North Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Law Will Cost the State more than $395 Million and Even Affects Genealogy Conferences

Normally, this would not be a genealogy-related story and I would ignore it. However, it became a genealogy story because the National Genealogical Society is planning to hold its annual conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 10 to 13, 2017. Information about that conference is available on the NGS web site at: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org.

Many companies and non-profits are canceling planned conferences, sporting events, and even business expansions in North Carolina because of the chilling effect of the state’s recently-passed HB2 or the “bathroom bill.” The bill discriminates against LGBTQ citizens and visitors to the state. (LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (and/or questioning) individuals/identities.)

According to this legislation, when you’re in a public building, be it a government agency, a public school, or any other public facility, the gender listed on your birth certificate is the only one that matters. Even those who have had a sex change operation must use the bathroom assigned to members of the sex shown on their birth certificates, not their actual sex today.

There is a lot of controversy over the bill. Companies and non-profits and individuals who believe in the rights of LGBTQ citizens are refusing to hold meetings or sporting events or to expand their businesses into the state. The result is getting the attention of North Carolina politicians and taxpayers: an article by Emma Grey Ellis in Wired lists the financial impact as compiled by North Carolina’s Republican leadership, the Center for American Progress, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other agencies. Ellis estimates the total cost to North Carolinians so far from HB2 protests is slightly more than $395 million.

You can read the article at https://goo.gl/AEuFL4.

As of this writing, the National Genealogical Society still plans to hold its conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, next May 10 to 13. The Society has issued a statement about holding the conference in North Carolina. The statement is available at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/pressroom/ngs_concern.

The statement says, “At this time, NGS has no plans to move or cancel the 2017 conference. We hope our members and friends will understand that planning a conference is a multi-year undertaking, involving many contractual commitments to other entities and individuals; we need to honor these commitments.”

It also ends with, “The Board respects the individual right of every NGS member to act as he or she deems proper with regard to the North Carolina law or to attending or speaking at the 2017 conference.”

A number of people in the genealogy community are planning to boycott the 2017 conference and are encouraging others to do the same because of North Carolina’s legalized discrimination. The most thoughtful and well-reasoned argument against attending that I have read is They Shoot Gays, Don’t They? On Genealogy and Diversity by Thomas MacEntee at http://www.geneabloggers.com/shoot-gays-dont-genealogy-diversity/.

I especially applaud Thomas’ statement, “I don’t hold it against anyone who does decide to participate in the NGS 2017 conference. I do, however, want everyone to be aware of the issues that are involved.”

If you are concerned with discrimination, or if you are wondering whether or not you should attend this conference, you might want to read Thomas MacEntee’s article at http://www.geneabloggers.com/shoot-gays-dont-genealogy-diversity.

As for myself, I have long supported the National Genealogical Society and especially the Society’s national conferences. I attended my first NGS conference in 1988 and have attended every one since then except in 1995 when I had a family conflict. I have enjoyed immensely the 28 NGS national conferences I have attended.

However, I am withholding my decision about attending the 2017 national conference in North Carolina until the last possible moment. While I am not a member of the LGBTQ community, I do support the concept of full and free legal rights for all Americans. In my opinion, there is no room for discrimination in the United States in the 21st century.

If the U.S. legal system has not struck down North Carolina’s HB2 legislation by May 9, 2017, I will not be at the 2017 NGS Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I will not be spending my tourist dollars in a state that practices legal discrimination.

I do feel sorry for the folks at the National Genealogical Society who made a significant financial commitment to holding the 2017 conference in North Carolina long before the HB2 bill was signed into law. If the society cancels the conference now, the society stands to lose many thousands of dollars in the various contractual commitments made prior to the law’s enactment. Deciding whether to cancel or to go forward with the conference must have been a difficult decision.

As to your decision of whether or not to attend, I can only echo the statement of the National Genealogical Society, “The Board respects the individual right of every NGS member to act as he or she deems proper with regard to the North Carolina law or to attending or speaking at the 2017 conference,” and the statement of Thomas MacEntee: “I don’t hold it against anyone who does decide to participate in the NGS 2017 conference. I do, however, want everyone to be aware of the issues that are involved.”

I will probably lose a few readers of this newsletter because of this article. I feel sad about that. However, I also feel that sometimes you have to speak up for what you believe is moral and just. This is one of those times.

101 Comments

Your comments are vitally important and correct. To quote you “there is no room for discrimination in the United States in the 21st century.” I would hope that anyone who is against any type of discrimination would stay away from the conference. Attending sends a message that one agrees with North Carolina’s antiquated views. Your position is worth more than a few subscriptions.

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Thanks Dick. Agree with you totally. Also, if you think this doesn’t impact you, please read the entire bill and note that HB 2 also eliminates any state law claim for wrongful termination of an employee on the basis of a person’s sex, the color of a person’s skin, national origin or ethnicity.

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Thanks for bringing this issue forward, it is important and people need to be informed. I think that, overall, the genealogy community appreciate and value being informed.

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NGS could have cancelled their 2017 conference plans when HB2 was passed, as other large groups and associations did, but chose not to. I have been a member of NGS since the mid-1980s and will not be renewing my membership this winter because of this very issue.

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I applaud your principled, reasoned, and open position on this matter.

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As a mother of a gay child I am so very ashamed of my adopted state, NC, and am now glad she lives in another state, although it’s many miles away. I appreciate your stand for the rights of all Americans. Anyone who objects to your stand of course has their American Right to withdraw their subscription.

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Well done Dick! – An interesting footnote often overlooked in history is that arguably the one constitution in the world that outlines the most freedoms for their citizens is not the U.S. – It is in fact South Africa – Of course they have a long way to go in their struggles but having an awesome constitution can’t hurt!

