If only NC was as gay as DC

I finally got back from DC's Capital Pride festival this weekend. It was a blast. Almost (if not more than) 200,000 people participated in the parade and street festival on Saturday and Sunday (respectively). I've never seen so many LGBT people gathered in the same spot in my entire life.

The DC LGBT festival kind of makes our 8,000 (approx.) strong NC Pride look like nothing. I'm kind of sad... I'm wishing North Carolina was as accepting as the DC community (I also wish we had more openly gay folk around here).

One thing is clear to me after going to Capital Pride: There is strength in numbers. One after one, elected officials and candidates for office marched as a part of the DC parade on Saturday. Either they were just pandering for votes or they were serious about their love for gay people. Either way... they were there and that is what counts. The Mayor of DC sent out his LGBT Liaison (yes... such a thing exists) and he even sent out a proclamation. Numerous members of the DC Council were there, along with DC's non-voting Congresswoman, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton.

That is one thing you don't see when it comes to NC Pride (usually in September). The great majority of candidates or elected officials participating in our state's LGBT festivals (i.e. Boone, Asheville, Charlotte, state-wide NC Pride) are either openly gay or among the most liberal.

Capital Pride was definitely fun (and, no doubt, there were plenty of cute guys there). It was also very moving and inspiring. I want NC to become more like DC (if that is possible)... I want NC to become accepting and diverse... I want to see us fully embrace our LGBT citizens. It will definitely take work, but I'm willing to do it, and I hope you all are, too.

By the way... check out my post on the DC trip to get the full scoop of how it went, along with some great photos (and for all my Gay BlueNC'ers.... you'd better check out the shirtless boys on the parade floats, lol).


Sounds like you had fun

I'm so glad it was a great experience.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

There's plenty about DC

that sucks, not the least of which is the Republican controlled Congress and steady swirl of corruption around local government.

But I still love the city and the diversity you can find on every corner. I love hearing lots of different languages being spoken and seeing people happily using one of the best transit systems in the world. I love the Smithsonian -- especially the new Native American Museum.

And I'm glad you're back safe and sound.

DC is a refuge for NC transplants

So many of us North Carolinians move to DC to experience life in a progressive, gay-friendly, large, southern city that DC is like a satellite campus of North Carolina. However, NC is making huge strides towards acceptance of gays, particularly the Triangle, Asheville, Wilmington, and Charlotte. IN a decade or so, NC will be much more progressive socially than it is now.

NC has the pleasure

...of being the only Southern state not to have voted on an anti-LGBT amendment in either its legislature or by the people.

North Carolina isn't so bad and, like you said, certain areas are indeed catching up. Charlotte is one of those areas, although the local politicians still tend to stay away from LGBT issues (the Mayor of Charlotte didn't show up at the last HRC Carolinas Gala and didn't even send a letter welcoming us).

The Triad, as a whole, still has some need for work. Greensboro isn't so bad, as it is one of the most liberal areas in the Triad, but Winston-Salem is hurting, especially with its Board of Education.

As bad as Winston-Salem can sometimes be, however, I have to stop and think about all those LGBT North Carolinians, especially the youth, living in such areas as the Catawba Valley, Rowan County or some of the more Western counties. What they face is nothing compared to what happens in Winston.

Matt Hill Comer
MattHillNC.com | The Q-triad Blog

Which is why I left NC for DC after 37 years!

Glad you had fun Matt. However, many of the 200K were people like yourself who came in from Maryland, Va and PA and NC. Most of my friends here did not even go to Pride! But don' get me started on that! Anyway, I have to say that it is better here for gays and lesbians. I used to have great hope for NC and the progressive myth that perpetuates itself there. It is my home and where I was raised and like you I hope that things get better. I used to say to all my friends there as I was helping them pack and move for other places that "if we all move, things will never get better here (NC)." Then I became one of them as the political tides in NC ebbed and flowed from somewhat conservative to very conservative and I wanted more out of my life than tolerance. But don't think this (DC) is a utopia or panacea- DC is a citystate and once you get outside the beltway, both Va and Md are just as backward as NC. I would not feel any more comfortable in Manassass, Va than I would in Smithfield, NC. So- if in my old age I could give you some unsolicited advice- keep doing what you are doing. Build bridges that start in the welcoming cities in NC and work their way out. Eventually things will get better and in all honesty HAVE, greatly in my lifetime. We just want more sometimes than the electorate or our elected officials are capable of. But Matt- don't stop or move, NC needs you, I admire your persistence!

