We are afraid. Afraid of the dark, of unfamiliar people and places. We are taught to fear. Told more often than not that we are vulnerable. Taught that underneath our beds lives a monster. Told by the people who serve and protect us there is an ongoing epidemic of crime, terror and disaster. And when we confront this beast we are met with anger from those who purport to protect us.
It is time for our North Carolina legislature to mature, to improve, to move beyond fear as an impetus to discriminate and start to do what is ethical. It is time to end the discrimination against black, trans, queer, disabled and indigenous communities. It is time for justice.
In response to Charlotte’s trans and family inclusive ordinance, passed just recently, House Bill 2, deceptively titled “Public Facility and Security Act” and proposed by members of the N.C. General Assembly, eliminates protections for trans and gender non-binary individuals and communities.
In the state of North Carolina, there is a lack of protection, at large, for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in the public and private sector. Prior to the passing of HB2, the town of Chapel Hill has had comprehensive safeguards in place barring the discrimination of LGBT individuals.
This law blatantly and in no uncertain terms undoes these protections, making it possible for LGBT folks to be fired without recourse. This means that a parent, family friend or close relative could be fired from their job due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Additionally, the law mandates that every person in North Carolina will be required to use designated public restrooms that correspond with the “biological sex” assigned to them on their birth certificate. Such a tactic of fear mongering by the state legislature is everything this state does not need. It does not come by perpetuating myths of fear and predation inside safe spaces.
In addition, the tone taken by advocates for HB2 has been one built off of patriarchal undertones of “protecting” women and children. This rhetoric places legislators in a false narrative in which they are protecting citizens, in an attempt to mask the real narrative of bigotry.
This is no laughing matter. North Carolina stands to lose up to $4.5 billion in federal funds due to disobedience of Title IX. The U.S. Department of Education clarified in 2014 that transgender individuals are protected under Title IX. This means the new law could mandate that schools do things that would put them in violation of federal law.
This bill is wrong beyond repair.
This law is a chapter in America’s horror story. The very notion that this bill could in any way serve the public or securitize the public from an ominous threat is outlandish. Instead of focusing on the “biological sex” of a person, might we empathize and work to include those who are different from us in body and mind in our public spaces. Perhaps it is not the N.C. General Assembly who deserves the brunt of our rage. Might we someday take on a politic that emphasizes inclusion in every way possible and push ourselves toward a public that is forever just.
The bill is now law, but there will be a protest outside the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh church at 5:45 p.m. today. We encourage all students able to attend to do so.
It is also crucial to hold the legislators who voted for this law accountable. In November, it makes more sense for students from North Carolina to vote in the counties they are from rather than in Orange County. Orange County politicians don’t need an abundance of UNC students to be held accountable for their positions. The rest of the state needs students more.