*excerpt – my two favorite chapters
9. Equality
Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.

The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

*1No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.

Discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (3) is unfair unless it is established that the discrimination is fair.

16. Freedom of expression
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes ­
a. freedom of the press and other media;

b. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;

c. freedom of artistic creativity; and

d. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

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This should have been preceded with a warning that it is full of opinions. My opinion is that men should not be sharing bathrooms with 6-year-old little girls.

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    I so agree with you! How can this be right on any level?

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    You have shared rest rooms with transgendered people already. You just didn’t know it. Now you will. You were not afraid then. Now you will be.

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    I would not want transgender males (born female) in the women’s restroom. Do an internet search on transgender bodybuilders to see examples. These individuals now appear to be very male.

    To me, this bill is indicative of some deeper, and perhaps related, problems in our society, I.e. Anti-intellectualism and clinging tightly to beliefs despite evidence to the contrary.

    We made plans to go to NC to before this law was passed. We will probably go to the conference despite our opposition to this law. Boycotting the conference also harms innocent citizens of NC, exhibitors at the conference etc. But NGS and FGS should not hold future conferences in states where discrimination towards LBGTQ persons is legal.

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    Six year old little girls should not be going to a public restroom without an adult, either!

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    Why is it discrimination if I choose not to share a bathroom with a someone that is male regardless of what he chooses to call himself. Thank you for your stand.

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    If a man is sharing a restroom with a 6-year-old, they’d be in elementary school. Highly doubtful unless they’re a teacher. And if they were, I’m sure North Carolina wouldn’t allow them to teach.

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    It is fairly common knowledge that anyone with criminal intent does not have much regard for any law. Passing this law does not remove that threat; it just discriminates most everyone in the state!

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    I’m not sure how this discriminates against “everyone.” And if a criminal is going to commit a crime, this law isn’t going to prevent it. Frankly, a straight man is much more likely to do something like this than a transgender person.
    There are 22,200 transgender adults in NC. The chances of such a crime happening are minimal. The fact is, people believe transgenders will put themselves onto women or children because of the irrational fears based on homophobia and transphobia. It has been proven that discrimination sends the message that violence against LGBT people is understandable and acceptable.
    Discrimination is discrimination. Whether it’s against transgenders, whites, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, men, women, gays, etc.

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    You are absolutely correct about the sharing of bathrooms and I’m sorry Dick took a stand on the issue with which I cannot at agree. Leave the morals to the people and stick with genealogy please.

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    This isn’t about morals. Any of us whose ancestors fled their homeland because of discrimination should be, in my opinion, against any kind of discrimination against another human being. Jew, Muslim, woman, man, black, white, Hispanic, disabled (it’s been fairly recently that disabled folks had access to bathrooms), gays, etc. We all get to decide who we want to discriminate against. That’s America. I just think any kind of discrimination is wrong. And a genealogical society that decides to enter a state with ANY kind of discrimination is going against a main reason many of us are here, thanks to our ancestors’ courage and sacrifice.

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We have managed to make the word discrimination almost meaningless if we include in that definition preventing men from using the women’s room (and women from using the men’s room). What right does someone have to go into a public bathroom intended for the opposite sex? This is absolute lunacy. I wont unsubscribe from your newsletter, Dick. I’m a strong believer in the First Amendment (both first and second clauses). I am disappointed in your rather swallow analysis of this matter, which I believe will eventually lead to additional sexual assaults and will not stand the test of time. I would see as a reasonable compromise a proposal that would instruct local and state governments to build third “family restrooms” that could be used by those who identified with a gender other than the one in their DNA. However, the extremists in the transgender lobby will not hear of compromise. They are, for the most part, a bunch of shrill folks with what appear to be fascist tendencies. They will not sit down and talk rationally about this issue. They want to intimidate. And, in the short run, they’ve been very effective in muting the voices of many good folk who disagree with them. It’s a crying shame.

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    Sorry for the typo in the above I meant “shallow” not “swallow.”

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    The main question I have had since this first hit the news is “Will everyone be required to carry their birth certificate with them to prove their sex?” If a man is dressed as a woman, will it not cause an uproar for him to go into the men’s room and vice versa! It makes absolutely no sense to me. Who is peeking through the cracks in the stalls, anyway? That worries me much more than sharing a restroom with a transgender.

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    I am in total agreement with you! I am a 60+ year old female (born that way) and I do not want to share a restroom with men. This IS NOT discrimination, just common sense and a desire for personal privacy. Why would I want to use a male restroom? Also, I’m supposed to be OK with taking my young granddaughters into these places? There are already reports of assaults on females in all-sex restrooms. I will not patronize businesses that offer only all-sex restrooms. Thank God for online shopping!

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    Very well stated and logically irrefutable.

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Bravo. It saddens me that just at the point of retirement when I actually have time to enjoy such conferences, my choices are slightly limited now by moral conviction. I cannot abide discrimination of any stripe and had I been a member at the time NC was under consideration, I would have declared my opposition then…years ago even. I guess that is a form of discrimination too. Although the people most likely directly effected by this boycott, are those in the hospitality services and generally a more open sort, they did not foresee the backlash coming. If they had, they could have been more forthcoming in opposition. They were not a strong enough nor effective lobby to stop the election of the those politicians responsible, nor vocal enough during the controversy. This is their nest. NCers have an election coming and it might be time for them to vote for humanity. In the end I may not have to fight for my or your human rights that may be brought into question by NC politicians sent to Washington, like Burr. Like Dick I am not part of LBTGQ etc community, and I appreciate Dick’s moral stand in at least bringing this to our attention. I have money I can spend elsewhere.

