Opinions

The Storied Repeal of HB2

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Andrew Oliver
   Staff Writer

Thankfully, Governor Roy Cooper and the state’s legislature have repealed House Bill 2, the infamous “Bathroom Bill,” which stated that transgender individuals had to use the bathroom which coincided with the gender on their birth certificate.

North Carolina had been under the influence and effects of this disastrous bill for a long time before the very recent repeal, and those effects have been disastrous for the state and its people. As soon as it passed under former governor Pat McCrory, many massive economic opportunities – concerts, performances, sports games, celebrity appearances – were pulled out of North Carolina, causing the state to take a big hit financially.

Like governmental sanctions, these sanctions from the private sector did more to hurt average Americans than it did to hurt the irresponsible legislators who drafted and passed this law. Job opportunities were lost, and the state had blatantly proven that it did not care for its transgender citizens.

“It has stained our reputation, it has discriminated against our people and it has caused great economic harm in many of our communities,” governor Roy Cooper affirmed at a press conference.

However, the repeal, as one might expect by now, is not what many, including myself, had hoped it would be. Far from it, in fact. To pass the repeal at all, a compromise had to made, allowing for a three-year ban on non-discrimination ordinances. Many LGBTQ activists and citizens have voiced their discontent with this compromise, saying that it will still allow for future discrimination.

At least Governor Roy Cooper knows and acknowledges that the compromise falls short of what he wanted, and what the state of North Carolina needs to do to progress and prosper, saying that the new and current law is “not a perfect deal and it’s not my preferred solution. It stops short of many things we need to do as a state.”

On the economic front, it looks like North Carolina will be able to hold sports games in the state once again. Celebrities will probably keep coming, and in a few months, the mainstream media will stop talking about this, if it even takes that long.

However, do not be fooled. The legislature may have been marginally influenced by the economic impact that HB2 had on North Carolina, but their real game has now been made perfectly clear.

They passed the new repeal law, which, as before mentioned, bans the enactment of non-discrimination ordinances for three years. This means that Republicans and other state legislators will be able to freely discriminate in many areas, which might not have been open to them before.

The Bathroom Bill was controversial, as it should have been, and it was a horrible declaration of war against many marginalized individuals in this state. That being said, it seems almost like they were thinking a few moves ahead, like the Bathroom Bill was not really their endgame.

I would not be surprised if the North Carolina legislature had known all along that the bill would be repealed at some point, especially with the very visible controversy in the news and media. Maybe they waited for things to bad – for the jobs to go away and for the protests to get big.

When the situation became desperate, there was no choice: either compromise on a repeal law, or get no repeal at all. We have opted for the former of the two, and the effects could be devastating.

A Bathroom Bill was terrible, but now it might do one good to prepare for more direct and violent forms of discrimination by the government, particularly against transgender individuals and transgender women of color, who so often receive the brunt of our state and culture’s aggressive and violent discrimination and hatred.

It seems that, in this country, we are constantly faced with choices that lead to no ideal result – not even anything close. As hard as it may be, the urgency is great, and it is coming upon times to take matters into our own hands, and help those who need it most.

Prejudice and discrimination must be dismantled in North Carolina, and looks as if the state is either unwilling or unable to do so on its own. While it is unfair for the average citizen to take this burden upon them, there is little choice in the matter.

We must organize. In these trying times, transgender individuals need to be prepared for the possible violence that could be permitted through the fallacy of this repeal. People who know and teach self-defense and firearm training should offer their services to these individuals for free, so that can have a full defensive education against the bigots of society who wish them harm.

Those who are much less marginalized should make a concerted effort to reach out to individuals who hold prejudices against the transgender community and other groups pushed to the fringes of our culture. We all must  make an effort to ensure our communities are appropriately educated in the reality of the peoples put at risk through that ignorance.

Until the day comes we find that understanding and House Bill 2 sees a full demise, we must inform the masses and resist the prejudice within our society and our own state’s government.

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