This year in my state of North Carolina and several other states across the country, state legislatures are introducing and passing laws that target LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) people. These laws have significant business, community and personal impact, and because of intersectionality, ramifications can be felt far beyond the LGBTQ community.
The vast majority of these laws (link to a list of all these laws) target the transgender community, including prohibiting parents from seeking medical care of their trans children, legislating how doctors can treat trans patients, prohibiting trans teens from participating in sports, and even outlawing drag queens!
Impact on People. Transgender and queer people are now being told by their political leaders that there is something wrong, bad or sick about them. Politicians are declaring that these people are not equal Americans, but instead evil people who are a scourge on society and need to be rooted out. Through their actions, these politicians are telling us transgender people and drag queens harm more people than AK45 assault rifles! This kind of horrible messaging can lead to depression, mental illness and suicide, as well as other citizens targeting them for bullying or even assault and murder.
Impact on the LGBTQ community. When an entire community is targeted for hateful action by political leaders, it damages the community. It can lead to destructive behavior and mental illness instead of empowering a community to contribute their best to society. It sets up neighbors against each other, causing division and strife in the community.
Economic / business impact. People need to remember the $400 million in lost revenue when North Carolina enacted our anti-transgender anti-gay HB2“ bathroom bill” in 2016. The NBA moved their all-star game out of state and several major companies cancelled or curtailed their financial investments in NC. Over the past few months, I have been told by some company managers and even leaders in one branch of our US military that they are not able to recruit employees or get people to move to states that have these hateful laws out of fear for themselves or their families.
What should we do? Individuals need to show empathy and support for their LGBTQ+ friends and family members impacted by these laws. People need to stop voting for any politician who votes for harmful hateful legislation. And companies and organization need to assure they do not give a single penny to these politicians. Companies absolutely cannot claim to be pro-diversity or LGBTQ supportive and then support such political leaders. It is totally duplicitous. (Read my blog from last April “Companies cannot claim to be LGBTQ+ supportive while contributing to anti-LGBTQ+ legislators”)
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Note: On July 25, I am moderating a panel discussion session titled “The Impact of State LGBTQ Legislation – Policy (Panel)” at the 2023 Raleigh Chamber of Commerce DEI Conference.