by Jane Porter
Wendy May, who’s one of two transgender delegates from North Carolina, said she’s visited the bathroom and views it as a “unity” bathroom.
“It’s very interesting,” May said. “I have a trans bathroom at home, so I’m used to it.”
But May, a military veteran who’s running for county commissioner in conservative Johnston County, said she’s still been using the women’s bathroom because it’s closer to her seat in the convention hall.
Other North Carolina delegates praised the all-gender bathroom as one of several ways the convention is opposing laws such as HB2.
“I think that’s a really cool thing to see,” said Uriah Ward, a delegate from Greenville. “More than anything, it signals inclusion. It draws a contrast with the Republican Party convention, which was all about blaming different groups for the problems in our country.”
Two of the three convention speakers from North Carolina this week have talked about HB2. And the Democratic Party’s platform specifically notes that it “opposes all state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals, including legislation that restricts the right to access public spaces.”
The platform also calls for federal law to specifically protect against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender discrimination – protections that existed in several North Carolina communities before HB2 struck down all nondiscrimination ordinances and replaced them with a statewide nondiscrimination standard that doesn’t mention sexual orientation or gender identity.
Several North Carolina delegates said HB2 is one of the first topics Democrats from other states bring up when introduced to them. Delegates have been passing out anti-HB2 buttons to bring attention to the cause.
“We used to be known for our exceptional school system,” said Ray McKinnon of Charlotte. “Now we’re known for our hate.”
Randy Voller, a delegate and former Pittsboro mayor, said other states now view North Carolina as among the country’s most socially conservative. “When you go to these events, we’re lumped in with Kansas, which everyone knows has gone way over with an ideological experiment,” he said.
In an order Wednesday, U.S. Chief District Court Judge James C. Dever III asked attorneys for the plaintiffs, the Wake County Board of Elections, the State Board of Elections and Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore to appear in his Raleigh courtroom next week.4. A shortage of food supplies at the Salvation Army of Wake County means Raleigh families are going hungry.
Dever said he wants to hear when the State Board of Elections can submit new Wake election maps that can be used in the Nov. 8 election. State election officials have told Dever they don’t have the software or expertise to draw new maps but would do so if directed by the court.
Dever also wants state legislative leaders to tell him when they can submit “illustrative maps” that could be used to help draw new election districts. Berger and Moore had told Dever that the General Assembly wouldn’t be able to adopt new Wake maps this year but could provide examples.
In a prior order, Dever had told election officials and legislative leaders he was prepared to draw new Wake maps if neither group did so.
Dever also acknowledged in his new order that the plaintiffs want him to reinstate the maps that the school board and commissioners adopted in 2011 before they were replaced by the General Assembly.
The new order comes a day after the the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request to reconsider a three-judge panel’s July 1 ruling that tossed the new Wake maps. Dever is the trial judge who will be tasked with implementing the panel’s decision.
The Salvation Army of Wake County had a change of command last month, and as the new couple in command settles into Raleigh, they’re already finding some major challenges for their neediest neighbors.Hungry families can find some relief today at a free grocery giveaway hosted by the Chavis Park Circle of Friends and the First Cosmopolitan Baptist Church. The grocery giveaway will be at the Chavis Community Center at 505 Martin Luther King Boulevard from 12 noon to 4 p.m. or until the groceries are gone.
Salvation Army Major Stephen Long makes the rounds at the Center for Hope on Capital Boulevard every morning.
Long and his wife, Connie, became the new commanders for the Wake County chapter of the Salvation Army last month and while the Raleigh economy is in better shape than many areas, the Longs said a lot of people are hurting.
“There’s a lot of need, no matter where you go. Jesus said ‘the poor, you will have with you always’,’ Long said.
Stephen Long said what stands out most in the center’s food pantry is what’s missing from the shelves.
“It really hurts the heart to see it this way,” he said.
The Salvation Army typically helps about 50 families per week with extra groceries, but the shelves in the food pantry are so bare, they’ve had to cut that number to 30 families per week. Stephen Long is now pleading for help from the community.
“Today, they can bring a bag of food over and it’ll help us with one family. They can bring 10 bags of food over and it will help us with 10 families,” he said.
The center also houses a 90-bed women and children’s shelter with its own set of needs.
‘[We’re] constantly needing towels, sheets, clothing for them,” Connie Long said.
The Salvation Army counts on donations to meet the needs all year. The Longs said those gifts go a long way to change people’s lives.
“Not just putting a Band-Aid over a sore, but helping to bring healing,” Stephen Long said.