Get the Facts: North Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Law

Carolyn Chen

For all the social activism, for all the liberal attitudes and awareness movements at Duke that many students have and are a part of, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that Duke itself is a bubble. It is easy to forget that Duke is a liberal institution in a conservative state. But an unpleasant reminder came from the North Carolina Legislature earlier this month in the form of a law that blocks local governments from from passing anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBTQ community.

This law, set to go into effect on April 1st, was a response to a previous law which the city of Charlotte passed that prevented businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The most controversial aspect of the Charlotte law was that it allowed transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. Opponents complained that this would make the bathroom unsafe for women and children from “sexual predators”. The new North Carolina Law, HB2, would force transgender men and women to use the bathroom of their biological sex. But this leads to an uncomfortable and even potentially dangerous situation as it could easily lead to harassment or even violence against the transgender person. But HB2 extends beyond that. It has the potential to eliminate discrimination protections that have been implemented in cities throughout North Carolina, and also makes filing a state-level discriminatory lawsuit nearly impossible.

However, the new North Carolina law has not come without pushback. Many have taken to Facebook to share their opinions on the new law, and the hashtags #RepealHB2 and #WeAreNotThis have been trending. Multiple corporations have also spoken out against the new law, with executives from 16 different major companies signing an open letter to the governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, urging him to repeal the bill.

In light of of this law, the Duke Community should stand with the LGBTQ community on campus and in North Carolina and make ourselves more aware of this discriminatory law that is happening in the state that has become a second home for us. This is unacceptable.

Sources:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/24/471700323/north-carolina-passes-law-blocking-measures-to-protect-lgbt-people
http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/31/11337108/reddit-ebay-north-carolina-lgbt-law-hb2

Carolyn is a freshman at Duke University.