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Tuesday 11 April 2017

American (Wrong) Way

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 11th April 2016

In the United States, several US states have passed either service provider discrimination or anti-transgender legislation recently. Here's a brief summary of the offending states.

Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory
Three states are the primary offenders in this context- North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.

North Carolina has state anti-discrimination legislation, but it is restricted to religion, "colour", national origin, age, sex or "handicap" (sic) but excludes sexual orientation and gender identity. Until recently however, several progressive local authorities did have civic ordinances that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity- the Counties of Buncombe, Mecklenberg and Orange, and the towns of Boone, Charlotte, Asheville, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Greensboro and Raleigh. In addition, the Counties of Durham and Guilford and the towns of Bessemer City, Durham, High Point and Winston-Salem all banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation alone.

All that changed when the North Carolina legislature passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. It prevents transgender children and adolescents from using gender-appropriate changing rooms and school and public toilets, as well as striking down the aforementioned counties and municipalities local inclusive civil ordinances relative to the state's more constricted conservative version. Better known as House Bill 2, this vile piece of discriminatory legislation has provoked a storm of controversy. Republican Governor Pat McCrory and Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper have clashed over House Bill 2. The Obama administration is threatening North Carolina with curtailment of federal infrastructure expenditure if HB2 is enforced, and there is escalating private sector opposition to the legislation from businesses such as Red Hat, Dow Chemical, Biogen, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Paypal, Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and IBM. Lionsgate and A&E Entertainment have announced they are pulling out of the state, and the musical Wicked cannot be produced there because its creator has withdrawn permission for it. The NBA, NCAA and ESPN have said they may withdraw sporting events if HB2 proceeds in North Carolina, and the states of Connecticut, Vermont, Washington, Minnesota, the District of Columbia and the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and West Palm Beach have all banned their public officials from non-essential travel to North Carolina as a consequence.

Tennessee has passed anti-transgender House Bill 2414 and Senate Bill 2387, which endangers transgender child and adolescent safety through prohibiting them from accessing gender-appropriate changing rooms, toilets and other facilities.

Mississippi has passed House Bill 1523, an odious piece of legislation which amounts to service provider discrimination against LGBT individuals within that state. The US Human Rights Campaign summarises "the Religious Liberties Accomodation Act" as allowing individuals, religious organisations and private institutions to discriminate against LGBT individuals and organisations within that state. As with North Carolina, many corporates oppose the legislation, such as Toyota, Nissan Group of North America, AT&T, IBM, Levi-Strauss, General Electric and Hyatt Hotels. The Mississippi Manufacturers Association and Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi have both also called for HB 1523's withdrawal and condemned Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant for signing it.

Some things never change. None of the above states had inclusive state anti-discrimination legislation before these obnoxious bills surfaced. It's typical that the backward, educationally deprived and disproportionately religious Southern United States should be at the forefront of these new anti-gay offensives, but then it took decades to drag them into the twentieth century insofar as African-American civil rights were concerned.


Wikipedia/Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act: Public_Facilities_Privacy_%26_ Security_Act

"Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Signs Law Attacking LGBT People and Families" Human Rights Campaign: 05.04.2016:http://www.hrc .org/blog/mississippi- governor-phil-bryant-signs- law-attacking-lgbt-people-and- famili

Craig Young - 11th April 2016

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