by John Graybeal
Pittsboro, NC – This was a coincidence that couldn’t be ignored. This is relevant to an item coming up on your agenda tonight. It is the lead editorial in today’s New York Times.
The title of it is “Transgender bathroom hysteria continued.” In part it reads as follows, “After the withering backlash against North Carolina for passing a discriminatory law against gay and transgender people last month it would stand to reason that lawmakers and governors in other states would think twice before pedaling bills that dictate which restroom transgender people can use. And yet state legislatures in Tennessee, Kansas, South Carolina and Minnesota are pushing similar absurd measures. The lunacy of the heart of this demand to police every public bathroom was captured by Leon Lot, the Sheriff of Richmond County, South Carolina, who told state lawmakers last week that the law would be unenforceable because his officers could not be in the business of inspecting people’s genitals. In the forty-one years I’ve been in law enforcement in South Carolina I have never heard of a transgender person attacking or otherwise bothering someone in a restroom, Sheriff Lot wrote in a letter to the committee studying the state’s bathroom bill.
This is a nonissue. (Inaudible)…to address nonissues can have serious repercussions. The hastily passed bill in North Carolina which said people must use public restrooms based on the gender of their birth certificate and prohibited local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances has been condemned by corporate leaders, civil rights groups, and religious leaders. The law cost the state hundreds of jobs after PaylPal scrapped plans to open a global hub in Charlotte and Deutsch Bank suspended plans to expand its operations in the state. Executives from eighty major companies, including Google, Apple and Facebook, wrote a letter to the Governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory to appeal the law arguing that it would make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers. Mr. McCrory was running for election and made a clumsy attempt to backtrack on Tuesday when he issued an executive order that supposedly added anti-discrimination protections for state workers but left the law fundamentally unchanged. The only way for North Carolina to avoid even greater financial consequences is for Mr. McCrory and the state lawmakers to repeal the law. Federal agencies are considering steps they might be required to take because of the discriminatory law. For example, the Federal Department of Education which gives North Carolina more than four billion dollars annually may withhold some funding because the law violates Title IX, a civil rights law, the Federal government has taken the position in individual cases that barring students from using restrooms based on their gender identity is a violation of their rights to equal treatment. The Department of Education has drafted guidance for schools that would give administrators a clear national standard. That document should be released now. Despite what supporters of these laws might claim, the measures do nothing to make restrooms safer. They will only further stigmatize and endanger people who have already faced systematic discrimination. If lawmakers who might want to follow North Carolina’s abhorrent example aren’t moved by appeals to equality and human rights they should ponder this reality, the price of bigotry is becoming quite steep.”
Below the Mason Dixon Line I have noticed sometimes that what appears in the New York Times doesn’t get a lot of respect but people who live in other parts of the country, including people who might be thinking of locating businesses in North Carolina will be paying attention to it and other publications of this sort.
This opinion was expresses by Chatham resident John Graybeal at the Chatham County Commissioners’ meeting on April 18, 2016