Central visits North Carolina to address issues within the LGBTQ community
Central Michigan has been partnered with Campus Pride for quite a few years now. As returnees of this break, Central’s mission is to gain a better understanding of the issues occurring not only in Charlotte, but within the entire country. Spending a week here in Charlotte will help indulge and immerse directly within the issues of Charlotte, in order to be able to return to Michigan with the knowledge of educating the communities around and in CMU.
Written by Central Michigan University student Rachel Dean.
HB2 and the issues behind the withdrawal
Lawmakers in North Carolina made a statement recently saying that they are repealing the HB2 act. HB2 was instantiated in the first place to combat a law that was passed to help the Trans* community with being able to use whatever bathrooms they identify with, and also to help protect the LGBTQ community.
Here is where the situation became sticky, when HB2 was passed. HB2 was a political stunt to draw attention to the bathroom issue that arose soon after. Many people seemed to be distracted enough to let other illegal laws pass. For example, within this law, HB2 no longer allowed a protection for people of color if they were fired, or discriminated against in the work place.
News flash, that is highly illegal; however, the media was too indulged with the fact that Trans* could not use the bathroom that they identify with. Don’t get me wrong, that is terrible as well-but, they were able to get away with sliding in laws just like that into the bill. So, whats happening now?
Well, Charlotte is getting some heat from having this bill, and somewhere along the lines, someone is not making enough money-and that is making someone infuriated. So, North Carolina’s legislature came up with a deal recently that would help put everyone, perhaps, at “square one.” The legislature decided in order to start where they were last year, if Charlotte’s city council were to repeal the law protecting all humans in the LGBTQ community, then the legislature would repeal HB2.
This put Charlotte’s city council in a very tough position.
Think of it like this: Charlotte is under a lot of flack for HB2, even though it was North Carolina who instantiated this law that completely overrode Charlotte’s protection law. So, would they rather have this atrocious law in place, where it is not only affecting the LGBTQ community, but also affecting people of color, regulating minimum wage by state only, or just affecting Charlotte as a whole? The answer, clearly, is no.
With that, Charlotte agreed to remove this anti-discrimination policy in order for HB2 to be removed as well.
Here is the biggest issue with all of this; once HB2 is (hopefully) removed, everyone will be at square one.
Here at Campus Pride, CMU’s students have been discussing heavily what the outcome of all of this could be. Maybe Charlotte’s city council will attempt to put back in the anti-discrimination law that was removed.
Maybe it will not pass at all and here’s why: North Carolina’s legislature is filled with a lot more Republicans, and if this law tries to go through, it could be rejected who knows how many times.
So, time will tell to see where Charlotte will be within the upcoming year.
Trans* and the lack of love and support
Throughout this week, the topic of Trans* was brought up quite a bit. Heavy discussions were made as to why the Trans* community and the people within them are highly unrecognized and is heavily discriminated against.
Campus Pride went over a few different topics related to Trans*, and thus Central Michigan’s students were able to have a better knowledge and understanding of the struggles that they face.
Why are Trans* struggling to be in our society?
For starters, the Trans* community really is not that big. Why? Well, partially because a lot of people do not show their visibility due to fear of bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes. Therefore, isolation occurs because, honestly they feel alone. They do not have a lot of people who relate to them, and it’s hard to function every day when they don’t have people to turn to.
While the LGBTQ community was so heavily focused on getting marriage equality for the past 10+ years, a lot of issues that needed progression as well were lacked and ignored. Homeless Trans* youth is a serious problem in this society. Trans* people are being kicked out of their homes due to not being accepted, and have no funds. Where do they stay?
The streets, because they have nowhere else to go. This leads to drug or alcohol abuse, and eventually illnesses that take their lives. Suicide rates are also approximately 50% more for Trans* who do not get accepted by their families.
What can Central Michigan University do? Spread awareness. Never stop fighting for Trans* rights, because how can people just merely oversee in our society that they are just human like everyone else? Central Michigan’s students will arrive back to Mount Pleasant to spread education in order to make a difference in that community, and educate as many others as they can.
This fight for the Trans* community is so far from over, and Trans* rights are slim to none compared to a cisgendered heterosexual human. They can get fired for no reason, discriminated against, kicked out of restaurants or refused to be served food, refused health services, refused to use the correct bathroom, have hate crimes against them without any protection, and so on.
Central Michigan University’s students on this Alternative Break will refuse to give up, and fight for what is right; just remember that love will always win, even if it takes decades, they will continue to fight.
This topic can be difficult to cover with those who do not understand privilege. So, what is privilege?
Privilege is basically having a push of help or favoritism within a certain group over other oppressed groups. The biggest issue with privilege is that those with the highest amount of privilege barely recognizes that they have it at all. They are blind, oblivious, and unwilling to see what their privilege is. Police Brutality is one that can make a clear example of privilege.
Lets set this scenario: A white, cisgendered female gets pulled over for speeding 10 mph over the speed limit. The cop approaches her, has a quick discussion on what she did was wrong, is very polite with her, gives her the ticket and she is on her way.
Now, a person of color, female, also gets pulled over by the same cop. She has her registration in her glove box, thus reaching for it; however, the cop assumes she is trying to reach for something along the lines of a weapon and instantly becomes defensive and aggressive without hesitation. He is very stern with her, constantly badgers her about what she is doing wrong, and refuses to let her explain what is happening. After harassing her for 15 minutes or so, he finally lets her go with the ticket.
That, is privilege. The privilege to be able to have no issues with a situation within a certain group, where in other oppressed groups, they could get harassed, arrested, or worse, killed due to one simple ticket.
Another issue with privilege is within certain oppressed groups, all of their rights have been given to them without question. People in the LGBTQ community can be discriminated in some states without protection, refused a job or fired without question, discriminated in the work place, refused into hospitals or urgent cares, denied prescriptions, denied health care, just because of who they are.
At the end of the day, every single one of us are just humans. A big chunk of this country embeds hate and fear into others about the LGBTQ community due to lack of education and the fear of the unknown; but, if they would just listen and accept everyone, maybe the progression of this community would be significantly higher than where we are today.
If there is anything Central Michigan University’s students have learned the most is people are just people. If you cannot come together and love one another, how will any progress be made?
That is their mission; to educate, love, and fight for the LGBTQ community.
Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of college students and nearly 1400 campuses annually. Learn more online at campuspride.org.