Charlotte Pride, a prominent LGBTQ pride organization in Charlotte, North Carolina, has named Chad Sevearance-Turner as its 2023 Harvey Milk Award recipient for outstanding LGBT+ advocacy. Sevearance-Turner, currently serving as the president and CEO of the Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, has a past that has stirred concerns — he’s a convicted child sex offender.
In 2000, Sevearance-Turner was convicted of performing a lewd act on a minor under 16 and was sentenced to ten years in prison, of which he served two years. He is presently registered on the North Carolina sex offender registry, Reduxx reports.
The decision to honor Sevearance-Turner has raised eyebrows, especially given the details from the 2000 report, which documented allegations from three minor boys linked to his former position as a music director for a South Carolina church.
Following recent attention, Sevearance-Turner’s profile has been taken down from Charlotte Pride’s website. There's no official statement yet from the organization on whether the award will stand or if they had prior knowledge of Sevearance-Turner's past when the decision was made.
Despite the controversy, Sevearance-Turner has been active in LGBT advocacy and was even appointed to Charlotte’s business advisory committee this year. In 2015, he was named “Person of the Year” by the local LGBT newspaper, QNotes. He's also been seen at events with political figures like North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper.
The Harvey Milk Award is presented annually to acknowledge exceptional leadership and service to the LGBTQ community. The upcoming 2023 Charlotte Pride festival boasts sponsorships from various significant companies, including Amazon, McDonalds, Bank of America, and more.