National Black Justice Coalition Condemns NC Lt. Governor Anti-LGBTQ Remarks
CONTACT: Brett Abrams | email@example.com
Says Hateful, Discriminatory Rhetoric is Unacceptable from Government Officials, Calls for Statewide Non-Discrimination Protections to Prevent Further Harm
NORTH CAROLINA — North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor has doubled down after his comments disparaging the LGBTQ+ community drew widespread rebukes and calls for him to resign. In June, the Lt. Governor made these disgusting comments at the Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove. He has shared similar sentiments throughout his career. Earlier this month, he told WRAL that he would not back down from those comments signaling his disdain for people from marginalized communities and his disinterest in serving everyone who calls North Carolina home.
In reaction to North Carolina’s Lt. Governor’s remarks, and his refusal to moderate them, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading civil rights group representing Black LGBTQ+ and same gender loving peoples, issued the following statement:
“North Carolina’s Lt. Governor’s disparaging remarks targeting LGBTQ+ people and subsequent doubling down on those offensive remarks is abhorrent. The comments target and fuel hatred toward people who deserve respect and to be acknowledged as humans. His remarks are especially concerning given that hate speech continues to rise, and Black people are still fighting for the recognition of our full humanity.
The remarks made by a Black man impact Black people who are also members of the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone committed to racial equity and the enduring fight for civil rights should be offended by his comments and committed to ensuring public servants are not contributing to dividing communities, engendering fear, or causing harm.
“Make no mistake, these comments have a real impact – and it is deeply disappointing that the North Carolina Republican Party is continuing to radicalize in their hostility towards members of the LGBTQ+ community by targeting our kids, once again. Words have power. Negative remarks about kids can inspire negative actions towards them. Most Black people know the harm that negative comments and oppressive practices have in shaping life outcomes and opportunities. We worry most about the harm Black children who may one day identify as LGBTQ+ or who are assumed to be LGBTQ+ experience when they aren’t treated as children but as disposable–what one does with filth.
We know based on American history that what elected leaders think, say, and do as a result impact Black people. We should honor the lessons learned from protracted racial justice efforts to protect the most precious members of our community, our children.
“We live in a country that has laws to protect children from abuse and neglect, laws often used against Black people working to protect their children from the weight of white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Given that, it is ironic and un-American to support an elected official who falls short of that standard by attacking children who aren’t positioned to defend themselves against a grown man being celebrated for bigotry before a public audience.
“Our children are growing up figuring out who they are and how to love themselves – the last thing they need is politicians degrading them and creating a culture that permits and encourages the kind of bullying and discrimination that only leads to more of our children grappling with depression, anxiety, and suicide. His remarks should concern anyone who cares about Black children and youth experiencing extreme mental stress and trauma, committing suicide at increased rates, dropping out of school, and being placed in the school to prison pipeline.
Elected leaders should be focused on addressing the current pandemic’s impact on the Black community, restoring voting rights, passing statewide non-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ+ people – especially our children, providing more funding for mental health support for children and adults, preventing the number of Black trans women murdered in the state while also ensuring accountability for those who stole their lives, and minimizing the bullying and harassment members of our community and others receive. As we continue to fight for federal voting and civil rights, state and local governments must take action to protect people. The Lieutenant Governor is failing this most basic responsibility of elected leadership.
“The Lieutenant Governor’s inaccurate remarks about gender being binary and fixed conveniently forgets that God does not make mistakes and shows up with compassion and love for the least of these. His words are an assault on our humanity. As a Black man, he knows better. Black people have experienced the pain of people in power using their authority and their public pulpit to deny our humanity and exclude us from public life. We should never be in the business of doing this to other members of our beautifully diverse community. We must continue to hold accountable people whose voices have weight, power, and influence and whose words and actions are used to cause harm to members of our community.
“The integrity of North Carolina’s government and representation from and of the people is at risk every day he remains in office.”
North Carolina organizations doing community, social, spiritual, and political work to move the state forward to a more just and equitable place are Equality North Carolina, the Freedom Center for Social Justice, and Tranzmission Prison Project. Youth led organizations in the state include Time Out Youth, House of Pentacles, and Siembra NC. Please support their work through your financial resources and/or volunteerism. Finally, we uplift these words from Equality North Carolina’s statement directed to those harmed by the comments from North Carolina’s elected leadership:
“We want to make it clear to our community: you are part of a legacy of powerful people with a history and culture worthy of your pride. You are not objects of disdain or sympathy, but rather we are all living humans with inherent worth and dignity. We are proud to be in community with you.”