Meet Charlie Smith

Broker in Charge for CSA Real Estate Services since 1996.

Charlie returned to his native South Carolina in July of 1996 and discovered that there was a need in his home state for the same kind of advocacy in the LGBT community as he had found in Miami Beach and Miami in the 1980’s. In 1997 Charlie took the leap of becoming the first openly gay real estate broker in South Carolina to market primarily to the LGBT community. Within a matter of weeks Charlie realized that he had correctly gauged the market in Charleston as a destination for preservation-minded LGBT investors seeking a welcoming southern community. This became the foundation for CSA Real Estate Services, which has continued to serve the real estate and community needs of LGBT South Carolinians and their allies since 1997.

Charlie was able to spot early LGBT growth trends in the Wagener Terrace, North Central, West Ashley and James Island neighborhoods of Charleston and has been instrumental in redevelopment efforts in each. As these neighborhoods and others began to attract more LGBT residents, Charlie collaborated with other LGBT leaders who were coming to the same conclusion that Charleston needed an organization dedicated to creating a healthier LGBT community and which would advocate on many levels for the betterment of our community and state. The Alliance for Full Acceptance came into being in 1998 as a result of this and through its networking, advocacy and education programs it has become one of the largest and most respected social justice organizations in the South. Charlie served as Vice President for the organization’s first seven years.

In 2002 Charlie became the first openly gay non-incumbent to run for political office in South Carolina finishing with 41% of the vote in the race against the notoriously anti-gay John Graham Altman in House District 119. He ran again in 2004 and finished with 48% of the vote. He was credited with having ended the political career of Mr. Altman whose support within his party was clearly waning.

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