In late March, the North Carolina legislature convened a one-day special session where they steamrolled through legislation making it illegal to use a public restroom not corresponding to your gender at birth. It was quickly signed into law later that night and the state has faced an unprecedented firestorm ever since. The NBA is talking about moving the 2017 All-Star Game scheduled in Charlotte next February to another state. Businesses are refusing to expand into North Carolina. Musicians and other artists are refusing to perform there. The list goes on and on.
Facing this backlash and the economic toll it’s taking on the state, North Carolina lawmakers are back at the drawing board, hoping to pass new legislation that will mollify their detractors. However, the bill currently be discussed can hardly be seen as an improvement:
Draft legislation obtained exclusively by On Your Side Investigates would walk back portions of the controversial bill.
Among the draft bill’s biggest changes is the creation of an official document that would recognize a person’s gender reassignment. The new document, which is treated as the equivalent as a birth certificate in the draft legislation, is referred to as a certificate of sex reassignment.
“An individual who (i) was born in another state or territory of the United States that does not provide a mechanism for amending a current certificate of birth or issuing a new certificate of birth to change the sex of an individual following sex reassignment surgery and (ii) resides in this State at the time of the written application may request a certificate of sex reassignment from the State Registrar,” the legislation reads. “The State Registrar shall issue a certificate of sex reassignment upon a written application from an individual accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery.”
What this means is that a transgender person could be stopped when entering a public restroom and be asked to present documentation of their gender status. It’s the trans version of Arizona’s odious “Papers, please” law, S.B. 1070.
The current law already does this, in a way. But the proposed legislation creates a new document that transgender people would have to carry at all times. If they are stopped by law enforcement officials entering a public restroom and are unable to produce it, they can be arrested. Simply for trying to pee or poop.
This transphobic policy, if enacted, smacks of Nazi-style control over society. It’s a disgusting non-solution to heterosexual male predators preying on women in restrooms. I say “non-solution” because the law will do nothing to stop heterosexual men from entering women’s restrooms and assaulting them. It does nothing more than to further stigmatize and marginalize transgender men and women, putting them in even more physical danger than they already face in a way no other minority group faces.
[CC Facepalm image credit: Cesar Astudillo | Flickr]