Because of the anti-LGBT legislation that was recently passed in North Carolina (HB2), I was uncertain as to whether I would attend. After much soul searching and many discussions with the IBMA, other concerned artists, and Equality North Carolina (the main LGBT rights group in NC), I have decided that I will be there, and engage with other artists and organizations who are working to fight this harmful and discriminatory legislation.
IBMA's official position on HB2 states that "diversity and inclusiveness have long been a part of our core values, and are encouraged in the expression of bluegrass by the IBMA". That's encouraging.
Equality North Carolina are supportive of concerned artists attending and offered a variety of actions we as visitors to the state can take:
- Contact the NCGA leaders and the governor to let them know how disappointed you, as a visitor to the state, are in the passage of #HB2:
Rep. Tim Moore - (919) 733-3451, @SenatorBerger | Speaker of the House of Representatives
Sen. Phil Berger - (919) 733-5708, @SenatorBerger | Senate President Pro Tem
Gov. Pat McCrory - (919) 814-2000, @PatMcCroryNC
Leave them a message and also tweet at them to express your unhappiness with HB2 as someone from outside the state. You are welcome to contact them regularly. (Even a daily call makes a difference, and if you want to look up their addresses and send them hard-copy letters, that will always get their attention.)
- Visitors can look for stickers or signs at local businesses that indicate they are pro-actively showing their inclusivity and support for all people, including LGBTQ ones. (You can also directly ask, though that's a tiring and cumbersome thing to do, especially when you're visiting.) We have a local initiative, our Equality Means Business program, where businesses affirm their support for all people and display a sticker (red outline of NC with a circle around part of it).
- Equality NC always welcome donations to help their work: https://equalitync.org/action/donate/