Hi KevJ

It's nice to see you out and about. It's been a while!

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


Your right Kev... I met lots of folk at the street festival who were from either Virginia or Maryland. Many of the Capital Pride organizers were from out of DC too.

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate any body who is willing to stay in North Carolina to do the work. I've always said that is what I would do, but who knows where my life will lead me. If I do end up leaving North Carolina for my career, who had better bet I won't be forgetting about it. If my career is where I hope it is (with a large LGBT rights group), then who had better bet you'll be seeing some more support coming to NC, lol.

Matt Hill Comer
MattHillNC.com | The Q-triad Blog

Hey yourself!

I am always lurking in the shadows.....I have been watching the good coverage of NC8 that you have been giving my good friends at BlueNC! I especially enjoyed the fundraiser stuff from last week and glad that you could meet my friend LeeAnne Powell.

We had a primary here today(Va) for US Senate and chose Jim Webb, former Navy Sec. to take on George Allen. A pathetic 3% voted. The Northern Va suburbs were the difference for Webb. I am hoping he gives Allen a good race, but if you think Kissell needs money.....girl-Webb never even got on tv in the primary and Allen has 7Mil in the bank.

Oh Wow...that's tough

but I really think some of these challengers won't quite need the money the incumbents have and will be required to use.

I only met LeeAnne briefly. She's really sweet. I don't know if I'll be able to make her fundraiser. I am going to go to the one in Raleigh, though. I'll keep spreading the word, though.

I just received an email from Steve and Larry's ActBlue online fundraising is approaching $13,000. That's really quite good. If anything I've done has helped the least little bit with that, then I'm happy. There are other "Larry" bloggers, though.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

For someone outside of NC8 you are doing A LOT!

I wish so much that I was independently wealthy so I could be there from Labor Day on! However, we all are doing what we can and with all of us together- with the good people in the 8th-Larry Kissell is going to Congress. I know that he was up here (DC) last week, so I am hoping that the fundraising here went well too. Maybe, just maybe the DCCC is finally listening.

Always nice to talk with you and all of my friends at BlueNC.

Actually Kev

He's there right now and apparently things are going quite well. I don't have any specifics to share...just a general "things are looking green." :)

(It's because I dont have specifics...:))

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Southern Dem, $13,000?!?!?!

That ACTBLUE total is phenomenal. In the '04 cycle, Patsy Keever got only about 10,000 for the whole race. In another comment I ask, "What's the plan?"

That's a stupid question I guess. Spreading the word in the blogosphere and keeping Larry above the fold in the papers. Begging for dollars and telling folks about that Robin Hayes. Didn't he say he would vote against CAFTA but then voted for it? You know, I think I heard that that guy buckled like a wet loaf of bread when Tom Delay told him how to vote.

Robin Hayes loves Tom Delay more than he loves NC-08. If he votes his heart, that is.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Amazing isn't it?

I did a bit of research and Larry is doing great. I received my hand-written thank you yesterday for my piddly contribution. I don't see how the man has time. I also received an email with the ActBlue totals with a bit of encouragement and a Thank you....you know...just saying that the blogging is making a difference.

There are people on the netroots fundraising page that don't have that much. It would be great if they would adopt Larry, but I think they've added so many people now they've diluted their impact. It's still a great source of funds, though.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Funny, Lance!

