Last night saw something rather historic, as the Charlotte City Council approved new protections for LGBT people. That’s not to say this battle is over, however, as certain parts of these protections are likely to spark a reaction from the General Assembly.
So, what did they pass? Well, namely this ordinance would mean that businesses cannot discriminate against LGBT customers, in addition to long standing protections for gender, disability, race, age and so on. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.
However, as mentioned earlier, this ordinance does contain something sure to cause a ruckus, as it will allow transgender people to use the bathroom which coincides with the gender they identify with rather than their birth gender.
Naturally, this particular part caused quite the heated discussion with some fairly tired arguments trbeing raised against it. According to The Observer, one resident said: “Please don’t discriminate against me and my children. I’m not scared of transgenders, but sexual predators will see this as a chance for fresh victims. If one child becomes a victim through this, shame on all of you.”
This is despite the fact that the scenario of a man “pretending” to be a woman in order to commit rape or other such acts has not occurred in any of the cities with a similar ordinance.
Not only is this fear completely unfounded, it is actually more dangerous for a transgender person to go into the bathroom meant for their birth gender. Trans woman Lara Nazario pointed this out to the council, saying: “Being assigned male at birth, it can be dangerous if I walk into the men’s bathroom — I’m told I am in the wrong one or ‘outed’ as transgender. This often leads to violence.”
There was also support shown from Juli Ghazi, who owns a pizza restaurant in Charlotte who already has such a restroom policy in place.
“There hasn’t been any gay or straight sex in the bathroom,” Ghazi said. “No transgender person has exposed himself to children, a gay person hasn’t hit on a straight person, and a gay person hasn’t harassed a straight person.”
The ordinance was passed with a 7-4 vote, but as I addressed earlier the state legislature could take this all away.
The Observer pointed out: “Legislators could strike down the entire ordinance, or they could eliminate the provision that allows for bathroom flexibility. They also could send the issue for voters to decide in a referendum.”
The ordinance is set to go into effect on April 1, giving legislators a bit of time to come up with a way to oppose the ordinance.