As a gay and disabled male here in Asheville, I have had to worry about discrimination, rejection and not being welcomed for my entire life. Now, even in 2021, I continue to harbor these anxieties, partly because in the state of North Carolina, LGBTQ people like me lack concrete and explicit protections from discrimination. Without comprehensive nondiscrimination protections, LGBTQ people are unable to attain the same well-being and dignity of our neighbors.
The LGBTQ community has been historically unfairly treated, and mistreatment happens even today. When humanity lacks understanding of people who are different, fear remains the greatest barrier for people coexisting harmoniously. We can dismantle fear by granting the LGBTQ community our constitutional rights.
The Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners have a unique opportunity to be leaders on the issue of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Six other communities across North Carolina have enacted local nondiscrimination ordinances, and watching these ordinances pass has given me great joy — to finally see LGBTQ people lifted up and affirmed, rather than diminished and targeted for exclusion. I hope that elected leaders in Asheville and Buncombe County will soon step up and take action to ensure that LGBTQ folks like me feel safe, welcome and affirmed.
Nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community will move us closer to a more civilized society — one where our oppressors can become our friends; where beauty is seen in unification from all the unique faces in humanity.
— John Kampmann