Statement from Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

“My name is Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and I’m the Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality and a minister in the United Church of Christ. The Campaign for Southern Equality is based here in AVL and works across NC and the entire South to advocate for full LGBTQ equality in every sphere of life.
Just a few years ago, North Carolina was the epicenter of anti-LGBTQ legislation, with shameful measures like HB2 and Amendment One attacking LGBTQ people.
But we never stopped organizing, voting, having kitchen table conversations, and lifting up a vision of what’s possible when North Carolina comes together around our core values of hope, dignity, and fairness for all.
North Carolina, and every other Southern state are changing because of the courage and resilience of LGBTQ people and our allies.
As a lesbian woman and the leader of the Campaign for Southern Equality, I know that the historic slate of bills filed at the NC General Assembly today will have a very real impact on the lived and legal equality of LGBTQ North Carolinians.
One would remove the stain of HB2, a law that tried to restrict access to public spaces for transgender people.
One would ensure that LGBTQ people in our state don’t have to worry about being evicted or fired simply for being who they are.
And the other would send the message to all LGBTQ young people that we see them, we love them, support them, and we are here to ensure they are safe and affirmed.
The Born Perfect NC campaign that we’re launching with Equality NC today addresses one of the most foundational attacks on the LGBTQ community – the ugly myth that we can and should be changed.
It’s important to recognize that so many attacks on the LGBTQ community are linked, rooted in a desire to erase us. Think about it: The company that fires someone because of who they are. The business that refuses to sell something to a same-sex couple. The so-called “conversion therapist” who tries to force someone to change a core part of themselves. The North Carolina lawmakers who try to tell trans folks that they can’t use the restroom.
But I’m here to tell you that we’re not going to be erased. We’re not going to hide our authentic selves.
We’re going to keep speaking out, keep organizing, keep voting, keep telling our stories. We are sure going to do everything in our power to make sure that LGBTQ youth in every town across our state know they are supported and loved.
And in all of this, in all of this, we’re going to stay relentlessly hopeful.
We know people’s minds and hearts change on this issue because we have seen it happen again and again and again in our own lives and in our work across NC and the South.
And it’s why we will keep digging deep – to push for the passage of these bills, yes, but also to create a North Carolina where, no matter what town you grow up in, you are loved and you have every opportunity to thrive.

Today marks an important milestone in our shared journey to full equality. And we won’t stop until we get there.”