Rosie Perez wants North Carolina to "Do the Right Thing" after the state takes a financial hit for passing anti-LGBT legislation.
“I hope that they bleed from their pockets,” the actress told The Advocate at the Daring Women Summit, a daylong event organized by the Tribeca Film Festival. “I hope that businesses just make them suffer such a great deal.”
The Southern state has indeed been hit in the purse after Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which struck down LGBT-inclusive municipal antidiscrimination ordinances and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones. The legislation also expressly requires transgender people to use public bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match their gender identity.
In response, many businesses and entertainers have canceled expansions and concerts. The NBA has contemplated pulling its upcoming All-Star Game out of Charlotte. Jane Fonda has refused to go there.
In her comments to The Advocate, Perez also had a message to any state that would pass anti-LGBT legislation: “Evolve.”
“It’s the 21st century, people,” she said. “Get over it. Get over it and grow as a human being, because it’s embarrassing that you still think this way. And it’s embarrassing, the political moves you have made.”
“If you really want people to embrace your state, evolve!” she concluded.
Perez is an ardent ally of the LGBT community. In the past, she identified as “quasi-straight” at a fundraiser for the Trevor Project, which provides a lifeline for LGBT youth.
During her Q&A at the Daring Women Summit, Perez advised those who want to fight for diversity in Hollywood to learn from groups like ACT UP and Gay Men’s Health Crisis, whose “die-in” demonstrations at the onset of the AIDS epidemic helped raise awareness of a disease that many people, including President Reagan, tried to ignore.
"Be an activist. Don’t just be a filmmaker," said Perez, who is part of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. "You have to have the fierceness that organizations like ACT UP have, and still have. They inspire me a great deal. ... They’re still here because they refused to not be recognized. We are here, we are going to effect change, and we’re not going anywhere."
Watch Perez talk about North Carolina below.