WATCH: New Ad Featuring Transgender North Carolinian Illustrates Absurd Consequences of HB2

By Megan Clayton • May 2, 2016 • 8:18 am

Today Freedom for All Americans, Equality NC and the American Unity Fund launched a new ad featuring a transgender North Carolina man and two of his business associates as they describe their concerns about North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which codified anti-transgender policies into state law and knocked down existing non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

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The ad tells the story of Asheville resident Zeke Christopoulos and how being transgender has impacted his relationship with two of his associates, Patricia Hickling Beckman and Chester A. Spier. Hickling Beckman admitted that when she first learned Christopoulos was transgender, she was “a little uncomfortable at first.” But, as she got to know Zeke, it wasn’t a big deal at all. Now, she’s concerned about how HB 2 could affect him at work.

“When you stop and think about it, everyone needs to use the bathroom just to get through the day. And a law that forces Zeke to use the women’s restroom is totally inappropriate. And that’s exactly what HB 2 does.”

Christopoulos adds, “HB 2 goes so far that when I use the men’s room, I could be thrown in jail.”

This year dozens of bills like HB 2 that target transgender Americans have been introduced in legislatures across the country. Proponents often use misleading information about what it means to be transgender to sway lawmakers to their side. Unfortunately, these tactics sometimes work because so many Americans have never met someone who is transgender.

Stories like Christopoulos’ are an important and powerful way to fight against such misinformation. They let lawmakers know that transgender people they’re legislating against are friends, coworkers and neighbors merely trying to live their lives free from fear and discrimination.

Our executive director Matt McTighe thanked Christopoulos for coming forward to share his story:

“Many Americans don’t know a transgender person, and they don’t understand the harmful consequences of laws like HB 2. But these laws do have real impacts that go far beyond lost jobs and declining investments – they impact people like Zeke, every single day. It was brave of Zeke and his fellow North Carolinians to share their personal story and speak out. If lawmakers took the time to talk with more transgender people and their loved ones, it would be crystal clear to them why HB 2 is so unnecessary and so devastating. We hope Zeke’s story will help lawmakers understand the urgency behind repealing this terrible law.”

Matt Hirschy, Director of Advancement at Equality NC, said today:

“Governor McCrory and the NCGA leadership have made it clear they don’t have our state’s best interests at heart – but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue elevating stories like Zeke’s. North Carolinians deserve to know the people whose daily lives are harmed because of this discriminatory law. Senator Berger and others are prioritizing an archaic and discriminatory law over our state’s economy, our state’s reputation and our state’s values. This law targets the most vulnerable in our communities, and we’ll continue sharing Zeke’s story and others like his so as many North Carolinians as possible understand the true animus behind this hateful law.”

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