Hickory, NC — Mitchell Gold today released a statement opposing North Carolina's Governor, Conservative NC Legislators, and NC clergy and churches that offer despair and exclusion to NC LGBTQ youth. HB2 must be denied and North Carolina youth must be embraced:
I'm writing today as Co-Founder and CEO of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings, and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Faith in America to express my support for an FULL repeal of HB2 immediately. As leaders in our state it would immediately signal that NC is open for business to everyone, and more importantly send a lifesaving message to the vulnerable LGBT teens in North Carolina that you care about their lives.
Today in North Carolina, you can still be fired, denied housing, or refused service simply for being gay or transgender. It's bad for the economic sustainability of North Carolina. We have close to 1 million SF of manufacturing and warehouse facilities and over 600 employees in western North Carolina and where we proudly make all our upholstered products. We can't afford to have barriers in place when it comes to attracting and retaining the top talent and business we need to succeed. Especially for senior level talent, competitors in other states already have these protections in place, giving them a distinct advantage in recruitment and attraction. Recent decisions by the NFL, NCAA, and NBA to move or not award big events to places lacking equal protections has made this issue even more salient when it comes to North Carolina's reputation and economic sustainability.
The principles of non-discrimination are rooted in core conservative values of fairness, equality, and opportunity. Everybody should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.
I want to state clearly that the issue of risk associated with transgender people using the restroom of their choice is an irresponsible and reckless witch-hunt. If you are concerned about safety for a problem that has not existed ( and believe me, transgender people have been using the restroom of their choice for years ), than implement stronger harassment or peeping Tom laws. But don't underestimate the immense harm you are causing to vulnerable transgender people. Put yourself in their shoes!
Finally, those who would like to be able to discriminate do so with a foundation in religious beliefs that LGBT people are sinners and consequently immoral and not deserving of full equality. These kinds of outdated religious teachings are extremely harmful to the over 1.5 million LGBT teenagers in America. LGBT teens are 4-6 times more likely to suffer immense mental anguish, attempt or commit suicide, or abuse drugs and alcohol than their straight peers. In conservative or anti-LGBT religious homes and churches, these number jump to 8 times. You can bet that is the statistic in North Carolina. Equal rights legislation says to these precious individuals that the state recognizes their worth. I know from personal experience such leadership saves lives.
As you might be faced with opposition to full repeal, please look carefully into who and why they are opposed to treating LGBT people with dignity. We know from history that using religious teachings to cause harm or marginalize others was mistaken. Please don't allow yourself to fall prey to their pressure.
Thank you for your commitment to a North Carolina that respects, protects, and celebrates all who live, work, and play in this great state.