Citizens unite to protest against House Bill 2

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Citizens unite to protest against House Bill 2

This academic year, Guilford College officially updated their bathroom usage policy to state the following:

“In keeping with Guilford College’s nondiscrimination policy, it is the intent of Guilford College to provide All Gender, Women’s, and Men’s bathrooms on campus.”

On April 1, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill, deciding that the rest of North Carolina did not comply with this sentiment.

This bill removes any statewide protections against discrimination of LGBTQA individuals. The bill has been consistently referred to as the “bathroom bill” because it’s been publicized for forcing North Carolina inhabitants to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their biological sex as opposed to their personal identity. This is one piece of the bill, but there is more to it.

The bill, now a law, makes it legal to evict, fire or refuse service to someone for being LGBTQA. The fact that it hasn’t been repealed yet is abhorrent and an embarrassment to the state.

Since it passed, countless companies and celebrities have vehemently disputed and protested this wildly discriminatory law. Merely a week after it was signed, Bruce Springsteen released a statement cancelling his concert that was to take place in Greensboro, saying:

“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

Springsteen was not alone in his opposition of the law. The NBA All-Star Game was supposed to take place next year in Charlotte but has been canceled in protest.

Apparently, revoking the rights of individuals who are supposed to be treated equally isn’t a popular decision. It’s clearly not popular enough for companies to compromise their customer base by publicly supporting the bill.

“It’s ironic that this bill was presented as a means of protecting women and children, but in reality the bill does the complete opposite of what it is regulating,” said Stephanie Chang, the new director of the Multicultural Education Department. “This bill has created an unsafe environment for many, many people.”

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Revoking protections for the LGBTQA community in North Carolina hasn’t reinforced any protections for any of the supposedly defenseless bathroom users that Pat McCrory expressed such immense concern for. It has further emphasized the stigma that exists for LGBTQA people and heightened the dangers of harassment for queer people of color.

Niall Donegan, senior and vice president of the Pride organization on campus, helped lead a rally last spring uniting marginalized students where Hispanos Unidos de Guilford, Integrity for Guilford, Pride and Sexual Assault Awareness Support & Advocacy collaborated to demand change from the administration.

“We have so much power as students but we have to be ready to give our energy and we have to be ready to lose our privilege,” said Donegan. “This school was built to work for rich, able-bodied, white, cisgender people, and we have to make it work for us, because change isn’t going to come from the board of trustees of the administration. It has to come from us.”

The rally shows how when students unite to raise their voices, real change can happen. If you agree that this law is wrong and has endangered your neighbors in North Carolina, silence and wishful thinking won’t mend what has been broken.

This law has validated the hatred and bigotry of many people in this country, and the only positive factor of all of this disarray is that people are talking about the specific struggles of LGBTQA people and queer people of color. In order to keep the conversation going, we need to rise up and keep fighting for the rights of our neighbors and loved ones.

“Trans people of color have led this fight from the beginning and it’s no different now,” said Donegan. “The initial boycotts weren’t enough to stop McCrory. I’m not really sure what will, but I believe in my generation and in the amazing organizers in North Carolina. I have hope.”

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