[by Ashley Clingman, ENC Intern] I have been fortunate to work with Equality over the past semester as a student intern. As a law student I have become increasingly concerned and interested in the legal issues facing the LGBT community. From my school experience and my work with Equality, I have come to believe that the legal issues facing the LGBT community are of the most important, because these issues touch on both political and legal areas of our society.
Because work within the political arena can be slow and frustrating, we must always try to think of new and creative ways to work for change. Politicians tend to be so afraid of change, when really they should be afraid of what happens when we stop allowing our legal system to evolve with the growing demands of society.
I think we should all be striving for change on a daily basis. This is one of the reasons I am proud to be a part of Equality. Everyone involved with Equality understands and vigorously works toward making North Carolina an LGBT-friendly state.
My part in creating change this semester was done by researching the North Carolina Administrative code. The NC Administrative Code is a compilation of the administrative rules of approximately 26 state agencies and 50 plus occupational licensing boards.
These rules mandate how each of these state agencies must regulate the operations of their departments and establish policies that determine how governmental agencies treat people, define rule language, budget money, set up employee expectations, and determine non-discrimination policies.
The goal of my research has been to identify areas of the law that need to be changed in order to promote equal protection for the LGBT community. Once there has been identification of where and how discrimination is occurring, the next step will be to create the necessary changes to stop the inequality.
Change is not quick or easy. We all can do our part in the fight for LGBT equality. Being a part of Equality and working directly at this year’s conference reminded me why it is so important to continually ask questions, identify problems, and work for change. If we challenge the status quo, solutions are possible. There are a lot of people working hard for change (ex. elected officials, lobbyist, volunteers, and student interns), and I am proud to be a part of the diverse crowd who is striving to create equality and positive change with North Carolina.