The power of pink, sparkly things

Yesterday, I gave Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James a big, gay Valentine.

It seems silly now, but I kept thinking he would try to talk me out of the idea that GAY IS OK, as our giant card read, and that I’d crumble under the pressure.  But once I got up to speak, it was easy.  It was easy to assert that being gay is OK; that if you’re so unused to referring to gay people in polite company, you go with “homo,” that gay is a far better choice.  It was easy to announce that CRANE is happy to engage Bill James in respectful dialogue.  Because it was the right thing to do.

When I first heard that Bill James used the slur “homo” to refer to a fellow commissioner’s dead son, I was shocked, and before long, just sad.  What would make anyone think that’s OK?

But finally, if a public figure says just the most recent awful thing in a long history of awful things, why not go ahead and say, ENOUGH?

Yeah, I always close my eyes in photos.

Yeah, I always close my eyes in photos.

Thanks to everyone who signed our card and added their comments.  I am glad there are those of us who expect more from our elected officials, and aren’t afraid to say so. Even in pink, sparkly letters — they definitely seemed to make Commissioner James a bit uncomfortable.

Here’s my statement:

Good evening, commissioners, in particular Commissioner James.

I’m here tonight to present a Valentine to Commissioner Bill James on behalf of gay and gay-friendly Charlotteans.  As you can see, our “conversation heart” lets you know that Gay … Is OK.

From your inflammatory statements over the past few months, including the use of the slurs “homo” and “tranny,” we know that you have some work to do to better support all of your constituents.  That’s why CRANE — Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality — is offering our support in beginning that process.  The first step would be to embrace respect, even for those with whom you disagree, and stop using anti-gay slurs.  If you need a descriptor, we’re fine with the word “gay.”  Like the card says, it’s OK!

But more importantly, as the inside of the card reads, we believe that all of us — gay or straight — can and should feel loved, no matter whom we love.  We’ll be checking in with you this year in hopes that you can turn your attitude around and treat us as fellow Charlotteans worthy of respect.

If you’d like to speak with us further in a spirit of openness and respect, we’re happy to arrange that.  You can get in touch with us via  Thank you.

Hope to see everyone out on Friday, February 26 in downtown Charlotte in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!

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