By Alexx Andersen
There has been a lot of misinformation about North Carolina’s House Bill 2 through various media outlets, as well as a general lack of coverage in regards to the many Queer and Trans People of Color-led (QTPOC) efforts since the passing of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, referred in the media as “The Bathroom Bill.” The narrative that has been pushed through various media outlets leads people to believe that it is only about the bathrooms. North Carolina’s House Bill 2 uses the guise of protecting white women to hide the subsequent sections which harm the rights of workers, among these being protections only for sexed identities assigned at birth, restricting minimum wage increases, and restricting child labor protections. Especially by marketing it as the “Bathroom Bill”, many conservative-leaning legislators became more open to endorsing the bill. The media continued to push the narrative that the bill existed to protect women from men that want to hurt them. However, this narrative is flawed in that there isn’t any published research finding that trans women are enacting violence upon others in a bathroom setting.
QTPOC-led Resistance to HB2 Timeline
Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 2. Since this was the one year anniversary of Blake Brockington’s death, a trans person of color, many trans people viewed this as an act of violence.
Queer and trans leaders and activists from across the state came together in front of the governor’s mansion to protest the passing of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
‘The most anti-LGBT bill in the country’ was passed in North Carolina.
Dozens of activists and rights defenders picketed the governors home in protest. This law stops the passage of legislation to protect the LGBT community from discrimination. bit.ly/1URkO9F
Posted by teleSUR English on Friday, March 25, 2016
People from across NC mobilized inside the General Assembly, as well as outside of it, in order to show Pat McCrory (the governor during that time) and the North Carolina General Assembly that the people will not stand for blatant discrimination. Following the occupation, there was a short rally on the bottom floor, as many people were escorted out of the General Assembly chambers. Following this, a People’s Special Session was held to keep the energy going and to show the General Assembly, and Governor Pat McCrory, that the people cannot be silenced. Hashtags surfaced, such as #WeAreNotThis, in order to stand in solidarity with the groups of people whose rights were currently in question.
The Queer People of Color Collective (QPOCC), housed in Greensboro, held a press conference in order to discuss the effects of House Bill 2, as well as discuss the urgency of the much-needed repeal of the bill. However, a white man who worked in a building close to where the press conference was being held, decided to send a strong, clear message to the queer and transgender people of color present that he did not want them to feel welcome and called the police. Evidence of that can be viewed here and here.
Fortunately, April Parker (an organizer based in Greensboro, NC), along with other members of Black Lives Matter-Gate City (Greensboro, NC) mobilized a group of white people in order to start doing anti-racist work: the Anti-Racist Contingency Serving Under Black Lives Matter-Gate City.
Since the initial mobilization of the Anti-Racist Contingency Serving Under Black Lives Matter-Gate City, the group has worked to get other white people to be monthly retainers for the Reparations Project and the Trans Kindred Fund.
- The Trans Kindred Fund is an emergency fund that is meant to help sustain the lives of transgender people of color, many of whom are organizing every day for the liberation of all people. It helps with means of sustaining one’s self, such as monetary help with food, housing, money for hormones (including appointments). The fund was started right after HB2 was passed in order to sustain trans folks.
- The Reparations Project exists to respond to the need to redistribute some of the wealth of white people since white privilege sustains wealth inequalities between the white community and communities of color. The Reparations Project was initiated by April Parker, an organizer based in Greensboro, North Carolina, in January and funds began being distributed in February 2017.
Queer and trans people of color led a screening of a Toilet Training documentary to display the ways in which HB2 can be harmful to the community. In addition to this, the screening showed the power of queer and trans people in past and current movement work. The screening discusses how North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has affected the lives of trans people, in regards to the ridiculous restrictions on what bathroom a trans person would be “allowed” to use. This is based on fear-mongering that is fueled by the image of the fragile white woman, which holds echoes of the Cult of True Womanhood (a 19th-century ideal used to uphold the image of the fragile white woman who needs the protection of a man).
Regardless of the media representation of HB2, as well as the advocacy to repeal it, queer and trans people of color are fighting fiercely for their people and for the liberation of all people. The whitewashing of the history of movements must end in order to recognize the pivotal and life-changing work that many of these queer and trans advocates of color have done to sustain the most marginalized.