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Total inclusion or incremental change?

In addition to our QPoll on Charlotte’s compromise non-discrimination packages, we asked readers to chime in with their own thoughts. Here are two opinions.

During this debate, I have heard people say “Incremental change never works”. Oh really? First we had domestic partnership registries. We got no rights, but we could register in a few places. Then we got a few DP registries that gave a handful of rights. Later, we got better DPs and civil unions here and there. We eventually got one state that recognized marriage, even though the feds didn’t recognize those marriages. Then we got another state and another. We took what we could get and kept fighting. Sometimes it was two steps forward and one step back, but look where we are now with our “incremental change that never works”. We are on the verge of 50 states with gay marriage, and federal recognition.

We had a chance to get some incremental, trans inclusive ordinance changes in Charlotte. Even the original proposal was only an incremental change. It didn’t include full equality. The choice was always about taking a step or two in the right direction, or standing still. And that will always be the choice, because our struggle for equality is one incremental step at a time, here and there, but it’s a march toward full equality for all LGBT people.

—David Lari, March 18

There is no room for debate on the issue of including all people when it comes to civil rights. We stand together as one in the LGBT community. We will never again leave anyone out. There has never been a case when someone is “left out” that we returned and brought them back in. You start down that road and you’ll be the next one left out. 100% agreement is not required in all areas. However, when it comes to our human rights in the LGBTQ community and other communities there are no half measures or incremental steps. Understand that. Haven’t we learned anything from the battles fought in the 1960s and 1970s, the AIDS crisis, the first bad ENDA bill that left out Transgender people or the last bad ENDA bill that codified religious discrimination specifically against LGBT people into law? We are all in this together. No ands, ifs or buts. What this fight and the fights we see all across the country as we come under attack from the radical and religious right proves beyond a shadow of a doubt is the need for a fully inclusive LGBT Civil Rights Bill. I do understand the inclination of some to view a half step as a step closer. However, that method just does not cut it when it comes to human rights. Half steps will give victories to our enemies-make no mistake they are OUR enemies-and I fear serve to splinter the LGBT community. We are having a hard enough time-at times-getting the LGB(in my opinion and experience mostly the WGM)community to stand up for our transgender brothers and sisters when we are all have a stake in the ordinance. Just proves why we need and must fight for a fully inclusive federal LGBT civil rights bill. It’s 2015 I know we have history on our side and it can be done by going fully forward. No stopping, no baby steps, one great movement for a better and fully equal United States.

— Jim Thompson, March 19


Readers react to our in-depth recap on Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinances, our March 13 cover story (

For myself, the question remains: Should a legal definition of ‘gender’ be based upon one’s anatomy or self-perception? As much as I would have liked to see the protections adopted, I can understand the opposition’s concern. The bathroom provision was a little too liberal for me, a 10+ year San Francisco resident. Many other important LGBT protections were lost over it.

— Michael van Olden, March 13

Michael, You don’t actually propose the whole ”penis=men’s room, vagina=ladies room” concept do you? Because I’d you do you will have some very masculine transgender men using the restroom with cisgender women. You may have lived in San Fransisco but that doesn’t mean you know anything about the transgender community. We lost all the protections because some democrats didn’t have the fortitude to do the right thing.

— Paige Dula, March 13

Bill Maher was correct. NC has plenty of smart people, unfortunately they’re surrounded by stupid rednecks. The funny part was Flip Benham’s reaction. He was shocked, instead of his usual God hates fags rant giving God the credit for the smack down ala Pat Robertson.

— Jimmy Locke, March 13

Thank you! Such an in-depth and terrific article. I, too, hope that we will hold folks accountable for their votes. I agree with Cameron Joyce, it’s outrageous that certain members of the party did not vote for this ordinance. I hope folks will get involved and hold these members accountable. This is an issue which should be important for every Charlottean. I hope we will have changes and see this come back before the Council and this time it will pass–with full equality, protections, and inclusion for our citizens.

— Ray McKinnon, President, Young Democrats of Mecklenburg County, March 13

The mayors’ brief

Readers discuss the absence of some mayors from a Supreme Court brief on marriage (

I notice that the Mayor of Charlotte did NOT sign onto the Supreme Court brief. We have a serious leadership problem in Charlotte when it comes to civil rights. Time to make some changes. When the chips were down, our politicians caved, and voted like Republicans. A sad day in Charlotte History.

— Mark Rosen, March 6

I am also disgusted that the Mayor of Charlotte didn’t sign. I know that he is a member of the Mayors for Marriage Equality. Why he didn’t sign this brief is a mystery. I hope to find out!

— Maureen Hendricks, March 6

I am disgusted that both Mark Rosen and Maureen Hendricks would suggest that the failure to sign this petition is indicative of a lack of support for marriage equality. Mayor Dan Clodfelter of Charlotte was one of only 17 State Senators that voted against putting amendment one ( the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage) on the ballot. He didn’t cave in and act like a Republican. In my home county, our openly gay mayor Elic Senter is not one of the signers of this brief. I suspect they either don’t know about the specific brief or they weren’t asked to sign it.

— Douglas Berger, March 10