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Bravo. It saddens me that just at the point of retirement when I actually have time to enjoy such conferences, my choices are slightly limited now by moral conviction. I cannot abide discrimination of any stripe and had I been a member at the time NC was under consideration, I would have declared my opposition then…years ago even. I guess that is a form of discrimination too. Although the people most likely directly effected by this boycott, are those in the hospitality services and generally a more open sort, they did not foresee the backlash coming. If they had, they could have been more forthcoming in opposition. They were not a strong enough nor effective lobby to stop the election of the those politicians responsible, nor vocal enough during the controversy. This is their nest. NCers have an election coming and it might be time for them to vote for humanity. In the end I may not have to fight for my or your human rights that may be brought into question by NC politicians sent to Washington, like Burr. Like Dick I am not part of LBTGQ etc community, and I appreciate Dick’s moral stand in at least bringing this to our attention. I have money I can spend elsewhere.

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Bravo to any genealogist who boycotts the 2017 national conference of the National Genealogical Society scheduled for Raleigh, North Carolina! Genealogists, more than anyone, should stand firm in defense of the unequivocal knowledge that the human genome is not man-made. It is God given. False ideologies which legalize bigotry and advance pathways to human hatred have no place in a democratic society which professes that all men are created equal. As a genealogist, historian, author, lecturer, and publisher, I have sidestepped commercial opportunities in states like Arizona, with its “papers, please” laws, and Indiana where theocratic ideology legalizes bigotry. I do not consider this a loss of business or income. Instead. I am confident that my pro-active avoidance is an investment in my human rights and that of all fellow humankind.

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Thanks for this information. When my subscription to this newsletter expires next month, it will lapse. I can “vote” with my money too. I’m sick and tired of having someone else’s agenda forced down my throat.

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    Why punish Dick Eastman by canceling your subscription, for what he has announced on what is happening in NC.-Truth be told! It is too bad that NGS has chosen to honor their contract (due to money already invested) in such a messed up situation. Also, those who attend the conference are doing so to learn and support the NGS, and enjoy the fellowship of other genealogists. They can ignore the “odd ones”. Thanks Dick.

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    This is about a group we all support that is supporting a state that condones discrimination. You’re certainly free to show your feelings by withholding your subscription dollars. But that’s the same thing others are doing by not sending their money to NC. My ancestors fled Europe because of discrimination in the 1700s. We fought a Civil War and WWII because of discrimination against human beings. If we’re not fighting discrimination, we’re supporting it.

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I will not be going to a state that is hateful.

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Dick, you won’t lose this reader. As the schedule for that conference is not yet available, it is too early for me to decide on attendance, but I will definitely NOT be there if that law is still in place.

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You’re not going to lose this reader. Thank you.

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    I’m with Jenefer. I’m another reader you won’t be losing. Thank you for your considerate and well thought out comments, Dick Eastman. You are much appreciated, as are the many positive comments from your readers.

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Congratulations on taking a strong and principled stance.

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I support your decision without hesitation, Dick, and honour your commitment to show with your actions your opposition to this type of discrimination. While it is a potentially distressing outcome for the organisers of the conference, we all must take a stand for equality, and oppose injustice and discrimination at every opportunity.

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Bravo, Dick! We have to do the right thing and you echo what I would do. We should not be encouraging bias of any kind. Thanks for all you do.
Bev

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Good on you Dick. You have my full support.

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We have to do the right thing. There is no place for bias in genealogy or any other place. You said what needs to be said and I applaud you. Bravo! And thank you for all you do.
Bev
P. S. I will not be staying overnight on my way through NC if the bill is in place.

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While this is a horribly conceived and executed law, there are a few things missing from the analysis both here, and in the media at large:

1. In NC, transgender people can have the sex on their birth certificate changed once they are post-op. For thoae individuals, there is not a problem as they can comply with the law pretty easily.

2. This whole affair isn’t really about bathrooms, no matter what the media might tell you. This is a showdown between the NC State Legislature and Gov McCrory on one side, and the City Council of Charlotte on the other. Charlotte decided they were going to pass a local ordinance that impacted state-run institutions and did it without the consent or consultation of the Legislature. The State Legislature acted to prevent Charlotte from enacting de facto state laws on their own. Unfortunately, the State Legislature did this in about the worst possible way, and therefore the firestorm.

In a lot of ways, this reminds me of the “what caused the Civil War?” question. Yes, slavery. But also State vs Federal rights, economic drivers, etc. The real reasons are more complex than the NBA, NCAA or Bruce Springsteen want to examine.

The Governor offered to have HB2 repealed if Charlotte repealed their ordinance – the instigation to this whole sordid mess. Charlotte declined. The battle between a pig-headed legislature and a recalcitrant city goes on.

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    Thank you for your comment. I had not known of the reason for the passage of the bill. Here is a very interesting article in The Atlantic that explains the issue much more clearly. What jumped out at me is how conservatives, who profess to believe in local rights, elected to over-rule local rights when it came to this issue. They complain so much about the federal government ramming agendas down their throats, but when it came to a cultural war issue, they rammed the State of North Carolina’s agenda down the throat of Charlotte. How interesting. I won’t be flying to Charlotte any longer nor will I patronize any business in NC as long as this law stands.

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    You’re wrong about the late Rebellion. Without slavery there would have been no war. The economic and states’ rights issues all revolved around slavery. The South was all for a strong Federal government when the fugitive slave law was being enforced.

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Well done Dick, as a UK reader the new law does not affect me personally, but I am sad for the people of NC. You will not lose my ‘subscription’!

