CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jane Wester | The Charlotte Observer) - The line of people marching for LGBT rights uptown Sunday extended for blocks, halting traffic and attracting supportive honks from passing cars.
Charlotte's Equality March – one of more than 100 similar events in cities around the world Sunday – ended in Marshall Park, where political officeholders, candidates and advocates addressed the crowd.
"I'm not here as a candidate," said Christian Cano, a Democrat who's running for N.C.'s 9th Congressional District. "I'm here as an LGBT member and I'm very proud to be one."
One speaker after another urged the crowd to get out to the polls and vote for candidates who would support LGBT causes in office – to protect the progress the community has made, as one speaker put it.
Wrapped in rainbow flags and pushing strollers, the crowd Sunday seemed relaxed and cheerful – except where President Donald Trump was concerned.
The march's only chants targeted the president, and colorful signs aimed to mock him. "Make America Think Again," one said.
Heather Ferguson of Charlotte held a rainbow sign reading "Cuz Only Very Fragile Egos Fear Equality." That spells "covfefe," the mysterious word the president used in a late night tweet – in case you've forgotten.
As might be expected in Charlotte, where churches have long played a role on both sides of the LGBT-rights debate, a number of posters took a religious angle.
As the Marshall Park rally broke up, Jim Thompson, chairperson of York County's Democratic Party, said he thought the crowd was a good size, especially on such a hot day.
"I've been out here since the '70s, so it's good to see so many young people," he said.
June is Pride Month, and the central event of the Equality March was in Washington D.C., which also celebrated Pride over the weekend.