RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Members of the local LGBTQ+ community believe this is a hostile political climate. National retailers like Target are facing anti-LGBTQ backlash. There are efforts to ban books around LGBTQ+ issues in schools and libraries, and several national organizations have issued travel advisories to Florida.
"We're vulnerable because no one takes the time to understand us," said Nathaniel Bush. "To have such queer hot pockets and then a governor that is so anti-everything that is other than white, cis men."
Bush moved to North Carolina from Orlando, Florida after losing a friend in the Pulse nightclub shooting. On Thursday night, he's Jesus in the St. John's Metropolitan Community Church production of Corpus Christi.
"It's a queer retelling of Jesus and the disciples," said Pastor Vance Haywood. "It takes it into a space where we can all see ourselves in this story."
There are a record number of anti-transgender bills introduced across the country including here at home.
"A lot of trans women of color don't get to live to be 30. The average life expectancy is 33. So as I'm coming up on this age I'm about to cross a statistic I never thought I would," said Alexandria Webb.
They said the challenge of being yourself is a constant battle.
"I was married, had a wife, stepson. The perfect white house, picket fence. My family was so proud of that, but for me, that was the thing that almost did me in," said Benaiah Elijah Creed Adesoji.
That's why they say allies are needed now more than ever.
"Allies play a critical role in helping us affirm ourselves and in helping us know that we belong," said Naveed Moeed.