By: Regina Wright ~Staff Writer~
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, in late March, which eliminated protective laws for gay and transgender persons and forbade cities from allowing transgender individuals to use public restrooms based on their gender identification.
A special session of the General Assembly started early on March 24 after the city of Charlotte, N.C., enacted a nondiscrimination ordinance allowing transgender individuals to use public restrooms based on their identified gender.
“Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance,” McCrory tweeted on March 24. “That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”
Also known as House Bill 2, the bill preempts all local ordinances and reserves the right to pass additional nondiscrimination ordinances. The bill was passed in the state House 82-26 and 32-0 in the state Senate after Democrats walked out and did not vote in protest.
“I’m upset that it’s forcing people to act as if they are a gender that they do not feel,” Vice-President of Xavier’s LGBTQ Alliance Katie Winoker said. “The law makes them go into the bathroom based on the sex they were given at birth, which unfortunately could lead to a violent outcome for some of them. If they dress, act and feel like a female but go into the men’s restroom, I wouldn’t be surprised if men would act violently. I am very concerned about this trend, this is now the third state to retaliate when a city attempts to protect LGBTQ people, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee. In all three, a city had passed a law that you cannot discriminate against LGBTQ people and almost immediately after the state had replied by passing a law that you can. There is no reason there cannot be neutral bathrooms or a third bathroom.”
The bill has received backlash from civil rights groups, celebrities, politicians and businesses, including the NBA. After the bill was signed on March 24, the NBA hinted at the possibility of moving the 2017 All-Star Game to another city in a statement made the next day.
“The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte,” the NBA said.
The Obama administration announced it is considering whether or not North Carolina’s new law makes the state ineligible for billions of federal funding that is used for schools, highways and housing on April 1. The threat of the loss of federal funding could potentially have the effect of pressuring North Carolina to eliminate the bill. A lack of funds would put the state in a budget crisis.
“I think this law is something that all states should consider,” a female sophomore student, who declined to give her name, said. “The bathroom is a place of privacy and I would feel uncomfortable knowing that I would be sharing it with a man.”