In Raleigh on October 11 and again on October 15, faith and community leaders representing more than 20 organizations and more than 380,000 LGBTQ North Carolinians came together to make three simple demands of North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Mark Robinson.
1. Apologize for the hateful language and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community
2. Begin face-to-face meetings with impacted persons, community, and faith leaders,
3. If the aforementioned requests aren’t met, resign.
Organizers of the effort have yet to receive a direct response from Robinson. However, in a recorded message released Tuesday, October 12, Robinson stated he would not resign and was dismissive about the harmful nature of his remarks by claiming that he was speaking about books, not people.
In response to the Lieutenant Governor’s deflection of hate speech and saying the conversation is about books, Rev. Vance Haywood, Senior Pastor, St. John’s MCC offered the following reply: “We are not yet there in the conversation. We cannot get to the point of discussing books until we get rid of the language used to disparage, harm and attack…
“So today, we are only addressing what has been said, how it has affected people, and what needs to be done to make it right. After that, if Mr. Robinson wants to have a civil conversation about books, we can have it.”
Over the past three days, additional video has surfaced of Robinson speaking at churches and referring to transgender and homosexual people as perverts, unholy, and the antichrist.
According to a report in the Fayetteville Observer, as recently as October 1 at a celebration for the far right wing North Carolina Values Coalition, the Lt. Governor told the crowd school boards are “pushing these perverted agendas, to try to teach our children that they’re really not boys or girls, or they’re shoving this homosexuality garbage down their throats.”
“There is no question in my mind that Lt. Gov. Robinson intends to hurt and malign people,” says Haywood. “Not only has Mr. Robinson placed countless lives at risk by fanning the flames of ignorance, hate, and bigotry of the LGBTQ+ community; he has done it from locations that could imply he is speaking on behalf of the greater Christian community, or possibly even God. Let me be clear; he is not.”
Following the October 15 press conference at the Old State Capitol Building in Raleigh, protestors and faith leaders marched past the Legislative Building to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and then on to Governor Cooper’s office before joining a Freedom Friday Vigil led by Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.
According to the FBI, hate crimes are rising nationally in 2021, and incidents directed toward the LGBTQ community make up roughly 17 percent of those reported. So far, 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year yet for transgender and gender non-conforming people, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
The Trevor Project estimates that at least one LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the United States.
“From this day forward, the blood is on Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s hands for every LGBTQ+ person in North Carolina that dies by suicide, is violently attacked or murdered,” says Haywood.
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