Hundreds rally against anti-trans bills erasing years of LGBT+ progress ‘with the swipe of a pen’

Asheville, North Carolina

Hundreds of people took to the streets of North Carolina to protest two devastating anti-trans bills that threaten “the basic human right to be human”, activists say.

Multiple advocacy groups marched in downtown Asheville on Sunday (2 May) as the state proposes legislation that could deny trans youth the right to healthcare or make it illegal to express their gender identities.

Chants of “Trans lives matter,” and “L-G-B-T the Q is not silent!” rang out as the call to action echoed off the tall buildings, ABC 13 reported.

“The legislation would take away just the basic human right to be human,” said Julia Holladay, a mother and a board member with Youth OUTright WNC, speaking to the network.

“It’s time to be more active than ever, and as a parent of a trans child, I’m scared for them.”

If passed, the Save Women’s Sports Act would ban trans girls from competing in female sports, while the Youth Health Protection Act would allow parents to withhold consent for gender-affirming treatment.

Holladay expressed concerns that the discriminatory legislation could erase years of gains toward LGBT+ equality in the state.

“All of that could be taken away with the swipe of a pen,” she said. “Under Amendment 14, everyone is supposed to have the same legal rights under the law, we’re still fighting for that.”

Her fears were shared throughout the crowd, which included several trans youth.

North Carolina lawmakers recently indicated neither bill may see a vote this year, but with record numbers of anti-trans bills being launched in neighbouring states, protestors felt the need to make their objection known.

“The laws that they’ve been trying to pass through lately are definitely really scary. Our trans kids need our protection,” said Victoria Estes, a concerned community member.

“How will people ever feel safe and comfortable being themselves if they show up to speak on what they need, and other people don’t show up and say, ‘Hey I hear you, I feel you, I see you’?”