January 2021 in North Carolina brought the end of the moratorium on cities and counties implementing their own nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs), essentially allowing local governments in North Carolina to decide whether or not LGBTQ and BIPOC employees would be protected in the workplace. The most recent additions to the list of NDO holders are Winston-Salem and Chatham County. Other North Carolina counties, towns and cities with nondiscrimination ordinances include: Asheville, Buncombe, Durham, Greensboro, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Orange County and Charlotte. The response to the changes have been nearly unanimous from legislative professionals and largely positive from residents, although there has been some dissent.
On August 9, the City of Charlotte’s official Twitter posted: “NEW: #CLTCC has voted unanimously to amend City of Charlotte ordinances to include familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, pregnancy and natural hairstyle as classes protected against discrimination.”
The Household Pulse Survey shows that 13.1 percent of LGBTQ adults have experienced food insecurity within the last week, 19.8 percent of LGBTQ adults did not believe they would be able to make their next housing payment and white LGBTQ adults were 50 percent more likely to have their pay cut at some point in their career. 22percent of LGBTQ BIPOC persons lost their jobs during COVID-19 and 38 percent of LGBTQ BIPOC persons had their work hours reduced during COVID-19.
Equality NC has been keeping the public informed as more local governments pass nondiscrimination ordinances. Their NC is Ready webpage provides a list of locations that have yet to adopt NDOs with links made for directly contacting city council members, mayors and county commissioners across North Carolina. A few of these are Huntersville, Mecklenburg County (which does have a nondiscrimination resolution), Raleigh, Boone, Cary, Black Mountain, Wilmington, Gastonia and Weaverville. To contact these government authorities, go to ncisready.org.
Despite limited opposition to some nondiscrimination ordinances, overall response is positive. It should be noted the issue of bathrooms, as in the HB2/“bathroom bill,” is not referenced in the NDOs.
Says Allison Scott, Director of Impact and Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality: “Leaders across North Carolina — including our U.S. Senators from NC — should look at what’s happening in our state. Communities are taking a stand to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, which leads to safer, more inclusive places to live, work, and raise families. It’s time now to ensure that no LGBTQ North Carolinian is left vulnerable to discrimination — and that will require action from elected officials at every level of government.”
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