Recently North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a new state law that won’t allow local government measures to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. According to USA Today, the law halts cities and counties from putting their own anti-discrimination policies in place, as it sets a standard for the entire state that leaves out gender identity and sexual orientation.
One criticism warns that the state risks losing money for education due to Title IX Anti-Discrimination regulations. Those who oppose this law also believe that it is a huge step backwards for human rights. Supporters of the law state that it “protects all people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe” as it requires all people to use bathrooms that match what biological sex is on their birth certificate.
Based on what we learned in Chapter 1 of Julia T. Wood’s book, Gendered Lives, biological sex and gender are separate. So is it fair that this law requires people who might identify as a gender that is different from their biological sex to use a certain bathroom? Additionally, what about all people having the right to be protected from discrimination?
So what do you think? Based on what we have learned in class, is this law unfair?
This is a very interesting article Katie! When I first read this article I was sad because I thought about all the individuals who have finally found who they are and are still being told not to do certain things. When NC passed this law, I was very surprised. I feel like as a nation we were moving forward in regard to equal rights for the LGBT community, but with this law being passed we are taking a step back. We live in a time where many people are stuck in their ways and not wanting to move forward in having different ideas. In regards to using the bathroom, I wish their was a way to make everyone comfortable but I believe that will never happen. Someone will always be wanting something different. Growing up in a society that has had so many different opinions about the LGBT community it brings me to the actual definition of culture, according to Julia T. Wood. She states that culture is ” is made up of structures and practices that reflect and uphold a particular social oder. They do this by defining different social groups, values, expectations, meanings, and patterns of behavior as natural and good and others as unnatural, bad or, wrong.” I believe this definition fits perfectly with the recent law in NC because until we change our culture and the way the LGBT community is treated then nothing will never be done. As a society we must change our structures and practices and to give equal rights to everyone. Some change must be made for the LGBT community in NC and it may take baby steps, but without those baby steps being taken nothing will never change.
It is interesting to hear about such a law. I am surprised by it because after all the new forms of accommodation such as dorms with levels for transgenders, bathroom signs changing, and fraternities accepting different sexual orientations and gender identities this law seems to revert back in time rather than froward. With it being so lacking in progressiveness I guess it just reaffirms that while society is making leaps when it comes to the acceptance of sexual orientations and gender identities we still have a long ways to go. North Carolina is most likely not the only state to show its disapproval for nondiscrimination laws. It is a slow process that will take time and individuals that will be willing learn more about sexual orientations and gender identities. The more everyone learns the more likely they will be able to approach these concepts and laws with fresh eyes.
I can’t remember who I was talking to, but this was brought up in conversation and someone showed me a photo of a transgendered man who is a heavy lifting competitor. Of course they were born female, but identified as male, and he took to that figure as well. This transgendered man was INSANELY stacked. I couldn’t believe that he was once a woman. Anyways, I was shown the photo and the caption said something alone the lines of “what would you do if she walked into the girls bathroom?” When I read that and was told of what happened with NC legislature, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if this man was forced to use the women’s bathroom. It’s degrading and embarrassing. And also… how in the hell are they going to check?! This just infuriates me.
BUT Check out his link. His name is Shawn Stinson!
Thanks for sharing!
This legislation blows my mind. After having Dr. Jes come speak with our class about her struggles with limitations like this and I’m struggling to agree with the argument that cites safety as an important factor. Dr. Jes would likely face more unsafe conditions as a MTF trans person who is forced to use the restroom for men. I can’t help put her at the front of my mind when I think about this legislation, because I can only imagine how difficult it is for trans people to feel comfortable in a society that is more concerned with perceiving them as a threat.
Wow this is just baffling to me after learning about sex and gender in our class. Each person’s identity is different, so shouldn’t we be looking for a way to cater to all people, not shut them out? To me, this law is just generalizing the ideas of sex and gender in American society. Why should a law be put forth that is restrictive for the entire state when different parts of the state may have other needs? It seems that it would do more harm than anything. It is also giving people the idea to not be open or accepting of others. When gay marriage became legal in the U.S. someone told me that it was just one step closer to better human rights polices and respect in America. I think this law would further people’s minds to close the door to human rights and cause people to be less educated on the subjects of sex and gender identity. People need to educate themselves on the ideas of gender that we’ve learned in this course so far to make an accurate decision on laws like the one proposed for North Carolina.
I think it’s only fair to use the bathroom based on your biological makeup. Yes this law is going against the basic human rights of practicing your identity and who you are, but when it comes to using the bathroom, personally I think safety is top priority. Whether we’re protected from discrimination or not, it’s probably always going to be here. I see it coming down to who we choose to protect more, those who are discriminated against, or those who want to feel safe in the public bathrooms they use. If we’re in support of not discriminating anyone, then we’ll be entrusting this new law to assume that no harm will come from it. Going against it however will hopefully lessen the fear of those who would feel unsafe.
Actions and behaviors are associated with what one’s identity, sadly some of those actions are negative and will either be affiliated more with males or females. Any possibility of this law making someone feeling unsafe in a bathroom based on some of those actions, doesn’t need to be a law. Equality is nice, but sadly I don’t believe we’re at that point yet where genders can all feel safe with each other in almost any environment.
I agree with Emily in regards to objectively looking at both perspectives, but this is a special case. Humanity has an incredible track record for limiting our world-views. Particularly in the US, certain heteronormative policies are embedded into State Law. While modern societies have made progress in the past several decades, “backwards step” have certainly been made. With similar laws having been suggested in Georgia (thankfully vetoed after a waterfall of criticism), many people feel a widening pitfall between government and diversity. With any luck, and a considerable amount of hard work, heteronormative laws like these can be avoided.
I am glad you decided to write a post on this topic since it is such a big story in the news right now. I think this is an interesting case and I often wonder if 20 years from now people will look back and find it amazing that there were ever laws like that to openly discriminate against others.
Based on what we learned in class especially from the different guest speakers we have had I find this law to be unfair. Without the guest speakers I am not sure I would have seen how hard people have to fight in order to receive the same rights as their peers. Not only do laws like this affect those individuals but their families, their friends, and their children. Although it is not possible I do wish that people who live in fear and feel they need these laws for their safety all had a chance to hear people’s first hand experiences just as we have had. First hand encounters give people the opportunity to go past the label they have assigned and see the people they are hurting with their decisions and how they are just real people who deserve equal rights.
In most situations I am able to see both sides of the argument. Like for this situation, immediately I want to side with those who are saying this is a huge step backwards for human rights. It seems like our nation has finally made progress by passing the law to allow gay marriage, but now North Carolina wants to make a stand that says that these people are not protected from discrimination. It’s like North Carolina’s way of showing their disapproval for the LGBT community. Yet, I can see the other side of the situation. Unfortunately, we live in a rape culture that blames women for what they wear and how much they drink for the reasons they are raped. Since this twisted thought-process of rape still exists, I don’t want to share a bathroom with a man at a bar who has the ability to lie and say he identifies as female when really he might be a terrible man with a different agenda. Obviously, I am taking unisex bathrooms and considering the worst, but it’s something to think about. I wish there was a way for North Carolina to revise their law. Perhaps reword it to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but find a way to revise laws for bathroom use. I might be contradicting myself, but that just proves that there is not always a right and wrong answer in situations like this.