Kai Bovik (10) walks downtown during Austin Pride with a transgender pride flag. Photo by Lauren Breach
LGBTQ+ youth are slowly beginning to gain the freedom and the acceptance of those around them such as the right to marry the person they love regardless of gender, ensuring them a future they deserve. However anti-LGBTQ+laws such as HB 2 stop their sense of safety all together. This is all due to the notorious North Carolina passing laws that are stopping transgender people from having their most basic human rights; like using the bathroom where they feel most comfortable. They can barely walk the public streets without feeling threatened, now even one of their most private times are being taken away from them in such a damaging way.
HB 2 is a law passed by Governor Pat Mccrory of North Carolina. In summary, this law restricts people from using restrooms that they believe they belong in, and instead forcing them to attend the restroom that corresponds with the gender that was written on their birth certificate. This, quite obviously, is harmful to many people, due to the fact that not everyone is cisgender (cisgender meaning they identify with the gender they were assigned at birth).
With a law like such in place, the safety of transgender individuals are put at another risk. As reported by The Advocate, there have been hate crimes with over 23 reported murders of transgender people in 2016 alone. Trans people have to fear for their lives all while having to deal with their daily struggles due to their sense of self. Why should they have to worry about where they do their business?
To add to it all, Governor Mccrory had the audacity to claim that the passing of this law wasn’t at all an anti-LGBTQ+ move. He instead insisted that the passing of the law was made solely to do with others “privacy.” Usng the age old (by now) excuse that by allowing transgender individuals into gendered restrooms could put people at risk of being sexually harassed by someone “claiming to be transgender.”
Laws like HB2 make trans people feel dehumanized. Many had things to say about the passing of the law, speaking out against being forced into a restroom they do not belong in.
Even as time progresses, we as a society cannot remain blind to the fact that transgender individuals do not have the freedom that everyone else does. We cannot leave our brothers, sisters, and non binary friends feeling ashamed of what they identify as when they step out to use a public restroom. Get behind movements such as #illgowithyou, which is an organization where allies can support transgender individuals by saying they have their back and will stand up for them, no matter what, even when going to the bathroom. Other important things allies could do to support members of the community are: Ask people their pronouns before you get to know them, wear stickers/buttons displaying the pronouns you use, and attend GSA meetings. Show your support to the LGBTQ+ community but never speak over them, realize the privileges you have that some of them may lack. Standing up for them can go a long way, you have a voice. Use it.