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5 Things to Know: NC Republicans File Legislation Targeting Trans Youth

...and four more stories from April 2-8, 2023

Two trans youth protest inside the state legilature, posing for a photo with signs that read "Trans Youth exist, are valid [and] deserve human rights" and "Y'all means all."
NC legislators this week filed multiple bills targeting trans youth. Pictured: Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest HB2 in 2016. (Photo by James Willamor)

NC Republicans File Anti-Trans Legislation

Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly filed a series of bills targeting the rights of trans youth in sports and health care.

On Wednesday, legislators filed multiple trans sports bans. Senate Bill 631 and its companion bill, House Bill 574, ban trans students from participating on the team consistent with their gender, and Senate Bill 636 bans trans and intersex girls from sports. A release from Equality NC responding to the newly filed legislation pointed out that participation in athletics has been shown to benefit LGBTQ+ youths’ mental health.

Conversely, anti-trans athletic bans only increase existing mental health risks for trans youth and do nothing to benefit women’s and girls’ sports, the release stated. 

Legislators also filed two bills restricting or banning gender-affirming care for trans youth. Filed Tuesday, Senate Bill 560 restricts gender-affirming care for minors, introducing new requirements for youth, families, and health-care providers that include banning telehealth visits for gender-affirming counseling and treatment, mandating new consent and waiting period requirements, and banning providers of gender-affirming care from receiving public funds.

Senate Bill 639 makes it unlawful for health-care and mental health-care professionals to provide gender-affirming care. Equality NC proclaimed that both bills are designed to intimidate health-care providers and will endanger the lives of many trans youth, especially impacting those who already lack access to gender-affirming healthcare.

Another bill filed Wednesday, Senate Bill 641, gives medical providers license to discriminate in providing health care. 

“We are outraged to see lawmakers target our most vulnerable youth,” wrote Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson in Wednesday’s release. “Banning kids from playing sports because of who they are prevents them from having positive and formative experiences at school. And preventing parents from making decisions on their child’s health care is harmful and life-threatening. These bills do nothing to address the real issues facing our youth, like gun violence in schools or the mental health crisis. Instead of working to make schools safe environments, our lawmakers are bullying queer and trans kids.”

As of March 21, according to the Human Rights Campaign, there were 435 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in state houses across the country. More than 110 of those bills would limit or prevent transgender people from accessing gender-affirming care, while others target curriculum censorship and drag performances. We’ve also seen the introduction of a record number of bathroom bans compared to any previous year. 

Learn More: Local Organizations Celebrate Trans Day of Visibility in Charlotte


Judge Rescinds Qualified Immunity in Police Killing of Danquirs Franklin

Chief Judge Gregory of the 4th Circuit Court on Wednesday established that CMPD officer Wendy Kerl is not entitled to qualified immunity in the 2019 shooting death of Danquirs Franklin in a Burger King parking lot on Beatties Ford Road, allowing a federal lawsuit filed against Kerl by Franklin’s family to be heard by a jury.

An arm extended past the camera holds a gun pointed at a man as he squats in a Burker King parking lot, appearing to have a conversation with someone in a car.
A still from Wende Kerl’s body camera footage.

Kerl was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the shooting back in August 2019, but now may be held accountable by Franklin’s family in civil litigation.

“The officers rushed headlong onto a scene that had subsided, established no dialogue, and shouted at Franklin loudly enough that they did not hear him try to communicate back,” Tuesday’s ruling read. “In their zeal to disarm Franklin, it hardly occurred to the officers that their commands defied reality. As a result, Franklin faced a catch 22: obey and risk death or disobey and risk death. These facts entitle a jury of community members to decide whether Officer Kerl shot Franklin unlawfully.”


Duke Energy Center Announces New Tenants

Duke Energy on Wednesday announced five new tenants on the ground floor of the company’s new headquarters in Uptown, the Duke Energy Plaza, introducing four new dining options in the Second Ward, including two from renowned local culinary couple Joe and Katy Kindred.

The Kindreds, owners of Davidson restaurant Kindred, will open a third location of their café and coffee shop Milkbread in the Plaza, located at 525 South Tryon Street, across the street from the current Duke Energy Center. Expected to open in 2024, the fast-casual all-day café will offer its signature milkbread doughnuts and crispy chicken sandwiches along with coffee, espresso and matcha.

A glass high-rise building with the Duke Energy logo on it reflects the sunset in Uptown Charlotte.
The Duke Energy Plaza is located at 525 S. Tryon St. (Courtesy of Duke Energy)

The Kindreds will also open Albertine, an upscale restaurant adjacent to Milkbread on South Tryon in 2024. Named after Queen Charlotte’s mother, Albertine will be the Kindred’s first fine-dining concept. The contemporary cuisine will be inspired by the greater Mediterranean basin and the American South, according to Albertine’s Instagram. These influences will combine to create a European fine-dining experience complete with a full-service bar and outdoor patio, all designed by Katy Kindred.

Manny Flores’ Que Fresa Taqueria + Bar, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant, will open this fall at the corner of College Street and East Brooklyn Village Boulevard. The taqueria’s fresh take on classic Mexican food includes 18 signature tacos, burritos, bowls, cocktails and Charlotte’s first soft-serve margaritas. 

Learn More: Manny Flores Elevates Fast Casual With Que Onda and Que Fresa

Thomas and Julia Seo will open the second location of Somi Sushi on South College Street this fall. The fast-casual Japanese restaurant will serve sushi, sashimi, katsu, ramen and offer build-your-own-bento-boxes. Somi’s drink options include wine, sake and beer. 

Along with the four restaurants, AJ’s Dry Cleaners will offer a 24-hour eco-friendly dry-cleaning kiosk on South College Street this spring.


Two People Killed in Suspected Drunk-Driving Wreck

Two people are dead and two others seriously injured after a woman speeding up Park Road in south Charlotte caused a wreck on Tuesday night.

According to CMPD, first responders were called to the scene of the wreck at around 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday, where they found a Jeep Wrangler and Honda Pilot with extensive damage. Medic pronounced the driver of the Jeep dead at the scene. The driver and juvenile rear seat passenger of the Honda were transported to Atrium Health Main with serious injuries. The front seat passenger of the Honda Pilot was transported to Atrium Health Main with life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced dead due to injuries she sustained in the crash.

 

A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver of the Jeep, 25-year-old Teresa Miller, was traveling north on Park Road at a high rate of speed when she lost control, crossed into the southbound lanes and struck the Honda. After the collision, the Jeep continued off the left side of the road and struck a tree. The front seat passenger of the Honda has been identified as 49-year-old Rosalina Santos. Excessive speed and impairment are suspected to be contributing factors to this crash for Miller. 


Man Murdered in Southwest Charlotte

At around 3:30 p.m. on April 4, police responded to a shooting call on Lucy Jane Lane in the Greylyn Estates apartment complex off Monroe Road, where they found 28-year-old Illya Armstead dead from a gunshot wound. A suspect was arrested nearby and eventually charged with murder. Detectives are not looking for any more suspects in this case. Armstead’s is the 25th reported homicide in Charlotte this year. 


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