It’s Thursday—and that means a new chapter is up this morning of Ashes to Asheville, the weekly serial novel I’m writing in real time that’s being published exclusively online by The Asheville Citizen-Times, the major daily newspaper here in Asheville, NC.
Today’s installment of the story is: Chapter 8: HB2 and Barbecue.
As you may know, HB2 is … well, here’s this, from the website TurnOut NC:
On Wednesday, March 23, the North Carolina General Assembly held a special session and in less than 12 hours, with virtually no public input, passed House Bill 2. This harmful law prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community, taking away protections some communities have had for years. With no state law protecting LGBT people, it makes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity legal across the state. It also forces many transgender people to use restrooms that don’t match their gender identity, putting them in harm’s way. Remarkably, the law also took away the right to sue for employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex and other categories that were protected by state law, making our state one of only two with no right to sue in state court for discrimination.
So, yeah. That’s North Carolina’s House Bill 2.
In chapter 8 of Ashes, Charlie and Tammy take out for her birthday lunch Charlie’s friend Donna, a young transgender woman. The story takes place inside the restaurant they visit, 12 Bones Smokehouse, which is a very popular restaurant here in Asheville. It’s where President Obama eats when he’s in town:
Here’s what the restaurant looks like from the outside:
12 Bones is owned by Bryan and Angela King:
who put outside their restaurant the sign you see at the top of this post.
The picture of the sign was taken and sent to me by the friend of mine in Asheville upon whom the character of Charlie is based.
Here in Asheville there is a lot of strong anti-HB2 sentiment, which is expressed in all kinds of interesting ways. Here, for instance, is what you’ll currently find on the bottom of cans of Iron Rail IPA, a much beloved local beer made by one of Asheville’s favorite breweries, The Wedge:
And here’s a picture of some graffiti I snapped on a recent walk around town:
And then, of course, there’s also guys like this, eager to go outside and hold up stuff they’ve written:*
I name the pastor in this week’s chapter of Ashes Frank Spruce. Annnnnd I think that’s all I’ll say about that.
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*Photo respectively snagged off the website of News 13 WLOS.