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DNC delegates and guests arrive in Charlotte

(Editor’s note: San Diego Gay & Lesbian News has an exclusive local media partnership with QNotes in presenting special LGBT community-oriented coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which will be Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Delegates and special guests arrived on Monday for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and festivities celebrating the renomination of President Barack Obama for a chance a second term in office began in earnest across the city.

Organizers for the convention say 30,000 people attended a special street festival in downtown Charlotte on Monday, one day before official convention activities kick off in Time Warner Cable Arena. LGBT community groups also celebrated. Hundreds of LGBT elected officials and supporters gathered for an evening reception on Monday where openly gay Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield and openly lesbian Houston Texas Mayor Annise Parker addressed the crowd.

National Stonewall Democrats also hosted a special party on Monday, giving LGBT employees of the local convention committee, Obama campaign staff and convention organizers a chance to relax before official convention events kick off on Tuesday.

Local LGBT community members in Charlotte say they welcome the attention in their city. Toryn Stark, who volunteered to meet convention delegates at their hotels, says she wants Charlotte to be known for the unique city she's called home for years.

"I hope that they know that Charlote is a very diverse city," said Stark, who ventured out to a local bar for a special convention-themed drag show on Monday. "It might not be what they are expecting ... We definitely are excited to have the convention here."

On Tuesday evening, the National Stonewall Democrats will hold a special convention watch party and dance party, as first lady Michelle Obama addresses the nation. Delegates will approve the party's platform on Tuesday, as well, making the Democratic Party the nation's first major political party to offer support for full marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Among those in Charlotte are 10 members representing the San Diego Democrats for Equality, including Matt Corrales, Suzie Ditmars, Jess Durfee, Toni Lopez, Don Mullen, Evan Parent, Craig Roberts, Michael Thomason and Andrea Villa.

Be sure to follow QNotes staff members' musings and short updates at goqnotes.com/in/dnc-musings/.

(2012 Democratic National Convention coverage is provided by San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, the most-read LGBT news source in Southern California, and QNotes, the leading LGBT news source in the Carolinas.)