5 Things You Didn’t Know About NC’s Bathroom Bill

Untitled design

>>Untitled designYou’ve undoubtedly heard about House Bill 2: NC’s new law that, in theory, protects the sanctity of bathrooms. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone — in any state — who hasn’t heard of >>this overreaching legislation , which requires people to use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate.

A lot of people are rightfully annoyed by the codification of prejudice against trans* citizens contained in this bill. But what fewer people know is that it has some pretty weighty repercussions for cis-gendered North Carolinians. Here are five, in no particular order:

  1. Parents can’t enter the restroom their opposite-sex kids are using. My boys are old enough to go into public bathrooms themselves. Every once in awhile I have to stick my head in to make sure no hijinx are afoot. This new law removes any protections I might have as a parent who needs to ensure her sons aren’t stopping up the urinals with paper towels. (Does it sounds like I speak from experience? I speak from experience.)
  2. Towns and cities can’t pass their own laws preventing employment discrimination. Not only are restrooms legislated, other protections are as well. In my hometown of Chapel Hill, priority contracts are given by the town to minority-owned businesses. Under the new law, towns cannot place any regulations upon their contractors, including requiring them to pay fair wages.
  3. Businesses cannot declare their multi-occupancy bathrooms to be non-gendered. Even though lawmakers say they want to put power into the hands of businesses, this rule takes that away. All multi-occupancy bathrooms must be single sex. One of my favorite watering holes, the Pinhook in Durham, has a bathroom with stalls for people of all genders to use. They are now in violation of the law.
  4. North Carolina could lose a boatload of money. The Human Rights Commission says the new law is in violation of a federal law, Title IX, which prohibits discrimination. This puts $4.5 billion of federal funding at risk. Beyond that, NC stands to lose tourism dollars as the NCAA pulls out championship games, large companies such as Paypal and American Airlines reconsider locating offices here, and progressive-minded folks shy away from what is perceived as a prejudicial state. Even more, there’s no way this law isn’t getting challenged in court, which is going to >>cost a huge amount of money for North Carolina. The legislature has put aside $8 million to deal with lawsuits — including those regarding voting rights and gay marriage. Imagine what our state could do with that money if it wasn’t engaging in costly political theater.
  5. People will have to use the restroom next to people who appear not to belong there. Guys with beards, who just happen to have been born with ovaries, will be washing hands next to our daughters and sisters. Women with breasts, makeup, and fully coiffed hair — but also an XY chromosome — will be walking past urinals to hopefully grab a stall in the men’s room. Is this really the right course? Who’s going to be safer or more comfortable?

Groups are mobilizing to challenge this bill, in court and through social action. But you can make a difference at home, too. Tell your friends about this law, and explain why it affects them. Call your legislator, and the Governor’s office to let them know this law doesn’t represent your interests. And always vote. Local elections, state elections, even ones for small offices. Your vote is the one that makes a difference, every time.

