Dear Governor McCrory...

Dear Governor McCrory:

I know you're suffering. And I have some information that I hope will help you and your family out of your current troubles.

As an advocate for personal truth, and in particular an advocate for the rights of LGBTQ citizens, I have read with interest a number of articles about you. In them, you describe the difficulties you and your wife have had to face as a result of North Carolina's HB2, the law you signed that requires people to use public facilities according to the gender on their birth certificates and limits the civil rights of LGBTQ people in general.

In these articles, you express a good deal of distress. Two of your comments in particular, from the October 11 Charlotte Observer, caught my eye:

  1. You said the reaction has become personal.
  2. You said, “I’ve had at least five [good friends] this week tell me… ‘Pat, I love ya. I love ya man, we’ll be friends for life. We just can’t support you.’”

I can’t help wondering whether it has struck you that your complaints are exactly what we hear from LBGTQ individuals when they try to live life according to their deep, innermost understanding of themselves, and then must come to a full stop because people like you are standing in their way.

Let’s examine these statements one at a time.

This has gotten personal.

Indeed. It’s very personal. For LGBTQ people, it’s as personal as knowing in your heart of hearts that there’s something about you that confuses other people to the point that they persecute you. Personally.

In the case of a gay man, for example, when he says he knows he’s gay, he’s not making it up. The National Academy of Science backs him on this; he is physiologically incapable of having a natural, biological, sexual attraction to a woman. He can act without this natural urge, just as you could have sex with a man. But in both cases, it would be completely unnatural.

Just as you wouldn’t believe someone who tells you that you’re really female, a transwoman doesn’t believe you when you tell her she’s a man. Why would she say that to you, you ask? You might as well ask why you would say that to her.

She knows who she is better than anyone else—even you. In fact, whatever her body looks like to you, her brain structure more closely resembles that of a woman than a man.

You seem surprised that the push-back to your support of HB2 has become “personal.” How do you think it feels for people who are told they must use the facilities that make you comfortable and not the ones their very nature tells them to use? Things can't get much more personal than having someone else control your bathroom use.

In the October 12 article from LGBTQ Nation, you said, “I don’t agree with the concept of redefining gender.” Trans individuals are not redefining gender. They’re coming to grips with their own gender. They’re summoning a kind of courage you and I could not even conceive of needing, and they’re presenting themselves to the world as they know they truly are.

Oh, yes, this is personal. Very personal. It was personal for them long before it was personal for you.

We love you; we just can’t support you.

For what must feel like an eternity, LGBTQ people have been told, “I love you. I just hate your orientation.” In religious terms: "Love the sinner; hate the sin." You might have said something like this yourself, because you have said, “I want to hug [people who are transgender] and say I love ’em.”

Perhaps you love them, but you won’t believe them when they tell you the deepest truth about themselves. You love them, but rather than support them, you sign laws into effect that beat them back through that dangerous, dark, terrifying tunnel they fought their way through in the process of being honest with you about themselves.

You love them, but you want them to suffer.

Maybe now you know how they feel.

I have no doubt that you’re a very bright man. And now that you understand more than you did before about sexual orientation and gender identity, maybe you’re also ready to see that a man who wants to attack women is not going to go to all the trouble to dress and act female; he’ll just attack women wherever it’s convenient for him. So if he goes into a women’s bathroom, he hasn’t made himself appear feminine, and there will be no mistaking him for a woman.

In that October 12 LGBTQ Nation article, you said, “I’m the farthest thing from a bigot.” But what is a bigot?

Bigotry is the reserving of a special right or privilege for a particular group of people, at the whim of that group, to the exclusion of anyone not in that group. In signing HB2 into law, you reserved the use of public facilities for people who don’t make you uncomfortable, for people you understand, for people like you. You excluded everyone else, along gender lines that you think you understand. If you’ve read this far, then you should know that you have not understood gender lines at all.

You claim to be a good governor, and evidently a lot people agree with you. This tells me you are probably a good man. But you are a good man who has done a bad thing. And now you’re surprised at how personal it’s become. You’re surprised when people who love you say they can’t support you.

I’m sorry that you and your wife have received death threats, and yet that’s just one more thing you have in common with the people you have ruled against.

If you’re a good man, please. Prove it.

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