What Does the Bathroom Bill Do and Why Doesn’t it Outlaw Single-Ply Toilet Paper?
Jokes aside, North Carolina recently passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. This proposal, a reaction to Charlotte’s city council allowing people to go to the bathroom in line with their gender identity, makes it so everyone has to use public bathrooms pertaining to the sex on their birth certificate. This amounts to transgender people being forced to use bathrooms not as the gender they identify with, but with their biological sex. Given the nickname the “Bathroom Bill”, this ruling has been steeped in controversy ever since its deciding vote on March 23, 2016. The supporters of this bill call into question religious freedom and the safety of women and children who share the bathrooms with the affected group (transgenders). They use the imagery of a grown man sharing locker facilities with small girls to prove their point. Meanwhile, democratic representatives in the state senate left their seats in the house before the tally took place, deciding that “we [the Democrats] are not participating in this effort”. They go on to state that the legislation “reverses forty-plus years of progress”, referring to the social progress in acceptance of the LGBT community. They were disgusted that this bill made it to the floor of their senate.
Those senators are not the only ones with a major reaction to the passing of the act. Many news outlets and members of the LGBT community have expressed outrage at the apparent targeting of transgender rights, and recently some musicians have spoken out against it. Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Boston, and Ringo Starr have all cancelled their upcoming concerts in Charlotte because of the law, reimbursing fans for their tickets (~15,000 ticketholders for Bruce Springsteen alone) and publically criticizing the bill itself.
Ringo Starr characterized it as an act of hatred, and Pearl Jam saw the law as a “despicable piece of legislation”. Starr apologizes for disappointing the fans in the area but insists that he made the right decision. Another entertainer critical of the ruling, Bruce Springsteen, succinctly described how he feels about it. How he sees it, “it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.”
Going a step further than these groups, singer Cyndi Lauper, has decided to turn her concert into a rally against the so-called “Bathroom Bill”. All the profits from her show, including her agent’s and manager’s commissions, will be heading directly to Equality North Carolina and its efforts to repeal the law. Laura Jane Grace and the group Mumford & Sons have both similarly used their concerts as platforms to raise money. Beyond musicians, the company PayPal was going to open an international facility in Charlotte that was expected to employ more than 400 people. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman decided to not build this facility because of the bill’s conflict with the company’s “mission and culture”. Even with these retaliations, there has, so far, been no statement from the state senate regarding an attempt to repeal or change the law. For more information regarding the piece of legislation and its critics, go to here (CNN), here (ABC), or here (Rolling Stones).