A new policy forcing people to use the gendered restroom that matches their birth certificate was announced in North Carolina on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Not only does this law overturn any formerly inclusive policies, it “prevents all cities and counties in the state from passing their own anti-discrimination rules” at any point in the future. This legislation was written up as a result of the recent updating of a Charlotte, N.C. policy that did have protections LGBTQ+ individuals, including trans people who wanted to use the bathroom that matched their gender.
According to Dan Bishop, a North Carolina Republican who spearheaded the creation and codification of the new law, this policy will “[preserve] a sense of privacy people have long expected.” Clearly, this privacy does not apply to trans, gender nonconforming, and other marginalized people. Supporters also classified the new law and the subjects it addresses as an “issue…of safety,” suggesting that trans or gender nonconforming bodies pose some sort of threat to others.
This legislation passed through in the North Carolina Senate, where all 32 Republicans were in support and Democratic senators walked out, denouncing the bill entirely. This new law creates a definitive anti-discrimination policy for North Carolina that literally doesn’t even mention gay and transgender people. The turnover of this bill into actual law was incredibly fast, and some Senate members weren’t even aware of its existence before it was presented and finalized Wednesday.
This new policy is an example of explicitly state-sanctioned discrimination, and it is one that other states will hopefully not follow. Only 22 states currently offer legal protections for sexual orientation and/or gender identity, meaning that discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is legal in the majority of the United States.
To deny queer individuals access to seemingly inalienable human rights is to suggest that these bodies are less human than others. In an age of heightened awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, this kind of prejudice is disheartening. The bill will hopefully be overturned, but in the meantime, LGBTQ+ people of North Carolina are in need of supportt—They’re definitely not receiving it from their government.