For as long as there have been human beings, there have been some who identified with the gender they were not born to. Until recently most of us were oblivious to their existence, because they chose not to call attention to themselves for fear of retribution. Ignorance was bliss, but now we have HB2.
On the surface, HB2 (otherwise known as "The Bathroom Law") states that public facilities marked specifically for "male" or "female" use, cannot be used by anyone whose birth certificate gender does not match the sign on the door. This means that in order to be within the law, there will now be clearly masculine looking people using the "lady's" room and clearly feminine looking people using the "men's" room. It means that women who are not transgender, but look masculine by an accident of nature, or age, or an observer's paranoid or poor vision, will be accosted and physically ejected from public facilities, as has already happened. It means men who are not transgender, but look feminine by an accident of nature, or age, or an observer's paranoid or poor vision, will be physically accosted and ejected from public facilities, or worse. It means that the disabled, the elderly, or the very young, will no longer be entitled to the help they need, if their companion happens to be of the opposite sex. It means that a person carrying a weapon might be considered justified in the bodily harm of someone they think might be transgender, if their presence makes them feel threatened. And...it means that our state is involved in yet another law suit over the constitutionality of the current General Assembly's legislation. But, what most folks don't realize is that even if the "bathroom" portion of the law is overturned in the courts, there are two more issues which will remain on the books until they are repealed and they have absolutely nothing to do with gender identity and who pees where.
In addition to the obvious, HB2 strips NC citizens of the right to sue employers for discrimination in the workplace. Our legislators maintain that this is not the case, as that right is protected at the Federal level. However, what they won't admit, is that for the average worker defending one's rights is now out of reach. That is because the law removes the ability to sue in the lower courts which often do not require an attorney, cost far less to file, and take much less time to be heard, and the courts are nearby. In order to sue in Federal Court, the expense in money and time are nearly impossible requirements for all but people with a lot of money and knowledge. This means that an employer who discriminates based on race, national origin, gender, gender orientation, religion, disability, etc. is now protected from being sued; not because discrimination is legal, but because it has become so difficult for the victims of discrimination to afford standing up for their rights.
Also lurking in the background, is that HB2 removes local authority's (township, city, and county governments) ability to pass any law or regulation which goes beyond what state laws already cover. For instance, if a local government wanted to increase minimum wage, because the cost of living is higher than elsewhere in the state, this would not be allowed. If a citizens want to protect their property rights from forced pooling the state allows for fracking, their local government cannot pass any ordinance prohibiting that practice. If an industry started polluting local water sources by dumping chemicals into local water sources that is not already covered by state law, local government would be powerless to protect it's water supply, unless the state chose to pass legislation to cover a problem peculiar to a relatively small area. The purpose of this part of the law, is to take away the ability of local governments to regulate business in any way which exceeds state law, even if there is harm being done.
Even if the "bathroom portion of HB2 is overturned, these two portions of the law will stand. Our conservative dominated General Assembly and our Governor, who campaigned on the idea of less regulation and smaller, fiscally responsible government, have taken advantage of a localized, volatile, morality issue to mask a statewide power grab, which effectively takes citizen's rights and local authority away, while wasting millions of dollars on defending an indefensible discrimination law, in order to protect the bottom line of businesses, at the expense of the tax payer.
For those who still believe that HB2 is for the protection of their children, consider this...If our lawmakers were really serious about that, wouldn't they have made some provision for enforcement and penalty for violation of the law? This is a very poorly crafted piece of legislation, with loads of intended and unintended consequences. If you have any doubts about that, go to www.ncga.state.nc.us/Legislation/Legislation , where you can look up laws by number, and see for yourself.
(Please note, that Rockingham County's own Phil Berger (Republican) was instrumental in the passage of this travesty. He is running unopposed in the upcoming general election. If we don't like his policies, we Dems need to ask ourselves why.)