North Carolina pays to be bigots

Posted on May 25, 2016

Early this school year, we applauded our administration for adding a gender neutral restroom in the new arts building. And we hoped this was a part of a larger trend–that the nation was becoming more inclusive, that trans people were finally getting their rights.
However, this was not the case. North Carolina legislators recently tried passing a bill titled “HB2” which bans trans people from using the restrooms that align with their gender identity and prohibit cities from passing anti-discrimination legislation that would combat “HB2.”
What is even more shocking is that legislators are willing to lose up to $5 billion in federal funding and private sector economic activity, according to mediamatters.org, if it means passing this bill.
To them, getting in the way of their 37,000 trans citizens using the restroom is worth $5 billion, according to Time.com.
The silver lining in all of this is U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch’s paramount speech denouncing this bill, in which she rightfully compares bathroom bills to the Jim Crow laws.
She also acknowledged that this is not just a trans issue, or a bathroom issue, but a human rights issue. Many are even calling this the “I Have a Dream Speech” of the trans rights movement.
It is uplifting to hear such statements come from Lynch and the Obama Administration during a time in which trans people are being harassed, discriminated against, and murdered for simply being who they are.
And not only are they taking this stand with words, they are taking action. The Justice Department is filing a civil rights lawsuit against the state and the federal government is threatening to pull back funding.
They are also telling every public school in the U.S. to allow trans students to use the restrooms that align with their gender identity.
While it is inspiring to see the Obama Administration uplift the trans community in this way, it is important to recognize that it will take time for many of the states to catch up.
But at least we can take pride in not being one of them.

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