Earlier this year, North Carolina passed a law which is keeping transgender people out of their preferred restroom.
The law, called the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, says that in schools and government buildings people must use the bathroom that corresponds with their “biological sex,” defined as the one “stated on a person’s birth certificate.”
This has clearly put some transgender people into an uncomfortable position, including Charlie Comero, a Charlotte resident, who took a creative route to peacefully protest the bill.
Comero, a transgender man, printed cards which he gave out that read, “I’m following a law that was passed on March 23. I am a transgender man who would rather be using the men’s room right now. This is likely uncomfortable for both of us. Please contact your legislature and tell them you oppose HB2.”
Denying transgender and gender nonconforming people access to bathrooms of their choosing in public buildings can have negative consequences on their education and employment. Many avoid using public restrooms altogether, leading to health problems such as dehydration, kidney infections and urinary tract infections, according to CNN.
Additionally, according to Harvard Health Publications, the American Academy of Pediatrics squarely opposes the law. The organization claims the law will cause a rise of an unhealthy mental state in young adults. Many adolescents identify as transgender, and adamantly conform to their gender identity.
Adolescents who are bullied or unsupported by their peers have much higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Laws like North Carolina’s send the message to transgender youth that they are different and they must change.
Transgender people of color, especially transgender women of color, face much higher amounts of harassment and violence when they are forced to use bathrooms based on their biological sex said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center.
“Trans people are not doing anything wrong, and they are at much higher risk to harm than anyone else. Let people live their lives,” said Star Hagen-Esquerra, a transgender Junior at SLVHS.
Many companies, including Paypal, have refused to expand their companies into North Carolina, along with musicians who have cancelled tour dates in North Carolina.
Most recently, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas posted on social media they will be cancelling tour dates in response to the law.
“We have decided to cancel our ‘Honda Civic Tour: Future Now’ shows in Raleigh and Charlotte,” says Jonas’ Instagram post.
The issue has become a central issue in the 2016 election at this point. North Carolina Republicans have started to turn more toward Governor McCrory’s Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, as the backlash intensifies toward the bill.
It has seeped into Senate, House, and even presidential elections, as Republican front-runner Donald Trump has come out in opposition of the bill.
By Robert Jeffrey