Anti-discrimination bill causes uproar

Mae Wood, Staff Writer

April 8, 2016

“The law is hateful and the rush to pass it violated any chance of democratic deliberation,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Maria Rosales.

On Feb. 22, the city of Charlotte had expanded upon its anti-discrimination laws to protect people victimized based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

But on April 1, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed a bill prohibiting local governments from providing these protections.

Last week, Guilford College took initiative in supporting to LGBTQA community by providing gender-neutral bathrooms.

The general assembly’s primary concern in deciding to revoke the anti-discrimination laws applying to LGBTQA individuals was safety for women in public gender-neutral bathrooms. They claimed that women would be endangered by men who took advantage of such facilities’ ambiguity.

Guilford College President Jane Fernandes released a statement shortly after the bill was passed claiming that Guilford, as a private institution, would not adhere to the changes made by North Carolina.

“As a Quaker college that has historically worked to oppose discrimination and is guided by our core values, we deeply lament the passage of this harmful bill and remain fully committed to affirming the lives and experiences of LGBTQ community members and providing a welcoming and inclusive educational environment for all,” said Fernandes.

Many students are still concerned about the passage of the bill despite the Guilford campus maintaining its safe environment, and many claim to be endangered and uncomfortable because of it.

Aron Correa, sophomore and advocate for LGBTQAA rights, expressed that they thought the bill was a significant step backward for North Carolina. According to Correa, after all of the strides the United States has made in endorsing equality and overall acceptance in the past decade, this bill proved to be an effort to revert back to the once prominent prejudices.

“They passed this bill under the misunderstanding that cis(gender) men are going to try to use the ‘I’m trans, I’m supposed to be here’ excuse to molest people in women’s bathrooms when that just doesn’t happen,” Correa said.

“Instead, they are just forcing trans men, who sometimes look more cis than some cis men do, into women’s restrooms, completely defeating the point of the bill and putting a lot of people at risk, especially trans women.”

Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert Duncan expressed his views on the new laws and the rights people should have in regards to their own protection.

“These people should be protected,” said Duncan. “I am very much against bullying and bigots. They should be prosecuted and so the laws ought to be there to allow that. If the laws aren’t there to back you up or protect you, what can you do?”

Many members of the LGBTQA community and allies are concerned about what this bill could potentially be capable of. Some have expressed that this bill passing is evidence of the backlash resulting from the current presidential campaign.

Sophomore Taryn Sneed expressed that she’s glad that she attends a liberal school that will maintain its values and openness to gender-neutral bathrooms and LGBTQAA acceptance, but she still fears for the rest of the state.

“For every action there is a reaction,” Sneed said. “This is most obvious in the presidential campaign (where) the more ridiculous things (candidates say), the more support (they get). I think that the bill highlights the fears many Americans have because they are not well- educated with trans issues or are unaware of any openly accepted trans people in their community.”

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