With Friends Like These...

N.C. Bar Association Embraces Homophobia

Nothing disappoints like the cowardice of fair-weather friends. In 2021, the North Carolina Bar Association — the premier professional organization for the state’s lawyers — touted its queer-friendly bona fides when then-President John Heyl announced the formation of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Committee, which pledged to work “to secure full equality for […]

Gay Pride

Queer Hope in Red America

The call for help went out less than twenty-four hours before the march. C.L.E.V.E.R. (Creating Love & Equity through Voices Education & Reflection), an Iredell County non-profit committed to protecting and promoting the rights and dignity of LGBTQ young people, planned to mark International Transgender Visibility Day on March 31 with a rally in downtown […]

City Council

The Bizarre Deceptions of “Smuggie” Mitchell

Breaking news in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey came from the other side of the globe. Nearly a decade after the six-year-old girl was found dead in her Boulder, Colorado home on December 26, 1996, American John Mark Karr confessed to police in Thailand that he had killed her. Karr, a thirty-something white man in […]

The Charlotte Way

Remembering Parks Helms

On April 1, 1997, at the age of twenty, I sat in the meeting chamber of Charlotte’s government center as a narrowly divided board of county commissioners, over raucous objections from hundreds of people, codified homophobia in Mecklenburg County. I had been walking out of my dorm at Queens University of Charlotte the week before […]

Public Education

Leandro As Failure

Among the main characters of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House is Jarndyce and Jarndyce, an unresolved, long-lasting chancery suit of unclear origin and nature. The suit, which may have something to do with an inheritance, features attorneys on all of its many sides “engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping […]

Election 2022

Democrats’ “Country Over Party” Strategy Reeks of Weakness

Of course elected officials ought to put country over party. Of course the people ought to prefer representatives who govern for the sake of the common good. Of course congressmen and senators ought to do their work in a manner that honors the nation’s values — even when doing so might conflict with their own, […]

Police Violence

America’s Caste System Decides Who Counts

The resolutions of two recently concluded homicide cases — one involving a Black man and the other a white cop — gave us fresh examples of the biases of our criminal justice system, inequities that both reflect and reenforce broader social perspectives. The results raised key questions: Who gets the benefit of the doubt? Who […]

Charlotte Pride

Stonewall Is Dead

Another Charlotte Pride Festival is in the books — and not a single rock went through a single plate-glass window of a single anti-queer bank or business. I pondered this omission last weekend while strolling down Tryon Street past the countless tents of corporations hocking their wares to the festival’s attendees, and I was reminded […]

Election 2022

N.C. Green Party Launches Campaign of Garbled, Dishonest Nonsense

Incoherence animates the Green Party’s budding Senate campaign in North Carolina. The thicket of confusion and contradiction in which the party finds itself stems from its refusal to forthrightly confront two questions — one empirical and the other moral — while forgetting it’s now engaged in the practical work of electoral politics, not the performative […]

Criminal Justice

Charlotte Cops and Reporters Embrace “Bail Reform” and Abandon Liberty

The Queen of Hearts grew impatient at the trial where she presided. “‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day,” Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. “‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’” “‘Stuff and sense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the […]