Bracing For A New Round of Attacks
NC LGBTQ+ Community To Hold Voter Registration and Education Events Across the State
Last weekend, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson began to re-fan the flames of anti-LGBTQ+, and specifically anti-trans, hatred across North Carolina. Robinson is invoking a new school-focused anti-trans catchphrase and using conservative media outlets to revive the 2021 hate comments made he made at churches across North Carolina.
This action comes on the heels of more than 325 bills proposed in state legislatures across the country written to strip the rights of, vilify and criminalize the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBTQ+ community leaders are concerned that a new assault might be underway in North Carolina, putting the safety of LGBTQ+ youth and the lives of transgender individuals at risk. This latest round of state-sponsored terrorism against the LGBTQ+ community is expected to elevate already-alarming rates of LGBTQ+ bullying and suicides, according to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg (February 9, 2022 Interview with CNN).
“We have to take action and do it now to protect our children,” said Vance Haywood, senior pastor at St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Raleigh. Nine out of 10 LGBTQ+ students report being harassed and bullied; more than 1/3 of LGBTQ+ students are physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, according to Stomp Out Bullying.
“We are on the brink of seeing a genocide of the LGBTQ+ community and all because it makes politicians money,” said Haywood.
Robinson’s campaign coffers grew by $1.5 million after his anti-LGBTQ+ remarks became public in 2021, with the maximum contribution being made by the CEOs of Coca-Cola Bottling, Kane Realty, and North State Bank.
“We have tried appealing to the humanity of Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson via letters, protests, and invitations to hold a discussion. Unfortunately, all have been met with silence. Other elected officials appear reluctant to challenge the lieutenant governor’s vitriol and hate. Even the Log Cabin Republicans have been disappointing in their slow and fence-straddling response. So, we are going to vote the lot of them out of office. It is the only way to save lives, prevent murders and stop the assault on our children.”
In partnership with MCCs and other LGBTQ+ affirming organizations across the state, the June Pride events will all feature active voter registration and education activities.
“There is a March on Washington, D.C. on June 18 and from there to the polls with the Poor People’s Campaign. I will be there, the LGBTQ+ community will be there loud, proud, and unafraid, and we will continue marching all the way to the polls,” Haywood said. “In addition, we are working with the Wake County and State Boards of Election to make our 4 N. Blount Street Community Engagement Center an official voter registration location.”
Although the North Carolina Legislature appears reluctant to jump on this bandwagon with states like Florida and Texas this legislation season, Senate Bill 514, the Youth Health Protection Act, is in committee for consideration. This bill would block healthcare professionals from assisting minors and their parents via medication, surgeries, or other procedures to present or appear in a manner other than the gender assigned to them at birth. Moreover, it provides legal protection for religious-based conversion therapy of minors. The North Carolina Legislature also refuses to move forward with four pieces of legislation that would protect the LGBTQ+ community – S392/H452 The Mental Health Protection Act, S439/H354 The Hate Crimes Protection Act, S396/H450 the Equality for All bill, and S409/H449 Prohibiting Defense based on Sex or Gender.
“I am not given to making broadcast prophesies, but I will tell you that if we don’t act now and change out the people holding office today, North Carolinians will continue to die, and the numbers will grow exponentially due to legislated hate and bigotry. This must end now. This year. This election cycle.”
The concerns express by Haywood are mirrored by other LGBTQ+ leaders:
“MCC Churches around the world are standing together against hateful and hate-fueled legislation, no matter where it arises,” said Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, which has 140 congregations in more than 30 countries. “The avalanche of legalized discrimination aimed at LGBTQ+ people and families must be stopped.”
“The North Carolina Council of Churches has long stood on the side of the LGBTQ+ community even when some of its member denominations remained silent. As history unfolded through the AIDS crisis, marriage equality, and other divisive issues, the Council was already standing in the places where the Church and society have eventually found themselves. We stand there today advocating for the rights and safety of all members of the LGBTQ+ community against those with a harmful and self-serving agenda,” said Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland, Executive Director of the North Carolina Council of Churches