Supermajority of NC Republicans and Democrats Support Protecting LGBTQ Youth from ‘Conversion Therapy’

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2019James Michael Nichols | Equality NC | james@equalitync.org | 919-829-0343
Adam Polaski | Campaign for Southern Equality | adam@southernequalitync.org | 610-306-7956 Supermajority of NC Republicans and Democrats Support Protecting LGBTQ Youth from ‘Conversion Therapy’ New poll shows massive bipartisan support for protecting minors from conversion therapy. RALEIGH – New polling data affirms that an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians from every political affiliation support preventing licensed medical professionals from conducting so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ minors and disabled adults.

A February 2019 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality, found that a supermajority of Republicans (87%), Democrats (75%) and Independents (78%) support protecting North Carolina’s young people from conversion therapyClick here to access PDFs detailing this polling data in English and Spanish.

Overall, 80% of all polled respondents immediately stated that they think “conversion therapy” purporting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity should be illegal on children under 18. Of the remainder who initially disagreed or had no opinion, more than half changed their mind after better understanding what the practice of “conversion therapy” entails.

Conversion therapy has been rejected by every leading professional medical and mental health association in the country, who have declared it unnecessary, ineffective, and dangerous to an individual’s health and well-being. Tactics of the practice can include inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images; providing electric shocks; and using shame to create aversion to same-sex attractions. The devastating and long-lasting harms often lead to severe depression and even suicide. An estimated 700,000 Americans have endured “conversion therapy” in their lifetime, with half of these receiving the treatment as minors.

This profound display of bipartisan support comes on the heels of legislators introducing The Mental Health Protection Act (HB516/SB426), which would protect LGBTQ minors and disabled adults from “conversion therapy.” The life-saving legislation, introduced March 28 in the North Carolina General Assembly, is supported by Born Perfect NC, a grassroots statewide campaign from Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality that is backed by a coalition of clergy, mental health organizations, faith groups, child welfare advocates and civil rights organizations.

“Republicans and Democrats agree, it is time to protect North Carolina’s children from so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices,” said Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson. “It’s rare that we find bipartisan support around an issue in North Carolina, but I think we can all agree that we want the safest and healthiest future for our children.”

“The overwhelming bipartisan support demonstrated in this poll reflects the reality that people across North Carolina understand that no one can change something as fundamental as their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Allison Scott, Director of Policy and Programs for the Campaign for Southern Equality. “We know that support for the Mental Health Protection Act will keep growing because it protects our kids and just makes sense.”

The poll was conducted among 807 voters in North Carolina between February 6-7 by Public Policy Polling.
###Equality NC is dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians. www.equalitync.orgBased in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality works for full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class.www.southernequality.orgBorn Perfect NC is the campaign to protect young people across North Carolina from “conversion therapy” and send the message that LGBTQ youth should feel safe, supported, and affirmed.www.bornperfectnc.org

Out Today: Robust Directory of Transgender-Friendly Medical and Legal Services Fills Critical Need for Trans Southerners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 9, 2018

Adam Polaski | 610.306.7956 | adam@southernequality.org

Out Today: Robust Directory of Transgender-Friendly Medical 

and Legal Services Fills Critical Need for Trans Southerners

ASHEVILLE, NC – Today the Campaign for Southern Equality released an updated and expanded version of Trans in the South: A Guide to Resources and Services to help transgender Southerners access the medical and legal services they need. The new edition of Trans in the South features an independently-vetted directory of more than 400 trans-friendly service providers – including primary care doctors, attorneys, counselors, endocrinologists, and more – across 13 Southern states. The guide is available in English and Spanish at www.southernequality.org/TransInTheSouth.

According to 2016 data published by the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, approximately 500,000 trans people live in the South. But many transgender Southerners report experiencing barriers to accessing basic services and a lack of respect, dignity, and understanding in medical settings. Nationally, data suggests that approximately 25 percent of transgender people do not seek health care at all because of a fear of discrimination.

Ivy Gibson-Hill, Community Health Program Director at the Campaign for Southern Equality, said today: “We know that trans folks face disparities in nearly every sphere of life, but in health care particularly. Finding a doctor or attorney who will treat you with dignity and respect can be a really overwhelming task as a Southern trans person. The Trans in the South guide is a joint effort by trans leaders across the South to increase our community’s access to competent care and make it easier to find friendly providers and resources.”

Last month the Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative, a collaboration between the Campaign for Southern Equality and Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS), released a report that captured trans and nonbinary Southerners’ experiences accessing health care. The groundbreaking report featured conclusions from the Trans Health Focus Group Project, which included the voices of nearly 50 trans and nonbinary people from six Southern states. The report, available here, provides qualitative data on the many roadblocks trans Southerners face when seeking health care.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said: “We are working toward a South where transgender people can access their basic human rights – including their rights to health care and legal protections – without leaving their hometowns, no matter where they live. Our recommendations from the Trans Health Focus Group can create long-term, desperately needed change for trans Southerners. Until that day comes, we’ll keep creating resources like the Trans in the South guide to create bridges into the care, services and support people need and deserve.”

The guide can be accessed at www.southernequality.org/TransInTheSouth

### Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality works for full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class. http://www.southernequality.org

Transgender Health in the South: Groundbreaking New Report Shows Urgent Needs, Reasons for Hope

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2018

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara | 828.242.1559 | jasmine@southernequality.org

Transgender Health in the South:

Groundbreaking New Report Shows Urgent Needs, Reasons for Hope

ASHEVILLE, NC – Today, the Campaign for Southern Equality and Western NC Community Health Services published a groundbreaking new executive report on transgender health in the South. “The Report of the 2018 Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project” documents the findings of a community-based research project through which diverse transgender Southerners across six states shared in-depth accounts of their experiences related to health issues and accessing health care. Download the Report Here.

