Part 1 of this blog (link) provides a general overview of Governor Cooper’s remarks. And since I am a diversity and career development consultant with a deep expertise in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace, this entry will expand on how the Governor addressed diversity and more specifically HB2 and the LGBT community.
Much of the focus was on the unpopular HB2 law passed last Spring which dictated the bathroom transgender people need to use in public venues, curtailed the ability of cities and counties to pass their own non-discrimination ordinances, and more. A few days before the breakfast, a compromise repeal of HB2 was passed and signed by the Governor, which removed the transgender bathroom usage provision, but disallows cities and municipalities from adding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people before 2020. (Link to my most recent blog about HB2 and to my letter to the Raleigh News and Observer about the inadequacy of the compromise bill.)
• Within 30 seconds of taking the stage, Governor Cooper started that he loves his state of North Carolina with its diverse mix of people of different genders, races and sexual orientations; that diversity is all over our state, and “that we need to encourage diversity at every step.”
• The most recent compromise bill repealing parts of HB2 is only initial first step. HB2 was very bad for our LGBT citizens, our state and our economy.
• Governor Cooper voiced his strong commitment to fight for statewide protections for LGBT citizens of North Carolina.
• We need to send a signal to our LGBT citizens and to other states that North Carolina is headed in the right direction in terms of LGBT inclusion.
• The business community needs to continue to take the lead in working on equality for the LGBT community.
• We need to be a more diverse state and include protections especially for the more vulnerable of our citizens. We need more comprehensive state non-discrimination policies; meanwhile we should keep our eyes on the Federal courts which could help shape this issue.
• When asked if he would considering issuing an executive order similar to Virginia Governor McAuliffe’s adding the LGBT non-discrimination protects requirement to do business with the Commonwealth of Virginia (see blog about this), Governor Cooper responded positively that he plans to use the executive order broadly and is working on proposals within the LGBT area and other unaddressed groups. (See latest Triangle Business Journal article about this point.)
I am heartened by Governor Cooper’s strong statement of support for LGBT Equality, and though I feel the recent HB2 removal compromise was a very weak first initial step, I would like to support Governor Cooper and provide him any encouragement and assistance to make North Carolina fully inclusive and welcoming of ALL people in 2017.