Last night, the City Council of Charlotte, with the strong support of Mayor Jennifer Roberts, voted 7-4 last night to pass a so-called LGBT non-discrimination bill despite more than 250,000 emails, more than 20,000 petition signatures, the opposition of more than 200 local business, community, and faith leaders, and the strong disapproval voiced by the overwhelming number of the 140 people who testified before the council prior to the vote.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, the former long-time mayor of Charlotte, has promised that the state will likely take immediate action against this bill, which is all the more reason we must expose the social insanity of this bill.
I was one of the speakers at the pre-vote rally, and despite chilling rains and wind, about 700 protesters turned out shouting, "Don't Do It Charlotte!" I was asked to focus on the transgender aspects of the bill.
You can watch my five-minute message on YouTube here. I did deviate from this text at some points – including a 10-second refutation of the idea that "gay is the new black" – but the video message follows this text for the most part, despite the rain completely obliterating my notes.
We are not here to bash or attack anyone. We are here to call for social sanity and public safety in the city of Charlotte and we appeal to Mayor Roberts and to all City Council members to do what is right and fair and just for the people who live, work, and regularly visit this great city.
Over the last week, we have collected signatures of faith, community, and business leaders in Charlotte to sign a joint letter stating our serious concerns with the proposed ordinance. This letter was hand-delivered to each Council Member and to Mayor Roberts this morning with 200 signees, a significant number.
Mayor Roberts, Council Members . . . if you are listening . . . DON'T DO IT CHARLOTTE.
I stand here today not only as a Christian leader but as a husband, father, and grandfather.
Will you inconvenience, embarrass, and potentially endanger 997 citizens for the sake of three out of a thousand who identify as transgender?
Two weeks ago, in Seattle, Washington, "A man undressed in a women's locker room, citing a new state rule that allows people to choose a bathroom based on gender identity."
A concerned mom from Washington shared this with me about her local YMCA: "Just two weeks ago a boy around the age of 13 walked right into the girls' side of the women's locker room. All he did was sit down and scroll through his phone. Little girls where surprised when they came in from showering with their towels wrapped around them to see him sitting there. My daughter was one of those girls. This policy opens the door to those who have malicious intent."
City Council members, why on earth would you bring this to Charlotte? Is this what you want for your spouses and kids?
In 2012, also in Washington, female high-school students sharing a college campus swimming pool were shocked to see a 45-year-old male student who identifies as "Colleen" sitting naked in their sauna. (The police report stated that "she" was exposing "her male genitalia.")
The girls were traumatized and the parents outraged, but college officials said they could not do a thing because of state policies against gender-identity discrimination.
Fathers and mothers of Charlotte, is this what you want in your city?
Twice this past year a woman in Waltham, MA has encountered a man urinating in the ladies' restroom of her office building. He had long hair that was made up like a woman's and apparently was in women's clothes. At one point he exposed his male private parts to her. "I was shaking by the time I got back to my office" she told MassResistance. [The examples that follow have also been compiled by MassResistance.]
In California in 2013, "A man dressed up like a woman was arrested after entering a Macy's women's restroom in order to videotape women. He spent two hours in the restroom before his camera was noticed by a customer."
In Oregon, in 2011, a man who had prior sex offenses against 5 to 9-year-old girls was arrested after he entered a women's locker room dressed in a bikini and started talking to girls in the hot tub.
City Council members, if this happens in our city, are you ready to look these families in the face and say, "We were the ones who voted this into law. We were the ones who opened the door to these abuses." And are you ready for the lawsuits that will follow?
I know you're concerned about the needs of those who identify as transgender, and we're sensitive to those struggles too. We want to help them find wholeness as well. But, as one man recently commented after the pool incident in Seattle, these new ordinances cause a lot more "people to feel exposed and vulnerable with the intention of reducing people feeling exposed and vulnerable."
I ask again, will you hurt the 997 to help the three?
When you have a blind student in a school, you don't impose that student's handicap on the entire school, forcing the other kids to read braille. But when it comes to those struggling with gender identity issues, the City Council wants to impose their struggles on the whole community – on impressionable little girls who will be traumatized by a man wearing a dress in the restaurant bathroom and on young ladies and women who will be forced to undress in the presence of a biological male in their gym locker room.
And your policy opens up the door to heterosexual predators – or are you prepared to tell us how you can distinguish between a male who identifies as a woman and a heterosexual male voyeur who dresses as a woman?
Why are we even discussing this madness? And how can you vote for a bill that claims that if a man simply perceives himself to be a woman then he is a woman. Last year, one supporter of this bill told me that if I believe I'm a horse, I can use the stable, since I'm not hurting anyone, while another protestor told me if I believe I'm black, then I'm black. To repeat: This is social madness.
I appeal to every man and woman of conscience to raise your voices tonight against this bill, to hold the City Council and Mayor responsible for promoting this bill, and to stand together until this bill is defeated in Charlotte.
We should treat with great compassion those who struggle with their gender identity, but we will not turn the world upside down on their behalf.
[Please note that the AP report of the vote failed to mention the 250,000+ emails and the 20,000+ signatures. It also wrongly claimed that, "Opponents of the measure - including some clergy and business owners - have sent the City Council a letter saying businesses should have the right to refuse service based on sexual orientation or gender identity." The 8-page letter, which I wrote, with the help of attorneys and pro-family leaders, and which was signed by more than 200 faith, community, and business leaders, said no such thing. It simply stated what the negative effects of the bill would be.