Friday, December 23, 2016

This Is What Hatred Looks Like

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
I John 4:7-8, 20-21

The United States Department of Justice begins their analysis of violence against transgender persons with an alarming paragraph:
“Statistics documenting transgender people's experience of sexual violence indicate shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault. One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives. Some reports estimate that transgender survivors may experience rates of sexual assault up to 66 percent, often coupled with physical assaults or abuse. This indicates that the majority of transgender individuals are living with the aftermath of trauma and the fear of possible repeat victimization.”
Transgender people are among the most victimized, stigmatized, and marginalized people in our society. They are routinely humiliated and made fun of.

In North Carolina, the legislature has declared (again) that society will be better off if the transgender community is further marginalized.

This is what hatred looks like.

Just a few days ago it looked like Governor elect Roy Cooper and the legislature had brokered a deal that would get rid of the so-called “Bathroom Bill,” technically known as “HB2,” that required persons to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they were assigned on their  birth certificate. 

HB2 specified that a transgender male (who was registered on his birth certificate as female) would be required to use the women’s bathroom. And a transgender female would be required to use the men’s room.

The deal was that the City of Charlotte would rescind its anti-discrimination ordinance, which had provided protections for LGBT people broadly, and transgender people specifically, and in return the legislature would repeal HB2.

It was at best a Faustian bargain. 

The Charlotte ordinance was an important step in protecting LGBT persons in the absence of a state anti-discrimination rule. It was a good ordinance. HB2, on the other hand, meant encoding discrimination into law.

It was hardly a fair trade. But still. It was a deal.

Governor-elect Cooper responded with restraint. "I'm disappointed for the people of North Carolina,” he said, “for the jobs that people won't have . . . I'm disappointed that we did not remove the stain on our great state."

"The Charlotte city council held up their end of the deal by repealing their ordinance," Cooper observed. "When it came time for Republican legislative leaders to do their job, they failed."

Supporters of the Bathroom Bill were unrepentant. 

"No economic, political or ideological pressure can convince me that what is wrong is right," Lt. Gov. Dan Forest declared. "It will always be wrong for men to have access to women's showers and bathrooms. If HB2 is repealed, there will be nothing on the books to prevent another city or county to take us down this path again."

The Lt. Governor needs to do a little research on gender identity. And while he is at it he might also research the statistics on crimes against transgender people.

In the meantime, maybe the Southern Poverty Law Center should list the North Carolina legislature as a hate group.

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