When the state legislature seeks to diminish the rights of LGBTQ+ people, we must stand as a united community to vigorously defend those rights. But in Durham, we must defend and embrace as well the liberation of our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors that goes far beyond the essential but narrow guarantees of rights. We must nourish the strength of LGBTQ+ institutions and support a flourishing LGBTQ+ culture.

We particularly must stand against the recent attacks on the transgender community, both by our state and our national government. Recent action by the state legislature on HB2 allows for continued discrimination against our trans residents. We must speak out and stand together against the recent threats on a national level to the rights of transgender individuals to have basic protections in our schools and the ability to serve in all areas of employment, including the armed forces.

On a local level, Durham must continue to be a leader in supporting our LGBTQ+ community, including reinforcing our city-wide anti-discrimination policies, supporting the school board in increasing protections for our transgender children, and making sure all of our residents feel safe and celebrated in our city. We must make it breathtakingly clear to the people of Durham, to North Carolina and to the world that in Durham, all love is beautiful. In Durham, LOVE WINS.

What Steve's Done.

  • During the battle for marriage equality, Steve and his wife Lao held a fundraiser at their home in opposition to Amendment One. More than 200 people attended and contributed over $20,000 to organizations fighting Amendment One.

  • Introduced resolution to City Council to defend marriage equality by opposing Amendment One.

  • Nearly thirty years before marriage equality was affirmed by the Supreme Court, Steve personally wrote North Carolina’s first “wedding announcement” for a same-sex couple and published it prominently in his newspaper, The Independent.

  • Made The Independent a crusading champion for LGBTQ rights over three decades.

  • In 1973, as president of the Duke student government, Steve advocated for and won the first allocation of student activity funds to a gay men's organization.