NC Republicans’ Anti LGBTQ Bills ‘Don’t Speak for the Entire State’

The Republican-controlled General Assembly is set to override Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes of two anti-LGBTQ bills on Wednesday. But thee are still resources available for people who need it. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum, File)

By Michael McElroy

August 16, 2023

There are several resources for any North Carolina LGBTQ youth who is feeling overwhelmed or is just looking for a safe sense of community.

The Republican-controlled legislature is set to enact what LGBTQ advocates call “dangerous, cruel, and deeply unpopular” bills on Wednesday.

The legislation prevents trans students from joining female sports teams, and prohibits gender-affirming care for minors. Though Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bills last month, Republicans have the votes to override them. The vote is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The long debate over these bills made for a difficult summer for LGBTQ youth, Adam Polaski, communications director with the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in an interview on Tuesday. 

But there was a bigger message, he added. As bleak as things may seem, LGBTQ youth are not alone. 

Polls show widespread support for LGBTQ protections, he said. Though the totality of the legislation can make LGBTQ youth feel “attacked in basically every area of their lives,” he said, “there’s a big population out there that’s cheering them on and excited to stand alongside them.”

He added: “The folks in the state legislature don’t speak for the entire state of North Carolina.”

Help Is Available for LGBTQ Youth

The Campaign for Southern Equality offers several resources through its Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project (STYEP), which provides mental health and logistical support to trans students in states where legislators barred them from getting care.

“We know this is a really hard time and that it’s going to be more expensive and a burden to access care,” Polaski said. “But it’s still possible.”

Trans youth and their parents who are worried about losing care should contact STYEP, he said. 

“Our team will have a one-on-one conversation with each family about their particular situation, talk them through their options, including telehealth and care that is available in other states.”

The organization also offers $500 emergency grants to cover expenses for families traveling out of state to seek the care they need. 

Here are some other resources for LGBTQ youth across the state who are feeling overwhelmed or are just looking for a safe sense of community and a friendly ear.

  • Trevor Project: Provides free and confidential support 24/7 for LBGTQ youth, including access to trained counselors via chat, text or phone call. Call 1-866-488-7386 for help.
  • Trans Lifeline:  A confidential crisis and peer-support hotline that is “staffed by trans people, for trans people.” The service will not contact emergency services for any caller without consent, it says. Call (877) 565-8860 for assistance.
  • Time Out Youth Center: A Charlotte-based organization offering “support, advocacy, and opportunities for personal development and social interaction to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 13-24.”
  • LGBTQ Center of Durham: Serves Durham and surrounding counties and seeks to “[Create a] community where all LGBTQ+ lived experiences are affirmed, supported, and celebrated.
  • PFLAG: The “largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.” The group also has resources for parents and caregivers of LGBTQ youth. It has several chapters across North Carolina. Click here to find one.  
  • Youth Outright: An Asheville-based organization whose mission is to “create a world in which all Queer and Trans youth are supported to realize their power and autonomy through self-determination.”
  • Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center at East Carolina University: Offers resources for ECU students in Greenville and seeks to provide  “support and a sense of community for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.”

“It’s a stressful time,” Polaski said, “but at the end of the day, I really believe the strong majority of North Carolina who support LGBTQ equality will come through and prevail here.”

Author

  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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