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Thanks for taking this stand.

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It’s too bad that so many people don’t understand the real issue. They have been using bathrooms with transgendered people for years, and never knew it. Now that HB2 is law, they’ll know. And you will lose readers over this. But frankly, do you need readers who believe in legalizing discrimination? This reader is staying, and this genealogist is not going to NC.

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Thank you for such an insightful column. Discrimination of any type is wrong. Sadly, in today’s world only money or the loss of can change thinking.

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    “Discrimination of any type is wrong”? Really? You mean when you come up to a red light you refuse to discriminate which color is which, and act according to the law which requires you to discriminate those colors? It is too broad a statement to make. You mean it much more narrow than that. So figure out what you mean to argue is wrong, and then say it if you must. I, personally am weary of all this “I am offended by this ….” all the time. Who made any of us the one to decide other people’s behavior is immoral (a form of discrimination)? We have enough trouble keeping ourselves straight. If we could do this, then who would be offended?

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    It would seem that choosing between discrimination and non-discrimination is pretty much the same as your red light-green light scenario. Is there REALLY a choice? As for your note about any of us deciding what’s right or wrong for another person. Good point. Goes to the “we shouldn’t discriminate” idea, don’t ya think?

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Good for you Dick. This law is not about bathrooms it is about discrimination. The argument about a 6 year old girl using a bathroom with a transgender person is nonsense. Everything important in a ladies room takes place behind closed doors. Hopefully North Carolina will be change the law after this election. Money talks and right now it is yelling loudly in North Carolina.

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Bravo Dick! I support your stance. Why not petition NGS? Our money speaks if we demand a refund.

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Thanks to you and all of the above respondents. I am not a member of the LGBTQ community, however, I am opposed to discrimination in any form, and I am delighted to see that most who have sent responses agree with a non-discrimination stance. While the issue may be much broader than it appears on the surface, it provides fuel for the divisive efforts that are afoot in North Carolina and other places. This nation does not need to be divided when solutions can be found if the effort is put forth.

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Thank you, Dick. For the money this is costing the state, they could greatly increase the number of family (single-user) restrooms in most large public venues, giving everyone more options of sharing or not sharing rest rooms. I have been sad to learn that discrimination and suspicion in rest rooms has also increased towards tall, strong women who are not stereotypically feminine in North Carolina. Ironically, the people I know who have had gender reassignment surgery have also received an amended birth certificate with the congruent gender which is filed with the state. Amended birth certificates are given for many different reasons, not just this one, so the test becomes somewhat meaningless. As a genealogist, one wishes that a birth certificate documented events as they were understood by participants at the time, but human rights in the face of discrimination is even more important to me. Future genealogists will have many new questions to ask when examining documents.

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Thanks, Dick, for posting your sentiments. I will not attend.
Claire

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Since the can of worms has been opened, I will add my own minority opinion here as well. I live in NC and I fully support my governor, I have not always lived in NC but have chosen to make it my home. I am a female senior citizen and feel that my rights to privacy are equally as important as those of the LGBT community. It has been reported that less than .03 percent of the population identify as being LGBT. How do the rights of so few supersede the rights of the great many? Is it not also discrimination if my right to privacy is taken from me? Where has common sense gone? To allow boys and men into female bathrooms and locker rooms based on how one is identifying and choosing to live their lives makes no sense to me. I do not want my granddaughters and grandsons to be placed in a situation that would cause them any discomfort as they transition into adulthood. I believe that there is an increased danger, particularly to females, by allowing males into a place that has traditionally been very private single gender use restroom and locker rooms. I think there is a potential for a rise in all types of crime when one gender clearly can physically overpower another, why do we want to invite trouble? Do you REALLY want your 10 year old granddaughter in a restroom or locker room with a full grown man? The referenced part of the HB2 law only affects public buildings. Private businesses and private universities may make their own determination on their facility usage. Any business or venue that cancels anything in NC that does not require the use of a public building is just plain spiteful. Target allows all genders into its bathrooms, I chose not to shop there….that is ONE business, not an entire state Target has since decided to install single use stalls for those of us that do not agree with their policy, and when that has been completed locally, I will resume my shopping there. There is a compromise available, but it will take time. There are state facilities that already have family restrooms that accommodate all genders. The conference will not be held at a public building and should not be affected. If you are unsure about the venue’s policies regarding their restroom use, you need only to talk to the facility management. You want to speak with your dollars? Fine, just do not visit public buildings, problem solved. The people of NC respect your right to chose not to visit our public buildings, please respect ours laws. My husband is from Massachusetts and the their new all gender use bathroom law goes into affect on 1 Oct, I am already feeling discomfort about the idea of having to use multi-gendered restrooms as we travel to family next month. Should I boycott Massachusetts because I disagree with their new law? Those that support all gender use restrooms would think that idea is ludicrous, but what about individuals like me whom the new law does not protect? Are my rights to privacy not just as important as the LGBT communities? Having single use all gender restrooms is the common sense solution to protecting everyone’s rights, and EVERYONE’S rights need to be protected.

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    Wow Shelly, you have obviously never read the Constitution. You ask: how can the rights of so few affect the rights of so many? Do you not understand that our Constitution protects everyone’should rights? Rights are not based on majority rule. If so, there would still be towns and communities that had slaves. Again, wow. You could make it to be a “senior citizen” without understanding the basic tenets of our great country.

