In late March, the General Assembly of North Carolina enacted House Bill 2 (HB2), which regulates multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities in schools and other public buildings. The law requires people to use the bathroom or changing room of their “biological sex.” HB2 neither applies to private establishments nor prohibits the use of unisex, single-occupancy facilities.
A celebrity, corporate, and political backlash followed HB2, demonstrating the hypocrisy of the selective boycott campaigns and sweeping condemnations of states in the name of “social justice.”
Before jumping to the conclusion that North Carolina is a bastion of transphobic cis-males oppressing the LGBTQQIAA community, it is worth noting that HB2 defines one’s biological sex according to his/her/“xyr” birth certificate, not DNA. In NC, a post-operation transsexual person can amend his or her birth certificate with a notarized reassignment surgeon’s letter, a court order for a legal name change, and a $15 processing fee.
Almost all states allow name and sex amendments to birth certificates, with varying degrees of physician validation, paperwork, and fees involved. Even if a birth certificate cannot be amended, an individual can typically obtain another form of government identification with a legally changed name or sex.
Progressives did not hesitate to point out that HB2 appears to discriminate against the trans population through a legal lack of inclusivity and acceptance. The reasonable compromise of implementing single-occupancy facilities for the non-gender-conforming has been shot down as expensive and unnecessary, or condemned as discriminatory and even so emotionally damaging as to cause irreparable harm.
In this latest identity-driven crusade, progressive sexual revolutionaries have completely overlooked the ultimate end of laws like HB2: to protect women. That is not at all to say transgender people are sexual offenders. North Carolina’s HB2 acts a preventative measure against male sexual predators taking advantage of the current gender politics in order to harass or assault women in restrooms or locker rooms by falsely claiming a new gender identity.
In effect, HB2 creates a safe space for women in restroom facilities. Given the alarming rise in rape and sexual assault statistics against women, advocating for the free use of any bathroom or changing room is nothing short of baffling.
If it is difficult to believe college students could abuse gender neutral bathrooms, note that the University of Toronto reconsidered its progressive policy last year after two reported accounts of “voyeurism.”
Also consider Taylor Buehler and Jason Pomares, two men convicted of voyeurism in women’s restrooms. Under the desired standards of restroom use, who could deny or disprove their claimed identity?
An outburst of celebrity and corporate hypocrisy drowned out any reasonable debate over the law. Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr have canceled shows in North Carolina to protest the law, yet have no problem performing in states with similar legislation.
Bryan Adams canceled a concert in Mississippi for similar reasons, but seemed perfectly content to belt out “Summer of ’69” to audiences in Egypt, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, where LGBT people are actively persecuted and even executed.
Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, hinted at an intent to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte even though the law could not conceivably affect its operations in any significant way. Other corporations, such as Deutsche Bank and PayPal, refuse to open offices in certain states, denying the creation of hundreds of jobs over a law that does not substantially affect private businesses.
As the list of musicians and companies refusing to work in North Carolina continues to grow, politicians like Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy are signing executive orders to cut state funded travel there.
Although Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly dictate allocation of their state funds for travel, they are setting a dangerous precedent. The federal government could easily claim that such boycotts substantially affect interstate commerce, and could therefore further regulate and micromanage the affairs of private corporations and independent state governments.
The U.S. Commission for Civil Rights issued a statement last week characteristic of the absurd overreaction to HB2. It cites nondiscrimination as the preeminent unwritten American law, legitimizing the use of coercion in the name of tolerance. It also explicitly claims that religious freedom discriminates and infringes on tolerance, so any law protecting religious freedom (including the First Amendment) must be narrowly tailored.
Although HB2 and similar laws in other states have gained bipartisan support, the illiberal reaction in the name of “tolerance” simply would not provide safety and privacy in schools and public facilities. Calls to boycott states for their legislation infringe on interstate commerce.
People and companies can rightfully exert economic pressure as a form of free expression, but the state boycotts reflect a mobocracy that interferes with state sovereignty. We should allow state residents to govern themselves, and not to rule or be ruled by boycott, social justice, and hypocritical celebrities.