This week has been a rough one for LGBT issues, to say the least. On Wednesday, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory signed into law one of the worst pieces of anti-LGBT legislation in the country. Meanwhile in Tennessee, two bills moved forward that would legalize discrimination against LGBT people. And in Kansas, citizens are fighting a particularly insidious set of bathroom bills, ironically named the Student Physical Privacy Act, that would entitle cisgender people to a $2,500 payout for identifying a trans person in a public restroom.
I can’t even with this bathroom bounty hunt. Just when you think transphobia can’t get any worse, it goes from a tropical storm to a levee-crushing hurricane.
Still, these are setbacks, not outright defeats. We can help folks in North Carolina push back against this new law, and we can be proactive in other states, like Tennessee and Kansas, to keep discrimination off the books. How, you ask? Well, let’s have a look at this week’s forecast!
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long
We must rally with folks in North Carolina and other states where anti-LGBT efforts are under way. Here are a few ways you can get involved and lift your voice to make a difference.
North Carolina: Get involved with Equality NC.
This is the same organization that helped Charlotte pass its trans-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in February of this year, which the state’s aforementioned new law now overrules. But they ain’t giving up yet! Equality NC is organizing rallies and mobilizing people and businesses to fight that despicable law. Individuals are encouraged to take action by donating and volunteering. Small businesses can join the Equality Means Business Campaign, while larger companies can join the Business Equality Council. Encourage your employer, your favorite coffee shop, or even big corporations in North Carolina to take part in this gathering storm of support for LGBT folks!
Tennessee: Help the Tennessee Equality Project Move The Message.
Tennessee Equality Project is a statewide organization that lobbies for LGBT rights and supports local efforts for equality. (Disclosure: I currently serve as one of the co-chairs for their Hamilton-Bradley County committee.) TEP is in the middle of its Moving The Message campaign, raising money to improve the reach of its message and bring more allies to the cause. Follow the group on Facebook for more ways you can defend equality in Tennessee.
Kansas: Join Equality Kansas in stopping anti-LGBT legislation.
With 11 chapters across the state, Equality Kansas has solid on-the-ground coverage of LGBT equality battles. Right now, the organization is working to defeat the anti-trans “Student Physical Privacy Act,” a.k.a. the Kansas Bathroom Bounty Bill. Check the EQKS website for updates, and get out there to stop such absurd laws by joining a chapter near you. Donations are also appreciated, because trying to weatherproof a whole state against bigotry is expensive.
These organizations are all working in conjunction with local organizations to fight anti-LGBT legislation across the country. Lambda Legal and the ACLU are considering taking legal action against the state of North Carolina for passing the aforementioned hateful anti-LGBT law. (You can also contact the ACLU and Lambda Legal if you personally experience discrimination and need legal assistance.)
Equality Federation tracks LGBT bills and laws across the country and connects people to local activist organizations. Hit up the Federation’s website to find out what’s going on in your state. The Human Rights Campaign works on a national and local level to protect the rights of LGBT people. Sign up for their A.M. Equality Tip Sheet to get daily updates on the status of LGBT rights in America. If you can give a little money to any or all of these organizations, you should make it rain for equality by donating via their respective websites.
We’re looking ahead at rainbows arching over St. Louis as folks prepare for the Queer Indigenous People Of Color Conference. There’s some racial justice sunshine on the way over San Francisco for early birds registering for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity.
Monday, March 28
Charlotte, North Carolina: Educate yourself at Religious Exemptions: Real Harm, Real People.
6:30 p.m.–8 p.m.
3900 Park Rd
Charlotte, NC 28209
Another way you can support Equality North Carolina’s mission is by attending its panel discussion on religious exemption laws that allow people of faith to discriminate at will. This interfaith discussion will look at how legislation masquerading as protections for people of faith in fact harms religious minorities, LGBT people, people of color, and other marginalized populations. Learn about the consequences of such legislation and how you can turn the tide on discrimination in North Carolina.
Thursday, March 31
San Francisco, CA: Reserve your spot for the National Conference On Race and Ethnicity.
333 O'Farrell St
San Francisco, CA 94102
The National Conference On Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) is for folks working in higher education who want to build a culture of supportive inclusion on their campuses for people of all ethnicities and races. Keynotes will be given by celebrity guests like Reza Aslan, Danny Glover, and Dolores Huerta. The five-day conference will start on May 31, but early registration ends on March 31. Individuals and campus teams are encouraged to register early for discounted rates. Early-bird pricing for standard registration starts at $495 for students, $695 for everyone else. That’s a bit pricey for some folks, so NCORE provides a letter of justification that can help convince your college or university to sponsor your attendance. Join the conference and learn how you can make the sun shine for everyone on your campus.
Friday, April 8–Sunday, April 10
St. Louis, MO: Make your way to the Midwest Queer Indigenous People Of Color Conference.
1 Brookings Dr
St. Louis, MO 63130
This conference, as its name states, is for Queer Indigenous People Of Color (QIPOC) to gather and organize around the issues important to them. (If you are not queer and an indigenous person of color, your interest in being an ally is appreciated, but this is not really the space for you. Allies are certainly encouraged to attend other conferences, like the White Privilege Conference that we’ll be highlighting in April.) Registration is still available, but late registrants are not guaranteed to have food or swag bags provided for them. Sorry, swag collectors. Start planning for next year.
With so many forces trying to roll back the progress we’ve made on social justice issues, it can look bleak out there. But we are changing the climate across the country in all sorts of ways. We will win in the end by supporting each other, standing together, and respecting the needs of all people.
As long as we keep the winds of change blowing strong, we will eventually clear away all of these dark clouds of oppression. Whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you.