When discriminatory laws like House Bill 2 are being passed in our state, we can’t pat ourselves on the back and move on after small victories on campus.
There is injustice occurring in this country, whether it’s a widely publicized law or the better-hidden ways we allow unjust treatment of people who identify as LGBTQA. The violation of LGBTQA rights demonstrated in this law shouldn’t matter just to people who are actively involved in these issues but to anyone who cares about human rights.
HB2 prevents city governments in North Carolina from creating anti-discrimination policies, instead giving that power to state lawmakers. At the same time, the law allows discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity while prohibiting other types of discrimination. When a law blatantly allows discrimination against any group, especially one already facing so much prejudice, there is a problem.
There has been a national backlash against the bill, but we need to focus on how our local communities are affected. At Guilford College, it can be easy to think we exist in a bubble untouched by North Carolina politics, but we can’t ignore how the laws affect us.
Through vocalizing our outrage against this step backwards and taking our own steps to make a difference, we can fight against this law and all other examples of targeting the LGBTQA community.
Bringing more all-gender bathrooms to campus has been an important step to creating an inclusive community at Guilford, coinciding with this legislation to show one way Guilford community members can resist institutional oppression.
But it’s important to continue to find ways to create a safer community and resist harmful ideology wherever we find it.
For one thing, it is always important to help those who are most affected in whatever ways they need. This includes standing up against discrimination that we observe but also using inclusive language and making sure spaces are safe for people of all identities. For people who are targeted by this legislation, sometimes the best way to resist is just surviving when speaking up takes too much risk or energy.
Outside of Guilford, we can act in ways that lift up LGBTQA voices not only by speaking up about issues like this but by supporting businesses that follow non-discrimination practices and have gender-inclusive bathrooms, actively speaking up to our state representatives and fighting oppression in all areas. Through signing petitions, writing letters and attending protests and rallies, we can put LGBTQA rights on the forefront of the political dialogue.
Don’t let this be the only time you post on Facebook about LGBTQA rights. Let this be a wake-up call that we all need to be lifting up marginalized voices so that discriminatory legislation like this doesn’t come to pass in the future. Whether or not the people around you are talking about LGBTQA rights, find ways to stay informed and bring to light issues that need to be solved.
There will be a rally against HB2 in Greensboro this Sunday at College Park Baptist Church. Those who want to resist this law can attend the rally or find other ways to spread the message that this kind of prejudice will not be accepted.