America’s response to controversial House Bill 2


A screen capture of a tweet from a trans North Carolinian in response to controversial House Bill 2.

Helen Rogalski, Managing Editor

The passing of House Bill 2 in North Carolina has sparked a large discussion both state and nationwide in regards to how the law now forces people to only use the public restrooms that match the gender shown on their birth certificate.

Someone who identifies as a male but was born female is now forced by law to use the public restroom for men. The only exception is if someone is to undergo a sex change and legally change the statement made on their birth certificate.

The law was signed on Wednesday, March 23, and became a hot topic shortly thereafter. Thousands of people took to social media outlets such as Twitter to voice their opinions. As per usual, the people of NC were split down the middle.

Those who support the law, claiming that it will protect citizens from those who pretend to be transgender in order to assault others, vocalized their appreciation with the hashtag #KeepNCSafe.

The opposition, though, had their own hashtag to spread the notion #WeAreNotThis, referring to the fact that NC has not passed such a controversial bill over LGBT rights before.

More than just North Carolinians vocalized their opinions, though. Companies, celebrities and activists countrywide shared their views.

Director Rob Reiner, famously known for his films The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally, said he will no longer shoot in North Carolina until the law is repealed.

“Until this hateful law is repealed and LGBT North Carolinians are treated with the equal dignity they deserve, I will not film another production in North Carolina, and I encourage my colleagues in the entertainment industry to vow to do the same, enough is enough,” said Reiner on March 24, just one day after the law was made.

Similarly, the company American Airlines, which has a station in Charlotte, NC, issued a statement saying that “we believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation.”

In addition, there have been discussions of relocating the NBA 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte due to House Bill 2.

While many have spoken up, not all attention is being given to the opinions of celebrities and large companies. Everyday citizens and activists have done so as well.

James P Sheffield, who is a transgender man living in NC tweeted a photograph of himself, beard and all, saying “@PatMcCroryNC It’s now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife. #HB2 #trans #NorthCarolina #shameonNC.” This tweet has since gotten over eight thousand retweets and almost nine thousand favorites.

While the argument over whether or not House Bill 2 really protects citizens wages on, other questions to ask are how will trans citizens be protected in public restrooms as well? And where will the money for that endeavor come from?

After all, the special session turning this bill into a law did cost taxpayers $42,000, according to The New York Times Editorial Board.

It seems as though no matter the cost, thousands of NC citizens are ready to continue pushing for change, and protests have begun statewide.

As a university in NC, this law applies to restrooms on campus as well. Chancellor Jose Sartarelli issued a statement to all UNCW students, faculty and staff via email in regards to HB2.

Within it, he shared that “while we have not determined the full impact the law may have for our campus, what will not change is our long-held commitment to an inclusive environment for our students, faculty, staff and guests.”

The email also included a statement from UNC President Spellings, stating that “In the coming weeks, we will continue the dialogue around our collective efforts to increase and sustain diversity on our campus, and to enhance the many ways we offer support and services for all employees and students. In the meantime, I stand with my peers across the UNC system in their commitment to maintain an environment dedicated not only to excellence in education but to fairness, safety and support for every one of you.”