Bull City Schools pushes for safe schools for LGBTQ teens

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The protests continue outside the Executive Mansion and the fight has spilled into ad campaigns.

When you talk to the teachers behind the new initiative from Bull City Schools United, they make the case that House Bill 2 has made their LGBT students feel less safe and more marginalized than ever before.

Their new programs aims to combat that. And it comes at a time, when the fight over HB2 is as loud as ever.

"When I was 12, I finally came out as being gay," Briona Liggete told the group gathered inside Durham's Full Frame Theater on Wednesday night. Liggete is a student at Northern High School.

Liggete, along with this group of Durham Public School teachers, argues it is LGBT teenagers who are the real victims of HB2.

In the wake of the law's creation, Bull City Schools United kicked off its new initiative to train city teachers about ways to combat bullying against gay and transgender students; to create safe places for teens struggling with their gender and sexual identities.

Liggete says she found it just in time.

"When you feel alone, you feel like it's just you. So, you're like how bout I just die now," Liggete said as she talked about her own thoughts of suicide because of classroom bullying about her sexual orientation.

The announcement of the new program comes the same week a new TV ad began airing statewide in support of HB2.

"I am worried about the Charlotte bathroom ordinance," says the teenage girl in the 30-second spot. A Christian conservative group spent more than $200,000 to air the ad. The commercial aims to reinforce the case that the controversial law is about protecting women's safety.

"Now, they want boys to shower and change beside me. It's not just about privacy. It's about safety, too," the ad says.

Back at Full Frame Theater, eighth-grade English teacher Cheyenne Solorio insists it's the district's transgender students who are truly at risk from HB2.

"HB2 has severely impacted this conversation," Solorio said. "Now, (LGBT students') own government has said they do not have the right to use the bathroom in a safe manner."

Outside the Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh, the anti-HB2 "Air Horn Orchestra" was "in concert," again Wednesday evening.

This week, Hope Tyler joined the group. Tyler is the mother of a transgender son who attends a Wake County public high school. ABC11 showed Tyler the new pro-HB2 ad.

Read all ABC11 stories about HB2 here

"I feel bad for her because she's false," Tyler said in reaction to the teenager featured in the spot. "People would much rather have my transgender son in the boy's locker room rather than in the girl's locker room, because he's a 15-year old boy and likes girls."

Bull City Schools United will offer its optional LGBT training for teachers on Oct. 19.

And every teacher who signs up gets a free scholarship to the statewide NC Safe Schools conference in November.

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politicshb2lgbtstate politicsprotestdurham public schoolsDurham
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