Today and Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee’s 2012 convention site selection committee will visit Charlotte. While here, they’ll take a look at several criteria: transportation, security, convention space, hotel capacity and more.

Charlotte leaders, including Mayor Anthony Foxx, have been working hard to woo the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Their website, Charlottein2012.com, outlines facts, figures and statistics on the Charlotte area, and they are working on compiling a resource list of all the great things to do and see in and around the Queen City.

The first “fact” in their Fact Sheet (PDF) states we are “an energetic, innovative, diverse city on the move,” yet this quick “fact” forgets about one¬†key Democratic constituency that has often been ill-served and ignored by Charlotte’s Democratic leadership. Unfortunately, local and state leaders’ exhuberance over Charlotte’s possible hosting of the Democratic National Convention has overshadowed just how slow the area has been to making progressive change, particularly for LGBT citizens.

The Democratic National Convention stands to bring countless numbers of LGBT Americans to our city. It is an event for a political party whose ideals of equality and inclusion are rarely, if ever, taken to heart by our own local Democratic Party leaders.

At first glance, this lack of progress seems nothing but a negative stain on Charlotte but it doesn’t have to be. The Queen City has much more growing to do, and the Democratic National Convention’s presence here could help to highlight the many issues faced by our local LGBT community and push local leaders over whatever obstacles keep them from fully and publicly supporting LGBT people and citizens here.

So, here is my open letter to the DNC. I ask you to consider Charlotte carefully and provide a fair selection process to all potential host cities. But, in the end, I hope you do choose Charlotte.

Read on for an in-depth exploration of the state of LGBT Charlotte — both positive and negative — and how the convention could help our city move forward. Continue reading this post…

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The anti-gay plan to undo hate crimes law

Both Queerty and Bilerico have commented on a WND story about a challenge next week to the new hate crimes legislation signed by Obama on Oct. 27. They say anti-gay activists are attempting to call for violence against LGBT people. I think the plan is much simpler and less sinister, but all the more susceptible to media spin.

Continue reading this post…

I spoke to Mark Binker at The News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) on Wednesday regarding Rep. Virginia Foxx’s “hoax” comments regarding Matthew Shepard. Speaking about her district, I said:

“She’s not going to have any blow-back there,” Comer said. “More than likely, there will be a lot of people who agree with her.” Most of the outrage over her remarks, Comer said, would be limited to the gay community.

Wrong. Dead wrong. On Wednesday evening, or so I hear, Foxx’s phone lines were jammed and the voice mail box full. She’s getting plenty of backlash.

To those who doubt that Obama will be an ally to the LGBT community (at one time including myself), the new White House website’s (which I’m told was updated at 12:01 p.m.) section on Civil Rights includes an entirely special focus on “Support for the LGBT Community.”

See the screengrab and click to enlarge after the jump…

Continue reading this post…

Back in March, Q-Notes featured a piece about a new film project in Wilmington, N.C., documenting an 18-year-old murder many have said is a hate crime.

The film project got some mainstream press cred over the holiday break.

From The Wilmington Star News:

A brutal 18-year-old murder drew new attention in 2008.

In February, St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church held a memorial service for Talana Quay Kreeger, who had been raped, beaten, disemboweled and left to bleed to death in a scrubby field early in the morning of Feb. 22, 1990, near the intersection of Carolina Beach Road and Shipyard Boulevard. A centerpiece of the program was a preview of “Park View,” a documentary-in-progress by Thomas A. “Tab” Ballis.

Ballis, a licensed clinical social worker in Wilmington, argued that Kreeger’s killing was a hate crime, motivated in part because Kreeger was a lesbian. He and other supporters maintain her death was one of a number of homicides of gays and lesbians during the 1980s in Southeastern North Carolina, targeted for their sexuality.

Read the rest at StarNewsOnline.com.

The Washington, D.C. GLBT Anti-Violence Task Force, or GLOV (Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence), has issued an action alert on the continued rash of anti-gay violence in the nation’s capital.

From HRC Back Story:

Today Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), a program of The DC Center, sent a letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty to request an urgent meeting in response to rising incidents of violence against LGBT people in the area, including the heartbreaking murder of Durval Martins this week. Here is the text of the letter in its entirety:

Continue reading this post…

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Black in a white neighborhood

A man in rural Hollywood, S.C. – a town near Charleston – claims he and his family are being targeted for being black in a white neighborhood:

Clifford Washington asked his wife to stop taking walks down their country road after the day someone shouted the N-word at her.Soon after that incident two years ago, Washington started seeing bullet or pellet holes on his garage, the trucks parked in his yard and above his front door. He thinks he and his family are paying the price for being a black family in a white neighborhood.

“This is harassment and I think it’s a hate crime,” Washington said.

He called the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office 13 times in the first two months after the trouble began. Since then, Washington says he has lost count of how many times he has tried to get help. Deputies have responded to his calls but say they can do little without a lead or a suspect.

“I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle,” Washington said, adding that he does not think anyone is taking him seriously.

The rest of the article from The Charleston Post-Courier goes into some good detail, including the steps Washington has taken to speak to local law enforcement and a recent cross burning in his neighborhood (the local sheriff claims it was simple teen mischief.

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What’s wrong with Kansas?

My attention was drawn to an article from a Kansas TV station this morning while browsing The Washington Blade‘s website. A teen in a small town of about 800 people was severely beaten inside his home by a classmate who had heard rumors he was gay. The rumor was false. The perpetrator also had with him a small explosive. His intent: To kill the 16-year-old boy.

Continue reading this post…

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Raleigh safer than D.C.?

Yeah… a once Raleigh native told Washington, D.C.’s Metroweekly magazine that he felt safer in Raleigh, as well as in Boston:

At the same time, Mark Hayes, another local gay man, was finding himself similarly fed up. While Perry is a Washington native, Hayes came to the District about five years ago, having lived in Boston and Raleigh, N.C. His experiences here, he says, indicate a level of entrenched homophobia he’s not experienced elsewhere.

”D.C. is very different,” says Hayes, recalling that he and three friends were recently taunted with shouts of ”faggot” by a passing Lincoln Navigator with Maryland plates as they neared Nellie’s, a gay sports bar, walking along 12th Street NW. ”Even though North Carolina has a reputation for not being as gay friendly, the big gay bar in Raleigh is right downtown. I’m not terrified, but I don’t have the level of safety that I felt in Boston.”

Hayes says he believes D.C. has a ”major problem with homophobia. I think it starts in schools and goes on up.”

I really don’t know how this can be. You’d think, stereotypically, that a larger city — and, in general, a more progressive city — would be a safer place for LGBT folks to live and work. Hayes definitely disagrees. His statement in the latest issue of Metroweekly comes right on the heels of the death of a supposed gay-bashing victim killed near D.C. gay bar BeBar. The Washington Blade has more.

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Ellen Speaks Out

With more composure than I could probably muster, Ellen reminds her viewers that something is terribly wrong. “It starts with jokes, becomes verbal abuse, becomes physical abuse and then Brandon kills his fellow eighth grade classmate just because Larry is gay.”

Thanks NG for the tip.