Help pass the Equality Act!
-By Cole Parke, CJJ Statewide Organizer
Earlier today, I got my first real-deal haircut in over a year, and I feel GREAT! It was such a relief, not only to put my head into the hands of a trusted (and masked) professional, but also to be in a queer-affirming space — in addition to asking how I wanted my hair styled, my hairstylist asked me what pronouns I use, and was kind, respectful, and affirming throughout our interaction.
As a queer and trans person, I don't take this kind of experience for granted, especially in parts of the country where LGBTQ people aren't protected from discrimination.
Shortly after I moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia for grad school, I stopped by a local barbershop, hoping to look sharp on my first day of orientation. The barber on duty looked me up and down and said, "Sorry, we only cut men's hair here." (Note: my hair was as short then as it is now!) Rather than pick a fight with a person holding scissors, I opted to go elsewhere, but I shouldn't have had to.
Last year, Virginia passed monumental anti-discrimination legislation, enacting comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, no such law exists in North Carolina, leaving queer and trans people like me at risk — not just for bad haircuts or dirty looks; lack of protection means that right now it's perfectly legal to fire someone just because they're gay or to evict someone who comes out as trans.
That's why CJJ is partnering with Keshet and LGBTQ justice organizations across the country in advocating for the Equality Act, which would update the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
Click on the link above to send emails to our senators, letting them know why LGBTQ equality is important to you. You can also request stamped postcard packs from Keshet, to help further ensure that Senators Burr and Tillis get our message.
Thank you for taking action!
CJJ Statewide Organizer