Behold the governor of (some of) North Carolina’s citizens. For others, both he and the NC General Assembly (GA) have a message: “welcome to North Carolina, but, you know, not everyone.” Together, the governor and GA just made North Carolina pull the rug out from under people who are LGBT.
This week, the NC GA called a special session for the sole purpose of beating up on transgendered persons and others who are LGBT. Specifically, the GA voted in both houses Wednesday — and without any real debate, with Democrats walking out — to end the city of Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance. But the GA wasn’t satisfied with that outrageous effort. It further removed LGBT protections from all local communities in NC and forbade localities from ever having such ordinances again.
The legislation forces transgender women to use the restroom for the gender identified on their birth certificate, and transgender men to do the same. One marvels at the absurdity of the birth certificate, papers-please implications. Importantly, until a person has had gender reassignment surgery, transgendered persons cannot petition for a new birth certificate to be issued. The process to obtain a new one is an onerous, bureaucratic one. It can be impossible to get all the signatures needed (from a physician, who refuses, for example). So there are a number of transgendered people without birth certificates matching their heart-felt identities.
Trans women would be especially vulnerable to assault when they are forced to use the men’s bathroom. To make matters worse, transgendered persons are already among the most assaulted and murdered people in America. This bill puts them in heightened danger. It thus also makes it difficult for them to have freedom of movement about our country. Without access to facilities they will more likely believe they must say at home.
The legislation furthermore eliminates citizens’ right to sue for discrimination. And in a final blow against human decency, it forbids localities from having a higher minimum wage than the state does and from requiring any other benefits of its contractors which the state doesn’t require.
The governor of NC, Pat McCrory, quickly signed the bill and is now complicit in the most discriminatory law against LGBT citizens in America. In the wake of the NC GA’s ignominious race to the bigoted bottom, the Washington Post suggests, the backlash against their actions has only begun. One can only hope the outcry is huge. Virginia, this is what awaits if you do not prevent a complete GOP takeover of your state in 2017. One more time, please “don’t NC Virginia.”