Playing the Offensive Against HB2
What will it take to get the North Carolina legislature to understand the isolating effects their controversial House Bill 2 passed March of this year?
Officially known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, the law, which has been described as the most anti-LGBT piece of legislation in the country, is most infamous for preventing people from using any restroom or changing facility in public or government buildings that does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth. Specifically, in an otherwise progressive age of trans acceptance and rights, this law prohibits people who identify as another sex or who have transitioned to another sex from using the restroom they are most comfortable in. This means that even adults who have lived the majority of their lives as one sex are suddenly being forced to used the opposite sex’s bathroom. Needless to say, the law has caused more than a little contention.
Yet as the federal government and private companies have threatened the state with lawsuits or severed business ties, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has remained adamant about HB2, which he claims protects women and children from having predatory or voyeuristic transvestites—most often painted as bearded ladies—from harassing or violating them in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers.
The most recent decision by the NBA, however, may finally start causing some real change to take place in the state. Here’s what happened.
Did it take cancelled athletics to make North Carolina respect human rights?
Hate in the House
Citizen safety should be a government’s paramount concern. Sadly, and even as we’ve worked so tirelessly to overcome misguided hatred in the form of slavery, sexism, racism, segregation, and general discrimination, society constantly finds new scapegoats on whom to blame their problems, or on whom to focus when the real troubles at hand seem too large to be taken on.
Though the LGBT community has long been a target of hate and violence, most recently it is the transgender community facing prejudice in the form of legislation against them and their basic human rights, such as using the restroom.
Sadly, the sham image cast of a transgender person is too often that of a bearded lady, a burly male transvestite in women’s clothes with sinister intentions. This is the image that many conservatives use when threatening parents that equal rights for transgender people means this “man” will be granted access to women’s toilets or showers, no doubt to then violate or harass their daughters.
Aside from the blatant stereotyping and sexism involved in this scenario, you have to take into account who such a law as the one passed in North Carolina truly affects. Much to the contrary, House Bill 2 actually forces long-since transitioned men and women to revert to their birth sex’s bathrooms, meaning fully transitioned men will be forced to use the ladies’ room, or that biological females will be forced to go into the men’s room or shower. If it weren’t so terrible, it would almost be a laughing matter: HB2 will force people of the opposite gender back into the “wrong” restrooms, simply because of the sex they were assigned at birth, thus causing more of a problem than there was to begin with.
Supporters of the law claim that it all comes down to public safety, yet they refuse to acknowledge the very dangerous situations they are now forcing transgender people into by forcing them to use restrooms that may correspond with their assigned sex at birth, but not at all with how they now look, act, dress, identify, or live. Hatred and hypocrisy often come hand in hand.
Reaction to HB2
Once the bill was rapidly passed into law back in March, the negative reactions were quick to begin. Aside from being condemned by other politicians and civil rights groups, many artists and companies informed North Carolina that they would cease to perform or operate in the state, but Governor McCrory remained resolute.
Among these are Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr, who canceled concerts in the state, and companies like PayPal and Deutsche Bank, who have canceled planned expansions into the state, leading to numerous lost jobs and millions in lost revenue. Perhaps more interestingly, several countries, as well as the states of Connecticut, Washington D.C., Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington, and even numerous counties and cities across the nation, have issued travel warnings and bans barring government employees from going to North Carolina on business. It makes the state sound like a third world country, and their current human rights record looks as so.