Around the country Republican state representatives are pushing ahead with a slate of anti-LGBTQ+ measures, many of which are specifically targeting the trans community and trans youth. That fight is playing out now in North Carolina where three proposed bills take specific aim at transgender youth’s participation in sports (HB 358) and their ability to receive gender-affirming health and medical care (SB 514) as well as including a broad attack on access to health care for transgender people of all ages in North Carolina (SB 515).
EqualityNC is a North Carolina organization leading the effort on the ground to fight these bills. The organization is asking medical providers in the state to sign an open letter in opposition to bills SB514 and SB515 which target health and medical care for the trans community, as well as asking businesses and organizations to sign an open letter to show that the business community is opposed to all of the anti-trans bills. EqualityNC is also encouraging residents of North Carolina to get involved through campaigns directed at each bill.
As the leaders of 4 of the top food companies (Danone USA, Mars Inc, Nestle USA, Unilever USA) in the US said in a USA Today Op-Ed published this week;
“This issue is not political. Providing the same basic protections to LGBTQ+ people as are provided to protected groups under federal law is the right thing to do for businesses and for society. Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.”
Introducing anti-LGBTQ+ bills in this way is not creating an environment where everyone feels safe. That prevents transgender and nonbinary people from being able to contribute fully to their local economies.
Not only that, these proposed bills are at odds with the views of most Americans. According to recent HRC data, 70% of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign. https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/new-poll-7-in-10-voters-support-the-equality-act
Should North Carolina pass these bills into law, the economic consequences to the state are well documented. Back in 2014, the Williams Institute published a study of 39 countries which found a clear link between LGBTQ+ discrimination legislation and reduced economic output. The researchers also found that discrimination against LGTBQ+ youth harmed learning which meant increased education dropout rates which in turn led to lower workplace participation.
These new bills harken back to the fight against the anti-LGBTQ+ bill of 2016 in North Carolina, the so-called “bathroom bill”. That bill led to a large and coordinated pushback from local and national businesses. A statement was released by Trillium Asset Management, Croatan Institute and the New York City Comptroller, investors representing $2.1 Trillion in collective assets under management, with support from Out Leadership, calling for a full repeal of the bill. The business community’s response resulted in a serious impact for the state with the cancellation of major events, cancelled business expansions, and businesses moving their facilities out of the state. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/27/bathroom-bill-to-cost-north-carolina-376-billion.html
The current bills in North Carolina are already seeing a response from business and will again require the business community to come together to show the negative economic impacts of enshrining discrimination in our laws.
Sign the Open Letter from North Carolina LGBTQ and Allied Organizations: https://ncisready.org/lgbtq-org-signon