Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Open Letter to Governor Pat McCrory

Dear Governor Pat McCrory,

My family's roots are in North Carolina. My grandfather once owned the 42nd Street Oyster Bar in Raleigh. My family goes back many generations in the state. I went to graduate school at UNC-Greensboro in large part to recapture that sense of home. I met my husband there. He proposed to me on the North Carolina coast. We now have four children. When I was a child, my father picked me up and ran me along the shore of Kitty Hawk the length of the Wright Brothers' first flight, my arms outstretched. I was looking forward to reliving that moment with our youngest this summer.

We won't be coming to North Carolina.

You just signed into law sweeping discriminatory legislation. Until all are welcome and treated with respect in North Carolina, we won't be visiting. We're not interested in teaching our children hate. We're not interested in handing over our vacation dollars to a state that encourages hate. We're not going to spend time in a state that has stripped Americans of their basic rights, a state that seems to have no basic concept of the gifts of the LGBT community, no understanding of the basic struggles facing the community, in particular the vulnerable youth. You are actively creating a hostile environment for your own people. Do you know that the suicide attempt rate for the transgender community is 46%? Do you know how at-risk these teens are -- even without hateful legislation that strips them of their basic civil liberties? Shame on you for signing this bill without meeting the families in your state who need protection and listening to their stories.

Perhaps you once visited the lunch counter in Greensboro, home to an historic moment in civil rights history? Do you realize that you just made it legal to deny gays, lesbians, and transgender people a seat at lunch counters across your state? You did that. In one fell swoop, you reversed all of that progress.

You've taken a state that is beloved in this household and you've turned it into a place of hatred, discrimination, and bigotry.

We might be just one family -- and you should know that we're Christians. We're protesting. We're boycotting. Count us out.

Julianna Baggott