North Carolina’s openly gay Replacements LTD founder Bob Page today issued a statement in reaction to his state’s hate law. His message in full:
Today, I take the unusual step of sending you a personal message. Perhaps you, like millions of others, have heard that North Carolina’s recent passage of House Bill 2 – which has been called the worst anti-LGBT bill in the United States – has provoked an outpouring of public concern. Among other things, HB2 bars cities, towns, and counties from prohibiting discrimination of any kind and makes clear that LGBT people may legally be singled out for unfair treatment in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations.
What does this have to do with you? The reaction to North Carolina’s passage of HB2 last Wednesday has been swift and strongly in opposition. Calls for boycotts of our state have been answered by individuals and businesses who will not attend the $5.38 billion, 600,000 visitor High Point furniture market this April and, more generally, by the State of New York, the City of Seattle, and others. Amidst this deep concern, which I share, I want to make one thing clear: Replacements, Ltd. affirms the dignity and beauty of each and every person. You will always be warmly welcomed at Replacements, Ltd.
You may know that I’m gay. One year ago, I married Dale Frederiksen, with whom I’ve shared my life for 27 years. Together, we have raised twin sons we adopted as infants in Vietnam. In July, our boys will be 17. Last summer, we added another teenager, a Nigerian scholar-athlete, to our household. Growing up on a small tobacco farm in rural North Carolina during the 1950s and 1960s and during my 3 years of active duty service in the United States Army, I never dreamt I could be openly gay and successful, much less that I could have a family of my own. My experience of feeling like an outcast opened my eyes and my heart to all who have been judged for being different.
While acceptance of people like me and families like mine has grown – and I am grateful – transgender people today face obstacles similar to those I saw first-hand generations ago. At Replacements, Ltd., we are very fortunate to employ a number of extraordinarily talented people who are transgender. These people are like family to me. And having known and worked with many transgender friends over the years, I see in each a reflection of myself. The thought of being afraid to share space with any one of those good people is hard for me to understand, based on my personal experiences. If you had the opportunity to meet any one of them, I bet you’d feel the same way.
Again, as long-standing advocates for fair treatment, diversity, and inclusion, North Carolina-based Replacements, Ltd. will welcome you with open arms.