I was supposed to be in North Carolina this week for Highpoint Market (where my furniture line was debuting). But, in light of the recent HB2 legislation that has passed there, I chose not to attend. The Hb2 law requires transgender people to use bathrooms based on their biological sex (not their gender identity) and limits the rights of LGBTQ citizens to sue if they are discriminated against in the workplace (meaning also that someone could be fired in North Carolina for being gay or transgender).
While I haven’t ever faced discrimination based on my gender identity, my racial identity doesn’t fit neatly into boxes provided to me by institutions. I have been checking multiple boxes for years since I’ve never felt like one box told the whole truth about who I am. And whatever small struggles I’ve dealt with because of my multiraciality, I have no doubt that my struggles pale in comparison to folks in the LGBTQ community that are forced to try and conform to old-school social mores and notions about gender.
I’m writing about this today because I believe that this needs to be a mainstream conversation. And while I’m still learning about all of these issues, I believe in my heart that everyone has the right to feel safe to be who they truly are. I believe that race and gender identity are not binary, and that diversity is beauty. We are all different. We are all beautiful. We should be respecting, celebrating, protecting and honoring our differences.
I just signed the Transform California pledge to “oppose any efforts to single out transgender or gender non-conforming Californians for discrimination or disrespect. And to learn and share more about the lives of transgender people in California and the issues they face.” I hope you will join me.