HB2: A “Bless Your Heart” From NC General Assembly

Why This Matters | Adriana Parker | March 30, 2016

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A week ago today marked a legal tragedy for LGB(T)Q+ community in the state of North Carolina. HB2 was passed with an 83-25 vote in the House and a 32-0 vote in the Senate (after all Democrats walked out and refused to vote). The bill overrode a previous Charlotte ordinance set to take effect on April 1 that could not discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation and mandated the bathrooms trans people can and cannot use. On the basis of “protection” for girls and women and upholding “common sense and basic community norms,” according to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, this bill fails to protect the rights of all citizens and blankly ignores the existence of transgender and other queer bodies in the state.

Now for the non-allied, cis gendered person, this may not seem like much of a problem. But in reality, laws like this perpetuate violence against trans individuals. Every 29 hours a transwoman is murdered and every three days the murder of a trans person is reported. The justification behind this bill follows that people may pose as transgendered individuals to gain access to the opposite sex’s bathrooms and locker rooms, which could lead to sexual assault. However, trans individuals are at a higher risk to be assaulted in public bathrooms and locker rooms than cisgendered women and girls.

“In North Carolina speak, HB2 is a huge BLESS YOUR HEART to the LGBTQ+ community.”

Allowing HB2 to be signed into law is no different than state sanctioned violence against people of color. As disenfranchisement and racial discrimination were once perfectly legal, North Carolina is headed for the same treatment of queer bodies. The bill states that individuals must use the bathrooms of the sex listed on their birth certification. This poses a problem for most trans individuals because making changes to what is stated on one’s birth certificate is quite difficult and not all choose to do so, so many are forced to keep the sex they were born with on legal documents.

HB2 is a result of an ignorance of what transgender experience is. McCrory, as well as other supporters of the bill, referred to transwomen as “men.” However, as previously noted, the physical appearance of femininity makes trans gendered women more susceptible to violence. Interestingly enough, the same logic is not applied to transmen. So what is really the problem here? The presence of the penis (or matching XY chromosomes) seem to be the threat. Yet, better laws against actual sexual assault perpetrated by cis gendered men are nowhere to be found.

HB2 reinforces a historical idea that women and girls are somehow weak and need protection under law (which is hilarious considering this does not apply for ALL women and girls). It allows an inherent nature of those bearing XY and a penis to be coded to assault. It is transphobic, dangerous, and leaves no room for tolerance in a state that is supposed to be loyal to the concept of southern hospitality. In North Carolina speak, HB2 is a huge BLESS YOUR HEART to the LGBTQ+ community.

The passing of the bill is, by technicality, an infringement of Title IX and North Carolina will likely see legal  implications as a result, including the loss of federal funding for educational institutions. This could even affect students at public universities receiving federal aid. Many have begun to boycott the state and protest the bill.  The state of New York has banned non-essential travel to North Carolina. As a result of all of this, HB2 could inevitably lead to significant economic stifle for the state.

Welcome to North Carolina y’all. Well, unless you’re trans, non-gender conforming, gay, bisexual, or anything in between. Three claps for acceptance!