North Carolina’s restroom law

restroom signSeveral people I know now can’t legally use the restroom that’s appropriate for them in North Carolina. They look like women or like men and everyone considers them that, but their birth certificate says the reverse, so the law says they have to outrage everyone by going into the wrong restroom. Effectively, they’ve been banned from using restrooms in the state. It may not be the most outrageous law on the books, but it’s close to the top in sheer creepiness.

This could be a serious problem for science fiction conventions, which attract a higher than average proportion of trans people, in North Carolina. Maybe such people will just stay away, “solving” the problem. If they do go, I think this is one of the clearest cases for civil disobedience. It’s not as if cops are going to stand at the restroom entrance and ask you for documentation.

Should cons take a formal position on this? Doing so might draw unwanted attention from law enforcement. On the other hand, it would be a good idea to let trans people know the con supports them. It’s a tricky area.

Do the North Carolina legislators even understand? Do they want situations where a man goes into a women’s restroom? I’d like to think they just don’t understand the reality of it, but too many politicians don’t care about any consequences of their actions except the votes they gather.

Incidentally, I had a really hard time finding a link to a news story on the legislation using Google News. Almost everything was either a commentary or an article on someone else’s commentary. With all their skills, can’t the people at Google come up with software that can tell a news story from an editorial?

Update: Here’s a piece with more details on the law. It says the law doesn’t apply to stores or fast food restaurants. Does it apply to hotels? Now I’m not sure.

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3 Responses to “North Carolina’s restroom law”

  1. Karl-Johan Norén Says:

    Checking the text of the actual amendment, it seems to apply to schools and to “public agencies” of NC. So no, from what I can tell (as a non-American, IANAL, et c) the law doesn’t apply to private property or business.

    That said, many laws will have influence outside the narrow confines they do apply to, and I very much believe this will be such an example.

  2. Eyal Mozes Says:

    Agreed. And if the law really applies only to public agencies, not to private businesses, that makes it not nearly as bad as it could have been, but still outrageous.

    One appalling aspect of this is how little national public reaction there has been against the North Carolina law; in contrast to the huge outcry we’re seeing against the Georgia religious freedom bill, and all the businesses threatening to boycott Georgia if the bill is signed into law. It would seem obvious that if anyone is opposed to the Georgia bill out of any genuine concern for the rights of LGBT individuals, they’d be much more opposed to, and much more inclined to threaten boycotts and otherwise fight against, the North Carolina law. So why has the reaction against the Georgia bill been so much louder and stronger?

    The businesses threatening boycotts against Georgia, like the businesses who last year threatened similar boycotts against Indiana, are being blatantly hypocritical; the threatened boycotts are an exercize of the exact same freedom that they’re trying to deny to the citizens of Georgia. In contract, a threatened boycott of North Carolina over their restroom law would have been logically consistent and reasonable. So why have we seen the former and not the latter?

    I would suggest that this is one more illustration of something that really has been clear for a long time: progressives are not concerned with individual rights, whether of LGBT individuals or of anyone else. The businesses protesting against the Georgia bill are not doing so out of any concern for LGBT individuals. The North Carolina law imposes a one-size-fits-all rule that everyone will be coerced to follow; this is something progressives can accept, no matter how bad the rule. In contrast, the Georgia bill would protect freedom of conscience, allowing people of different beliefs to make their own decisions and making it possible for them to live and let live; that, for progressives, is the one unforgivable sin.

    • Gary McGath Says:

      People may just have been caught by surprise. The bill went through the legislature with incredible speed. I heard on NPR today that several large businesses are considering pulling back on new projects in North Carolina.


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