On Monday, TurnOUT! North Carolina (NC) hosted a timely press conference in Charlotte featuring the voices and perspectives of Transgender North Carolinians, their family members and friends to speak out against the discriminatory HB2. This press conference was part of a continuing the effort to feature unique stories and diverse experiences facing LGBT people in the Tar Heel State.
The speakers collectively called on Charlotte leaders to stand firm against pressure to repeal the city’s non-discrimination ordinance and urged leaders in Raleigh to fully repeal HB2.
Connie Norris, a native Charlottean and a mother of a transgender child, spoke about the impact HB2 has had on her family.
“The message our child hears from my husband and myself is one of unconditional love and acceptance: ‘You’re beautiful. You’re special. You’re amazing—just the way you are,’” she said. “This message of support is one that is echoed by our community: our family and friends, our neighbors, local businesses we frequent, churches, and especially our school.”
While she was thrilled when the Charlotte City Council passed the LGBT protections earlier this year, ensuring that all three of her children would be treated equally, she was shocked and disgusted after the North Carolina legislature passed HB2 in a special session in March.
“It makes North Carolina look like something we are not: close-minded, bigoted and backwards,” she said. “It is shameful what this bill does to the rights of the LGBTQ community. This bill is hurting my city…it is hurting our businesses, our tourism revenue, our economy. It is hurting people that have hurt enough already. And it hurts MY family.”
Also speaking was Elder Mykal Shannon, a transgender man and member of Rebirth Cathedral of Praise church in Charlotte.
“Hate Bill 2 is telling me that I don’t matter, my progress to live my life authentically is devalued and not only that…what personal progress I have made to live my life in the pursuit of happiness is now, null and void,” he said. “HB2 says we must go backwards and for an already marginalized community, this message is one we cannot afford to hear.”
Later that day, the Charlotte City Council stood strong as Republican lawmakers in Raleigh continue to redirect blame for their disastrous HB2 mess.
These stories, plus those from other speakers, including Andraya Williams, Rev. Dawn Flynn with, New Life Metropolitan Community Church and Erica Lachowitz, were a strong chorus for repeal of HB2 coming from Charlotteans.
This is why TurnOUT! NC, which is a coalition of HRC, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU and the Campaign for Southern Equality, is working to mobilize the voices of transgender North Carolinians, their family and friends, to speak out for the full repeal of HB2. TurnOUT! NC has field organizers based in Asheville, Charlotte and the Triangle area. Additionally, HRC staff is on the ground working with coalition partners across the Tar Heel State. There are daily opportunities to volunteer with weekly phone banks and weekend canvassing opportunities.
If you live in North Carolina and want to join the efforts to repeal HB2, RSVP for upcoming phonebanks and volunteer opportunities. For more information about our work in North Carolina, contact HRC Associate Regional Field Director Ryan Rowe at Ryan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Connie Norris
Below: Mykal Shannon