Refuting the Fear Mongering around HB2

There are 225 cities in America that have a non-discrimination ordinance (NDO) in place, many of which include bathroom provisions for transgender men and women. These cities have chosen to show love and equality to each of their citizens. And in these 225 cities, there has not been an instance where the NDO has allowed or increased predatory activity. It just hasn’t happened. Laws are already in place to handle sexual predators. The fact is, predators are criminals and declaring the restroom is accessible only to people who’s genitalia matches the sign on the door, is not going to deter them from their criminal activity.

Unfortunately, many of our legislators are unwilling or chose not to consider factual data in determining their support for bills like HB2. Instead, they use unfounded fear as emotional manipulation to push the electorate into their camp. Why? I don’t know. But in the history of politics, fear has been a major factor in the rise to power of many questionable leaders. Thankfully, those leaders don’t last long as people do their own research and learn about their fellow men and women.

I am certain that when you’ve previously used the restroom a transgender person has been in the stall next to you and no harm or inconvenience has come to you because of it. That’s because transgender people simply want to use the restroom and be on their way. Life is already hard enough for everyone but imagine if you were turned away because of your religion (a choice you make) and told you cannot be in certain places because of it. I’m not advocating that anyone should be discriminated against and certainly not because of a religion, but I use it to illustrate a point—being transgender is not like religion. There is no choice here, except for the choice to pursue full reassignment or not. But you have a choice of beings compassionate human being or not.

There is a wonderful article in ScaryMommy, an online magazine that provides modern-day parents with help and inspiration, in which the author was criticized for her support of nondiscrimination ordinances. The author, Ashley Austrew, responded with the following:

If you’re truly worried about child sex abuse, then as a responsible parent, it’d behoove you to know that in three-quarters of sex abuse cases, children are harmed not by pooping strangers, but by members of their own family or someone they know. Furthermore, while girls carry a one in four chance of being sexually abused before age 18, the risk for boys is one in six. If bathroom predators are truly an issue, why on earth would I be worried about my daughter but not my son? The truth is, people aren’t worried about their wives or their daughters, about the imaginary boogeyman in the next stall, or protecting the sanctity of their Target bathroom — what they’re really afraid of is opening their minds. For some, discriminating against people is easier than trying to understand them or having to alter their perspectives in order to afford others the same respect and compassion they’d demand for themselves.

Whether you agree or not, I hope you’ll read the full article and give it some consideration.

Recently, Hope Tyler, a Raleigh resident, and mother of a transgender man spoke at the Legislative Building to ask for the repeal of HB2. In her emotional speech, she said, “In the short time that Pat McCrory decided to pass HB2, it’ painfully obvious that he did not think about how this would affect our transgender children,” and added that 15 years ago she gave birth to a “beautiful blue-eyed blond-hair little girl who never liked dolls or girl’s clothes.” Her daughter suffered anxiety attacks as she grew older, and, at 12 years old, was diagnosed by medical professionals as transgender. She added, “That day my daughter became my transgender, beautiful son.” Ms. Tyler’s daughter underwent surgery and treatment, transitioning to a man, and his life improved immensely.

Ms. Tyler also pointed out that calls to suicide hotlines for the transgender community have doubled since HB2 was enacted, a data point confirmed in a letter presented to Governor McCrory by more than 200 mental health-care workers in North Carolina. Ms. Taylor ended her appeal stating, “This bill is emotionally killing our children.”

I cannot imagine the pain a mother must go through knowing that her child is being torn apart by a group of people’s lack of compassion and understanding.

HB2 hurts people. It hurts my friends and family. It hurts us as a country. Ultimately, I might not be able to change your mind but I hope that I can help get a conversation started.

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