Take Action – Protect Our LGBTQ+ Youth in Schools

As our state legislature convenes for its "short" legislative session, there are many priorities for this elected body to consider - addressing the detrimental impacts of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the economic insecurity many North Carolinians are facing, lack of access to health care for too many of our neighbors, the inadequate funding of public education, and escalating gun violence and school shootings. Instead, conservative leadership at the North Carolina General Assembly have decided to target LGBTQ+ youth, teachers, and public school employers by introducing our version of Florida's highly controversial "Don't Say "Gay"" bill. (It should be noted that this bill did not originate in Florida, but is a coordinated national effort by a small group of people who want to consolidate their own political power to increase their personal wealth).

HB 755/HB 1067 were introduced earlier this week in part by gutting a bill that had already passed the Senate last session, replacing the original text with dangerous, inflammatory, misleading, and stigmatizing language designed to intimidate, shame, and erase the LGBTQ+ community.

As abortion rights advocates, we are sadly too familiar with these tactics - stigmatizing and shaming people for their lived experiences, masking dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric as "concern" for families, empowering individuals to bully, harass, and threaten marginalized communities and people they don't agree with, and erasing the voices of people most impacted by these laws. And as abortion rights advocates who believe in bodily autonomy for everyone, we join our LGBTQ+ communities in opposing these bills.

Our partners at Equality North Carolina have more information about the bill, its impacts, and what we must do to fight this in our state. They have also shared the below actions you can take right now. We can and will defeat this bill in the Tarheel State!

Call to Action (What You Can Do Now): 

  • Contact the Healthcare Committee! 
  • Show support for our teachers! 
    • Tweet, call, and share that you stand with teachers. As they risk their lives each day to protect all our children, the NCGA leadership is setting them up for harassment. Our students thrive when our teachers thrive. Call your representatives and tell them this bill harms all educators! 
  • Stand with our parents!
    • Queer families are a part of our community. While this bill seeks to promote parents rights it stands to set parents against each other in our schools. Schools must be safe, inclusive and affirming of all North Carolinian families, this bill sends a harmful message that queer families are wrong, and restricts queer parents rights. Consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper in opposition to this bill, and in support of ALL families.
  • Stand with Freedom of Speech! 
    • In Florida we have seen how this similar bill has hurt students, and how they have had to talk in code about their identity. Queer students have the right to be called by their name, their pronouns, and to share about their orientation without being censored. 
  • We remember how HB2 hurt our economy, let’s not repeat it! 
    • Across North Carolina rent costs are rising, gas prices are rising, and wages are stagnating. When HB2 was passed the North Carolina economy lost billions of dollars, money and wages that hurt our families, and friends. Passing this bill sends a message to businesses, artists, sports leagues and more that North Carolina is not a safe place to do business. As we still fight COVID-19, and inflation, we don’t need more bad bills that will hurt our livelihood. 

Thank you for taking action that will make all of us safer and ensure our youth know they are all valued in our society. Stay connected with partners like Equality NC for more ways to take action.

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