Building Political Power
It’s no coincidence that the South has emerged as ground zero for the latest wave of anti-LGBTQ laws, such as HB2 in North Carolina and HB1523 in Mississippi. Rather, it’s a sobering and predictable result of the fact that the Southern LGBTQ community remains politically powerless while those who most ardently oppose our rights have disproportionate political power. This is a structural problem and changing it will require both short and long-term strategies.
Limited legislative power and a lack of elected representation are two classic symptoms of political powerlessness. LGBTQ Southerners face both.
That’s why this fall we’re running a voter registration and voter pledge drive, in partnership with Democracy NC. We’re also offering grants to grassroots group to support LGBTQ voter registration and turnout efforts. You can read our White Paper for a more in-depth analysis on this topic The Long Game: Building LGBTQ Political Power in the South.
Building grassroots power is another important tool for the Southern LGBTQ community. Our Southern Equality Fund redistributes a percentage of our funding to grassroots leaders doing vital and transformative work in their communities across the South. The fund prioritizes groups and individual leaders whose access to funding and support is limited due to barriers such as not having 501c3 status, or being located in a rural area.
Passing Local Policies
CSE provides community leaders working on LGBTQ issues with policy analysis and assists with research, policy writing, and developing organizing strategies in order to pass local protections. We have worked with community members to propose and pass equality measures in Asheville, NC, Buncombe County, NC and Winston-Salem, NC.
- Our Legal Team wrote this white paper about how North Carolina cities can pass non-discrimination ordinances and create inclusive Human Rights Commissions – an analysis that applied when HB2 was on the books and still applies in a post-HB142 landscape.
- Check out this victory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where, prior to marriage equality being legalized, the city passed a measure out-of-state marriage licenses of LGBT city employees for the purposes of extending domestic partner benefits.