The North Carolina state legislature followed through on their previous promise to return the United States to a simpler time when discrimination was mandatory and bigotry was the law of the land on March 23. A special session was called to address what the ultra-conservative members of congress deemed an emergency: The rights of the state’s queen city to rule itself.
The trouble began last month when Charlotte put a law in place protecting the individual right to use the proper restroom for their gender. Before the ink was even dry on the anti-discrimination law, however, the state’s ruling body vowed to reverse it, stating that they believe discrimination should be mandatory when it comes to restrooms. Apparently they don’t believe that everybody has the right to poop.
Reversing the Charlotte law was not far enough for the extremist government, however. They also made it illegal for any city to make rules protecting individual rights when it comes to using restrooms. Like many fundamentalists, the right wingers in the capital believe that restrooms are meant for sexual contact, mostly of the nonconsensual variety.
The move comes at a time when the state of Georgia is facing heavy scrutiny for similar laws being considered, with everybody from Disney and Marvel to the NFL vowing repercussions if they continue down the path of prejudice and ignorance. But North Carolina is not heeding the modern world, even as their neighbor faces severe consequences for their actions.
The new law passed unanimously in the State House, but the Senate was a different story as all of the Democrats in attendance walked out in disgust as the GOP displayed their authoritarian style of forcing laws on both individuals and municipalities. One wonders how it will be enforced, perhaps there will be mandatory genital inspections like in a recent Washington state bill?
Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill late Wednesday in the most recent display of right wing zealotry in the former Confederate state. The Republicans only took control of the state in 2010, but have taken every opportunity available to attempt to return it to its antebellum cultural ways.
Additionally, the wording of the bill includes references to religion, leading to concerns that business owners and managers could follow the legislature’s lead and ban people of other religions form using their facilities. It is worded so poorly that it even allows discrimination against veterans, pregnant women, or pretty much anybody who the restroom manager wants to force behind a tree.
Needless to say, the law has received massive amounts of backlash from anybody with half a modicum of sense. The hashtag #WeAreNotThis arose from the controversy, and one trans man, JP Sheffield, tweeted a photo of himself with the caption “It’s now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife.” To be clear, Sheffield is very clearly male, with a full beard and everything, but was born a genetic female.
In this election season the culture wars have reached a fever pitch. But while most Americans want to allow people individual freedom and give them the protection to use that freedom, many are pushing back, hoping to turn the clock back to a time when bigotry and theocracy were the rule rather than the exception.
Hopefully North Carolina and states like it can realize the error of their ways and be educated on what restrooms are for. But until they learn that restrooms are not, in fact, for sex, rape, and coprophilia but are intended for the most basic of bodily functions, we can expect to see more legislations like this across the country.