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. Limited legislative power and a lack of elected representation are two classic symptoms of political powerlessness. LGBTQ Southerners face both. These are structural problems and changing them will require both short and long-term strategies. 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.
That’s why we’re registering new voters in the LGBTQ South and doing non-partisan turnout work in Upstate SC and Western NC. And that’s why we’re part of TurnOUT Asheville, a coalition of non-partisan, LGBTQ organizations that worked to turn out LGBTQ voters and allies in the 2017 Asheville City Council election and call for pro-LGBTQ policies.
Building grassroots power is another important tool for the Southern LGBTQ community. Our Southern Equality Fund provides direct funding and training to grassroots LGBTQ leaders doing vital work in their hometowns across the South. Each year, we open a Queer the Vote grant round to support non-partisan voter registration and turnout efforts across the LGBTQ South.
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.