The issue of Transgender rights has been brought to the forefront in the past few months. Specifically, the debate of which restrooms can be used by people who identify as transgender. There are two very opposed factions of Americans which have sparked conversations and anger all over the country.
North Carolina became a battleground when it passed House Bill 2 on March 23rd of this year. This bill negated all non-discrimination protection for the LGBT community. This includes a mandate that prohibits transgender individuals from using government restrooms that they “identify” with; they must instead use restrooms that align with the gender with which they were born. HB2 caused an almost immediate reaction, not only in NC but throughout the world.
The governor of NC, Pat McCrory, has remained steadfast in his defense of the legislation. However, on May 4th, the US Justice Department declared House Bill 2 to be in violation of the Civil Rights Act. The federal government has given NC a brief time to either go forward with the bill or reject it. If the NC legislature opts to continue with this Bill as written, the state would be in jeopardy of losing federal funding for many programs.
McCrory and his state have received other backlash because of HB2. Many national as well as global companies, like Bank of America, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Kellogg, have signed letters of opposition to the bill. The NBA, which was poised to select Charlotte NC, as the site for next year’s All-Star game, has threatened to cancel the event unless HB2 is rejected. This cancellation would result in millions of dollars loss, for the state of NC.
Entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr have canceled concerts in the Tarheel state, resulting in more loss of revenue. The companies who have shown support for the House Bill 2 are lesser known such as, Civitas, NC Values Coalition and To Your Health Bakery. Groups who are opposed and those who are supportive may factor in the state’s final decision on the fate of House Bill 2.
Another corporation who has found itself in the middle of the controversy is Target. The mega company released its stance on the trans-gender restroom debate on April 20th. The statement welcomed transgender team members, as well as customers, to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Their support of the LGBT community has received a backlash from a group called the American Family Association (AFA).
Leaders of the AFA began a petition on April 21st, in response to the statement. As of late April, the petition had over 1 million signatures. Each of those signing the pledge, to boycott Target until their stance on transgender bathroom use is changed. The American Family Association have publicly stated that Target’s position on allowing transgendered individuals to choose restrooms, is giving molesters free range to attack children and women.
The Transgender Law Center has a different definition of gender identity. They describe it as how a person feels deeply inside about whether they are male, female or in-between. This group seeks to protect LGBT rights. They have the following list of states categorized by their stance on gender identity.
High Gender Identity Support
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Mid Gender Identity Support
- New York
- New Mexico
Low Gender Identity Support
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
Negative Gender Identity Support
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
As the debates and the boycott continue for both sides of this issue, legislation and lawmakers struggle to keep up. It remains to be seen what effects the boycotts will have on the financial and social aspects of big business and states’ rights.