RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Opponents of North Carolina’s new law limiting antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people have reunited to mourn the victims of the shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that killed 49 people and condemn state policies they say are responsible for furthering bigotry nationwide.
The state NAACP held a vigil “against hate and discrimination” late Monday in Raleigh on the Bicentennial Mall between the offices of Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly building.
“We are one humanity, and we will not be divided by hate and discrimination and violence — not in Florida, not in North Carolina, not in America, not in this world,” state NAACP president the Rev. William Barber said.
The state’s law preventing local governments from passing LGBT anti-discrimination protections and directing which bathrooms transgender people can use has transformed North Carolina into the epicenter for the national discussion on LGBT rights. Serena Sebring of LGBT advocacy group Southerners on New Ground said the Orlando shooting was an extension of the same fight.
“Homegrown terrorism in this county is not new, and it is fueled by bigoted leaders and institutions of the far right, including the architects and supporters of House Bill 2, who put a target on our people’s backs,” Sebring said. “We know that we are relentlessly under attack at the hands of these entities just for daring to live our lives.”
Serena Sebring is absolutely right. This is domestic terrorism, American terrorism, committed by Americans. People need to face that, whether or not they like it. All of us queer folk, we’re surrounded by people who have a serious problem with our existence, let alone us having the same rights as everyone else. The particular ideology behind queerphobia isn’t all that important, whether it’s being shored up by Abrahamaic based religions or bullshit secular reasons doesn’t matter – it all comes down to hate and fear, hate and fear which is being fomented and exploited by a multitude of individuals and groups. These people don’t care if there’s someone out there messed up enough to start killing – for too many, that’s actually seen as a good thing. Right now, Americans are faced with a distinctly American problem, and it’s time to focus on that fact.