I live in North Carolina, a state that only eight years ago was considered Purple; i.e., Democratic-leaning, but still with significant pockets of GOP support. Cancel that. In 2016 our state politics are now Deep Red, enough to give Kansas a run for its money in the race for the bottom in jobs, the environment, public services and bigotry against women and minorities.
Given the sweeping legislation that has gutted public funding for education, obstructed minority voters, restricted women’s health care choices, polluted the rivers and lakes with coal ash, and padded the pockets of billionaire business donors, I wasn’t surprised when the GOP governor signed the most bigoted bill ever aimed at the LGBT community, a bill that not only slammed the bathroom door for transgendered persons, but also stripped the rights lesbians and gays had won throughout the state in places like Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville, Chapel Hill and my hometown of Boone.
What did surprise me however was the speed at which some gay and lesbian activists separated themselves from the transgender community. I won’t link their blogs or comments here because they don’t deserve the traffic. The gist of their self-centered gripe is anger at seeing lesbian and gay progress whittled away for the sake of a much smaller, marginalized group. There is a despicable “I had mine and it’s your fault it was taken away” mindset blaming the transgender community for setting back the equality movement by insisting on being treated with dignity.
We are stronger together. Leaving behind our transgender brothers and sisters to save ourselves makes us complicit in the bigotry of our political oppressors. North Carolina proves that no one is safe from discrimination unless we all are.
Today, March 31st, is the worldwide Transgender Day of Visibility. Please join me in also making visible our steadfast support for the transgender community.