LGBT Discrimination in North Carolina


Chris Sgro

Chris Sgro leads a group carrying petitions calling for the repeal of HB2 to governor Pat McCrory’s office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Image obtained from The Guardian.

The new North Carolinian law, also known as HB2, the Charlotte Bathroom Bill or, more officially, as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, was passed in March by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. It is a response to Charlotte’s extension of its anti-discrimination decree, which would have permitted transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify and not only the one on their birth certification. It would have also given anti-discrimination protections to LGBT citizens.

According to the U.S. Justice Department officials, the law HB2 violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX. Therefore, this entity repudiated on May 4, 2016 the North Carolina’s House Bill 2 after the Governor, Pat McCrory, stated on a video that the use of female and male-specific bathrooms will be maintained and a creation of “special” restroom will be possible.

The Justice Department had given until Monday May 9, to the Governor  in order that he declares the non implementation of HB2. However, if the Governor decides to maintain the Bill, the State faces losing the federal education funding , which represents $861 million received by state public schools this year and which is, last year, $1.4 billion for the University of North Carolina system itself according to News Observer.

The Justice Department indicated that the Bill violates the Civil Rights Act, such as Title IX which prohibits the sexual discrimination in education area, and the Title VII which forbids employment discrimination.

McCrory, in an interview with business leaders, declared that the Bill’s restrictions would affect the whole country: “This is no longer just a N.C. issue. This impacts every state, every university and almost every employee in the United States of America [given that] they will have to comply with new definitions of requirements by the federal government regarding restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities in both the private and public sector.”

The Democrat Chris Sgro, who is the executive director of Equality NC, declared that “HB2 is deeply discriminatory, violates federal civil rights law, and needs to be repealed as soon as possible”.

Then, Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign which is the largest gay rights group in the country, commended the Justice Department “for enforcing the rule of law and protecting the rights of North Carolinians.” while the Charlotte’s Mayor denied to comment.

In order to give them more support, the Justice Department published a  fact sheet in 2015, stating that a “civilian transgender woman working for the Army at this time, had been discriminated because banned from using the common women’s restroom and forced to use a single bathroom” and therefore, the final judgment was the violation of civils rights by denying transgender employees access to a bathroom based on gender identity.

Finally, because HB2 is against the most important civil document, the one that famous and powerful personalities have fought for its creation and some gave their lives, the one of which the whole society is based on, the Civil Rights Act, we can conclude that this law should be removed.

One question whose answer should be interesting to know is how this issue became such a big deal. Do people in the U.S. believe it is really important to make sure that transgender people go to this restroom or that restroom? Should they?

It is our opinion that citizens in the U.S. have more important issues to attend to. In a country full of debates on guns, the health care system or primary elections, debating about transgender people and restrooms does not seem to be the best usage of time and energy for the citizens.

In fact, most people are not as worried as the media tend to say. Brad Paisley, an American country music star, even sang a song on Tuesday 24th at the Jimmy Kimmel Show, making fun of how the transgender issue seems to have gone too far. This is clear at the end of said song: “Why is this such a big deal? Hike up your dress, and take a stand. And sit by your man.”

In conclusion, we think that HB2 is a ridiculous measurement against a non-existing problem which can lead to a really serious issue. This Bill violates the rights of citizens, and it is our belief that these rights should be respected unanimously without second-thought, and that time and energy should be spent in debating on more realistic threats.

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