Surrounded by around a thousand trans, gay, lesbian, non-gender-conforming and other supporters of human rights and decency, Olive Fadole took a turn at the mic that was plugged into a small guitar practice amp, and said what was surely on the minds of those who attended the Chapel Hill rally on Tuesday evening.
"I am beyond disgusted. I will not stand for this fucking hate law. Fuck you, Pat McCrory."
In a gathering that blocked portions of Franklin and North Columbia streets for a few hours, protesters against the new HB2 law gathered around 6 p.m. at the Peace and Justice Plaza in front of the post office. From there, they marched to that Columbia intersection, and that's they formed a circle, blocking traffic both ways. Some leaned on a CHPD car that was parked across the intersection for their protection.
Within that "power circle," Fadole and others — trans people, gays, lesbians and people of color were given priority in that space — had the opportunity to speak their minds about the HB2 legislation that deliberately put discrimination into state law.
Serena Sebring, a self-described "black lesbian," told the crowd that the governor, as well as Republican legislators and a handful of Democrats who voted for HB2, should prepare for presumably unwelcome visitors by the hundreds, when the General Assembly reconvenes in Raleigh on April 25.
Sebring, a member of the organization Southerners on New Ground
, invited "everyone on the street to stay in these streets." She called HB2 "a "direct attack on our people. They want us back into the shadows, back into the closet, and we're not going!"
Another speaker, Delores Chandler, told The INDY recently
about degrading treatment they endured from TSA agents at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Chandler is a transgender person; others spoke to The INDY
for that story
about similar experiences at the airport.
Chandler works for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
"I teach your children," said Chandler. "I'm transgender, nonconforming, queer as fuck. I am a sex educator. I teach your children. I teach them about consent. I teach them about sexual harassment, and how it is not like flirting, I teach that if you have the style, that you can wear whatever the fuck you want; how you can go wherever the fuck you want. And that you can pee wherever you want."
Chandler promised the kids she recognized in the crowd that "I will keep fighting for you."
As it became dark outside, a group of six protesters sat in the middle of the intersection and locked arms — refusing to leave until, as protest organizer June Beshea told The INDY
, "we get what we want." That is, the repeal of HB2.
In other words, they were ready to be arrested. Supporters who stuck around, moved in to form a protective close circle around them, and danced while chanting "I believe that we will win!" seemed ready for anything, too.
But the street was eventually cleared without incident. Maybe protesters are saving the more serious decisions for April 25, when lawmakers could find their proceedings drowned out by hundreds chanting: "Who shuts shit down? WE SHUT SHIT DOWN!"
Because, really, some of that NCGA shit needs to be shut down.