Asheville has a reputation as welcoming individuals of all gender identities and sexual orientations. The city has numerous gender-affirming health care providers, social groups for the LGBTQ community and inclusive arts and culture spaces. Yet the local trans women who spoke with Xpress say they’ve continued to face bigotry in their careers, health care and social lives.
The Winter Safe Shelter program at Asheville Primary School, as explained by Counterflow Asheville, will prioritize families, LGBTQ people and residents who are Black, Indigenous or people of color. The shelter plans to operate nightly through the end of March, housing up to 10 people per night with space for another 10 support staff on site.
Two people speaking during public comment revealed brewing tensions around critical race theory and sexuality education in the Asheville City Schools district.
The number of complaints filed under nondiscrimination ordinances with city and county governments has yet to top 25, and it appears that no one has been found in violation of the rules so far. According to public records obtained by Xpress, Asheville had received five complaints as of January, and Buncombe County had gotten 17 as of early March.
The potential closure and sale of the APS campus had drawn intense community pushback since being initially recommended as a cost-saving measure by Superintendent Gene Freeman on Dec. 7.
At its first meeting since the March 23 appointments of James Carter, Jacquelyn Carr McHargue and Peyton O’Conner by Asheville City Council, the Asheville City Board of Education’s members chose Carter as chair and McHargue as vice chair in a pair of split decisions.
The ordinance drew over an hour of public comment, with the majority of speakers in favor of the law.
“I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.”