HB2: Bathroom Politics Sanction Discrimination

by Rev . Dr. Nancy Wilson

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory reached a new low last week by bringing a lawsuit against the Federal government on his right, and his state’s right, to discriminate. Governor McCrory’s attachment to bathroom politics, in a southern state, which once sported his, hers, and “colored” bathrooms, pulls back the curtain on conservative politics as a thin veil for race and gender bigotry.

As we see by the eight years of unremitting attack, block, and disrespect for the first African American President of the United States, racism did not go away with the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, it just went into more coded language. The recent HB2 passed in North Carolina weaves a vicious network based on race, gender, economics and any identity that is vulnerable to discrimination.

Bathroom politics are not a joke.

When women first went into the workforce in industrial America, women’s bathrooms were a win for working class women and families who were already vulnerable to sexual and economic violence.

When women started taking their rightful place in mainline seminaries in the 1970s, in places like Yale Divinity School, there was one public bathroom with one toilet for all the women, who then represented close to 40 percent of the student body. To say that women were not expected in the theological task is an understatement. It said to women to get out, stay home, and go away.

This is what bathroom politics communicate: Get out, stay home, and go away.

As the global leader of Metropolitan Community Churches, this denomination has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and global human rights. I am proud of my transgender siblings who are bravely coming out and telling their stories so that everyone will be safe. Not everyone can pass easily.

Transitioning is expensive and job discrimination against transgender people is rampant—and there is no legal recourse. LGBTQ people might be able to get married, but our jobs are not yet protected.

Today, it is transgender women of color who are most vulnerable.

The lethal combination of race-based and gender-based discrimination and hatred is clearly demonstrated as they find themselves more vulnerable to attack and murder than any other group in the USA. Even police become victimizers instead of protectors. The Anti-Violence Project research shows that transgender women of color are six times more likely to experience violence at the hands of police than other people are.

While there is not one documented or even anecdotal case of a transgender woman assaulting another woman in a bathroom anywhere in this country, politicians intent on exploiting the unfounded fears and hatred of their populace lie and say they are protecting women and children from bathroom assaults.

What are McCrory and the right wing legislative body of North Carolina foisting on their state? Sex discrimination: Title IX says that there can be no discrimination in facilities based on sex. Discrimination in general: Banning all protections at the city level in North Carolina, they have breached the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protects minorities from discrimination.

Stand down Gov. McCrory and North Carolina politicians.

You think you are building your careers on morality issues, but what you are doing is embarrassing North Carolina and threatening the wellbeing of a group of people who do not need more discrimination. What you are doing is immoral.