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WNC Activists Call For More LGBTQ+ Protections

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Cass Herrington/BPR News
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Blue Ridge Pride parade in Asheville in summer 2020.

A major provision of the bill that repealed North Carolina’s notorious HB2 expired this week.

In 2017, North Carolina lawmakers passed a “compromise” to repeal North Carolina’s HB2 – commonly known as the ‘Bathroom Bill’ because it made people use the bathroom of their gender as assigned at birth.

“For me, for people to say that HB2 or HB142 or any of these bills are about bathroom is personally insulting.”

That’s Allison Scott, director of policy & programs at Campaign for Southern Equality.

She is a transgender woman. Scott says people tried to get her fired after HB2 came out. 

“Coming out is a tremendous leap for any person. It doesn’t matter if it’s sexual orientation or gender identity or whatever. Coming out at a job, where you work, is so scary,” said Scott.  

A key provision of the HB2 “compromise” bill (HB142) expired this week. That mean’s local governments can now enact anti-discrimination ordinances such as employment practices that would protect LGBTQ folks.

“North Carolina is ready. We hope that you will join us in our efforts to push for full equality.”

That’s Kendra Johnson, Equality NC director.  She explains Equality NC and the Campaign For Southern Equality are calling on residents across the state to push their local governments to pass anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ+ community through an initiative called: NC is Ready for LGBTQ Protections.

“So that we can have the protections that we need and deserve and build a state that we all want to live in,” said Johnson. 

Both organizations hope local initiatives will lead to more state and federal laws to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and more, including pregnancy and veteran status.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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