Charlotte, NC passes LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance 5 years after HB2

The Charlotte City Council voted on Aug. 9 unanimously in favor of a local ordinance that would establish clear protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, natural hairstyle, and more in key areas of life, including public spaces and private employment. The vote came after hours of public comment, during which supporters of the ordinance heralded the many ways it would make a positive impact on Charlotte.

Charlotte is now the 10th community in North Carolina to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance like this, joining Apex, Asheville, Buncombe County, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Hillsborough, and Orange County.

Kendra R. Johnson (she/her), Executive Director of Equality NC, said:

"Throughout 2021, communities have come together to affirm that no one should face discrimination – and the vote tonight in Charlotte will double down on that undeniable momentum for LGBTQ equality. The passage of these protections, which include provisions for natural hair, sexual orientation, and gender identity, indicate strong progress for racial and social justice. Small towns, mid-sized cities, counties, and now the largest city in North Carolina have all taken steps to protect LGBTQ people and illustrate that NC is ready for these protections statewide."

Bethany Corrigan (they/them), Executive Director of Transcend Charlotte, said:

“We are only as strong as the least protected, and this expanded ordinance is a milestone toward equality in the Queen City. We applaud City Council for their bipartisan collaboration in passing this comprehensive ordinance and honor the advocates who have tirelessly sacrificed for this moment."

Rell Lowery, Community Outreach Director for Charlotte Black Pride, said:

“Charlotte is the second most dangerous city in the country for transgender and gender nonconforming people – especially Black transgender women. With today's vote, the Charlotte City Council committed to making the city a safer place to live and work for LGBTQ people and people of color. It is an important and long overdue full-circle moment, granting LGBTQ Charlotteans the legal protections that we always needed and deserved."

Cameron Pruette (he/him), President of the LGBTQ+ Democrats of Mecklenburg County, said:

“This ordinance will improve the quality of life for everyone in Charlotte and underline that our community will not allow discrimination and abuse to go unchecked. The vote tonight from the City Council will save lives by making Charlotte a safer, more inclusive place that declares in bold print that LGBTQ people are valued and worthy of dignity, respect, and equality."

Five years ago our local and state economy felt the awful impacts of anti-LGBTQ policy, and lawmakers saw that discrimination is simply bad for business. Now, with the strong support of business leaders from large and small employers alike, Charlotte's local nondiscrimination ordinance makes clear once and for all that our city is a welcoming place that is open to all.
Erin Barbee (she/her) of the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce

Local organizing in Charlotte has been led by Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Black Pride, Charlotte Pride, The Freedom Center for Social Justice, LGBTQ+ Dems NC of Mecklenburg County, and Transcend Charlotte.

Through the NC is Ready for LGBTQ Protections campaign, led by Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality, a diverse array of voices has spoken out for LGBTQ protections at the local, state, and federal levels. Learn more at www.ncisready.org.

Equality NC is dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians. www.equalitync.org

Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality promotes full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class. www.southernequality.org

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