NEWS: North Carolina's House Bill 2
James P. Sheffield, a transgender man living in Georgia, tweeted Governor Pat McCrory after North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 was signed into law.
“It's now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife.” His tweet included a picture of himself looking rather handsome and less than amused. With this tweet he made a powerful statement about the misguided policy.
The new law prevents cities in North Carolina from allowing trans people to use the public restrooms that match their gender identity. Gov. McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law on March 23, which “removes the ability of any local government to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and requires all public facilities, including schools, to allow restroom access only on the basis of ‘biological sex.’”
Transgender people are not new; chances are that most people have already shared a public restroom with a trans individual. Yet the unfounded worry lingers that sexual predators will use protections for trans people to prey upon women in women’s restrooms. Lawmakers haven’t taken the fact that there hasn’t been a single instance of this actually happening into consideration when writing these types of laws.
Many claim their sincerely held religious beliefs are at odds with allowing trans-inclusive restrooms and protections. However, these restroom bills aren’t about religious freedom, they are about willful ignorance being paraded through transphobia. Those touting religious freedom would be hard pressed to find scripture to back up their stand on restrooms and trans individuals.
The North Carolina law was passed on the heels of an anti-LGBT law in Georgia being vetoed, and a year after the RFRA debacle in Indiana. North Carolina is not the only state whose legislators have introduced these “bathroom bills,” which are aimed to prevent trans people from using facilities that correspond with their gender identity, though no other state has approved one of these laws. Businesses have threatened to leave states where bigoted bills were being passed and in North Carolina, the law drew opposition from the NCAA, Wells Fargo and American Airlines. The NCAA had planned to host 20 high-profile games in the state in the upcoming year, which includes the Division I men’s tournament.
“We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites,” the organization stated. “Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”
North Carolina legislators have not fully educated themselves about the constituents they are sworn to protect. The “bathroom predator” myth hurts transgender individuals who just need to use the restroom and lawmakers are playing the ‘religious freedom’ card to put their fellow Americans in danger. Gone is the political rhetoric of ‘letting the people vote’ on minority rights – the tables have turned and lawmakers know that if they put it up for the vote they won’t get their way. The North Carolinian government passed the law just hours after it was introduced. They ignored the public outcry from trans citizens, allies, businesses, social media, celebrities, the HRC, Equality NC, and the ACLU.
On Monday March 28, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Equality North Carolina and the ACLU of North Carolina filed a lawsuit against the state and Governor McCrory on behalf of two transgender citizens. The complaint states that the new law violates the 14th amendment, as well as Title IX.
This law doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t protect citizens. It opens the door to more violence against trans individuals. Citizens like Madeline Goss will have to deal with the implications of this law every time she needs to use public facilities.
“I can't use the men's room. I won't go back to the men's room. It is unsafe for me there. People like me die in there..."