One of the controversies in HB2 is that trans folk who have not or can not take surgical and legal steps to change the gender on their birth certificate have no right under state law to use public restrooms of the gender that they identify with.
To increase the stakes, the bill forbids cities in North Carolina from “establishing ordinances that extend protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity to restaurants, hotels and stores,” according to ABC News.
Since then, HB2 has been met with opposition from different states in the U.S., from Oklahoma to New York to California. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and activist groups have filed a lawsuit against the bill on March 28, stating that it violates civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the state. According to the lawsuit, HB2 and its “lawmakers made no attempt to cloak their actions in a veneer of neutrality, instead openly and virulently attacking transgender people, who were falsely portrayed as predatory and dangerous to others.”
So, what does The Campanil think about all of this?
When we first heard the news, we felt a variety of emotions, spanning from disappointment, anger and even a lack of surprise about it. In fact, North Carolina is one of three states in the last five years to ban anti-discrimination laws as a means to protect LGBTQ+ people. We are absolutely opposed to the bill and feel that there should not be an argument for someone’s civil rights, especially for trans people’s rights to choose to use a restroom — especially an identity — that they feel the most comfortable with. We also noticed that while North Carolina is one of the most liberal states in the South, it apparently has a long way to go.
The Campanil could also not help but wonder about who HB2 law is supposed to protect. As students attending a school that has been considered progressive about LGBTQ+ matters in the media, we completely understand the harm that comes along with this kind of law.
We recognize and know that assaults happen to trans and non-binary people in restrooms because they want to use a restroom that they feel comfortable with and safe in. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy, 70 percent of polled trans people have been denied entrance, were harassed or assaulted when attempting to use a public restroom of their identifying gender. 25 percent of those responders left or changed jobs because of the discrimination faced against them.
Overall, we feel that people should let folks choose a restroom they feel the most comfortable and safe in. We feel that we should have options in using a restroom. As students and community members with a stronger background about this matter, we feel that North Carolina’s legislature is wrong for it. Instead, they should create laws that provide safety and security for them instead of something that violates one’s civil rights.