North Carolina legalizes discrimination under guise of security
Written by Jakob Wood
Being an American ensures an inalienable right to freedom, justice and equality, unless you’re a transgender citizen living in North Carolina.
Instead of using last year’s ruling on marriage equality as a stepping stone and making further progress in civil rights, North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory passed a new bill March 22 titled the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.
The title alone is cruel, giving the impression that transgender people are terrorists, threatening the safety of innocent, vulnerable citizens.
The bill forces trans citizens to use the bathroom matching their biological sex instead of the gender they identify with.
Both the governor and members of the state’s House of Representatives such as Tim Moore claimed that this was an issue of privacy even though this whole affair revolves around public bathrooms.
Jokes and irony aside, the problem is that they don’t recognize trans men and women as “real” men and women. They also seem to have forgotten about the existence of bathroom stalls.
People use restrooms to relieve themselves of bodily waste; that’s what bathrooms are for. These representatives are making inappropriate and discriminatory assumptions about the intentions of trans people without providing any statistical evidence. That level of ignorance has no place in lawmaking. But the bias doesn’t stop there.
ABC News reported that the Republican leaders were so eager to pass the bill that they spent $42,000 to schedule a special session before the passing of an anti-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte on April 1.
In no way can this bill be seen as non-transphobic when legislation rushed to prevent citizens from attaining equal rights that already existed in other cities of the state.
However, the bill also addressed locker rooms, facilities in which trans folks would be more easily recognizable and potentially unsettling to others.
While this is true, legislatures are more concerned with the comfort of the majority than the safety of the minority. That is straight up discrimination.
Trans people are likely to stand out regardless of which gender-specific facility they use. Forcing transgender people to use facilities according to the sex on their birth certificate doesn’t help their situation. In fact, it will probably cause more problems. Many trans people already don’t fit in, yet the government is only making it harder for these citizens to live normal, equal lives.
2015 marked the highest murder rate of trans individuals, at least 21 in the first 10 months, according to Law Street Media.
Now the government is willing to just strip people of their rights. What does that say to the public? Trans people aren’t important enough for the government to protect.
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, is calling this bill the “worst anti-LGBT legislation in the nation.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a biased, melodramatic statement.
On top of asserting specific bathroom use for trans citizens, it also negates all previous North Carolina ordinances protecting minorities against discrimination.
McCrory defended the bill by claiming, “We have not taken away any rights that have currently existed in any city in North Carolina.” The thing is, that’s exactly what he did.
This new bill makes it illegal for any North Carolina city to provide nondiscrimination ordinances that don’t exist at the state level, according to Thinkprogress.
This ultimately rules out most LGBT protections, negatively impacting people based on their sexual orientation as well as their gender identity.
The LGBT community is not the only marginalized group at risk. The discrimination permitted by this legislation could potentially extend to people simply because of their race, age, religion or disabilities.
The bill states that a trans person can only use the bathroom of their choice if their “physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate,” matches the designated sex of the facility.
This is an outrageous expectation considering the extensive and expensive surgical procedures to fix the reproductive scheme that matches their identity.
CNN reported that these procedures can cost about $100,000 out of pocket.
The whole process depends on factors such as hormone treatment, hospital stay, therapy, and of course the number of procedures needed to fulfill the transition.
North Carolina legislatures expect trans people to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket just so they can go to the bathroom comfortably. Let that sink in.