New discriminatory legislation should prompt action

By Jessie Webster

North Carolina passed a law March 23, which blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to grant protections to gay and transgender people MG.

The law comes a month after the city of Charlotte passed a measure protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals from being discriminated against by businesses.

In response, the North Carolina legislature convened a special session, which costs state taxpayers $42,000 a day, and produced this shameful and dangerous law that encourages the gender surveillance of transgender individuals MG. http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2016/03/24/north_carolina_s_anti_lgbtq_law_is_unconstitutional.html

The law, known officially as HB 2 MG, ensured that people across North Carolina can now be fired from their jobs for being gay, forced to show their genitals to a police officer if a cop thinks they might be transgender and barred from using the public bathroom that aligns with their gender identity if they are transgender.

After breezing through the House and Senate, both Republican controlled, Republican Gov. Pat McCroy made the law official,MGclaiming that “the basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte.”

In no fewer words, McCroy illustrated the vicious fallacy associated so closely with being transgender: that at the root of an individual’s quest to live as the gender that they identify with, not the one they were assigned to, is a desire to look at other people’s genitalia.

Comedian and Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson MG perfectly eviscerated the anti-LGBTQ stance last November, commenting during a Weekend Update segment that men are so obsessed with watching women go to the bathroom, they are willing to undergo things such as gender hormone therapy and coming out to their family, “all for that big pay off of peeing in a room without urinals.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqDlVtgeYnk

The absurdity Davidson points to is clear, but the terrifying fact remains that the government of North Carolina now officially believes in the scenario Davidson illustrated — that comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinances will somehow give men lawful access to women’s restrooms for perverted purposes.

There is not one shred of evidence to support this prejudiced notion.

Of the 17 states and 225 other cities with gender-appropriate restroom ordinances, there has been not one case of a rapist or sexual pervert using their legal cover to attack women MG. ttp://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/24/north-carolina-lgbt-rights-wiped-out-with-lie-that-boys-could-use-girls-bathrooms.htmlh

What is true, however, is the pervasive discrimination and violence that transgender individuals in this country face on a daily basis.

According to a recent study by the National LGBTQ Task Force, transgender people are especially vulnerable to violence because of the complete and total discrimination they face in all aspects of their lives MG. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/19/a-tale-of-two-trans-americas.html

In November, I wrote about the University’s need to require all public dorms and buildings on campus to provide gender-inclusive facilities, in an effort to help make the University a safe and inclusive learning environment for everyone.

Since then, states and cities have continued to discriminate against trans individuals who are simply trying to exercise their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, something that so many lawmakers falsely claim to defend.

On Tuesday, the LGBTQ community scored a victory when North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced he would not defend HB 2’s constitutionality, calling it a “national embarrassment” that will hurt North Carolina’s economy if it is not repealed MG. https://www.yahoo.com/politics/ny-gov-cuomo-bans-travel-to-north-carolina-in-184327168.html

This is obviously a very good first step, as Cooper’s remarks represent the opinion of the many people who believe that a bill discriminating against sexuality in any capacity is both unconstitutional and morally wrong.

The Republican governors and lawmakers who support this type of legislation, in North Carolina and throughout the country, fully deserve condemnation and ridicule.

However, these Republicans are also elected officials. They are casting their vote based on what they believe their constituency wants. That’s equally troubling, and worth considering for those who want to ensure that future legislation like this is shot down immediately.

Regardless of what happens to HB 2, let this be an example to all voters, especially young ones, about the consequences of not being aware of local legislatures, and voting for competent officials.

The best way to continue to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community is for the outrage created nationwide by this event to become a landslide of voting this upcoming election season.

Jessie is a junior in [email protected]ailyillini.com