North Carolinians and Allies Nationwide Speak Out on Why Anti-LGBT Legislation HurtsBy Adam Polaski • March 29, 2016 • 4:11 pm
On Wednesday, March 23 the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the shameful House Bill 2 in less than 12 hours. The bill – which knocks down municipalities’ ability to enact local ordinances protecting LGBT North Carolinians from discrimination and then codifies anti-transgender policies into state law – was introduced at 10:00am, and signed into law by 9:00pm, with two committee votes and votes before both chambers of the NC General Assembly in between.
That unprecedented speed for enacting sweeping legislation is a horrendous betrayal of North Carolina’s people. It is not how laws are made in our country – and it allowed for next to zero public comment among the people of the Tarheel State.
That’s why we asked people across the state and from all over the country to share their stories with us – and tell us why anti-LGBT legislation, including HB2 hurts. Here were their responses:
Katherine • Hendersonville, North Carolina
“In 1962, my partner Marge and I walked hand in hand into our woods in Connecticut. We were startled by a man trespassing on our property. He aimed a rifle at us and angrily shouted, “We don’t want your kind in this town!” It was terrifying, humiliating and infuriating. During this time many LGBT people hid who they were. Many were forced into the closet by religious leaders and their own family members. The same is true today because of senseless discrimination and non-acceptance. We have come a long way since that time. Now North Carolina lawmakers are turning back the clock. How much longer must the LGBT community have to wait for full equality under the law?
“HB2 is harmful and degrading to the LGBT community. I would want to ask that lawmakers pushing bills like these should stop thinking that terrible things will happen in North Carolina bathrooms. I would ask that they trust that transgender people will not harm anyone. I would urge them to stop sending the message that LGBT youth are not “OK.” B2 is an outrage to the LGBT community, their families and friends.
“My partner Marge and I had committed ourselves to one another for 55 years. She died in 2012 never knowing that marriage equality is now the law of the land. I am 80 years old now and still waiting for full equality under the law. How fair is this?”
Joel • Durham, North Carolina
“LGBT legislation hurts because poorly enacted legislation will result in legal challenges costing the citizens millions in legal fees. Businesses will lose work from sports and entertainment events that will be boycotted. This legislation is based on fear – not fact.”
Denise • New Port Richey, Florida
“Anti-LGBT legislation hurts me in several ways. First, it puts the governments’ imprimatur on discrimination; it tells the world – my co-workers, my family, my friends, my clients, my employees, my bosses – that I am less-than, since I am a transgender woman. It says that it’s okay to turn me away at your place of business, or deny me access to the most basic elements of life in our society, things like safety and protection, access to bathrooms and participation in our stream of commerce. Secondly, it sends a message to me that I am somehow unworthy to live in our society. That, no matter my effort or contribution, I am not as good as someone else, based on nothing more than the factors of my birth versus theirs. It targets my own self-esteem. Third, it directly impacts my ability to contribute to that stream of commerce. I must, as a result, be ever-mindful of where I am, with whom I interact, how I transact business. Having already lost more than one job, based exclusively on my gender identity, and having no protection in the law, I know how harmful it is to have discrimination actually codified and endorsed by the state.
“We are at our best, as a nation, when we reach for inclusivity and love and not pull-back from fear, ignorance or bias. I served my country in the armed forces, at a time of armed conflict (Vietnam). I love my country. I would urge legislators considering anti-LGBT bills to start by assuming that we all love our country. Our great Constitution is a document that allows for different ideas and paths. Work to allow everyone to be their best, try not to handicap a person or a class of people, based solely on identity. Be better than your basest instinct.”
Maxwell • Greensboro, North Carolina
“I am a man. I was born in the wrong body. According to the new law I am now supposed to go back to using the females’ restroom? How humiliating is that? I get rude comments, nasty stares – and I honestly fear for my safety, afraid to use the female restroom.”
I am a man, and I deserve the same rights as all men. I would want to tell lawmakers that their ignorance should not cost me my safety or well-being.”
Robert • Hubert, North Carolina
“Anti-LGBT legislation is un-American, is un-constitutional, and is very homophobic. The majority of North Carolina residents don’t agree with this bill and legislators passed it anyway without the proper process – because if proper time for debate was allowed, it never would have passed. It’s time for lawmakers to do the right thing and repeal this homophobic bill and replace it with a comprehensive non-discrimination bill that protects all people.”
