If passed, the bills would add important protections to the LGBTQ community in North Carolina. (Photo Credit: yavdat via Adobe Stock)

House Bill 450, titled “Equality for All,” was filed in North Carolina by District 29 Representative Vernetta Alston on March 30. This bill is just one of multiple bills proposed in 2021 that would provide protection for the LGBTQ community.

House Bill 449, titled “Prohibit Defense Based on Sex or Gender,” is one such bill that will serve to prohibit individuals from claiming the “panic defense” in court. Should this bill pass, perpetrators of violence against members of the LGBTQ community cannot plead that they committed these harmful actions due to someone’s gender or sexual orientation. House Bill 392, titled “Mental Health Protection,” has also been filed and, if passed, would prohibit gay conversion therapy in North Carolina (bit.ly/3fzcZXT).

House Bill 451, dubbed “Full Repeal of HB2” will make it so that individual counties can set  their own standards regarding sexual orientation and gender identity (bit.ly/3u7ifWO). HB2 was, and continues to be, one of the most controversial bills passed in North Carolina within the last five years. A facet of HB2 was that transgender or other gender expansive persons would be unable to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identities if they were not legally recognized as said gender. Essentially, the LGBTQ community will remain legally unprotected from discrimination if HB2 is not repealed.

The reversal of HB2 and potential passage of HB 450/Equality For All means that LGBTQ people in North Carolina would be afforded more freedom and given less legal obstacles than ever before and would solidify housing, education and legislative participation.

“Too many LGBTQ people — especially those who are BIPOC (Black Indigenous People Of Color) or transgender — experience discrimination and violence in North Carolina law,” Alston explains. “Right now [that] leaves them vulnerable. We need to pass strong legislation that gives people the best opportunity to thrive” (bit.ly/3ugxOLW).

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