Instead of Boycotting North Carolina, Try Actually Helping LGBT People

Imagine if, instead of canceling plans to build a new center in North Carolina, which would have created 400+ new jobs in the state, Paypal had created the center with entirely gender-neutral bathrooms and done what it could to hire and support LGBT employees.

Imagine if, instead of banning government employees from non-essential travel to North Carolina, Andrew Cuomo had encouraged interested employees to visit North Carolina and assist LGBT citizens on the ground.

Imagine if, instead of canceling his North Carolina concert, Bruce Springsteen had found a venue with gender-neutral bathrooms willing to take him in, and donated his concert proceeds to pro-LGBT charities working to help North Carolinians fight against draconian anti-LGBT laws.

Imagine if, instead of stopping service to North Carolina, started providing more LGBT-focused porn to the state, and offered assistance to LGBT folks in need.

Do North Carolinian LGBT citizens, you know – the people who are actually affected by the bill – want to be boycotted? Did anyone ever ask them?

Perhaps, in addition to drafting a letter asking North Carolina to repeal its anti-LGBT law, 100+ companies could convert their bathrooms to be gender-neutral (or at least provide gender neutral options), rendering the bathroom law ineffective, and offer financial and legal support to LGBT citizens in the State.

Working within the legal framework is slow and inefficient. If we can make a law ineffective right now, why wait until the law can be repealed? Certainly, it should be repealed. But standing back and letting LGBT citizens try to survive under these conditions while we deny them jobs, concerts, and even porn is hardly helpful to anyone in a meaningful way today.

Maybe instead of taking self-glorifying grandiose stands that make vulnerable minorities even more vulnerable and leave LGBT citizens to fend for themselves, we could turn our attention toward the state and do everything we can to help out LGBT people. It’s just a thought.


6 thoughts on “Instead of Boycotting North Carolina, Try Actually Helping LGBT People

  1. Oh man! This is astounding. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it this way, but yeah… You’re spot on. Damn. Thank you for writing this sunshine, and I hope you get a lot of people thinking. Have a beautiful day.

  2. Reblogged this on Through Ivy's Eyes and commented:
    Like many people, I’ve been pretty happy about the various boycotts over the North Carolina law… Until I read this. Kelly Vee brings some much needed perspective to these actions and why, rather than helping, they’re actually hurting the queer community in North Carolina.

  3. For a company to have offices in discriminatory places, like NC, where schools, courts, and government buildings are now required to be discriminatory, is a problem. The company, should they transfer people to those offices may be asking someone to choose between their livelihood and their (or their family’s) civil rights.

    I know PayPal and others have offices in discriminatory places already, but I applaud them for not adding to that problem.

    I also hope PayPal has good bathroom policies already (available non-gendered bathrooms and not enforcing gender stereotypes on the gendered bathrooms), and, if not, absolutely they should fix it. But the law won’t be ineffective no matter what the private sector does until all trans people in K12 schools and elsewhere have the ability to use the appropriate bathroom (something currently prohibited under the law, for public entities).

    That said, I do agree that boycotts should be done carefully and you should recognize that the harm caused is not necessarily limited to the evil people who did wrong.

  4. Paypal had a right to make this decision and only hypothetical jobs were lost due to the timing. They are huge and it will trigger more and overall it sends a message that states that pass regressive laws will lose out. Someone who doesn’t give a dang how the rights of people are impacted by this bill will still see the people who passed this as failing to act in the best interests of their citizens.

    Consider this. If paypal had begun construction could it look like they condone the law? It would to me and I am one of those pain in the posterior who is poor enough to resent that my money is my power bu who grew out of fighting it.

    Yes as s multinational paypal does do business in countries that are worse but within the US not all states are created equal. I don’t identify with sexuality or gender but am sometimes seen as a lesbian and sometimes people miss I am a woman. Say I was in the group of people who would move to a new location. But now I am leaving a west coast centre for a place where my life could be horrible? You spend 40 hours at work. As these kind of bills are not the product of the minds of those who make them alone. Politicians pass populist bills when they can,

    Training people is a pain so companies aim for retention so as a person who could easily be chased for using the “wrong restroom”, is what you are asking of Paypal fair? There is always some core team that has to relocate so to say they should have asked or gone ahead ignores their reasonable duty of care to the people who already work for them. Who will be anxious., may be harmed and so on.

    Paypal has clout.

    Every person does to through the medium people get. It is money. I go out of my way to do business with stores and organizations ho are doing good things as you drive corporate good citizenship that way. Last week it meant going to a deli that had made 30 baskets for our first Syrian families arriving in our town. I like it more when I can support good than withdraw my business from a place but however unfair it is that money and power are linked it makes it that much more important whether you are a big business or a private citizen to support things you want to see happening.

    Expecting a core team to go to a state down the road to get that office going, knowing it is a grim place to be unique is that fair?

    Oh the business Paypal would lose if it was seen as a silent endorsement.

    A fairly significant portion of what paypal does depends on nerds. Demand for nerds continues to climb while quantities are unchanged so not only would they lose customers but they would lose hard to replace employees.

    This is a message that will cause more messages and should overall advance rights. In the short term it could make things harder but human rights are a constantly fought battle.

    I hope the pressure climbs fast so that life is not made hard for all of a State over this butt working within the slower more tedious arena of law isn’t a solution. The people with power there passed this. Rights are sliding the wrong way so hopefully more companies follow, the law gets repealed and life with dignity restored happens.

  5. One difficulty here is we don’t really like to get involved in politics. Make no mistake, this is really politics, the kind that isn’t bullshit. It’s a big show and reflects big gains for our community to garner this show of support from such prominent friends. If you look at it, we once again have our best friends in the Gay community to thank. The recent victories in advancing the recognition of equality benefit all of us by educating and strengthening society as a whole. They also send our haters up a pole! And the haters (kind of a cute name for what amounts to racist, sexist, y-ist Bigots) hate us for those victories and are using every opportunity to get back at us for limiting their hate. These bigots making these laws get votes for compounding and expounding fear.

    Of course, we need to teach, to greet, to be us. But we mustn’t mistake those who hate us for simply being misled. We can teach the misled, but the power people aren’t misled. They have made a decision to use fear of Us the Unknown as a tool to grow their power.

    Corporations, States, and Rock Stars like Bruce speak to the power in a very forceful way. On the other hand, Laura Jane Grace and Against Me! playing in NC is a powerful statement by ones who are most qualified to go in and be real and gather the community right there in NC. There’s a lot of us living in NC and we should all go there and build that community. And let our strongest friends get our backs!

    Jeanie Wallenstein
    Chicago, in the Trans friendly State of Illinois

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