LGBTQ Rights

Max Cooper Photography

Thirty years ago Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg made history when he became the first openly gay elected official in the South. Today there are 13 openly-LGBTQ individuals serving in elected office in North Carolina. The social and political climate in the state has evolved dramatically in three decades, but many argue that the heated debate around House Bill 2 shows that LGBTQ issues are still politically divisive.

The Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and the LGBTQ Center of Durham join forces for the second year in a row for a fundraiser cabaret show. This year’s show is set in a dystopian near-future where a fictional character named Zee must fight for sex-positive liberation from the tyranny of an evil empire.
 

Photo of Rome's Gay Pride parade
Fabio Frustaci / AP Photo

LGBT issues continue to make headlines across the country, whether it's in regards to North Carolina's controversial HB2 or how the presidential candidates plan to address LGBT rights.

But how does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of cultural support and government policies for its LGBT community?

Image of Eugene from the new opera Body Politic
Scott Bump

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has been making national headlines for the past two months and has inspired a wide range of social action. There have been both pro and anti-HB2 rallies on Jones street, businesses have left the state, and performers have canceled appearances in protest. The law inspired a different response in two UNC School of the Arts alumni who were inspired to bring their artistic work to the state.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

Cities, counties and states across America are contemplating non-discrimination protections for transgender people. It would allow them to use the bathroom of their choice, but that has caused controversy.
Rusty Clark / Flickr Creative Commons

The transgender community has received greater visibility in pop culture with the stories of Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner in recent years. And in North Carolina, the Charlotte City Council recently passed an ordinance to include non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.

But despite the progress, 2015 also saw a record number of murders of transgender people, specifically women of color.

Image of bathroom sign
The LEAF Project / Flickr Creative Commons

The Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance to include non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

Although the expanded protection includes a variety of changes, the most controversial measure allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

The city council voted 7-4 in favor of the ordinance expansion, but Governor Pat McCrory and other Republican legislators have indicated the state may intervene.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A K-12 charter school in Rutherford County is under fire from the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union after the school suspended all student club activities earlier this month.

Shelly / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Attorney General Roy Cooper has rejected a call by Governor Pat McCrory to side with a Virginia school district against a discrimination lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. It would allow a transgender high school student to use the men's bathroom.

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

A K-12 charter school in Rutherford County has suspended all club activities after parents voiced concern over the presence of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender club.

Javier Corrales authored a report on LGBT rights in Latin America.
Palgrave

 

LGBT rights have expanded more in Latin America than elsewhere in the North Atlantic region, according to a new report by the UNC LGBT Representation and Rights Research Initiative.

 Entire countries have legalized same-sex marriage and expanded health services for LGBT individuals. But the region also has countries, like Jamaica, that are some of the most dangerous places in the world to be gay.