After North Carolina passed an anti-LGBT law last week, officials announced on Friday that the Obama administration was considering whether the state was now ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for highways, schools and housing.
The new wide-ranging biased law will prevent transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates. When the bill was in session, it received unanimous support from Republicans while the Democrats walked out in protest.
“This is a direct affront to equality, civil rights and local autonomy,” Senate Democratic leader Dan Blue said in a statement.
Passing a bill that forces transgender men and women to abide to the gender they were born to rather than the gender they identify with will only lead to serious consequences in the form of citizens being hurt.
Lawmakers are quick to use the defense that allowing people to use bathrooms of the gender they identify with will open the door to sexual predators who will take advantage of the law and enter the facilities under a pretense of identifying as the opposite sex.
This is absurd. There is absolutely no evidence supporting this claim. If sexual predators wanted to seek out victims in public bathrooms, they would, regardless of what laws were in place.
Instead, North Carolina has forced transgender males to use female restrooms where they face embarrassment and more than likely make other women uncomfortable.
Transgender women will be forced to use male restrooms, where they could easily become the victims of harassment or violence due to this outlandish law.
According to Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, transgender people of color have to deal with even higher levels of harassment and violence when forced to use restrooms based on the gender stated on their birth certificate rather than the gender they identify with.
No one will benefit from this law, and the state may face serious economic blows for its callousness.
Regardless of the damaging effects of the bill, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill late Wednesday night.
According to the New York Times, the state bill was “put together so quickly that many lawmakers had not seen it before it was introduced Wednesday morning.”
Obama has often declared the fight for gay and transgender rights to be the continuation of the civil rights era, and it is clear the country is not going to stand for discrimination to continue.
Many corporations have strongly urged McCrory to repeal the law and put a stop to such unconstitutional discrimination.
Those who have reached out in opposition include Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; Chad Hurley, Co-founder of YouTube; David Karp, Founder and CEO of Tumblr; Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook and many more.
After the bill passed, many departments announced they would be reviewing federal funding to make sure citizens’ rights were not being violated.
If North Carolina refuses to repeal the law, it will face reviews from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Education and the Department of Housing, to name a few.
Obviously, a country that seeks to protect every citizen’s rights will not support a state that seeks to discriminate. Lawmakers need to leave their prejudice opinions at home when they enter the courtroom and come up with policies that will benefit their state and all of their citizens, not single out a large group of people and set them up for biased behavior.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.