I’m a North Carolina mother of a 5-year-old daughter, and I’m scared.
I’m not scared about the things the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory apparently think I should be scared of, upon reading their statements regarding HB2 (North Carolina’s new all-purpose discrimination law). But I am scared.
I’m scared about decisions made by these same state officials to undermine our environment, making me worried about whether my daughter and her friends will have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink as they grow up.
I’m scared about their ongoing assault on the public school system, which has continued to drive good teachers out of North Carolina public schools.
I’m scared about their relentless efforts to make it harder to vote, but easier for a future jealous boyfriend of my daughter’s to own and carry a concealed weapon.
And most recently, I’m scared about people using the old language of protectionism of women and children to continue to spread hate and bigotry in a way that protects nobody and puts people whom we love at risk.
Because the truth is that HB2, which purports to protect my daughter and me, does nothing to protect us. It not only takes away local anti-discrimination laws protecting our LGBT family members and friends, but it also takes away local protections for other groups, too, such as veterans, like my husband, a United States Marine, who has gone into combat over and over again, risking his life and our family’s integrity, based on decisions made by elected officials with no personal skin in the game.
I’m scared of a legislature and a governor that think so little of my husband’s sacrifice that they trample on debate and free speech by ramming through a bill in 12 hours without any opportunity for debate and input, and apparently without even time for legislators to read the bill.
I’m scared of the fact that HB2 will make it easier for my daughter’s future employer to discriminate against her based on gender, since she can no longer bring a lawsuit in our state courts that would protect her rights.
I’m scared for a good friend of my daughter’s, who was born a boy but who loves to play princesses with my daughter and to dress up like a girl. I’m not scared of that child. I’m scared for that child, as a result of HB2. I can only hope that this time of ignorance is all a distant memory when our 5-year-olds are 10, 15, 20, 25.
I’m scared for a friend of mine who is a lawyer and a trans woman who lives in our community and may be at risk because of this law. My friend is also my family’s estate lawyer – not because she is trans but because she is an excellent estate lawyer. I’m not scared of her. I’m scared for her.
So to you, Governor McCrory, and all you lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly who purport to speak for me and my daughter and my family – STOP. Unless you are actually going to speak for us on things that really matter for the safety and wellbeing of our family, please just stop.
Because I’m not scared of the trans woman in the stall next to me or my daughter. I’m scared of you, Governor, and you, members of General Assembly. I’m scared of you.
Katy Parker is an attorney in private practice in Wilmington.