By Amy Jones
2023 is the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking numbers of anti-trans bills. The 2023 legislative session already has seen more than 350 anti-trans bills introduced in 36 states. This is almost twice as many as were seen in 2022 and the vast majority are targeted at transgender young people. Many of these bills limit their access to gender-affirming healthcare, their ability to be themselves and to see their families and community represented or discussed.
Along with legislation targeted against the LGBTQ+ community, there is rhetoric that aims to dehumanize the LGBTQ+ community. North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor, Mark Robinson, has targeted transgender athletes and in his comments criticizing sexual education, he likened gay and transgender people to “filth.” In a recent sermon, he said “if homosexuality is of God, what purpose does it serve?”
The anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and hateful rhetoric climate can negatively affect health and well-being and lead to a climate of hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community. A recent Trevor project study found that 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health.”
Locally, a rainbow-colored millstone with a Bible scripture was left in front of Cru Wine Bar and Coffee Shop, an establishment that supports the LGBTQ+ community. The Bible scripture was Luke 17:2 which calls for throwing a person into the sea with a millstone around their neck if they lead children astray. Staff at Cru say they feel threatened and that this appears to be a targeted attack given that they are a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
Gabrielle Union, actress, producer and author, and Dwayne Wade, three-time NBA champion and producer, received the prestigious NAACP President’s Award at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards. They dedicated this award to their 15-year-old daughter, Zaya, who is transgender and challenge all of us to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, particularly black transgender rights.
Please click on this link to hear their moving acceptance speech.