Legislating Bowel Movements: North Carolina and LGBT Discrimination

Legislating Bowel Movements: North Carolina and LGBT Discrimination March 28, 2016

This guest post was written by Kenneth Vandergriff.


I wasn’t alive during the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s. I wasn’t alive during the Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s and 1970s. But I was alive to see the Berlin Wall fall, the Soviet Union crumble, and the rights of my LGBT friends become a reality.

I cried tears the day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage because my LGBT friends who had lived so long as simply life partners could now enjoy the same benefits in the eyes of the law that my wife and I do.

I also cried tears last Wednesday because the legislature of my state, North Carolina, passed a bill which legalizes discrimination against my LGBT friends, as if they did not already experience discrimination — the only difference is that now that discrimination is legal.

The new law overturns Charlotte’s local LGBT non-discrimination ordinance, prohibits other local governments from passing LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, and requires students in public schools and publicly funded universities and colleges to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

What the hell are the elected officials of North Carolina thinking? What’s worse is that they called a special session to ramrod this hateful, discriminatory piece of legislation through.

It doesn’t take faith in a higher power to understand that all people are created equal. No one person is inferior to another, though society often tries to tell us they are. I, however, do have faith in God. I read the Bible. I’ll graduate from divinity school in a few short weeks with a Master of Divinity degree.

When I read the Bible, I read that in the beginning God created all things. Once God had finished creating all the heavens and earth, the sky and water, the birds and the animals, humanity was created. It says God created humankind in his image. Not only that, but he created male and female. Then he stepped back, rested, and declared all of creation very good.

If I am created in the image of God, then how can I be something opposed to God? Moreover, if my LGBT friends are created in the image of God, how can they be something opposed to God?

When I read texts like Genesis 19, I don’t see a story condemning homosexuality, I see a story of inhospitality and a story of a group of men trying to rape angels.

There are so many more important things going on in the world that we could be focused on: the Syrian refugee crisis, poverty, genocide, terror attacks, clean drinking water, enough food for people to eat, homelessness…

Yet, here we are worried about bathrooms.

Yes, bathrooms prompted this illogical and poorly thought out response from the North Carolina legislature. I know that many people disagree with the original Charlotte LGBT non-discrimination ordinance — which allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their self-identified gender — but this is not the response we need. We are not this. We can do better.


About Kenneth Vandergriff
Kenneth Vandergriff is a father, minister, and graduate student at Campbell University Divinity School. He graduates in May 2016 and plans to pursue a PhD at Florida State University beginning in the Fall.

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