The North Carolina state Senate advanced Senate Bill 132, which includes anti-LGBT language and assertions, by a 41-5 vote yesterday. The bill would require North Carolina public schools to teach students a number of items including:
“Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.”
Read more about the bill here.
The bill is expected to come up for a final vote in the state Senate on Monday, May 13th. Please contact your North Carolina state Senator about this bill. You can find your state Senator and their contact info here.
The amazing folks at Gender Benders have just published this Southeastern Trans Resource List, which lists trans-friendly medical providers and attorneys across the Southeast.
Gender Benders spent months compiling this information so that trans folks across the South would have a reliable resource in finding the services they need. You can also access the resource list here.
We hope you’ll spread the word to LGBT folks across the South and then take a moment to learn more about Gender Benders, which does great equality work in Upstate South Carolina. We are proud and grateful to partner with them!
We are very excited to announce that CSE has launched its LGBT Rights Toolkit. We’re launching the Toolkit with information on how to legally change your name in two states. The name change process is one that is particularly important to members of the trans community; however, it is also important to someone who wishes to change his or her surname to their partner’s.
In the coming months, the LGBT Rights Toolkit will grow alongside CSE’s WE DO Campaign. As the WE DO Campaign grows to more communities across the South, the Toolkit will expand to include more jurisdictions. Ultimately, the goal of the Toolkit is to provide information on range of topics, from name changes to creating Power of Attorney documents. Laws dictate how these processes take shape in each jurisdiction; therefore, processes do not look the same across jurisdictions. They are also subject to change. On each page of the Toolkit you will find a date that notes when the page was last updated. To ensure the process has not changed since that date, it is best to contact a local attorney.
Core to the mission of CSE is the belief that LGBT people are fully human and equal. Current laws, however, deny this. Despite this discrimination, there are measures LGBT people can take to help affirm their identities and protect themselves and their families. The LGBT Rights Toolkit is meant to assist Southern LGBT people in navigating systems to help ensure these protections are in place until discriminatory laws change. We also invite you to join us for CSE’s Community Law Workshops, where you can learn more about how to protect your rights from LGBT-sensitive lawyers.
Tragically, violence against LGBT people almost always escalates during attempts to pass discriminatory ballot measures, like Amendment One. As a community, it’s vital for us to raise awareness about prevention strategies and ensure that, if violence occurs, people know where to turn for help.
On February 11, two women – Erin and Sarah – were assaulted in Boone, NC, resulting in serious injuries for both of them. Anti-LGBT bias is an alleged factor in this assault, with more details available here. Our thoughts, prayers and support are with Erin and Sarah as they recover and as they advocate for laws that better protect the LGBT community. You can join them this Friday at an awareness event at Appalachian State University. You can also add your voice to a petition they started calling for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in NC’s hate crimes laws.
Please help us spread the word that when incidents like this occur, people are not alone. At this link on CSE’s site, you’ll find a list of LGBT-sensitive support resources and reporting options.
CSE is here to offer free, confidential (1) legal, emotional and spiritual support provided by trained volunteer lawyers, clergy and counselors; (2) support in navigating the reporting process and (3) referrals for longer-term services, if needed. You can access services by calling us at 828.761.1224 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also maintain this online map which documents violence and discrimination across the country; anyone can submit a report.
We need your help to get the word out. Please let friends and family know that it’s important to be extra vigilant about safety and that, if something happens, resources are here to support people as they recover and report incidents.
On July 9, 2011, Olivier Odom and her wife, Jennifer Tipton, visited Splash Country at Dollywood with their friend’s daughters. Before entering the park, Odom was instructed to turn her t-shirt, which read “Marriage is So Gay,” inside out because a park employee deemed it offensive in a “family-friendly” environment. For Odom, the shirt expresses her belief in marriage equality. But she complied with the employee’s request, not wanting to ruin the outing for her friend’s children. What she experienced is an example of what can happen when a LGBT person or ally is out in public life: they are pressured to go back in the closet.
Odom reported this incident on CSE’s map, which tracks discrimination, harassment and violence motivated by ant-LGBT bias, and CSE is providing ongoing support to the couple. Odom submitted a letter to Dollywood’s Guest Service Department describing what occurred and advocating for park policies that respect the freedom of speech of customers and that are clearly inclusive of LGBT people. Dollywood has yet to issue a formal statement or directly contact Odom and Tipton. Odom continues to stress that her interest is in expressing support for marriage equality and equal civil rights for LGBT people, which includes equal treatment in public accommodations. Odom is also motivated by the children who were with her that day, wanting to make sure they know that what happened was unfair and that it’s important to stand up for equality in such moments.
The story continues to attract media attention, including in the following outlets:
National Public Radio The Wall Street Journal The Advocate The Knoxville Sentinel WATE, Channel 6 (Knoxville)