Several LGBT leaders and community members from North Carolina were among the several hundred invitees at President Barack Obama’s LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House last Friday.

Among the many present were Charlotte’s Scott Bishop, chair of the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee, and his partner Ron Sperry. Bishop also works as a project manager for the local Charlotte in 2012 Democratic National Convention host committee. His co-worker, host committee marketing officer Tracy Russ and his partner Ian Leonard were also present. Other Charlotteans present included openly lesbian City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield (District 3) and Unity Fellowship Church Bishop Tonya Rawls.

Triangle-area residents also got invites. Durham’s Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend was there, as was Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. In addition, Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality North Carolina, also attended.

Three Duke University students — junior Jacob Tobia, senior Elena Botella and sophomore Adrienne Harreveld — were also present. Tobia delivered a letter to Obama from him and eight College Democrats leaders in North Carolina asking him to sign an executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.

The president, who spoke briefly during the reception, told attendees that he would continue the forward momentum in the movement for LGBT equality.

“As long as I have the privilege of being your President, I promise you, you won’t just have a friend in the White House, you will have a fellow advocate for an America where no matter what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want,” Obama said.


Photos courtesy Pam Spaulding, Tracy Russ and Scott Bishop.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.