So it was a complete surprise that when I started calling around for daycare in Asheville that no one cared that he was a pit bull. There were no breed restrictions. When it came to housing, they asked what kind of dog he was, but the follow up question was, “Is he social—does he like other dogs?” not “Does he look like a pit bull? Send me a picture.”
In the last seven days I’ve been here, I’ve felt like a dog owner, not a pit bull owner.
Tucker is no better nor no worse than any other breed. People like him for his goofy smile, say how handsome he is, and enjoy his silly antics. His biological breed doesn’t come into play at all. For the first time, I’m relaxed about telling people he’s a pit bull (which is usually just confirming their question of “He’s a pit bull, right?” that they ask with a smile and then request to pet him.
Given this lack of discrimination when it comes to my sixty pound, broad-chested, block-headed canine companion, I was shocked and appalled by the politicians of North Carolina who just passed a sweeping anti-discrimination bill at a special session which deliberately left out the LGBT community and barred any local jurisdictions from making more stringent anti-discrimination laws which would include them (such as Charlotte, NC had just done which seems to be the catalyst for this knee-jerk yet orchestrated reaction.) They claim it was to keep women and children safe. Maybe I’m underestimating people’s open-mindedness, but I err on the side of caution by saying I’m pretty positive that if you force a young man who identifies as a woman, dresses in women’s clothes and to the public looks exactly like a woman, to use a men’s room that violence will most likely ensue in many instances. And for the woman who identities as a man, dresses as a man, and might even be in transition, using a ladies’ room—that’s definitely going to be a cause for alarm.
Besides the bathroom angle (which let’s face it, people are strangely obsessed with as of late) the less physical but possibly more life-threatening part of the State’s legislation is that it allows people to refuse services or jobs to folks based on their sexual identities and preferences. On top of that—and this might be what they buried and hoped no one would notice—is that no local legislation can raise the minimum wage above the State’s $7.25 per hour.
I haven’t explored North Carolina yet, so I can’t deny or confirm, but from what I’m told, Asheville is a little speck of liberalism in a sea of conservatism. When people have asked me to describe Asheville, I say it’s not quite the South, but not quite New England. In geography and in community, it is the South in evolution toward New England. In some ways, it’s even more New England than the Berkshires. I’ve seen more transients with guitars playing on the sidewalk here than in Lenox, MA and have witnessed just as bad of a tourist backup in downtown as I have on Main Street in Great Barrington, MA.
If it’s true that a society is judged by the way it treats its animals, than Asheville is amazing. The basis of this statement is that people treat fellow humans better than animals, but in this case, 82 Senators, 32 Representatives, and 1 Governor just threw that theory out the window. My dog is not judged by the shape of his head or the color of his fur; but human beings will be judged by their personal sexual identities, and deliberately put in harm’s way both physically and financially. As of Thursday, it became more dangerous to be a transgender human than a pit bull dog in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, I can’t boycott North Carolina; I’m already here. All I can do is support those residents that have a say in their State legislation to turn this around and bring this to a higher authority. In the meantime, Tucker and I will explore the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains and show you what 115 politicians are forcing you to boycott in protest of their closed-minded, deliberately dangerous legislation.
Tucker and I hope they rectify this situation quickly and make North Carolina safe for everyone. This place is way too much fun to miss out on.