Fresh Eyes: We are your children, and HB 2 harms us

1
131

by YouthSAFE

We are your children, North Carolina. We are lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, gender-nonconforming, pansexual, and queer, rich and poor, black, brown, and white, educated and struggling; we are the promise of your future, and House Bill 2
harms us.

We are your children, North Carolina. House Bill 2 prevents the most vulnerable of us from being able to safely use the bathrooms and locker rooms of our choice. It strips our transgender and gender-nonconforming siblings of their humanity by making a little box or word on their birth certificate more important than the vast kindness, intelligence and character they each possess.

We are your children, North Carolina. House Bill 2 tells us we are not valuable by mandating that public schools and public agencies police single-sex, multiple-occupancy bathrooms according to assigned biological sex, allowing them to refuse us service because of who we are and who we love. House Bill 2 says we are not good enough for you and never will be. It says you think, maybe, you can beat our love out of us with pernicious hate, ignorance and fear.

We are your children, North Carolina. House Bill 2 tells us that some of us, coming from families who struggle from the chains of economic injustice going back to cotton and tobacco fields, are worth less. House Bill 2 tells us that hard work is not always rewarded. House Bill 2 tells us we, your children, are expendable commodities.

We are your children, North Carolina. We are young and our voices are not yet as loud and refined as they need to be but we are raising them up anyway. Listen to us; wisdom does not always require age.

House Bill 2 says we are not good enough for you and never will be.

We are your children, North Carolina, and we are hurting. In 2013, North Carolina Public Health found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender-nonconforming and queer youth seriously considered and/or made a plan for suicide at four times the rate of their peers. The same report found that LGBTQ+ youth attempted suicide at three times the rate of their peers.

We are your children, North Carolina. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association and most medical groups call for the banning of any form of violent punishment or conversion attempts for LGBTQ people because they harm and kill us. Why would you think the violence created by House Bill 2 would be any different?

We are your children, North Carolina, and your hate is killing us.

We are your children, North Carolina, and we know you want to protect us. We know House Bill 2 was a misguided attempt to keep predators from us. But here is the thing, North Carolina, we already have laws to protect us from criminals. There are statutes saying people cannot rape, sexually assault, molest or sexually harass in North Carolina without consequences. What we need is not House Bill 2, what we need is for you to take those laws seriously.

We are your children, North Carolina. You do not publish your rape-kit backlog information, North Carolina, but, young as we are, we know there is one. How many of those kits could have been tested with the $42,000 you spent on House Bill 2? How many actual rapists could you have gotten out of our bathrooms and schools?

We are your children, North Carolina. Many of us are starving. There are food deserts in almost every county in our state. WRAL found that the average family of four on food stamps in North Carolina receives about $264 every month. The $42,000 you spent on House Bill 2 could have fed 159 families this month. That’s 636 people, many of them children, who could have had food. Some of those people are us. Why would you pass hate, instead of food, around
our state?

We are your children, North Carolina. Funding for your protective services is limited. How many of us could you have you gotten safely out of abusive homes or funded better in foster programs if you had applied an extra $42,000 that way instead of on
House Bill 2?

We are your children, North Carolina. We deserve better. We demand better. Show us that our lives matter. Stop killing us. Repeal House Bill 2.

YouthSAFE is a Greensboro-based organization that provides an environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex youth and their allies to build community, share resources, and build skills for responding creatively to the world around them. The group meets every Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Higher Ground (210 East Bessemer St.). New youth are always welcome.

  • Jim Prevatt

    This is a fine article. But a big problem is that the Republicans in State Government aim to destroy all that is good and beautiful in North Carolina. They have done nothing to suggest otherwise. People who are thinking of voting for Republicans should stop and think that by so doing they are accomplices in this devastation of our beloved country. This goes for the federal government as well.