Advocates reflect on the one-year anniversary of the LGBTQ ordinance in Beckley

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – One year ago today, Beckley City Council voted to approve the LGBTQ Ordinance which bans housing and employment discrimination against people who identify as LGBTQ. 

Supporters and advocates called that day “nerve-racking” but “amazing.” Since then, they have seen Beckley’s first Pride Festival and on this day, they reflect on what they’ve accomplished, and where Beckley still has room for improvement. 

“We now have this whole community that’s been here all along feeling like they’re represented and recognized and so if nothing else, that ordinance brought people together,” Danielle Stewart, a candidate for mayor of Beckley, said. 

Christina Baisden was also at the forefront of this cause with Stewart as they showed up hours before the historic meeting to make sure LGBTQ voices were heard. 

“What we really need is more safe spaces for LGBTQ people,” Baisden said. “They feel more secure in their jobs now and in their housing. They not necessarily feel welcome in public spaces, so we need to make sure that they do.” 

Both Stewart and Baisden wanted to give a special thank you to Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold and Carolyn Long from WVU Tech for standing up for them and the ordinance last year. 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.