Durham Chamber of Commerce holds community conversation on HB2

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The Durham Chamber of Commerce held the event (WTVD)

Jasper Christie was part of the panel that took questions Sunday during the Greater Durham Chamber #Free2BDurham community conversation in response to House Bill 2.

Christie is a teenager who has struggled to identify as a female. She is now a he. "I just hope that out of this comes more education," says Christie.

The college student told the audience that House Bill 2 is making transgender people feel targeted and marginalized in North Carolina.

"The bill is making the situations with people on a daily basis way more confrontational," Christie said.

The Durham Chamber of Commerce organized Sunday's community conversation to help people understand the new law. House Bill 2 in part bans individuals from using the restroom that doesn't match their biological sex.

The law currently also prevents individuals from bringing discrimination lawsuits based on their sexual orientation.

Critics call it the most controversial anti-worker, anti-LGBT bill. Supporters say the bill protects the safety of women and children and restrooms and locker rooms.

Sunday's forum included a question and answer portion which touched on supporters' claims of safety. Judy Shepherd asked a question from the audience.

"The idea that women somehow need to be protected in the bathroom. I've never had that situation myself," said Shepherd.

Carolyn McAlaster, founder of Health Justice Clinic at Duke University, and a panelist at the event, responded to Shepherd's questions.

"It's an old argument we just need more panels like this with Jasper willing to come out and speak out and really talk about their experiences," stated McAllaster.

North Carolina is at risk for losing billions of dollars in federal funding. Currently the federal Government and state government are suing each other over the contents of the new law.

The Durham Chamber organized #Free2bDurham and are openly against House Bill 2. They say although the economic impact of the law in the Bull City is still unclear, educating the public about HB2 is critical.

"At the end of the day it's not about right or wrong," says John White, Vice President of public police for the Durham Chamber. "It's not about your opinion versus my opinion. It's truly about helping people understand what it is that they believe in."

Panelist also included Joe Stewart from NC Free Enterprise Foundation and Rick Glazier of NC Justice Center.

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