In a shocking step backwards, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have passed House Bill 2 (HB2), a statewide legislation that legalizes discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. The bill comes as a response to, and overturns, a city ordinance against discrimination put in place in Charlotte last month. HB2 makes it illegal for transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that do not correspond with the gender written on their birth certificate.
Dissent against the bill began even as it was passed on Wednesday — Democratic legislators refused to vote on HB2, and instead walked out of North Carolina’s senate in protest. Furthermore, almost as soon as the news of the new legislation broke, North Carolina’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union began investigating a legal way to fight HB2. However, HB2 threw the North Carolina senate and LGBTQ communities off guard — it was written almost as quickly as it passed. The New York Times reported that senators were not given the chance to look over the bill before it was introduced on Wednesday morning.
It hardly needs to be said that HB2 is a horrendous violation of human rights and needs to be overturned. Here’s what you can do to help:
1. Sign This Change.org Petition
The “Allow the Transgender Community to utilize restrooms that align with their gender identity” petition addressed to the North Carolina Senate on Change.org is in desperate need of signatures.
2. Vote Democrat
The North Carolina Democratic Party is asking voters to vote for Democratic lawmakers in November, who promise to overturn HB2.
3. Take To The Streets
If you happen to live in North Carolina, now would be a good time to head to Raleigh. Equality NC and the NC ACLU are holding a march against HB2 in North Carolina’s capitol city on Thursday night. There will probably be demonstrations in other cities, as well.
4. Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag
Social media is abuzz with anti-HB2 postings. Human Rights Campaign’s #NoHateInMyState is trending, as is #WeAreNotThis.
With #WeAreNotThis, North Carolinians are showing that they do not feel represented by their governor, Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 on Wednesday.
5. Support the Selfies
Some transgender individuals are posting selfies, making clear how absurd it would be for them to be forced to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender identity described on their birth certificate.
However you decide to protest HB2, get to it. This law needs to be struck down!
Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer and photojournalist. Busy on assignment in South America, Jerry is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @ Journey_America.