The Discrimination in HB2

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House Bill 2, as many of you know, prevents people from using public bathrooms that do not match their biological sex. In other words, it excludes transgender individuals from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, which for many, puts them at an increased risk for violence. Among the many issues with this law is that many transgender individuals do not look stereotypically like their biological sex/gender assigned at birth. That means even if they follow the law, to the people around them it may look as though they’re actually breaking it. It puts transgender individuals in a difficult spot, because neither choice is technically the right one.

Additionally, the only way to check whether or not a person is using the “correct” bathroom is to look at their birth certificate, yet in North Carolina officers can only ask for ID if they have reasonable suspicion that a person is committing a crime. Yet, without any legal definition for male or female, it’s basically up to the officer’s discretion whether to take action, which will obviously vary depending on the prejudices of the officer.

Responses on both sides of the issue blew up. A lawsuit was almost immediately filed against the governor after he signed the bill into law, going all the way up to the Department of Justice.

One of the larger trends on social media came from those in favor of the law calling for a boycott of Target, after the company decided to allow people to use the bathroom of their identified gender within their stores. However, the protest gained over a million signatures, which is only a 1/318th of the US population, so I don’t think Target will being doing too badly in the long run, despite protestors.

People in support of the law claimed they were afraid that without it, their children were in danger of sexual molestation even though it has been proven that transgender friendly bathroom laws do not increase the risk of sexual assault to anyone. They also believe that individuals will go into bathrooms in order to spy/peep/take photos of other people. This is deeply ironic considering North Carolina set up a hotline for people to call if they suspected someone of using the “incorrect” bathroom, and these people were encouraged to take photos of the “violators” in the bathroom in order to ensure they got charged and sentenced.

The law also resulted in a spike in calls to Transgender Suicide hotlines.

On May 4th, the Justice Department challenged the law, claiming it violated the U.S. Civil Rights Act. While that will likely mean the end of the law, the fact it even passed to begin with shows the bias and lack of understanding the general populous feels toward transgender individuals. While praising transgender individuals such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox, we, as a society, also need to work to give them equality as defined in our laws, not just verbal respect. Jon Oliver sums it up fairly well on his show from around 10 months ago.

This article focused mostly on the transgender issues House Bill 2 addresses, but the law also prevents cities in North Carolina from passing any of their own anti-discrimination laws. Essentially, it allows the state to pass its over-arching bigotry, even to cities that disagree with it, and the cities cannot do anything about it. The law is a problem, but hopefully as a result of it, we can work to achieve greater equality for transgender individuals and other minority groups throughout the country.

#TransLivesMatter

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About The Author

Just an English nerd drowning in words. English major with a Film and Media Studies minor. Aspiring to write many novels, films, television shows, and video games. Avid reviewer of movies, theatrical productions, videogames and pretty much anything you can possibly review.