Morven • Wilmington, North Carolina
“We have known our daughter was gay since she was 3. She now is 36 and a wonderful nurse. This law means that she can lose her job, her apartment, be refused service in an eating establishment, and cannot hold hands with her beautiful partner for fear of being legally victimized. I am a member of a Facebook group of mothers with gay or transgender children – almost 1,000 of us – and many are conservative. Any discrimination is wrong, so wrong!
“I would want to tell lawmakers pushing these laws that if you are afraid of transgender people, you need to meet one and listen to their story before you put up walls around yourself in ignorance. Transgender people have been through so much pain, and every single one I have met are gentle, sensitive and very kind people. Let people be. Let people live. Look in the mirror at your own fears and be kind.”
Patrick & Larry • Aurora, Colorado
“Anti-LGBT legislation denies us our full equal & civil rights, and it propagates lies about the GLBTQ communities, fostering hate, ignorance & violence. What happened to every American’s equal and civil rights? GLBTQ Americans pay full taxes, we vote & we deserve full equal & civil rights. I would also want to tell lawmakers to consider the economic backlash & boycotts for your state and community for your divisive and ignorant ideas.”
Rick • Asheville, North Carolina
“The LGBTQ community suffers on many levels because of oppressive legislation. I know people have been beaten up and have attempted suicide. All of us (straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc.) belong to the body of humanity. When one part of the body suffers, the rest does. We are supposed to be given equal protection under the law. We are not supposed to use the law to protect some at the expense of others. I would urge lawmakers proposing this kind of legislation to please do the right thing. If you don’t understand LGBTQ issues, please investigate. Listen to people’s stories.”
Cathy • Powhatan, Virginia
“Laws that single out transgender people are discrimination against a MINORITY – a very small percentage of the U.S. population. They compare transgender people who are a minority with child predators openly and deliberately in order to discriminate against them, without a single shred of legal proof.”
Richard • New York, New York
“Anti-LGBT legislation hurts me because we are all human. No matter what color, race, sexuality, etc., we are human and we should be treated equally. Why do people care of who other fall in love with? The LGBT family is a very huge family – and our families and friends support us, and we will win. I would tell lawmakers who propose anti-LGBT legislation: You don’t know what some of us go through in our lives, and I would like to tell you that it’s not easy, and you are not making it any easier.”
Rye • Moss Beach, California
“This action directly affects my ability to take my (bisexual and genderqueer) kids to visit their grandmother in North Carolina, who is both conservative and supportive of her family. Doing so would put all three of us at risk for violence and discrimination – since I am transgender – which I am not willing to do. I would want to tell legislators to get to know us. We’re just people trying to live our lives, not deviants trying to overthrow society. We’re Christians, we serve in our communities, and we love our neighbors – even actions like these tell us loud and clear that our neighbors don’t always love us back.”
Eleni • St. Petersburg, Florida
Lynn • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
“My transgender male friend has a beard, the result of hormone therapy. He looks just like other men his age. He is not a predator. He just needs to be able to use the men’s room. Everyone wants a safe place to go to the bathroom, including people who are LGBTQ.”
Moira • Hampton, New Hampshire
“Anti-LGBT legislation hurts because it makes it okay to hate my brother. It makes it okay to assault my friends. It makes it okay to tell a huge number of people, “You are lesser. You are wrong. You don’t deserve equality and safety and peace.” It is Anti-Christian and Un-American. I am a college counselor and work with a number of LGBTQ students and their allies as they plan their futures. I would tell legislators considering these bills that these students will not consider colleges in states that legalize discrimination. Passing these laws will damage the reputations of your colleges and make it very difficult for them to recruit a talented pool of students.”
Stephania • Horseshoe Bay, Texas
“Anti-LGBT legislation hurts me specifically with the bathroom issue. I have breasts, my I.D. shows female, but you can still see the male in my face, along with my voice. It would scare the crap out of me to walk into a men’s room. I just want to go to the bathroom in peace. I would urge lawmakers considering this type of legislation to talk to transgender people and find out actual feelings and thoughts they have.”
Phillip • Brandon, Mississippi
“My husband and I have been together 21 years. We went to Asheville, NC on April 14, 2015 and got married. I want to tell North Carolina legislators that GLBT are people also. We have feelings, we love, we are considerate of others and, yes, some have a religious faith. We work, own homes, own businesses, and we pay taxes – which pay your salary. We just want to be accepted and equal to everyone else in this country.”