On Nov. 15, the Mitchell County Gay Straight Alliance held its first meeting at the Bakersville Library. On the street outside, dozens of people came to demonstrate. Some people said they were concerned we are promoting homosexual clubs in the schools. One person asked if gay people are trying to force their lifestyle on others. Some said they were there in support of traditional marriage. One man said he did not know why we were meeting. We would like to address these concerns and explain why we decided to form the GSA.
It is up to students to decide if they want a GSA in their school. Since our meeting we have heard from people who were born and raised here, some gay and some straight. They talk about how difficult it is for young gay people to grow up and go to school here. They express excitement about the possibility of a more supportive environment for young gay people in Mitchell County. We did not organize for the purpose of forming GSAs in the schools.
Gay people have lifestyles as varied as heterosexual people. They are in loving relationships and have families. They work, volunteer and pay taxes in their local communities. Gay people want the same things that most people do. They do not want to force their lifestyle on other people any more than heterosexual people do.
The proposed amendment to the North Carolina Constitution would affect the ability of local governments and private businesses to recognize domestic partnerships for gay and straight employees. It would lessen the power of domestic-violence laws. The effects of this amendment are too many to list here, and many won't be known until they are tested in the courts. Same sex-marriage is already illegal in North Carolina. We believe it is wrong to write this discrimination into our Constitution
We formed the Mitchell County Gay Straight Alliance so that gay and straight people who believe in equality could work together toward ensuring equal rights and justice for gay people in Mitchell County. We understand that some people may disagree with our views. We respect the rights of those who came to express their views the night of our meeting, and we appreciate that they did so in a civil manner. We hope that by being more visible in our community we may make Mitchell County more welcoming to gay people and their friends and family members who care for them.
— Allison Bovée and Amy Waller
Co-founders, Mitchell County Gay Straight Alliance