According to 2016 data published by the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, approximately 500,000 transgender people live in the South. Nationally, data shows that approximately 25 percent of transgender people do not seek health care at all because of a fear of discrimination – but to date there has been remarkably limited research about the health experiences of transgender people in the South.

“This project is the first of its kind to highlight the health care experiences of transgender Southerners, since research about transgender people is largely concentrated in northern and coastal urban centers. From cities to rural towns across the South, our research team spoke with trans and non-binary people who were eager to tell us about their experiences accessing health care and who were fired up about making change in their local communities. The stories we heard suggest that the change they seek is urgent, as many trans and non-binary people across the South find it difficult to access quality and consistent care for even their most basic health care needs. This report is a call to action,” said Dr. Austin H. Johnson, Principal Investigator for the Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Kenyon College.

Key findings of the research include:

  • Many transgender Southerners report experiencing barriers in accessing basic services and in being treated with respect and dignity in medical settings.
  • Factors including race, age, and living in a rural community increase the likelihood that transgender Southerners will experience hostility or other significant barriers when seeking care.
  • Transgender Southerners report that having access to strong networks of peer support contribute to feeling empowered to seek health care and to advocate for their needs and rights in health care settings.

The report also includes recommended practices for Southern health care providers seeking to offer transgender-friendly health care, from the design of intake paperwork to clinical practices during exams.

“This report provides much needed information about the experience of trans and gender diverse people seeking healthcare in the South.  We are happy to partner in this important work with the goal of improving access to care and educating health care providers. I especially appreciate the ‘Recommendations for Southern Providers, Practices, and Health Care Systems’ at the end, which provides very clear and concrete steps that clinics and providers can take to make their practices more gender affirming.”  Dr. Jennifer Abbott, Family Physician at Western NC Community Health Services (WNCCHS). Based in Asheville, NC, WNCCHS is one of approximately 200 federally-qualified health centers located across the deep South, and has been providing culturally competent, high quality health care for over 20 years to lower income residents of western North Carolina.

This qualitative research project was conducted as part of the Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative, a collaboration of the CSE and WNCCHS to improve access to LGBTQ-friendly primary care, HIV care and support services across the South. Partners in the project included GenderBenders in Upstate, SC; the Knights and Orchids Society in Selma, AL; and OUTMemphis in Memphis, TN.

“Across the South, grassroots, transgender-led organizations and local leaders are stepping up to fill in the gaps where systems are breaking down. They are the champions, defenders, and advocates who are picking our people up when we are falling through the cracks. We are so grateful for these leaders and everyone who participated in the Trans Health Focus Group Project – your strength and vulnerability in sharing your experiences with us informed every piece of our recommendations for Southern providers and healthcare systems. Thank you for boldly living your truth and trusting us enough to share that truth,” said Ivy Hill, Community Health Program Director at the Campaign for Southern Equality, a non-profit based in Asheville, NC, that advocates for full LGBTQ equality across the South.  

The Campaign for Southern Equality will host a free webinar to share the findings of the Executive Report with advocates, health care providers, and community members on January 30, 2019 at 6:00pm ET. Registration information is available here.

“Health care is a basic human right. We are working toward a South where transgender people can access the highest standard of care in their hometowns, no matter where they live. Until that day comes, we’ll keep pushing and working to create bridges into the care, services, and support people need and deserve,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

The Executive Report can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/SouthernTransHealthFocusGroup2018

###

Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality works for full LGBTQ equality across the South. Our work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender and class. http://www.southernequality.org

Based in Asheville, NC, Western NC Community Health Services is one of approximately 200 federally-qualified health centers located across the deep South, and has been providing culturally competent, high quality health care for over 20 years to lower income residents of western North Carolina. http://www.wncchs.org/


RELEASE: Filmmaker Caleb Holland Tapped as Behind-the-Scenes Documentarian of ‘Boy Erased

FILMMAKER CALEB HOLLAND TAPPED AS BEHIND-THE-SCENES DOCUMENTARIAN OF BOY ERASED

ATLANTA, Georgia – Following his first documentary feature, Chasing Capri (2017), Caleb Holland was tapped by Focus Features as the behind-the-scenes documentarian of major motion picture Boy Erased, released today. 

The documentarian and filmmaker produced and captured daily behind-the-scenes content including interviews with the cast and crew. Caleb is a South Carolina native and graduate of The Savannah College of Art and Design. 

Shot in Atlanta last year, Boy Erased follows the story of the son of a Baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion therapy program after being forcibly outed to his parents. 

This is a journey Caleb had personally lived through, stating, “I was outed to my parents as a freshman in college and was ultimately disowned – asked to move my belongings out of my childhood home, and faced with supporting myself through college. I’ve always pursued work that could help support youth in my shoes.” 

Today, Caleb works as the director and producer at the WITH/agency in Atlanta creating commercial films. He also captures behind-the-scenes content as an EPK cinematographer, including recent work on The House with a Clock in its Walls and Goosebumps 2.  

Charlotte Pride Band’s concert on November 3.

Charlotte Pride Band (CPB) opens its 2018-2019 season with “An American Elegy.” The concert will be led by CPB’s new artistic director, John Stanley Ross. Dr. Ross is director of bands at Appalachian State University. The concert will feature “An American Elegy” and other works by American composers such as Leonard Bernstein, John Philip Souse, Eric Whitacre, Frank Ticheli, and Samuel Hazo. The concert is at 6 pm on Saturday, November 3 in Heaton Hall at Myers Park Baptist Church. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door or online at http://www.charlotteprideband.org/!tickets/. CPB begins its ninth season and has approximately 50 members drawn from the greater Charlotte’s LGBTQI community and ally supporters. For more information: charlotteprideband@gmail.com.

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