There are 6 comments

Add yours
  1. Laurie Heffner

    I’m a liberal Democrat. Aside from criminalizing trans & gay brothers & sisters
    , this bill does something antithetical to beliefs & practices of liberal, conservative, & independent parents of young children in NC. I know many rich or entitled, gated neighborhood conservative Republicans are so hubristic as to believe that real & violent crime can’t happen to THEIR kids. They invent fake crimes while ignoring a greater possibility of real, violent crime. I’m 68, heterosexual, female, Protestant, & white, so, of course I’m supposed to get in line with the elitist, homophobic, racist, classist, anti-children, Republican, backwards agendas. I was an early childhood/elementary school educator. I, and most citizens of NC cherish all our children, not just white Republican ones. (I cherish them, too. I don’t blame children for their parents’ sins. I went to St Mary’s, in Raleigh, when it was a junior college. Some of my best friends were debutantes. When I taught, some of my best friends lived in the “projects”, middle class, working class, small houses/racially diverse neighborhoods (like mine), all kinds of places & faces…but, one race: human!) I do not support prejudiced people. I taught, in public & private schools, in NC, for years. The worst crime, against a child that I’ve been close to happened in 1985. A white, heterosexual male lured a girl student, walking to the elementary school at which I taught, into his car, bribed/enticed this 8 year old with a convenience store sweet treat, drove her, from the middle/upper middle class neighborhood to a local golf course. Then, this white heterosexual monster sexually assaulted her (semen found in her throat), killed her, & hung her from a tree. There IS stranger danger that is REAL. When my son was young, but grown enough for it to be appropriate for him to stop going into the women’s restroom with me, he went into the men’s room. I stood outside the male restroom, occasionally called in to him (alerting anyone who wished him harm that I was right there.) Sometimes I walked into the first part of the room & checked so that a real crime wouldn’t happen to him. I wasn’t worried about his mischief, though it is a legitimate concern in some situations. If he were still young, I would still be vigilant (not a vigilante) re: his safety & go into a “non-gender appropriate” (for me) restroom to ensure my child’s safety, just as I always went with him to the women’s bathrooms. I didn’t assume, because of any label I or others around my son had foisted upon them, that he was in danger or safe, because of or in spite of some labels. I’m not smug or overprivileged; I taught in NC. I don’t have tons of money or time to invent fake crimes, while ignoring bigger crimes (child rape by heterosexuals, & the lesser, but valid crime of NC’s teachers being 49th on the list in teacher pay [the Republican legislators value their children, who can go to private schools that have much lower student to teacher ratio.]) I expect my legislators to value ALL children in NC.]) When I moved to Raleigh, when I was 10, in 1958, “The Triangle” didn’t exist. Shortly thereafter, ground was broken for RTP. In 1960, Terry Sanford became governor, & NC transitioned to “The New South.” We valued education, on all levels, research (RTP), & commerce. I started teaching in 1971. We valued all races, religions, countries of ancestral or recent origin. I taught, in my 20s, when we were beginning to right some centuries long wrongs. I was allowed to teach using an eclectic approach/utilizing all the tools in my teacher’s toolbox. I was NOT handed a script. Legislators didn’t make up my lesson plans & tell me to teach for some test. I was greatly successful, teaching under the name of Ms. Scheft, at Ephesus Road Elementary in Chapel Hill. Governor Jim Hunt got 1-3 teachers Reading Aides. All children and all child care workers, regardless of color, political party, sexuality, religion, whatever subgroup, worked together. The teachers worked hard, staying late, sometimes (regularly) tutoring on a volunteer level, some of us giving time & money we didn’t have, to ensure equality in education. We didn’t have these trivial annoyances, which will translate into great economic losses because of how NC is viewed by individuals & industries in most other states. Let me place bets on what will happen to teacher salaries when we lose revenue because of our backwardness. These laws, created in egregious prejudice, ill will, & ignorance will distract us from REAL problems & crimes. You are dragging us backwards into a bleak future. And, don’t get me started on restaurant workers’ pay, $2.13 an hour. We are becoming the worst of the antiquated, outdated old South. The song goes, “Hurrah, hurrah, The Old North State forever….” , not “Hurrah, hurrah, the good , old North State…for straight, white, rich, non-service occupation, ultra conservative (NOT conserving the good for all) citizens; not for you untouchable, non-country club, peons.! The right wing legislators might as well tell the rest of us underlings to get back in the sub living wage, inequitable, unjust, straight past where the only sin was the owning of human beings raped away from their homes, (ah, the good old days, you’re thinking!) Now the sins are made up of bogus statistics. Bring back the company store, snake pits for the “mentally ill”, & prisons for people with the “wrong” sexuality. Maybe my having leukemia has a silver lining. I won’t have to live to see this legislature ruin my state. But, I am on a new medication. And, I do have a 30 year old adult child. Maybe, though low wages are encouraging him to leave, he & I will both stay and fight for the state we so love and so lament the loss of the best of its true values. Hey, thanks! I just got a reason to live longer, just to right your wrongs & fight your bigotry. My love of this state and my viewing of what the far right ( the far wrong, to me) as antiquated anathema is the best chemotherapy I could ever get!

  2. Greg Flynn

    I believe the statement “All multi-occupancy bathrooms must be unisex” as written is incorrect. I believe the author intended to mean “All multi-occupancy bathrooms must be single sex”. Unisex is the opposite of single sex. Some day multi-occupancy bathrooms will be unisex, but not today.

  3. Tim

    This law is so awful! I’m curious though if you could say more about #3 above? I was really surprised to see that and reading through the bill can’t seem to find where it says anything about what kinds of bathrooms a private business can have…

  4. JB

    Cut the bleeding heart crap. Maybe there’s a misunderstanding here. If you can slip in as a woman and not call attention to yourself–if you are sufficiently presenting consistently as a women and no one knows the difference–my God, that’s been going on for centuries–so cheat the system–what’s new? I don’t care. Kids cheat. Taxpayers cheat. Politicians cheat. Just don’t make cheating legal so it becomes legalized for ill-intent. AM I MAKING SENSE HERE?!

    Can you imagine the chill going up a girl’s spine if when sitting she saw very large feet from under the door? So yes, there is a reason for gendered bathrooms, and Trans are as apt to be harmed by non-segregation of bathroom genders as anyone else. You know–the shoe cam, the wall squeeze, the face smash….there’s a reason some populations are called vulnerable.

    So…you don’t feel safe in the bathroom of the gender you left behind? WHY NOT? And you want to legalize that dangerous situation for anyone else? CUT IT OUT–IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!!!!!

    It’s not about Trans, so quit crying injustice. I’t not about conservative values or religion.
    It’s about shutting the door so OPPORTUNISTS OF ILL-INTENT can’t mingle with their intended prey!!

Post a new comment