News / Opinion

Walking Back into our Horrific Past

By DISHA BAILOOR, junior

“I was wrong to vote for HB2”, said Billy Richarson, a North Carolina Democratic Representative. House Bill 2 or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act was passed by the North Carolina general assembly (and signed by Governor Pat McCrony) in response to an ordinance passed in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina. Many people have condemned the passage of this bill, which is dangerous because it alienates the transgender community on the basis of sheer discrimination. This is a big step back for our country which takes pride in our democratic government.

The passage of HB2 has been called a “disgrace” by a number of people because the transgender population is being denied their simple right of choice and protection under the law. They have been forced to go to the bathroom according to the gender on their birth certificate instead of the gender they identified in. Charlotte’s small step towards equality and fairness has been thwarted by the state’s governor and the disillusioned general assembly. The state has established its superiority by forcing Charlotte’s city officials to abide by this newly passed bill. Shouldn’t they have a say in this process? Why is a state assembly joining hands to promote this unethical judgment?

Additionally, the bill  encourages discrimination in the workplace. It has taken away gay/transgender employees’ right to file a case over any discrimination in the workplace. The supporters argue that “Homosexuality is a behavior and not a civil right.” Therefore, they believe that the LGBT populace does not deserve the right to fight for their rights completely alienating them.

More importantly, the hastened general assembly meeting costing $42,000, sneakily passed this bill which prohibits cities from passing their own anti-discrimination laws. The counties and cities in North Carolina are now bound by the law to follow the state’s footsteps. Charlotte as a city, now, cannot take decisions to change the minimum wage, child labor and such. One of the other reasons why HB2 has caused an uproar amongst in our community. The recension of these powers from the cities/counties has rendered them helpless. The state has decided, tyrannically, that it doesn’t want to walk  down the path of open-mindedness.

Furthermore , it creates statewide public accommodations law that outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or biological sex, and ,conveniently, does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. Due to these reasons, transgender activists’ decision to sue North Carolina in federal court was anticipated. The lawsuit has raised several important issues which range from equal protection under the law to privacy rights.    

The lawsuit is a big step because adults are not the only population that is getting affected by this bill. It also affects Public Schools, specifically high school students. More than a million students in North Carolina use the school faculties every day, now, there is a problem faced by the transgender students who have to use bathrooms according to  their listed gender on their birth certificate. It also conflicts with a number of school districts that allow the students to use bathrooms based on the gender they identified in.        

It is also leading to North Carolina’s economic decline. Many businesses, companies, and Hollywood filmmakers have condemned the bill and have threatened with boycott. Companies like Facebook, Intel, Google, IBM, Apple and several others have threatened to pull out jobs. Paypal has actually pulled 2000 jobs out already leading to a loss of 40- 70 million jobs in revenue. Numerous bands and artists have also pulled their shows out of North Carolina; there are travel bans too. If the state legislatures take more time to reconsider their obvious mistake, North Carolina’s people will be out of jobs and its economy will hit rock bottom.

Consequently,  the bill must be repealed as soon as possible.

Even though, the supporters of HB2 consider it necessary for the protection of people from sexual predators, it has never been a problem. There is no evidence supporting this claim. In the eighteen states that provide LGBT protection, there have not been any such cases.Likewise, they claim that there will be severe privacy and safety issues for other citizens, the government should not get to decide for an individual.

To put it briefly, HB2 is a disgrace to the modern society’s values. Our country known for equal opportunity has been forced to go against its fundamental beliefs of progressivism. An individual must be allowed to make his/her own decisions, the state or government cannot make it for them. This breach of equal rights must be revoked because it’s common sense.

Image Source: http://wwwcache.wral.com/asset/news/state/nccapitol/2016/04/13/15639399/15639399-1460556424-640×360.jpg

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