Every child in our schools deserves respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual identity.

Right now the rights of LGBTQ students are under attack in North Carolina.

Soon the General Assembly will be voting to override Gov. Cooper’s vetoes of three anti-trans bills: HB 574 (“Fairness in Women’s Sports” which would bar transgender kids from sports), SB 49 (“Parents’ Bill of Rights” which would limit what educators can talk about with their students), and HB 808 (banning Gender Affirming Care for minors).

Gender-affirming care is life-saving and a decision that is best left to families and medical professionals, not politicians.

All major medical associations support this care and oppose laws banning it, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I fear that the G.A. leaders are more concerned about winning political points (and positions) than about the lives and dignity of the children they are using as political pawns. Trans and other LGBTQ children are already under constant attack and discrimination. They deserve better.

A critical vote will be that of Rep. Tricia Cotham from Mecklenburg, who pledged to support LGBTQ rights and “stand strong against discriminatory legislation and work to pass more protections at the state level” when she ran for the office. Yet since switching to the Republican Party she has voted for these bills that will limit LGBTQ rights. Rep. Cotham, will you keep your original promise to our LGBTQ youth?

Eileen Hanson-Kelly