Photo Credit: Ted Eytan via The Hofstra Chronicle We will meet at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Jackson Pl., near the Rochambeau statue.

Katie Jenifer is a board member of Genderbands, board director of Conversion Therapy Dropout Network, licensed N.C. attorney and mother of two queer children. Just after Mother’s Day, Jenifer published an “open letter” on the Advocate website that spoke out in favor of the Equality Act. 

This plea mentioned the individual nondiscrimination protections that are being enacted across North Carolina; including Jenifer’s own hometown of Carrboro. Jenifer emphasized that, although the town was doing its part, nondiscrimination ordinances have not taken root everywhere. 

“Just a quick drive a few miles down the road and that protection ends for my children in neighboring towns.” Jenifer wrote. “My kids and all LGBTQ+ folks are vulnerable to being denied service, evicted (from their homes) and mistreated at health care facilities solely because of who they are or who they love.”

In the letter Jennifer talked about her personal experiences with the Christian faith and how that impacted coming to terms with the gender identities and sexual orientations of her children. While there were supportive members of the church, she explained, there was also a lot of backlash.

“There were some equally disapproving responses from anonymous notes quoting scripture to us, to a couple spending hours trying to convince my husband and I to send Maddie to conversion therapy, to people leaving the church because they didn’t want us influencing their children anymore.” Jenifer recalled.

Now having dedicated her life to helping transgender individuals pay for transition-related costs through Genderbands and providing support to those who were harmed by conversion therapy through Conversion Therapy Dropout Network, Jenifer has found herself in what was previously an unlikely position of LGBTQ advocate. 

In her “open letter,” Jenifer outlines the need for the Equality Act in North Carolina. “LGBTQ+ people aren’t asking for special rights. We’re just asking to be treated with human dignity like anyone else. For my children, for your children, for all of us, and as a lasting legacy of your many years of public service to the people of North Carolina, please support the Equality Act.” 

Sen. Richard Burr has not yet commented on any support for the Equality Act but does have a history of disagreeing with anti-LGBTQ legislation. 

However, in an interview with the Huffington Post regarding HB2, Burr said, “The legislature botched what they were trying to do. It [HB2] was far too expansive.” To read the entire Advocate letter, go to bit.ly/3hxbSsK.

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