Civil Rights

Don’t be deceived — the HB2 repeal doesn’t mean anything

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The decision by the North Carolina legislature to finally repeal the so-called bathroom bill may seem at first glance as a positive move toward restoring equality within the LGBTQ community.

But don’t be fooled.

{mosads}HB2 treated LGBTQ people unfairly it required people in government-owned buildings to use bathroom facilities that matched the gender on their birth certificate, regardless of what they identified with. On the surface, the decision today to repeal the law may seem like a positive move.


However, the alleged repeal of the discriminatory HB2 law passed today is not a complete repeal, it still discriminates and the LGBTQ community is still not protected from discrimination.

This bill extended discrimination of LGBTQ people. With no federal legislation in place yet, the LGBTQ community is left exposed to discrimination from one state to the next. That underscores why we need The Equality Act to be introduced in this Congress and to become law.

North Carolina has no statewide nondiscrimination protection laws for LGBTQ people. The state can still discriminate — not offering jobs or promotions to people who are LGBTQ based exclusively on their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).  The state also permits restrictions in granting access to housing based on SOGI, too.

And well known is the ongoing struggle for people to gain access to public accommodations and use of facilities while respecting their gender identity — whether bathrooms, restaurants or public libraries. Even cities and towns in North Carolina that would want to provide nondiscrimination protections are prohibited from doing so through 2020, under this new law, the non-repeal of HB2.

How can anyone call this worthy of support when it allows the risk of even greater discrimination than before HB2 and removes previously available protections? There’s no remedy to reconcile.

So let’s be real about what happened today.

Associated Press reports the state losing $3.76 billion over the next dozen years as a result did not leverage the legislature. The NCAA, which opposes HB2, marked Thursday, March 30, as the deadline for North Carolina either to repeal HB2 or be deemed ineligible for six years to serve as a host for any college championship games in any of its cities or towns.

Political and economic realities caused today’s action, not the stories from the LGBTQ community, their families and allies because if that had been the driving consideration, a full repeal to undo the harm would be real.

At risk for most frequent mistreatment are North Carolina’s residents.  However, visitors are at risk of discrimination, too, including me. I’m an openly transgender Latino, and I have friends in North Carolina who I have been concerned to visit even though no one would expect or welcome me in the women’s restroom.

When my NASCAR annual membership renewal came in the mail, I jotted a note to say I decline because of HB2. I remain proud of my NCAA letterman status earned on the women’s tennis team at the University of Georgia and challenge the NCAA to continue to be the leaders they have been.

Today’s actions send the wrong message and it is misleading. The LGBTQ community, their families and allies, including the global corporations and local businesses who oppose discrimination should not compromise on dignity, inclusion and equality ever.

Diego Miguel Sanchez, APR, is Director of Advocacy, Policy and Partnerships for PFLAG National.  He is the first openly transgender senior staffer to work on Capitol Hill, having been senior policy adviser to Congressman Barney Frank (D- Mass.) until his retirement.

The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags anti- gay bathroom bill HB2

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