by Stephen Peters and Ben Graumann -
Courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign
Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and LGBTQ equality advocate Cyndi Lauper met with LGBTQ youth on June 4 at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, North Carolina, to learn more about their lives, the challenges they face, and the damaging impact of HB2, the state's new anti-LGBTQ law championed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality NC issued the following statements hailing Lauper, the co-founder of the True Colors Fund, for using her platform to raise awareness of the harmful effects of HB2 on LGBTQ youth.
'Cyndi Lauper is not only an incredibly talented artist, but an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ equality,' said JoDee Winterhof, HRC senior vice president for policy and political affairs. 'We are deeply thankful she has taken time to meet with LGBTQ youth in North Carolina and hear firsthand the destructive impact Gov. McCrory's deeply discriminatory law is having on their lives. It is imperative for the future of these young people and the future of the entire state of North Carolina that HB2 be repealed and replaced by commonsense non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.'
'Cyndi's visit today - both contributing to Equality NC and highlighting the real problems faced by members of the Transgender community - is crucial in our fight to repeal HB2,' said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC. 'We are so grateful for her work, and believe it will continue to make real progress as we defeat the worst anti-LGBT bill in the nation.'
Profits from Lauper's concert that evening went to Equality NC to aid in their efforts to repeal HB2. Lauper is part of a growing list of artists and entertainers, including members of Dead
& Company, Jackson Browne, and members of Pearl Jam, who have publicly committed their time and resources to repealing HB2.
The HRC Foundation recently partnered with Lauper's True Colors Fund and Time Out Youth of Charlotte, North Carolina, to create On Our Own: A Survival Guide for Independent LGBTQ
Youth - a guide geared toward older teens and young adults forced to fend for themselves, typically
without parental support and often lacking the skills or resources needed to live safely and begin building a successful life. The guide provides practical advice on such essential topics as finding housing, going to school, opening a bank account, getting a job, accessing health care, and living on a budget.
Across the country, LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. Research shows that of the 1.6 million young people affected by homelessness each year, up to 40 percent identify as LGBTQ - even though they make up only five to 10 percent of the overall youth population. Many LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness say they have been rejected by their families. They also often face harassment or discrimination when attempting to access housing programs and other services. The new guide highlights many LGBTQ-friendly service providers.
HB2 compounds the discrimination, harassment, and marginalization that LGBTQ youth in North Carolina already face, particularly Trans youth. HB2 prevents Trans students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against Trans people to take place in publicly owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centers. HB2 also eliminates existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people (such as those recently passed in Charlotte) and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future.
Further, it revokes the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.
Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender North Carolinians. For more information, visit www.equalitync.org.
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