...but I'm still conflicted about our conversation. I know how I feel, but don't know how to express it or how to justify it yet. Isn't that strange? I've spent more time thinking about this than just about anything else the past month.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I really enjoy getting into it with you SD

When you and I argue, I really do have the sense that we are working through discourse to a common (and probably mutually improved) understanding of the truth of a thing. It's not important that we actually get there, but I think the exercise is almost always good for me. That's why I blog (it's certainly not that I feel that what I have to say is all that important), and I appreciate your willingness to engage in that with me.

Me too.

I haven't weighed in much on this because my ideas haven't been very clear. Mostly I think the issue of accepting contributions is a judgment call that every candidate has to make on a case by case basis. I certainly had to do that when I ran for Town Council. I returned money from a few contributors because i just didn't want the distraction of dealing with accusations of influence or whatever. I didn't worry that they might have influence over me in any way. I just didn't want to have to explain that five times during debates.

Another reason I've stayed out is that I think no one besides us is digging in on the topic and I didn't want to elevate it to a big deal. Because frankly, it's not a big deal and won't be unless someone decides to make it so.

In any case, with regard to this particular contribution, I don't see it as an integrity issue either way. Whatever Larry does will be the right thing.

A few observations.

JohnB impugned Larry Kissell in his SBOE rant for simultaneously accepting and failing to report Hunter's contibution.

In fact as early as 4/15/06 Kissell had reported the contribution to the FEC. For the record the contribution is reported as received 3/30/06 while Hunter records the disbursement as 3/31/06 (clue about Hunter's record keeping).

JohnB rants about $1,000 checks. The majority of Hunter's campaign is reported as self-funded by personal credit card. The contributions referred to are all listed as credit card transactions, not checks.

Technically the initial contributions were personal contributions that did not have to be reported by Hunter but she chose to report them as personal contributions to and expenditures by her own campaign committee. They do not appear to have been made from a campaign account.

As to Ridpath and Harrell, both use PayPal exclusively for online credit card contributions. (Kissell's also uses ActBlue). PayPal is quite unreliable (public knowledge and personal experience) and if credit card contributions were made online it would not be unusal for delayed transfer of funds by PayPal. Ridpath and Harrell should look into it.

As to returning money I don't believe in rewarding transgressors by returning their money. I'd rather put it to good use in publicly countering the transgression.


I had mentioned earlier that Larry's looked like a personal contribution because of the way it was listed. If it had come from a campaign account then the campaign account would have been listed as contributor. I did not know that these were credit transactions.

I had been thinking that Hunter might have made the contributions personally and then maybe reimbursed herself from her campaign account and that might explain the delay in the transaction posting dates.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


The credit card notation is on Hunter's PDF filings (Image file). Her reporting is very odd and not typical. Most of her transactions appear to be personal expenditures that are reported as campaign receipts, not expenditures. Her contributions to other committees are reported twice, as both receipts and expenditures each time as a credit card transaction. She has never reported a contribution as coming from anyone other than herself.

Most self-financed candidates either donate to or loan their campaign committees large lump sums which are then drawn on for campaign expenditures.

When candidates have out of pocket expenses they usually either get reimbursed by the campaign or they report them as in-kind contributions.

On the basis of the reports alone she demonstrates a lack of understanding of legal requirements and financial principles that would be essential qualities in any judge, let alone a Supreme Court judge.

I would enjoy it if it weren't so painful

Honestly, at my age do you know what it takes to get the cogs going? There's so much dust, rust and buildup. I made my decisions a long time ago and now you want me to remember the "whys" to them? Sheesh....I'm older and wiser than you are...just take my word for it already!

Hey, at least you know you're a kick in the ass instead of a pain in the ass. :) If it weren't for this place (I do believe you were the one who challenged each of us to go to our county convention), I never would have gone to the Dem. convention in Meck. Co. Now, I have plans to go to the state convention. Also, remember, it was the convention in Meck. Co. where I met Larry Kissell. Robin Hayes, owes you for that one!

Seriously, we only raise the level of debate when we take the time to debate. I just wish I had more time.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.