Mahatma Gandhi once said “intolerance itself is a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”
On March 23, North Carolina officials hastily passed House Bill 2, a bill that proved North Carolina’s governor promotes policy that encourages intolerance in the community. HB 2 prohibits members from the transgender community from using public restrooms for the gender they identify with. On an even broader scale, the bill inhibits protection of members of the LGBTQ+ community by preventing North Carolina cities from passing anti-discrimination laws.
This bill is not only exemplary of ignorant intolerance, but it is also promoting a community that is more accepting of violence and less open to a forum of acceptance. The bill that was passed during an emergency session revoked original laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community in regards to equal treatment in the workforce including equal employment opportunity and pay.
According to the Office for Victims of Crime, one in every two transgender people report being sexually abused or assaulted during their lifetime. A statistic that is not only devastating, but immensely vile. Half of the community has reported these crimes against them; however, I can’t remember once seeing a media outlet break a story on behalf of a member of the LGBTQ+ community committing an act of sexual abuse or assault.
This leads me to conclude the obvious: this bill had no motive other than to be fueled by narrow-minded ignorance. HB 2 is not only a detriment to the LGBTQ+ community, it is a complete tarnishing of North Carolina’s image as a whole as well as a significant blow to the economy. But evidently, the governor of North Carolina feels it to act foremost out of bigotry versus what is expedient for the vast majority of the population residing in the Tar Heel State.
Businesses and celebrities are sticking up for the LGBTQ+ community everywhere, revoking company-paid trips and canceling concert tours to the state, and rightfully so. Most recently, rock band Pearl Jam, cancelled its Raleigh tour stop on Monday, April 18. Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and other big-name celebrities have also publicly cancelled their plans on performing in the state in protest of the bill. The cancellations of concert tours along with some of the world’s biggest businesses including Starbucks, Apple and Facebook (just to name a few) publically rejecting the bill obviously poses a large potential threat to the economy.
Upon hearing about the bill, I couldn’t help but ponder the thought, when in history have discriminatory laws ever once bettered our society, and why the hell hasn’t North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory considered this himself?
We are a society that has come a long way in regards to oppression. It is a fight that is ongoing whether the oppression be based on gender, race, age or sexuality. However, in the last few decades America has come leaps and bounds by furthering and adopting a more progressive approach in acceptance. From the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the legalization of gay marriage on a national level in 2015, laws such as these were enacted to promote tolerance in America and provide an environment that cultivates peace and acceptance instead of nurturing fundamental intolerance and violence.
HB 2 is a sign of blindness and unwillingness to accept progress in society. It is a bill that is rooted from hate and an aversion to understanding. Not everyone is made from the same mold. America is a work in progress that should pride itself on progress and acceptance of all its inhabitants. Enacting backwards, hillbilly laws such as HB 2 is not only a giant detriment to the LGBTQ+ community, but also a poor reflection of the entire state of North Carolina.
America will never attain a true democratic spirit that many politicians would concur that we strive for until bills rooted from prejudice are entirely a thing of the past.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.