movers and shakers across the state.

Keep up with it all at the new Q-Notes Online at www.q-notes.com and my staff blog, InsideSource.

Yesterday was St. George’s Day, in other words, the day of England’s patron saint.

From The AP (via PageOneQ.com):

April 23 is St. George’s Day, England’s national day. But it’s not a public holiday, and for decades it passed largely unnoticed — a far cry from its rowdy Irish counterpart, St. Patrick’s Day.

“We tend to be a bit more reserved. It’s an English trait,” said Janis Whincup, who attended the Trafalgar Square celebrations with a red and white St. George’s flag draped over her shoulders.

[…]

Politicians have begun to embrace Englishness. For the first time on the saint’s day, the St. George’s Cross flag flew Wednesday above the 10 Downing St. residence of Prime Minister Gordon Brown — a Scot.

“The prime minister’s view is that of course we should celebrate our Britishness,” said Brown’s spokesman, Michael Ellam. “But celebrating our Britishness does not mean we cannot also celebrate our Englishness, Scottishness, Welshness or Northern Irishness.”

There are signs of an unofficial revival, too. Pubs across the country planned celebratory roast beef dinners Wednesday. Party-supply companies reported a sharp rise in sales of red-and-white hats and streamers.

So here’s to my “Englishness,” thanks to my lovely English (and Dutch) ancestors. Any body up for a drink tonight (I know, I know… a day late, but, yes, another excuse to bring out the bottle of whatever I have).

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The new Q-Notes Online linked from CNN!

From the staff blog, InsideSource:

I was busy-ing myself yesterday evening after work, checking Q-Notes Online’s web stats.

Q-Notes was linked to CNN.com, featured in their feeds from local news!

Take a peek (click on images to make larger):

Original Post

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Hometown politics: Hagan v. Neal

Okay… so I’m a week late catching up on news from my beautiful hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C.

It seems as though N.C. State Sen. Kay Hagan won the Forsyth County Democratic Convention straw poll 58% over openly gay, Chapel Hill businessman Jim Neal.

And, The Winston-Salem Journal endorsed Hagan.

I’m not particularly surprised. Winston is full of three types of people: (1) Big Business-oriented Democrats, (2) Traditional, more “establishment” Democrats, and (3) bona fide Southern Democrats (read: they don’t like the queers).

As for my new hometown… The Charlotte Observer endorsed Kay, too. The DSCC must be jumping for joy.

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NC-06: Bratton wavers on LGBT equality?

I got the chance this morning to take a quick look at the candidate questionnaires for the radical, anti-gay N.C. Family Policy Council.

6th Congressional District candidate Jay Ovittore passed with flying colors. Teresa Sue Bratton — well, not so much:

Should “sexual orientation” be added as a protected class in federal law?

___ Yes ___ No X Undecided

Huh? Did she not understand the question? Or is she just pandering to the right?

Teresa… shame. The correct answer would have been “Yes.” Duh!

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Cin2… If only

If prison really were this beautiful, I might consider going…

We’ve released our North Carolina primary endorsement. Well — it isn’t quite an “endorsement.”

Over the last few weeks, we have been contacted by numerous parties representing the Democratic presidential contenders. They want to know if Q-Notes is making an endorsement for the upcoming N.C. primary, slated for May 6, and, if so, whether we are supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama.

We’ve basically stalled them, waiting for the editorial staff to reach a consensus decision. However, after several meetings, the thing we’ve most come to realize is how remarkably tepid our support is for either candidate.

[…]

So, what are we saying exactly? Pick ’em! Vote your conscience and good luck to whomever wins.
However, once this political sideshow is over and the Democratic nominee is declared, get out there and work your rear end off for him or her. America cannot take another Republican administration — and, frankly, neither can we.

Read the full endorsement at the *NEW* Q-Notes Online.

And be sure to vote in our April 19 issue’s QPoll: Who will you be voting for in the May 6 N.C. primary?