LGBTQ+

Lilly Knoepp

Earlier this month, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council upheld its ban on same-sex marriage. BPR looked into how widespread these bans are in Native American Tribal governments across the United States:

Courtesy of EBCI Tribal Council

The Eastern Band of Cherokee will not officially recognize same-sex marriages on the Qualla Boundary.  BPR was at Thursday’s tribal council meeting when the vote was taken…

“Still determined. Resolve is still there.”

Lilly Knoepp

If you drive through downtown Sylva, you might see a new mural. The mural is the opening act for the town’s first Pride parade.

On the side of an antique shop in downtown Sylva, the message on the rainbow mural now says “You Belong Here.”

“Sarah always  helps me now with my design projects these days. She has a great eye.”

Lilly Knoepp

Supporters say they will keep showing up until the tribal council for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hears their call to recognize same-sex marriage. 

Just like last month, tribal council members voted for a second time not to read a resolution that would change the Cherokee code to recognize same-sex marriage.  

But at Thursday’s meeting, almost 20 Eastern Band members turned out to show their support for the measure. 

Cory Vaillancourt

For the first time, Juneteenth will be an official holiday across the country. Beyond governments, local institutions are also recognizing the holiday for the first time.  Here’s how Lake Junaluska will celebrate Juneteenth for the first time:

Lilly Knoepp/BPR News

It’s been six years since the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark ruling, making same-sex marriage legal.  But that ruling doesn’t apply to sovereign nations in the U.S. – including the Eastern Band of the Cherokee on the Qualla Boundary.  

A year before the Obergefell decision, the Eastern Band Tribal Council passed a resolution codifying the tribe would only recognize marriage between a man and woman. 

Asheville Citizen-Times

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have joined their colleagues in other states in introducing a bill that would limit healthcare for trans youth.  BPR has a reaction from a local activist...

Two out of the three primary sponsors of Senate Bill 514 – which restricts transitional care for people under the age of 21 - represent Western North Carolina: Senators Warren Daniel and Ralph Hise, of District 46 and 47 respectively.

Tina White, executive director of Blue Ridge Pride Center, calls the bill “fearmongering.”

Buncombe County Government Virtual Meeting

Buncombe County Commissioners will wait until later this month to vote on a non-discrimination ordinance.  It would be the first such county ordinance in Western North Carolina since local governments were allowed to pass them in December 2020.  

Schuylar Shayne Photography

A project to document the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Western North Carolina is expanding.

The LGBTQ+ Oral History Archive was founded at UNC Asheville in 2019 in partnership with the Blue Ridge Pride Center. Now the project is expanding to Western Carolina University, says Travis Rountree.