This morning it looks as though hate has won in North Carolina as the General Assembly met in special session to pass a bill that prevents local governments from banning discrimination against LGBT people.
The hate started flowing when Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing people to use the rest room of the gender with which they identify. Apparently some people worry that the person in the stall next to them either has or doesn’t have a penis. Somehow, they seem to think having someone whose gender isn’t what’s on their birth certificate in the next stall diminishes their bathroom experience.
And, in that vein, are we now going to have people at the doors of rest rooms across the state checking people’s birth certificates? “Hmmm, you look a little masculine to me. Let me see your proof of gender.”
Immediately after Charlotte passed its nondiscrimination ordinance, Gov. Pat McCrory decided to call the legislature into special session to overrule the ordinance. But the state legislature took it another step, making discrimination illegal on the basis of “race, religion, color, national origin or biological sex,” deliberately leaving out sexual orientation and gender identity and making it legal for businesses and others to discriminate against LGBT people.
In short, House Bill 2 is the most sweeping anti-LGBT law in the country.
Defenders of this abominable law claim it will protect people from sexual predators, but people intent on preying on others will still do so. What this law actually does is make it easier to flaunt prejudice against people who are “other.”
People who are transgender are not any more likely to be predators than anyone else. The middle-aged man in the men’s room is just as likely to prey on your son as the woman who identifies as a man — possibly more so.
In fact, the woman who identifies as male is probably more likely to keep to himself, fearing people’s reactions. That’s because he’s more likely than most other people to be harmed just because of who he is. (And yes, if someone identifies as female, it’s likely that person’s pronoun is “she,” whether you like it or not. Let’s say your name is Deborah, and you pronounce it the Biblical way — de-BOR-uh, but someone claims you can’t pronounce it that way and repeatedly, deliberately mispronounces it. Disrespectful, isn’t it? People who identify with the opposite gender deserve the respect of being addressed in their preferred way.)
The new law nullified nondiscrimination ordinances in 17 municipalities, according to Equality NC, an LGBT advocacy group.
I looked at the Facebook feeds of a few of my friends this morning and my heart broke at the hurt they’re feeling right now. I can’t imagine how defeated and broken they must feel today.
Imagine if something about you, something beyond your control, became OK to hate, OK to discriminate against. What’s next? Will it become OK to hurt people we consider “other?”
Eleven Democrats voted for the bill — the rest of the Democratic caucus walked out in disgust and held a news conference to talk about their stand against hate.
I will fight this law any way I can. I might not be able to make a huge difference, but I will boycott any business that discriminates against LGBT people. I will let business owners know why I won’t patronize them anymore, and I will spread the word.
It’s been about 10 years since an anti-gay group took out a double-page ad in the Citizen-Times, signed by hundreds of people and businesses. I still have the ad and I refer to it before doing business with someone. Anyone who signed that ad lost my business permanently. I don’t have a lot of money, but I will not let a penny of it go to a bigot if I can help it.
I will join any protest of this law I can because I am compelled to speak out against hate and bigotry.
I’m not alone in my disgust — national organizations are looking at boycotting North Carolina. The NCAA, which has playoff games scheduled in the state in the next two years has said it is monitoring the situation here. American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Apple and Microsoft were among corporations that issued a statement against House Bill 2.
This will not be good for the state’s economy; hate rarely is.
“Corporate leaders are speaking out against bills that could allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and other minorities – versions of which are actively being considered in states across the country,” the statement said. “This proposed legislation is bad for business.” (Read more here:)
Perhaps this latest national embarrassment will motivate voters to get rid of these hatemongers and elect people who really do care about all of the people of North Carolina.