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    I do not agree with your position on NC HB2 and although, as Doug pointed out, the percentage is irrelevant, I feel I should point out that your proposition that .03% of the population is LGBT seems off by a few decimal points. Per a 2015 Gallup poll it is more like 3.8% of the population self-identify as LBGT. I also think you and others have not thought through your safety concerns. As someone else pointed out, this legislation would require transgender males who were born female and now present with a total male appearance, complete with full beards and large biceps, to use the female restroom. How would you or your grandchild feel about encountering such a person in a female restroom?! What about encountering a transgender female with a totally female appearance in a male restroom? Would that not cause your grandchildren “discomfort as they transition into adulthood”? Speaking to your primary concern, it seems to me this legislation provides a perfect vehicle for any non-transgender a male with illegal motives to enter a female bathroom. While this would be illegal such a person is not likely to worry about that minor infraction. Are you going to challenge him? Are you going to demand to see a birth certificate to verify he was born a female? How are you going to know if such a birth certificate is valid? Is a DNA test going to be required to use the facilities?

    I do respect your very thoughtful and articulate explanation of your views and I am proud that this whole community has engaged in such a civil discussion of this issue. I also feel there might be some solutions that would make people such as you more comfortable in the short-term. I will also mention that I thought all Target stores had individual wheelchair/family restrooms – at least all stores with a pharmacy department where they are frequently found. In the long-term I think everyone will see that allowing people to use the restroom of their choice does not cause any problems and is no big deal. That is basically the way it has always been. I have traveled in Europe and used unisex restrooms with people of both sexes and found no problems.

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    Thank you Katie, you are correct, I misspoke, I should have said that .03 percent of the population identify as trans-gendered. My apology.

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    You are absolutely correct, Shelley. The issue has not one whit to do with the Constitution nor discrimination. Why should a very small segment of the population be able to foist their agenda on law abiding citizens?

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    The question is not whether some group should have MORE rights than others. Your logic follows the same that Jews shouldn’t have had rights in Germany, or blacks in America, or immigrants, or women (after all, there were more men working than woman, so shouldn’t men be paid more?), or gays, or Irish, or Catholics, or the disabled, or even veterans (after all, there are more of “us” than them).

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    You really think that preventing someone from going to a bathroom designated for the opposite sex is akin to denying blacks service in a restaurant? I believe that this is a false syllogism.

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Nancy Elizabeth Thomas September 23, 2016 at 8:25 am

Thank you for weighing in. I live in NC and we are being held hostage by the governor’s ignorance. I am hoping the election in November will vote in a new, thoughtful, caring governor and convince these companies and sports venues to give us another chance to show how real North Carolinians treat others. I hope to go to the Raleigh conference in the spring. Hope I get a chance.
Nancy Thomas

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Bravo and Thank you, Dick!

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I applaud your stand, and you will not lose this reader.
To quote you “there is no room for discrimination in the United States in the 21st century.”

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This makes me furious. We are told to check our DNA to find our ethnicity. It will also check our sex. In 100 years they will dig up the bones and check the bone structure and DNA of these LGBT people and find male or female. DNA doesn’t lie and it isn’t fluid, as much as they would like us to believe. These people are mentally ill and should be given counseling, not coddling. I could put feathers on a rock and call it a duck but it wouldn’t be a duck, no matter how much I wished it was. We should be talking about the medical and psychiatric industry that will mutilate their minds and bodies for money. The suicide rate of transexuals is three times higher than the norm after they transition. Get these people the help they need, don’t allow them to run the lives of innocent people.

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    Actually you are incorrect. There are many different sex DNA presentations besides XX & XY (XO, XXX, XXXX, XXY, XYY., XYXY, etc.) In addition there are other biological factors that affect how the mind and other parts of the body develop (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150213112317.htm). Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with this condition are genetically male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell. But because their bodies are unable to respond to certain male sex hormones (called androgens), they may have mostly female sex characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development. Some babies are born with both male and female parts and the family/doctor decided which sex the baby was and sometimes they guessed wrong because the brain was the opposite of what they chose. So it is not as simple as you might think. The more science discovers, the more they realize that being transgender is a biological manifestation, not a psychological mental illness. These births are a minority from the norm, just as Down’s Syndrome children and should not be stigmatized because they are different and have a legal right to be protected against discrimination. There have been no assaults in NC from a transgender person in the bathrooms, so it is silly to say this will protect women and children from assault. They didn’t used to allow African Americans to share bathrooms with whites because it made whites uncomfortable and afraid. This is the same specious argument being used today against transgenders. It is better for you to be uncomfortable than a transgender female to be beat up in the men’s room (and that has actually happened many times). To be honest in most cases you wouldn’t even know the person was transgender so you wouldn’t even feel uncomfortable. Now that this law is in effect, you can have the transgender male who looks male being forced into your bathroom. In addition, there are states that do not allow a change in sex on a birth certificate even with a sex change operation, so if they move to NC they will be forced into the wrong bathroom according to their body parts. So right on Dick. I applaud your decision and I live in NC.

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Thank you. We already share women’s bathrooms with men although many women don’t realize that transgendered men have been there for years. A man identifying as female is not interested in harming little girls in bathrooms. Thanks for your stance.

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My husband is blind. Sometimes when we travel we find there is no “disabled” or “family” washroom available. Large public washrooms — in, say, an airport — can be very confusing because they are always laid out differently. So sometimes I’ve taken him into a women’s washroom with me, and usually the other women in there just glance at his white cane and accept the fact that he’s there. However, apparently he would now be arrested if we did that in a North Carolina washroom. How ridiculous!

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I live in NC. The bathroom part of the bill was a smokescreen to rally the republican base. The bill also goes much farther in prohibiting any local government from passing any law that prevents any type of discrimination that the state does not prohibit. This includes discrimination against LGBT and the military. Several cities had protections against rental discrimination for members of the military near the many bases in NC. The bill also prohibits the filing of discrimination lawsuits in state courts so now discrimination lawsuits must be filed in federal courts. There were several other provisions also in the bill that have hurt local governments from doing the things that their citizens want. The statehouse was taken over by the tea party and with the support of the first Republican governor in many years, have made it a mission to return the state to what they think it was 50 years ago. They refuse to admit any errors on their part in producing the legislation even though HB2 is causing the state to lose jobs, tourism growth and future economic growth. We retired here five years ago because of the states climate and progressive tendencies. We are now actively looking to move out of the state because we don’t see much changing from what the statehouse is doing. Districts have been gerrymandered so that rural republication will continue to control the statehouse for years to come. Also note that the voting laws passed by this legislature have been turned over by the federal courts due to the laws being “surgically focused on preventing blacks from voting”. HB2 is only the tip of the ice berg. I would encourage everyone to boycott anything that has to do with North Carolina.

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Thank you for posting this. I have reserved a hotel room and really wanted to attend this conference. But planned to attend only if the law was changed. Now I’m wondering if I’m sending the wrong message by even reserving a hotel room. I do understand how hard it is to move a conference to a new location but I wish that NGS would have done it when they had the opportunity earlier on.

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Thanks for taking this stand, Dick. I had ancestors in N.C. and always thought it was more enlightened than some other states in the S. E. Maybe not.

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A recent poll showed that 52% of the people in North Carolina want the law repealed compared with only 32% that want to keep it. And that the current governor is behind in the election polls.
The law will be gone by the time the NGS has its conference.

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I neither applaud nor condemn your stand. I appear to be one of the few left who believes, “I may not agree with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” In the United States we have become victims to a tyranny of minorities. If you have a life long belief that differs from “Politically Correct” view you are ostracized and sent to reeducation lessons. These are called “sensitivity classes”. The individuals hurt by boycotts and riots are small business people not the politicians nor rioters from outside the local area. I had not planned on attending the convention but am now considering going.

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Thank you for your thoughtful comments Dick and the link to Thomas MacEntee’s article. This affects everyone. You won’t lose this reader

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While a man identifying as a female may not be interested in harming little girls, their are men who will harm little girls who have already used this license to do just that in Target store restrooms. Why are the ‘needs’ of 0.6% of the population more important that the safety of so many more?

The ‘track record’ for transgender therapy does not give scientific support for “Let me be what I feel like I am and I’ll be happy.” Nor do the mental health outcomes for the transgender community compare with other persecuted or discriminated groups. Transgenders have a much higher rate of needing mental health support. So persecution or discrimination do not account for the degree of negative mental health outcomes.

Johns Hopkins was the pioneer in sexual reassignment by surgery. They have been at it long enough to have a significant amount of data as to whether it ‘works’ or not. In view of the data they have stopped doing it. It doesn’t ‘work’. It doesn’t bring happiness.

More ‘family bathrooms’ are a fair solution to the problem. Saying that the transgender community are the ONLY people whose feelings matter is not right.

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    <>
    Why are the needs of blacks more important than whites? Gays more important than straight folks? Men more important than women? Jews or Muslims or whatever religion more important than Catholics or Protestants?

    The second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence starts as follows: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    Either one believes that or they don’t.

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I use genealogy to avoid serious issues like politics which I am involved with day to day. It is my escape. It is sad to me when some choose to mix the two. It is like actors and actresses who speak out on political issues. It ruins the movies they appear in for some people who want that avenue to escape and can’t look past what that actor or actress believes. But these are the choices people make.

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I would hope that you would stick to giving us information regarding genealogy. I am not interested in reading about your political, religious or ethical opinions concerning social issues. Thank you.

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    So we shouldn’t point out when a trade group we’re affiliated with promotes discrimination through holding an event where people/government discriminates? If we’re white, we shouldn’t care about discrimination against blacks? Turn our backs on discrimination that does not affect us?

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Thanks for your stand, Dick. I want to know if they will be hiring door men/women to check our birth certificates as we enter the rest room? This whole thing is a ridiculous political game.

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I read your blog because I like to keep up with Genealogy not politics. I get enough politics in everyday news to make up my own mind about such issues. Rather disappointed to see such comments being made about boycotting an organization and event that has nothing to do with the government stance on a issue. Instead write your congressman if your upset with government. Don’t take it our on organizations that have nothing to do the issue.

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    Should we bury our heads in the sand just because it doesn’t affect us? Discrimination affects all of us. Black, white, gay, Hispanic, woman, man, etc. Where do we draw the line? If we’re white, we don’t care about discrimination against blacks?

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    Sue, I agree with you. If I want to read political diatribe, I will turn to CNN or Fox News or other political outlets. I enjoy my genealogy research and do not expect it to collide with politics. Threatening to boycott the NGS convention because it will not get involved with politics is no different than the Charlotte “protestors” who choose to loot and destroy private property under the disguise of protest. Write your Congressman or other government officials. Boycotting a genealogy convention only hurts the NGS. Very disappointed that this blog is setting a platform for political debate. Now, back to my research…

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Good job Dick! You’ll keep this reader!

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I am also a NC resident and would like to add a perspective to this conversation.

This law was passed by the legislature it was not the result of a citizens referendum. Polls consistently state the majority of citizens desire the bathroom law to be repealed. Accusing the entire population of the state as being made up of hateful, bigoted, or narrow minded individuals is an oversimplification of the issue and actually is just as prejudicial against the majority of residents of this state as the law is to a very small minority of people who self identify as another gender than their biological gender. As a resident of the state, who did not support the legislation, I am offended by those who desire to punish the majority of the people of my state due to an unfortunate and unnecessary political fight between politicians in the state legislature and the city council of Charlotte.

While we have representative government in this nation, the legislative process does not always reflect the desires of the people. Polls consistently tell us the majority of citizens in this nation desire a balanced budget, stricter immigration controls, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act yet Congress and the President consistently ignore the will of the people on these issues. Even today, over 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision, the Gallup poll shows 55% of Americans want all or most abortions to be made illegal. Rightly or wrongly the legislative process is imperfect, as are all human beings, and does not always reflect the views of the majority. In fact, if we had true majority rule in this country, most of us would likely find much more to complain about.

Attending the upcoming conference does not endorse or condone the actions of a few politicians. Boycotting the conference does not punish the misguided politicians responsible for the law. Actually moving convention business out of the state hurts mostly low wage hourly workers in hotels and restaurants (waiters, desk clerks, housekeepers) who will be sent home without pay if there are no customers in the hotels and restaurants.

As recently as 10 years ago both of the major party candidates for president in 2016 openly opposed gay marriage and if asked at the time would have supported the requirements of the NC bathroom law. Today their attitudes, along with the attitudes of the nation, have “evolved” as two prominent recent supporters of LGBT rights (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) have publicly stated. It may be the evolution process for a few politicians in NC is taking a little more time than it did for these former opponents of same sex marriage and rights for members of the LGBT community.

Consider also, most of the ancestors we spend so much time researching would have been shocked and appalled to know their descendants would support rights for the LBGT community. Should we end the study of our predecessors because they actually were bigots, homophobes, and even slaveholders? Perhaps our hobby is dangerous because it perpetuates the memory of those who supported bigotry in the past.

Despite all of the press hysteria, there has yet to be anyone prosecuted under the infamous NC bathroom law. There are no bathroom police waiting to look up women’s skirts or pull down men’s trousers for inspection. Unless a transgender person walks into a public restroom and announces herself, or himself, to others in the room, he or she can go about their business in private in the restroom of choice. Not unlike the recent “don’t ask don’t tell” policy of the military. The actual effect of the law in practice has been zero except to provide a topic for real and feigned moral superiority and outrage.

I wish those who are so quick to condemn others would give the process a little time to work. Many people of good faith and intention are working hard to repeal the law. Even Governor McCrory has tried to reach a compromise with the Charlotte city council in which both the state legislature and the city of Charlotte would repeal their laws. If that happens, the legal situation will be no different than it is in most of the rest of the country. Unfortunately we have politicians on both sides of the issue who won’t compromise but seek to perpetuate outrage and divisiveness. It is sad one of the reasons our politics have become so polarized is too many people adopt a platform of moral superiority and are unwilling to seek any common ground, or compromise position, as our society “evolves”.

We do have an election in the fall and there are several court cases associated with the legislation being heard. Likely the law will not be on the books by the time the NGS convention is held.

I look forward to attending the conference and don’t view my attendance as meaning anything more than I enjoy the hobby and feel fortunate the conference is close enough to my home that I can afford to attend. To those who consider me bigoted, unenlightened, mean spirited, and immoral just because I happen to be a resident of this state, and wish to punish me and the other well meaning citizens of North Carolina, please understand I will no more be harmed by your decision not to attend than our long dead ancestors are affected by what any of us do today. By not attending you do not further the cause you profess to support and you deprive yourself of the opportunity to meet with friends and colleagues.

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    A moderate, informed and well-reasoned argument.

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    I must commend you. This is very well thought out and presented. You’re absolutely right about the inability of our politicians (and many citizens) to seek compromise. My ancestors fled France for America in 1738 because of discrimination. And they undoubtedly would be shocked at today’s social attitudes. But I’ve noticed something. Despite their personal beliefs, generation after generation has spoken out against discrimination. Whether blacks or women or immigrants or gays, etc., discrimination is wrong. The second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence starts as follows: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
    As you’ve indicated, politicians are slow to act. Sometimes it takes speaking out in a language they seem to understand … money. The NBA, the NCAA speak louder than genealogists. But together, perhaps we can make a difference. For many of us, not attending this conference will be the only chance we have to tell the NC politicians to do the right thing.

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You will not be losing this reader. I am surprised and saddened at the ignorance displayed by the comments about men using the women’s bathrooms. As others have pointed out, this has been going on for decades – you just didn’t realize that it was happening. Because the NGS had already signed contracts for the conference, they could not have canceled without risking lawsuits by hotels and other vendors. I would just hope that North Carolina is permanently off of the list for any future conferences. As for me, I will plan my future trips without any stops in NC – not even for gas. If this is what the state’s collective attitude is like, then they will not get any of my money.

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If NC was so worried about keeping Transgenders out of opposing restrooms, they should have mandated places to have Family/Transgender Restrooms. That would’ve been a better solution than inciting fear and violence against innocent people.

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Oh dear, after reading the comments here, it is clear we are a people of diverse opinions and backgrounds in the genealogical community. As such, we need to be totally respectful of each other’s viewpoint and engage in thoughtful, educated debate and discussion, as our fore father’s modeled, no name calling, no finger pointing, no shunning or .
emotional belittling.

The problem I have with a boycott of the NGS conference is its lack of relevance to the issue which is being contested. It is in the same vein as the football players not standing during the national anthem: wrong venue and wrong way to protest something, even if the issue is one that needs to be addressed. Other people end up being hurt by the action, so it loses its effectiveness and causes even greater division. So how long does a boycott last? Until the conference, until the law is repealed, until we get tired and move onto another issue? Does it mean you never fly into, drive through, order anything online, or visit NC again in your entire life? Hm, my bet is 5 years from now it will be totally forgotten and irrelevant.

The LGBTQ community is divided on this issue as well. My niece and her same sex partner are moving to NC right now because she got a terrific job offer there, big raise, good benefits, move is paid for, etc. So clearly it is not a show stopper issue for them, at least where economic gain is concerned. Perhaps they intend to fight for repeal of the issue from within the context of the political system by joining in active debate, being visible in the legislature, and speaking with facts to educate those and persuade them to their view point.

By hurting NGS, you hurt all of us because WE are NGS. Our dues and purchases fund the society. I have done plenty of conference planning before and the cost would be astronomical and could very well bankrupt the society as well as ruin our reputation for engaging other venues in future.

Perhaps the solution for the conference is to designate one of the restrooms in our conference as “private” and whatever your birth sex or current sex is, you can use that one and no one knows the difference. I realize this doesn’t make a “big” statement in opposition to the law, but it does accommodate those within the society.

Will the NC legislature care that people boycotted the NGS conference and rush to change the law? Probably not. Wrong venue, wrong method of protesting the issue.

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    Let’s pick and choose when to protest and when not to. What’s appropriate. When/where is appropriate. Discrimination is discrimination. Anyone who was involved or studied the history of Germany knows discrimination started small. Jews weren’t able to own businesses. Books were burned. It wasn’t a big deal. At first. It’s not the bathroom issue. It’s discriminating against a person. Women not getting paid equal to men? Blacks? Jews? Muslims? Gays (ask your niece how she’d feel if the community discriminated against her … being able to be “out” is a fairly recent “right.”)? Disabled who until a few years ago didn’t have access to public bathrooms? Who decides who we discriminate against and who we don’t? This DOES have to do with NGS. Many of our ancestors fled Europe because of discrimination. Mine, nearly 300 years ago. Then, after WWI, they had to flee Nebraska because their name sounded German. My opinion is we can’t turn our back on discrimination toward our fellow man … of any sort.

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Ronduff-
It has nothing at all to do with “rights”. It has to do with common sense and good judgment. You are conflating rights with behavior that many find unacceptable.

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It’s funny how some people always say “This is the wrong way/place/time to protest .” I guess they really mean “Don’t protest if I don’t agree”.

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Allowing teenage boys to use the girls’ dressing rooms and showers is not about morality, but about discrimination. Discriminating parents do not want nor should they be required to allow their teenage daughters to shower or dress/undress in the company of individuals with male genitalia. The federal requirement for schools to solve the problem without the option of constructing a third type of facilities for those who claim a gender other than that of their birth is the real problem and the real source of divisiveness.

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Those of us who will not be at the conference next year unless the law changes should keep the heat on NGS to change the venue. It will cost $$$ but it is the right thing to do. If NGS does not go somewhere else, the cost may be bigger due to cancelations than it would be to go somewhere else in this big USA.

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Point-blank, this is nothing more than sexual harassment of women.

The men in boardrooms and pressure groups across the country have decided that once again, they will exert their rights to define the parameters of women’s lives.

A very few years ago, we were told we could file harassment charges against male coworkers that used women’s restrooms, even at times when they were ontherwise empty, as well as at the bosses that looked the other way. Now, we are told that the one place where we could feel safe in a position of extreme vulnerability is no longer set aside as safe for us.

Whose voices do you hear demanding the breakdown of civil protection of women? The NCAA? Look at their record of sexual offenses. The NBA? Ditto. How many of the groups who are pressuring for this are woman-led?

As for me, I only attend genealogy events when they’re right in my backyard, but I’m planning my first ever beach vacation in North Carolina, as well as upping my family’s participation in sporting events there, at the expense of ones further North. I’m also looking for more companies and businesses in the state to bring my money to. The family has switched away from a certain superstore (for whom I’ve had over $50 in unredeemed gift cards in my purse for a few months) and changed many household brand purchases, right down to detergents and shampoo. The list can grow.

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    You’re painting with a broad brush. Sports and colleges are taking a much firmer stand against women’s abuse. Colleges are suspending players for just being accused, and not convicted. My major university just named a woman A.D. No, there aren’t many women coaching major men’s sports. But the attitudes toward protecting women from abuse is certainly changing dramatically. Have you spoken with your NBA/NFL/MLB team management or college re: this? Tell them your concern. You’ll find them receptive.

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Thank you Dick for your comments, and for the link to Thomas’ comments. You won’t lose me as a subscriber!

Yes, this is not a genealogy issue, but it is an issue affecting our humanity. We can take stands by working for change or we can boycott. It is our choice. Dick and Thomas and many others of you have made one choice, with which I agree, others have made a different choice, and I respect your right to make your choice regarding attending the conference or going to NC while the law is still on the books.

As for those of you who are afraid of what might happen in a women’s bathroom if a trans were there, I have a question for you — have you met and spoken to any trans people? Have you read any of their experiences? Are you perhaps letting fear of the unknown rule you? Talk to them, get to know them. That may make a world of difference.

One last thought. If we don’t speak up when we see injustice to others, who will speak up if and when injustice is done to us, to paraphrase Martin Niemoller.

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Thank you for your principled stand. I applaud all those who choose to not attend, or maybe go further and not renew their membership if the NGS does not move or cancel the conference.

This bill is about a lot more than just bathrooms, and it must be denounced.

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I agree with Dick and appreciate his reasoned stand on the issue. I will not be going to NC anytime soon.
I believe many of negative comments indicate a lack of understanding of these issues. This is not clear issue, it requires thought to understand that many people do not have biology and feelings as people want them to have. They were born that way and some seek changes, others seek acceptance.

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