A contestant on the most recent season of hit reality competition "Survivor" just made an awesome display of solidarity with the transgender community -- on a mountaintop in North Carolina.
Neal Gottlieb journeyed this week to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountaintop in the Tar Heel state. In response to House Bill 2, the state's recently passed anti-LGBT legislation which forces trans people to use restrooms that do not correspond with their gender identity, Gottlieb placed a rainbow-colored outhouse with a trans Pride flag at the mountain's peak. In an open letter on Facebook addressed to the state's governor, Gottlieb writes in part:
As of this morning, an outhouse proudly displaying a trans pride flag is sitting atop Mount Mitchell, North Carolina’s tallest mountain. It was placed there in protest of HB2, your state’s institutionalization of discrimination (also known as hate) against members of the trans community (also known as humans). Yes, at least for a little while, North Carolina’s highest point is an outhouse; a fitting symbol for a state that has sullied itself with shitty, repressive legislation."
Gottlieb also notes, "You still support HB2, claiming it is for the people’s safety, but we all know this is just a load of crap. Government-back discrimination has no place in just societies." He adds, "Of course you can admit that you shit the bed, reverse HB2 and wipe away the mess this harmful legislation leaves behind. We all make mistakes. Please stop dumping on freedom and admit your wrongs. We’ll all feel much better when this passes."
In an email sent to The Huffington Post, Gottlieb revealed he first thought of the idea on April 2 and flew to North Carolina on April 14. "Fortunately outhouses don't take that long to construct, especially with plans from a 1909 privy that I found online," he said. He also added, "In 2014 I placed a flag on the top of Uganda's tallest mountain in protest of the country's criminalization of homosexuality. It's sad that I would have reason to undertake a similar protest on United States soil, but I saw in 2014 how such an action can have far reach, call our leaders and inspire others to keep up the good fight.The idea for the outhouse and how it tied in with the "bathroom bill" came to me about two weeks ago out of the blue."
Gottlieb joins a growing -- and impressive -- list of folks who are protesting the passing of HB2. Non-profit activist group Planting Peace recently installed a billboard on the North / South Carolina border calling out the state's bigoted stance on LGBT rights. Additionally, some artists, such as Bruce Springsteen and Cirque Du Soliel, have canceled shows in the state, while others, such as comedian Joel McHale, have donated the proceeds of their North Carolina shows to local LGBTQ centers.