North Carolina passes dangerous law

Jessie Matias

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On March 23, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that the legislature passed and that many activists have described as the most extreme anti-LGBT measure in the country. The law has two parts: it forces transgender people into bathrooms that differ from their gender identity and it disables cities from creating laws protecting members of the LGBT community.

 North Carolina is now the third state in the last five years to ban local anti-discrimination ordinances after a city attempted to protect the LGBT community. This is a maneuver of questionable constitutionality.

 According to the 14th Amendment, “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

 For this reason, the new law will almost certainly face a court challenge, and the state’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, stated during a press conference that he won’t defend it, calling it what it is: unconstitutional.

 As I said in the beginning of this article, the new North Carolina law has two parts. First, it requires public schools and agencies to segregate bathrooms by the gender a person is assigned at birth and not the gender they identify with. Second, it eliminates existing municipal, non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by the state’s cities in the future.

 This bill is highly problematic for various reasons. The first part exposes transgender individuals to violence and harassment by forcing them to out themselves each time they enter a bathroom. It would also cause transgender students to become even more prone to being bullied at school because they’re being outed, singled out and exposed. If there’s a community of individuals the government needs to protect when it comes to bathrooms, it’s the transgender community.

 As for the second part of the bill, members of the LGBT community deserve as much protection as any other community. This part of the bill enables people such as employers and doctors to act bigoted and get away with it. A doctor could refuse to treat patients that are part of the LBGT community, even if they are in critical need of medical attention.

 Transgender individuals in the south died during the 1980s because of the lack of laws that protected them from being discriminated against at places like medical centers. Bills like this don’t protect people, they kill people. A key problem with these kinds of homophobic and transphobic bills is that they are usually passed by heterosexual white men that have never been discriminated against for who they are. They don’t understand what it’s like to have their lives be put at risk by the government for something they can’t help, such as their sexual orientation or gender identity. They also don’t care for understanding what that would be like, either.

 I only have one question for the Republican governor and members of legislature of North Carolina: the LGBT community isn’t harming anyone with their gender identity or their sexual orientation, so why are you trying to harm them? Live your own life and let others do
the same.