I live a hop-scotch away from multiple major universities in North Carolina, namely Duke University and the University of North Carolina. That alone makes where I live more current and more open to equality. Duke is one of the best places in the country to go to for the most qualified doctors and up to date medical procedures. My representatives in congress are both progressive liberals who genuinely care about the people who live here. North Carolina was not always my home state, but I easily became proud of my new home once I moved here a year ago. I fit in here. People here are forward-thinking and compassionate. They aren’t stuck in the dark ages.

North Carolina’s new HB2 law was put in place during an emergency meeting last month. This emergency meeting occurred after Charlotte, the largest city in the state, put in place a nondiscrimination ordinance. Part of this ordinance included the right for transgendered individuals to choose which restroom they wanted to use based on the gender they identified with rather than their anatomical sex. In return, the state of North Carolina came back with hatred.

The Five Parts of HB2:
An individual has to use the public bathroom that represents the gender on one’s birth certificate, not the gender they identify with.
The cities have to comply with this law and cannot have their own laws regarding this.
“Protection of Rights in Employment and Public Accommodations” that only protects biological sex. (And I was not the one to underline the word biological. In this part of the law documents, the North Carolina government underlined that word purposely.)
The law will be enforced no matter what.
The law will immediately be put into effect on March 23rd of 2016.

The definition of transgender: “a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth”. That’s it. That’s literally all transgender means. The fear that comes with such an innocent word is astounding to me because it is not only unwarranted, it is wrong. There is nothing to fear about someone who is figuring out their life. If someone truly feels as though they were born in the wrong body, to the wrong gender, we as humans should naturally feel compassionate towards them. A transgendered person goes through so much: figuring things out, transitioning, settling into a new life with a new body. I do not fault someone for becoming who they truly are. I fault those who criticize and assume without truly knowing or understanding.

The fact that we as citizens of North Carolina are being falsely represented to the rest of the country by our horrible governor and his lackeys is absolutely heartbreaking. North Carolina is not a moderate state. It’s a forward-thinking state that is trying to be better, but she is being held back by people who do not embrace change. Rather than the progressive environment I moved into, I now live in a state where the government not only discriminates against transgender people, but prohibits cities within the state from enforcing their own anti-discrimination laws.

It starts with governor, Pat McCrory. He said he made this law for safety. His press office created a Q&A with eighteen different questions that he answered himself about HB2. The first question asks: “Does this bill take away existing protections for individuals in North Carolina?” His response was this: “No. In fact, for the first time in state history, this law establishes a statewide anti-discrimination policy in North Carolina which is tougher than the federal government’s. This also means that the law in North Carolina is not different when you go city to city.” He also came out with a video after the attorney general, Roy Cooper, said he would not represent the state in defending this new law because he believes it to be unconstitutional. This video essentially speaks on how Cooper should be ashamed and why he, McCrory, is right. This video was filled with excuses. This video was filled with false facts. This video was fear of repercussions.The backlash has been newsworthy.

We as a state are not going to forget this. And he knows it.

Businesses and influential establishments all over the state (and country) have spoken out against this law:
Bank of America: “Bank of America has been steadfast in our commitment to nondiscrimination and in our support for LGBT employees through progressive workplace policies and practices. We support public policies that support nondiscrimination.”
NBA: “The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know the impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”
Wake Forest University: “Wake Forest University’s committed to diversity and inclusion remains unwavering and our non-discrimination statement includes protection for gender identity and sexual orientation.”
Bayer: “We have zero tolerance for discrimination… We continue to support all of our employees and remain on the side of equality.”
Google: “We believe in equal rights and equal treatment for all. This North Carolina law is misguided and wrong.”

This law is dangerous. It is dangerous because other states, like Mississippi and South Carolina, are now trying to follow suit. It is dangerous because it is changing the business demographic here and because people are saying they now fear for their children and their safety, a claim with absolutely no validity. If someone really wanted to do something bad to a kid, a bathroom sign wouldn’t stop them.

And anyway, how are police in North Carolina going to enforce it? The answer is: they aren’t. All this new law does is allow discrimination to occur without consequences. It also allows unwarranted consequences to those who identify as transgender for just being transgender.

The biggest struggle for me is that I don’t know what to do to fix this. I’ve looked for town hall meetings to speak at. I’ve thought about protesting. The thing is though, the government has dug themselves so deep into this hole that I don’t think they are ever going to admit that they were wrong. Even if they do repeal the law it is too late to avoid the ramifications. So, I’ve decided to figure out what to do in my daily life to help repeal this law. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking for bigger opportunities. It just means I feel like I can do more as an individual, at least for right now.

I am going to pay attention more. If I see someone being discriminated against, I will speak up. I am going to focus on who is part of my government. These men and women are voted into office by citizens. When it comes time for a vote, I will know who shares my values and who does not. I will sign petitions, even though I feel like there is no reasoning with our current governor. I will step up even when I am told to be quiet. I will tweet at and bother those in power who are standing up for this law that allows discrimination. My voice will be heard.

It is the people who care about others that win. Pat McCrory thinks he is in the right, but he is not. North Carolina’s HB2 law is unacceptable and in no way credible.

North Carolina is not this. We are not this. We are better than this. We will change this. This will not be our new normal.

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