House Bill 2 against equality

Bernard Chen, Editor-in-Chief

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling gay marriage legal in the United States last summer, the fight for LGBT rights has continued to burn bright in many states. But with the recent passage of House Bill 2 in North Carolina in March, rights for transgender individuals have come under fire, with state regulations requiring all people to use restrooms based upon their “biological sex,” printed on their birth certificate, and not the sex they may choose to  identify with.

Yes, safety should be a priority considering bathroom laws, but are we really keeping our children and loved ones any safer by preventing transgender individuals from using the bathrooms of the gender they identify with? Most transgender citizens have already been using bathrooms corresponding to their identity and it isn’t until new laws are written on paper that the public begins to feel insecure.

This state mandate that restricts transgender residents is a blockade to LGBT rights, and it doesn’t provide any real protections. With or without the bill, it’s just as easy to commit crimes and the allowance for transgender individuals to use the restrooms of the sex they identify with doesn’t open any doors for such crimes.

In fact, HB2 is a breach in civil rights for residents of North Carolina. The U.S. Justice Department has issued a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory stating that the new regulation goes against federal law. Yet, North Carolina state officials refuse to step down from their position, with the state and federal governments suing each other over the bill.

Last year, Congress amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the Equality Act, to ensure equal opportunities and to ban discrimination based on not only race, but also sexual identity. This constraint placed upon transgender individuals of North Carolina completely goes against the values of equality the nation should be striving for today.

Large corporations and prominent figures like Michael Jordan and Bruce Springsteen have voiced their support over transgender rights as well. Just last month, Target issued a statement supporting transgender rights in the midst of the North Carolina law debate.

“Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” Target said in a blog post.

At the end of the day, it’s an issue of balancing everyone’s safety, comfort, and respect on all levels. The passage of HB2 violates the opportunities of transgender individuals without offering any real reasoning.