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Religious Tolerance logo


The religious freedom to discriminate against
transgender persons in North Carolina:

Part 2

2016-FEB: Charlotte city council passes
human rights ordinance for LGBTs.
2016-MAR: Is "washroom fear" justified?
State legislature passes HB 2 to overturn
Charlotte's ordinance.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Parinya Charoenphol

Parinya Charoenphol is a MTF transsexual kick boxer model, actress, and former Buddhist monk from Thailand. She was identified as male at birth.

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2016-FEB: The conflict in Charlotte, NC and the subsequent vote by city council (Cont'd):

On Monday, 2016-FEB-22, Charlotte City Council held a meeting to discuss expanding the existing city human rights ordinance to add lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals as protected groups. 140 members of the public were present before the Council to explain their points of view in favor of or opposed to the amendment. Many supporters carried signs with slogans reading "Facts not Fear." Some opposed to the expansion carried signs reading "Don't Do it Charlotte," and "Keep Kids Safe; Vote NO."

The ordinance passed by a vote of 7 in favor and 4 opposed.

  • Council member Al Austin (D) voted in favor of the ordinance. He said:

    "Are we a city that panders to fear and hate to those who wish to perpetuate fear and injustice? I say to you, ‘Not on my watch'." 1

  • Julie Eiselt (D) also voted in favor, saying that if those speakers who opposed the ordinance were in her church, she "wouldn't return" there. 1

  • Ed Driggs (R) voted against the ordinance. He said that currently:

    "Everyone is required to use the bathroom of their gender -– you can’t get more equal than that. It’s not the back of the bus." 1

Webmaster's comment: [bias alert]

Counselor Driggs obvious considers that a person's gender is defined at birth and remains fixed throughout their lifetime. Interestingly, a person who favors the amendment to the ordinance might also agree with Driggs' statement about equality, except that they would define a person's current gender identity as their true gender.

I recommend that you view the photographs of two male to female (MTF) transgender individuals above and elsewhere in this web site. They look female; they act and identify as female; they seem to have female brain structures telling them that they are female. Imagine the disturbance that would result if one was forced to use a men's washroom. Also please view the male (FTM) transgender individual in that same location. He was identified as female at birth, currently looks, acts and identifies as a male. He apparently has an internal male brain structure telling him that he is male. Imagine the disturbance that he would cause if he were forced to use a women's washroom. Unfortunately, those who are opposed of ordinances like Charlotte's do not seem to consider the plight of these transgender persons. They might even believe that if a transgender person were required to use a washroom of the gender opposite to their gender identity, it might motivate them to seek help and become "unconfused" so that they might revert to their birth-identified gender.

In my opinion, there is no likelihood that transgender persons will enter a washroom that matches their gender identity and molest anyone. It hasn't happened to date in the U.S. However, my belief is that if ordinances like Charlotte's were passed in every city, and similar state laws were passed by each legislature, that there is a possibility that a cisgender person might pretend to be of the opposite gender and enter a washroom with the intent of molesting someone. That could be a real, but very rare occurrence. (A cisgender person is a member of the vast majority of people whose gender was identified at birth and who still identifies as being of that gender)

One solution could be for the U.S. to adopt gender neutral facilities such as are often seen in Europe. "Dusty Relic," a reader of an article in the SoCawlege web site, posted a comment saying that such facilities were:

"Big, well-appointed, busy, full of men and women. The stalls had floor-to-ceiling walls and actual doors. There were no cracks for peeping Toms to look through... Each stall was like a private room, but the wash area was open to men and women. I usually saw these in big places with a mostly younger clientele and a modern, contemporary vibe. ... They don't have urinals like the men's' rooms in the US." 2

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inclusive washroom

Is "washroom fear" -- the fear of men pretending to be female and assaulting women and children in washrooms -- valid?

Will Doran, writing for the Charlotte Observer, said:

"Mostly, opponents said opening up women’s restrooms to transgender women -– people who are biologically male but identify as female -- will make it easier for male sexual predators to commit crimes in bathrooms and locker rooms. ... [They] galvanized around the motto #KeepNCSafe and sent out ads that included the phrase “Don’t let our girls become victims” and “Keep children safe." 3

Frank Turek, a conservative Christian writer in Charlotte wrote:

"The danger is real from sexual predators in women’s restrooms."

The North Carolina GOP distributed his message widely.

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Chris Sgro is the Executive Director of Equality NC, a pro-equality LGBT group. Referring to other cities with ordinances similar to that Charlotte's, he said:

"There have not been any public safety issues in those other communities." 3

One incident in Seattle, WA, involved a man who went into a women's locker room and began taking his clothes off. However, it has been suggested that his actions were a stunt. The perpetrator did not identify himself as transgender. Seattle does not have a human rights city ordinance that includes the trans community as a protected class.

Carlos Maza has researched this issue for Media Matters for America. He concluded that:

"A man has never used an LGBT non-discrimination law to sneak into a bathroom."

He has also studied 17 school districts with a total of 600,000 students throughout the U.S. where transgender students are able to use the washroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Not a single instance of "harassment or inappropriate behavior" involving a transgender student and a bathroom has been reported.

There was an incident in Toronto, Canada where a cisgender man, Christopher Hambrook, allegedly pretended to be a woman, entered women's shelters, and attacked several woman there. He was caught, arrested, found guilty and sentenced to an indefinite sentence.

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2015-MAR-23: The North Carolina General Assembly passed HB 2 to overturn Charlotte's ordinance. Governor McCrory (R) signed it into law:

The passage of the new amendment to Charlotte's human rights ordinance appears to have been regarded by the state Republican party as creating a crisis. The Legislature was on vacation at the time. State representatives and senators were called back to a special session to debate and act on the bill. This type of action is normally reserved for serious emergencies in the state.

When HB 2 came up for a vote, all of the Republican and 11 Democrat representatives in the House voted in favor of overturning the Charlotte ordinance. The bill was then considered by the Senate. All of the Democratic senators walked out when the vote was called. The result was a unanimous vote of 32 Senators to 0 in favor of the bill.

It was quickly signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory (R) that evening. 4

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Charlotte City Council approves LGBT protections in 7-4 vote," Charlotte Observer, 2016-FEB-22, at: http://www.charlot
  2. "The case against fully shifting to gender neutral bathrooms," SoCawlege, 2016-APR, at: http://socawlege.com/
  3. "Will Doran, "PolitiFact NC: Virtually no cases of sexual predators benefiting from transgender anti-discrimination laws," Charlotte Observer, 2016-APR-06, at: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/
  4. David A Graham, "North Carolina Overturns LGBT-Discrimination Bans," The Atlantic, 2016-MAR-24, at: http://www.theatlantic.com/

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-APR-07
Latest update : 2016-AUG-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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