If you’re like me and maybe don’t follow the news as closely as you should (but sometimes don’t like to admit it), you’ve probably heard the term “bathroom bill” being thrown around a lot recently. But what’s with all the toilet talk? The bathroom bill is quite the hot topic in Congress right now, so in attempt to educate others (any myself), here’s what you need to know about the bathroom bill.
The bathroom bill, officially called House Bill 2, has only officially been passed in North Carolina. The law is targeted towards transgender people, and states, among other things, that transgender people must use public bathrooms that correspond to the biological sex they are given upon birth. The law has sparked tremendous controversy, not surprisingly, and has also influenced other states to move forward with similar laws.
The following states have introduced bathroom bills in the 2017 legislative season: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. While the bills are still pending in 13 of those states, 10 of those states are considering policies that would affect only public schools. Those in South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming have failed.
The discriminatory law in North Carolina was passed in March of 2016, but last Thursday the state passed a bill to repeal HB2.
“For over a year now, House Bill 2 has been a dark cloud hanging over our great state,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said last week. “It has stained our reputation. It has discriminated against our people and it has caused great economic harm in many of our countries.”
Cooper was not exaggerating. In addition to the discrimination and hate the bill has promoted towards transgender folks, it has also cost the state a lot of money. Many companies have been pulling out of business plans, and a number of sporting events and concerts have been cancelled specifically because of this law.
Last April, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas cancelled their tour shows in Raleigh and Charlotte, stating that the law did not create an inclusive or accepting environment for their fans, noting that it takes away “some of the LGBT community’s most basic rights and protections.”
In addition, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has refused to let North Carolina host any college championship games through the year 2022 unless changes to the law were made by Thursday.
Although parts of the law were repealed, there were still parts of it that were only compromised, which some are saying was an attempt to silence the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. It also seems like much of the motive in repealing the bill was due to North Carolina’s economy.
Governor Cooper acknowledged the limitations on the new bill, specifically the three-year ban on local nondiscrimination ordinances, which in turn allows for more discriminatory legislation to come about.
While I wholeheartedly agree that the new law is nowhere near perfect, I think it’s important to recognize the small progress that is being made. The unfortunate reality is that nothing comes easy (or quick) in our government system, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting. Call your legislators, protest, and most importantly, talk to any transgender individuals you may know and see how they are feeling. Our most important job as allies is to listen to those we are advocating for and find out what they need. We should never assume anything (especially people’s pronouns), so take this first step as an ally before doing anything else.
What are your thoughts about the (partial) repeal of HB2, and what do you think both the government and the people can do to move towards equality? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Source: Cory Doctorow, Flickr