When state legislatures, like North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia, debate laws that single out LGBTQ people for unequal treatment, the headlines are often about how much these laws would cost the state in lost revenue and the businesses and sports leagues that stand up to discrimination. These stories, unfortunately, often overlook the real impact on LGBTQ people.
These bills are aimed at giving a stamp of legitimacy to treat LGBTQ people differently under the law. But they also send a message to the public that that “people in the state who are LGBTQ that they are not full citizens,” psychology professor Gregory Herek told The Charlotte Observer reporting on the experiences of LGBTQ North Carolinians after the passage of HB 2, a law that sanctions discrimination against transgender people. The Observer found, through public records and interviews across the state, that many LGBTQ North Carolinians have seen an uptick in harassment and violence since the passage of HB 2.
Josh Burford, assistant director for sexual and gender diversity at UNC Charlotte, said, “It’s time for us to be afraid again.”
There is real harm that results from these sorts of bills. These costs need to be in the headlines too.