Bathroom Business: Episode Now Available!
Bathrooms. If you’ve listened to the news over the past year, it’s likely you’ve heard someone mention North Carolina’s House Bill 2, aka the bathroom bill. Along with some other discriminatory things, this bill made it so that transgender folks would be required to use the bathroom associated with the sex they were assigned at birth and it would prevent local governments across NC from creating and implementing their own anti-discrimination and employment policies.
Now. There are two schools of thought on this bill, and in my experience, people are very strongly on one side or the other. First, there’s the side of, WTF NCGOP?! Many businesses, entertainers, activists, community leaders, regular folk and even people of faith found themselves in this category, some shocked by the bill, others feeling like it was par for the recent course. We had to listen to our out-of-state friends and family ask, “what is happening in NC?” and we heard stories of people canceling their tours/trips to NC, sometimes out of solidarity, yes, but other times out of fear.
On the other side, there are many people (I’ve heard as high as 50% of North Carolinians) who believe this bill is a demonstration of their Christian values or that it is simply meant to protect women and children.
I really struggle to understand this side.
For one, I always felt like the Bible’s entire premise was about God being the only one who can judge and Jesus calling on Christians to love one another. The other perplexing thing is, there have been exactly 0 cases of trans people in NC (or anywhere else for that matter) harassing women or children in the bathroom. Sooooo…???
Anyway, needless to say, I’m part of the former group.
Now, if you identify as “liberal” or “progressive” and you’re not from NC, you may have thought to yourself, “how backwards!” or “I never want to travel to NC”. You may have discussed it with your community or your family, you may have imagined for a minute what you’d do if that kind of legislation made its way to your state, or you may have added it to the list of “Things I’m not Surprised By Anymore”.
As a person who is from NC, I can’t lie. I’ve thought many of those same things. But on top of being frustrated by the legislation itself, I’ve also been frustrated by the way that news outlets and yes, even podcasts, have covered the topic. Misinformation, hatred, and confusion were rampant and out-of-state news sources were misrepresenting us left and right, making it seem as though all North Carolinians were in favor of or apathetic toward this bill.
I remember around this time last year there was a podcast that I used to listen to regularly who did a story on a NY-based activist that traveled down to NC to raise awareness on the issue. I was so annoyed that I tweeted at them, letting them know I was disappointed. I wondered why they hadn’t gotten in touch with NC-based trans folks to ask about the impact of the bill on their lives. I wondered why they’d chosen to ignore the huge communities of NC-based activists who were already on the ground, organizing and rallying and protesting and campaigning and just generally being really badass. We were working hard, writing, calling, meeting, and literally blocking intersections and disrupting the flow of business as usual to express our disgust on the issue. I believe it was because of this huge, organized outcry that government entities, artists like Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam and businesses like the NCAA and Paypal began to boycott NC. And in the end, this turned out to be a pretty effective protest tactic.
We dedicate our latest episode (Bathroom Business) to every person who has ever had to think twice about where they will go to relieve their bladders, to every trans or gender-fluid kid who’s ever felt ashamed or embarrassed to walk through a certain bathroom door at their school, and to Pat McCrory, who recently told reporters that HB2 makes some employers “reluctant to hire” him post his short-lived governorship. May you continue to reap bountiful loads of that which you have sown so hatefully into the soil of our state.
And if you are a person who identifies most closely with the people in favor of HB2… I ask you to listen to the episode with compassion and curiosity. Who knows? Maybe something someone says will strike a chord.