On October 5th, 2021 Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners voted to advance an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. This occurred after hearing a public comments from residents about the impact of these critical protections.

Now, LGBTQ+ advocates are urging the County Commission to swiftly finalize the nondiscrimination ordinance, which requires a final vote. If approved, Mecklenburg County would become the thirteenth local government in North Carolina to approve LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections.

What the ordinance does is ensure protections in private employment and places of public accommodations. This includes places such as restaurants and businesses from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and natural hairstyle. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 LGBTQ people – including 3 in 5 transgender people – have experienced discrimination in the past year.

The vote comes two months after Charlotte, the largest city in NC, passed its own ordinance in a unanimous, bipartisan decision. The new ordinances also mean that 20.95% of the NC population live in communities with LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. Polling shows that 67% of people in North Carolina support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Local organizing in Mecklenburg County 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.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige