There are certainly worse places in the world that I could've grown up as young gay man than North Carolina.
However, the political climate in my home state over the past four years has been pretty unbearable to witness and last night, House Bill 2, which is being called the most extreme anti-LGBT bill to pass in America, was signed by North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy.
House Bill 2 "removes the ability of any local government to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and requires all public facilities, including schools, to allow restroom access only on the basis of 'biological sex.'"
The hardest part about watching a place you used to call home dissolve into puritanical social and political turmoil is feeling both powerless and divorced from the lived impact on the people you love that you left behind.
There are so many queer people from my life before I moved to New York City three years ago who not only are now lacking basic legal protections as queer people, but are being told that their lives are void of value thanks to a move that can, at the very least, be called dehumanizing.
Fear-mongering tactics rooted in the faith-based communities that dominate day-to-day life in North Carolina, and the rest of the South, are nothing new.
But we shouldn't take it anymore.
There is something to be said for righteous anger, and people, regardless of identity politics, coming together at times when the world shows itself to clearly not be designed for the survival of those along the spectrum of queer and trans identity.
So I encourage all of my friends, especially those still in North Carolina, to use your voices, platforms and anger to speak out about the impact of this bill on the lives of queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people navigating social and political life in the state -- and outside of it, too.
And I'll help you any way I can, whether that means connecting you to resources, attempting to elevate your voice, or whatever you need -- please reach out to me. Let's show the rest of the country that we, as queer people, will no longer sit complacently while the world tells us that we are less than human -- and let's fucking retake North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature in this fall.
Because, in the words of Noah Michelson, Executive Editor of Huff Post Queer Voices that I'm so proud to work for, when you can come together and be righteously angry with other people things don't feel quite as lonely or hopeless.
I stand with you always and forever in love, compassion and righteous anger.