Design Community Stands Up to Anti-LGBT Legislation

Designers are rallying against legislation in North Carolina that permits discrimination based on sexual or gender identity.

The ASID New York modified their logo in solidarity with LGBT communities in North Carolina affected by the passing of House Bill 2.

Courtesy ASID New York’s Twitter

In protest of controversial legislation passed in North Carolina, designers across the country have announced their intention to boycott this year’s High Point Market, the world’s largest furnishings industry trade show, located in North Carolina.

House Bill 2, which was signed into effect by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on March 23rd, bans discrimination based on “race, religion, color, national origin or biological sex” in businesses across the state, but does not classify gender identity or sexual identity as protected classes. Major companies—from American Airlines to Apple—have announced their disapproval of the legislation and threatened to cease investing in the state. On April 1st, the American Society of Interior Designers similarly announced its condemnation of the legislation and publicly stated that the organization “commends” those who have chosen to boycott The High Point Market.

In a press release, Mitchell Gold, the co-founder/chair-man of home furnishings company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, which has its headquarters in Taylorsville, North Carolina, expressed his outrage: “As a North Carolinian, as a business man, and as a gay man—I couldn’t be more disappointed with Governor Pat McCrory signing bill HB2 into law. Not only is this an attack on the LGBT community, it’s an attack on our economy. Indiana lost an estimated 60 million dollars last year due to its anti-LGBT legislation. Has Governor McCrory given any thought to how this affects hundreds of businesses based in North Carolina?” The High Point Market is reportedly the largest annual economic event in North Carolina, bringing about $5 billion in revenue to the state each year. According to The High Point Market website, the trade shoq and the home furnishings industry are responsible for about 37,000 jobs in North Carolina.

Some in the design community have spoken up to defend The Market, suggesting that a boycott would unfairly punish those participating designers and craftsmen who disagree with the state’s legislation. John Strauss of John Strauss Furniture Design Htold Home Accents Today that he and his colleagues have “staked” their “company’s livelihood on having a successful market.” Strauss reflected, “You can imagine how it feels to see what North Carolina has done with HB2, and to disagree with the governor and the Republican state legislature’s actions but not be able to have a business survive a boycott of the market. Please show your displeasure by writing the governor, by hashtagging ‪#‎wearenotthis, by protesting in public. But please do not hurt small companies like mine, do not hurt the employees who depend on ‪#‎hpmkt and let us focus on making changes for now and for the future. High Point Market Authority has come out against ‪HB2 which was shoved through the State House in 12 hours under protest from the Democrats. Consider who you are hurting by not attending and then attend.”

In its statement, The American Society of Interior Designers states it will also support “those individuals attending Market who wish to champion the many manufacturers and businesses speaking out against the new law.”

Whether for or against the boycott itself, the design community has banded together against the legislation using the hashtag #‎designagainstHB2‬.

Dear Governor Pat McCrory and those that attend and show at High Point Market | The World’s Home for Home Furnishings. …

Posted by Andrew Joseph on Monday, March 28, 2016

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