North Carolina Outrage over HB2

Zaria Swain and Tea Smith

On Wednesday March 23rd, North Carolina’s General Assembly voted on a bill banning cities and counties from protecting people in the LGBT community and governor, Pat McCrory, signed it. The bill would put a statewide policy in place, banning businesses from discriminating against customers and employees on grounds of race, age, religion, or biological sex. The bill specifically does not protect the LGBT community and prevents local governments from passing any nondiscrimination policies. The bill would also prevent schools from allowing transgender students from using the bathroom that match the gender they identify with.

There has already been major backlash over the law. Many people, including civil rights groups, businesses and politicians, have expressed feelings of dislike over the law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by the governor in a special session on the 23rd. It was apparently a response to a much more liberal law passed by the city of Charlotte.

HB 2 sets a statewide “anti-discrimination” policy which prohibits businesses and employers from discriminating against employees or customers based on skin color, religion, country of origin, age, or “biological sex.”  Yet the law does not offer any protection to the people in the LGBT community, and keeps local governments from passing separate nondiscrimination policies that go against the state standard. It also prevents local employment ordinances from controlling benefits, wages, leave policies, and employee protections.

While citizens continue to express distaste for the law, some people even gathering to protest, many major corporations and organizations have taken a stand against the law. Companies like American Airlines, Biogen, and Paypal are some of the many who have taken measures to rebuke the unfair law by declaring they will avoid doing business in North Carolina.  Several state governments have forbidden their employees from traveling there on state business such as conferences.

The NCAA, which is supposed to hold a men’s basketball tournament in Greensboro in 2017 and and in Charlotte in 2018, has said in a statement that the are monitoring the issue.

“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.” the NCAA’s statement said. (ESPN)

In today’s society, especially in the year of 2016 many more people are freely expressing themselves as individuals. Not only youth but even adults are starting to express themselves not only as lesbian or gay, but also as transgender. Not all people or even all states are accepting of people who choose to live these alternative lifestyles, and thousands (if not millions) of Americans have to endure not only discrimination but also segregation on a day to day basis. This specific prejudice has become a big deal in the state of North Carolina as HB2 also gives private business owners the right to choose who they want to hire or sell things to based on their sexuality.

These new rules could prove difficult to enforce due to the fact that the state doesn’t have the numbers or time to hold every transgender person in the state of North Carolina accountable for what  bathroom they choose to use. Unless they have security at every bathroom door checking birth certificates and IDs to make sure that everyone is using their designated bathroom, this law will soon lose meaning, or worse, suddenly find random self-appointed citizen bathroom monitors taking things into their own hands.

The people who live in North Carolina but are also a part of the LGBT community are fighting hard to put a stop to a law that seems to be directly reverting back to the days of segregation and discrimination. These laws are a violation of the civil liberties of each individual who is affected by this law. It is also hard to watch his video and comprehend how the governor can keep reiterating his plans to protect the people’s privacy and equality because he is contradicting himself. These laws are neither private or equal. They are an invasion of privacy because it forces people that are transgender to use a bathroom that does not correlate with their identity, and they are not equal because it strips LGBT citizens of a right that is granted to every other citizen.