GLAAD AND NORTH CAROLINA-BASED ORGANIZATIONS RESPOND TO SENATE PASSAGE OF NORTH CAROLINA’S “DON’T SAY GAY” BILL, URGES HOUSE TO VOTE NO

June 3, 2022
GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, along with Equality NC and LGBTQ Center of Durham are responding to the passage of HB 755 in the North Carolina Senate, banning classroom conversation about sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) and Rep. John A. Torbett (R-Gaston). 
 

The bill passed in the state Senate 28-18 on Wednesday, June 1, the first day of Pride month, and is currently waiting to be heard in the House. Moments after the bill’s passage in the Senate, opponents of the legislation in the gallery yelled in protest, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going anywhere.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is expected to veto. 

The “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill text prohibits elementary schools from teaching K-3 students about gender identity or sexuality. 

An estimated 4% of North Carolinians are LGBTQ and 26% of LGBTQ people in North Carolina are raising children. 11% of LGBTQ people in North Carolina are Latinx/Latine, 22% are Black. Six years ago, North Carolina received widespread criticism after passing HB2, which prohibited transgender people from using restrooms that aligned with their gender. HB2 was fully repealed on December 1, 2020, and since then, ordinances protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination have passed in 10 North Carolina cities, counties or municipalties. 

Equality NC, the oldest LGBT organization in the U.S. and largest in the state organized a rally at the North Carolina General Assembly against the bill last Wednesday. The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill has received statewide alarm from LGBTQ parents and parents of LGBTQ children. 

State Sen. Michael Garrett (D-Guilford) spoke from the Senate floor before the vote: "Unfortunately this bill before us now is nothing more than HB2, classroom edition. And we know all too well the impact of state sanctioned bigotry."

Below are additional responses to include in your coverage of the bill’s impact on the most marginalized communities in North Carolina.

Statement from Kendra Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina:

HB 755 is a dangerous and deplorable bill which puts our LGBTQ+ young people at risk. Our schools should be a safe space for trans and queer youth, and we stand with parents, teachers, employers, and young people in urging the NC House and our Governor to reject this bill.

Statement from Vanity Reid Deterville, Director of Gender Advocacy and Support at LGBTQ Center of Durham: 

This is a devastating blow to LGBTQ+ students and an attempt to codify "Don't Say Gay" ideals in North Carolina as they have been in other states. We know this fight isn't over and we are deeply hopeful that the people in the General Assembly will choose progress over misinformation and ensure the youth of our state see a world where they are welcomed. The South is home to more LGBTQ+ people than any other region and North Carolina should be the leader in the fight for progress. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is not shameful. Our youth need us. They deserve happy lives. 

Statement from Serena Sonoma, GLAAD’s Regional Media Lead, U.S. South and Communications Coordinator:

Six years ago we joined together at the North Carolina legislative building to combat the damage of HB2, which ravaged not just LGBTQ North Carolinians but our economy, losing billions of dollars that hurt all of us, which serves as a reminder that none of us wins unless we all win. 

This bill brands North Carolina land of the 'less free' by legalizing censorship and harming LGBTQ students and families. Banning discussion of LGBTQ people in school is an effort to silence and shame, to divide and disrespect, when all students should feel safe to learn about themselves and each other.

GLAAD has a Guide for Media Covering anti-LGBTQ Legislation here. GLAAD’s checklist for accurate coverage includes recommendations to seek facts from experts in medicine and education over opinions from public figures; to include LGBTQ voices in all stories about LGBTQ issues; include LGBTQ parents and families in discussions about “parents’ rights;” and include context about bills’ impact on vulnerable youth.

 

About Equality North Carolina: 

Equality North Carolina is the oldest statewide organization in the country dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. We're invested in ensuring that every North Carolinian can see themselves in this movement and helping create a safer, more equitable world for all marginalized folks. Together we can build a better North Carolina. 

 

About LGBTQ Center of Durham: 

LBTQ Center of Durham is a grantee of GILEAD’s COMPASS Initiative which works to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States. 

The organization commits to centering the experiences of those who are the most marginalized among us. With a history of providing services supplementing this commitment, they continue to strive to set an example for other communities and organizations to prioritize lifting our family up.