After the Charlotte City Council voted to expand the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to include protections for LGBT individuals, including permitting transgender individuals to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, the Campaign for Southern Equality and Equality NC are calling on Asheville to follow suit.
“We call on Asheville City Council to pass an ordinance ensuring that LGBT people are protected from discrimination in public accommodations, following the lead of Charlotte. This is a natural next step for Asheville, which has long been a champion of equality and has worked proactively to ensure that our LGBT community is treated with dignity and respect,” said Ivy Hill, LGBT Rights Toolkit Coordinator of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
While Asheville has put certain protections into place, including non-discrimination employment policies, which the Charlotte ordinance did not do, it does not go as far as Charlotte now goes in protecting its LGBT citizens.
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer issued a statement on Thursday, Feb. 26, highlighting the LGBT protections currently in place in the city and noticeably dodging the transgender bathroom and locker room protections question at issue. The release states:
The City of Asheville values diversity and equality. At the last Council meeting, Asheville City Council adopted a vision that reinforces these core values. Asheville City Council has taken bold steps to pass non-discrimination employment policies and extended benefits to domestic partners. Asheville is an open and welcoming community, which provides a safe environment for our diverse citizenry.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina General Assembly appears ready to take steps to override the transgender bathroom and locker room protections in the expanded Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, which would also affect Asheville were they to pass similar legislation.
Those wishing to contact Mayor Manheimer and the members of Asheville City Council over the issue can find that information here.