McKinley Morrison, an early education teacher at Asheville's Verner Center for Early Learning, is leaving her job and the state of North Carolina, citing House Bill 2 as a major reason for her departure. Morrison, who was born biologically male and identifies as "trans-feminine" said the bill made her feel "not wanted."
HB2 was passed during a one day special session and signed by Governor Pat McCrory a month ago in response to a Charlotte ordinance that, among other things, allowed transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. But HB2 not only wiped out the Charlotte ordinance. It set up a statewide non-discrimination policy that did not include sexual orientation or gender identity, preventing cities and counties from adopting such protections. It prevented cities and counties from raising the minimum wage. And it prevented citizens from suing over workplace discrimination in state court. Supporters say the bill was required to keep women and children safe from sexual predators. Opponents call it discriminatory towards the LGBT community.
The backlash to the bill has been severe, with everyone from President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Donald Trump weighing in against it, to hundreds of large corporations condemning it. PayPal and Deutsche Bank reversed earlier decisions to expand in the state. Bruce Springsteen, Ani Difranco, Ringo Star, Pearl Jam, and the Blue Man Group are among a growing number of artists to cancel shows in North Carolina in protest. There are growing public health concerns as a recent report indicated calls to a trans-suicide hotline have more than doubled since passage of HB2.
Morrison's departure comes as the state has seen a growing number of teachers leave, many citing low pay for public school employees. Governor Pat McCrory has proposed raising the average teacher pay to $50,000. Lawmakers convening in Raleigh Monday for their short session will be looking at teacher pay, and will do so in a climate that will see multiple demonstrations over HB2. Morrison is not a public school teacher.
Morrison says the bill puts transgender people at risk more than any other group, and gives fuel to people who would attack the LGBT community. The full conversation is above. You can hear the shorter, broadcast version of the conversation below.