Charlotte CouncilWoman LaWana Mayfield

On Saturda, February 6, Charlotte Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield came to visit campus and spoke about her experiences as the first openly LGBTQ member to be elected to Charlotte City Council. Although she faced a childhood full of adversity, LaWana did not let this affect her and continued on a journey of public policy from a young age.

LaWana spoke of her career in LGBT rights and her personal journey into finding herself as a LGBTQ individual. She said that it wasn’t something that she knew all along, and in fact, she was in her mid-twenties before she had the first thoughts of the possibility that she may be a lesbian. It took her a few more years and a lot of self-searching before fully accepting and coming to the realization that she was a lesbian. When asked, she said that she had always felt like she had been ‘part lesbian’ but she hadn’t always been a full, relationship seeking lesbian.

I feel like this is evidence of Rich’s lesbian continuum in which everyone falls somewhere along the continuum and where exactly you fall can shift throughout your lifetime. At the beginning of her life, Miss Mayfield was not as far on the continuum as she currently identifies, however, she still identified herself as falling somewhere on the scale.

Since her election six years ago, she has worked tirelessly on many economic as well as social issues in her area, some of her greatest achievements being: getting Charlotte Airport in her district, the non-discrimination act extended for Charlotte, and her current battle of the “Bathroom Bill.” ¬†Although she takes LGBT issues very seriously, she said that one of the hardest things about holding a political office as an openly LGBTQ member is not letting that title define her. She says that she cares deeply about economic policies and that is the real reason she began her career in social justice. Sometimes, many people in the LGBT community will express their anger with her because she doesn’t always make those social changes her number one priority.