North Carolina's 'Bathroom Bill' Relies More On Fear-Mongering Than Facts

North Carolina's 'Bathroom Bill' Relies More On Fear-Mongering Than Facts

The controversial bill penalizes transgender people for no other reason than being transgender.
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North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that restricts transgender people to using the bathroom corresponding to the sex specified on their birth certificates.

McCrory defended the bill by stating that this will protect from sexual predators “disguising” themselves as the opposite gender to gain access to bathrooms. In a shocking twist, there have been zero verified instances of predators posing as trans people in order to assault people of the opposite sex. Furthermore, the suggestion that predators are using this tactic to commit offenses aligns transgender people with sexual predators, putting them at an even greater risk for discrimination and violence.

A study from the Williams Institute found that over 70 percent of transgender or gender-non-conforming people received a negative reaction when using the bathroom. This ranges from verbal harassment (68 percent) to physical assault (9 percent) and strict denial of access (18 percent).

With the evidence at hand, it is clear that these “bathroom bills” are less about protecting cisgender people and more about institutionalizing, rationalizing and legalizing hatred and fear against transgender and gender-non-conforming people. When pressed on his support for a similar bill in Florida, Frank Artiles, the Republican Florida State Representative, said that the measure is “preemptive” rather than “reactive.”

This “preemptive” bathroom measure paints transgender people as sexual predators and criminals, when all they want is to go to the bathroom. Imagine being denied not even a civil right, but a human right—the right to dignity—in the most basic way. Transgender people are put at risk every time they enter a bathroom, and bills like North Carolina’s and Florida’s put them at a greater risk. They are forcing transgender people to disclose personal information to strangers at their potential peril, and stripping away basic dignity.

Furthermore, the bill is almost entirely impossible to enforce. The Asheville police department said it would not be checking birth certificates and the Greenboro police department said that it would only respond if a bathroom user complained. Policing such a law is costly, ineffective and time-wasting.

So what does that mean? It means that this bill was driven by pure hatred and fear, completely unsupported by logic. So, if the police won’t do anything, then it is down to bathroom-goers to become peeping-toms and gender-police, completely reversing the original point of the bill, which was to protect people.

Bills like these rationalize transphobia and push back trans-equality movements. It penalizes people for crimes they did not commit, and condemns them to violence, harassment and embarrassment. The point of the law is to protect people and their dignity, and North Carolina’s bathroom bill does not, preferring to rely on bigotry and fear-mongering to marginalize transgender people.

Institutionalized segregation in any form is poisonous to the law and the country. By supporting this bathroom bill, the governor and his supporters are saying that people are not inherently equal. He is saying that our bodies are not our own, and our dignity is not guaranteed. He is saying that, at any moment, anyone can be stripped of their human self-worth to satisfy outside prying eyes.

Cover Image Credit: Skip Foreman

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?

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A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.

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ddrodzx

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