Over 150 NC Mental Health Professionals Call for Repeal of HB 2
Open letter to Gov. McCrory cites concern for wellbeing of transgender individuals
ASHEVILLE, NC, April 24, 2016 - 157 mental health professionals from across North Carolina have called on Governor Pat McCrory to work to repeal House Bill 2, citing discrimination against transgender people as a threat to their mental health and wellbeing. The diverse group of professionals, including social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists, state in a letter to the governor that the law “legitimizes discrimination” and is in conflict with the ethics of their professions.
The letter goes on to say that HB 2, formally known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, has created a “climate of fear and confusion” for an already vulnerable population. Citing research about higher levels of depression and lower self-esteem among LGBT students who experience discrimination, bullying, and harassment, as well as a disproportionately high rate of attempted suicide among transgender individuals, the professionals express concern that the law will increase mental health crises in LGBT people. “As mental health professionals who serve as first responders to these mental health crises, we see the faces behind these numbers and witness firsthand the damage done by discrimination against transgender people. Our transgender clients are among the most vulnerable members of our community because they experience the highest levels of discrimination and misunderstanding.”
Addressing the law’s provision that mandates that people use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their “biological sex,” the letter states, “We know that in seventeen states and over 200 cities that have policies to ensure transgender people can use bathrooms that match their gender identity, there's been no increase in public safety incidents. The only real threat is to the safety of transgender people who can't use appropriate bathrooms.”
Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC said, "House Bill 2 is a deeply discriminatory bill that has put the most vulnerable people of our community at risk. It is clear that Governor McCrory and the NCGA leadership do not have North Carolina's best interest in mind by passing such a harmful bill. We applaud the over 150 mental health professionals who are taking a stand against discrimination and are calling on Governor McCrory to repeal this hateful law. The only way to restore North Carolina's reputation is to repeal all of HB 2 and pass comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that protect all North Carolinians from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
S. Heather Branham, LCSW
Porch Light Counseling
Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.