A new law undoing statewide anti-discrimination policies for LGBT individuals will prevent the University from allowing individuals to use the bathroom of their gender identity, requiring instead that they use the bathroom corresponding to their gender assigned at birth.
The N.C. General Assembly passed the bill, called House Bill 2, in a special session. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law Wednesday night.
Lauren Martin, president of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, said the bill represents a dangerous power structure that could hurt progress on UNC’s campus.
“The fact that a bill can pass within a few hours of being written and discussed and signed that explicitly discriminates against LGBTQ people — it’s very scary that your state can have such strong feelings about its people or constituents,” Martin said.
Martin said the bill will complicate the process of creating more gender-neutral bathrooms on campus — which has already proved challenging.
According to the UNC LGBTQ Center’s website, there are currently 57 gender nonspecific or single stall bathrooms with a locking exterior door on campus.
First-year Brennan Lewis said the legislation was kept away from the general public. dir.
“He just rushed everything through so quickly. It was kind of sketchy — what kind of governor signs a bill at 10:30 at night?” Lewis said.
Lewis said the bill shows the General Assembly does not care about all of its constituents.
“It’s saying that LGBTQ students aren’t citizens, basically. It tells trans students that they’re dangerous and abnormal, which is really terrible for folks’ mental health,” Lewis said.
Regan Buchanan, co-president of the Campus Y, said it’s important for students to contact their legislators.
“Just because this bill is law doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t hear from you. They should know that they’re not representing the interests of their constituents because that’s what they’re elected to do,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said she was disappointed the bill was passed but not surprised.
“The N.C. legislature has a history and a pattern of legislating to marginalized individuals that aren’t white and wealthy. We’re saying that we need to dismantle the structure and stop letting things like this happen and prevent the elections of ignorant people to the North Carolina legislature,” Buchanan said.
The General Assembly did not make the bill public until the day it was passed, which Martin said disregards progress made towards equality for marginalized people.
“It sends the message that our state doesn’t care about all of its individuals, that equality is only for a few people and our state doesn’t care about the needs of LGBTQ people,” Martin said.
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