In a powerful op-ed in The Hill, Sir Elton John condemned North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 and criticized Governor Pat McCrory’s ignorance on transgender issues.
“North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has doubled down on his support for H.B. 2, the discriminatory bill requiring public school students to use restrooms for the gender they were assigned at birth,” he wrote. “What’s worse than the discriminatory bill itself, and the millions in taxpayer dollars McCrory is wasting to defend it, is that the governor signed it after admitting he had never met a transgender person. Although McCrory later walked his statement back, the message he sent was clear: the actual experiences of transgender people have no place in a debate over their basic rights.”
HB2 is an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBT law that eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and living wage ordinances and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting $4.5 billion in federal education funding alone at risk, and compelling the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, convention centers, and airports. Further, it gutted the existing ability of people who have been discriminated against - including on the basis of race, religion, and sex - to sue in state court, undermining critical discrimination protections for all.
“Forcing transgender people to use the bathroom of a gender with which they don’t identify isn’t just inconvenient or impractical. For many, especially young students still grappling with their transition, it can be traumatic, and at worst, unsafe,” he continued. “The failure of McCrory and other lawmakers to see this is a failure of compassion, a failure to recognize the difficult and frequently unwelcoming world transgender people must navigate every day, stigmatized by the fear and ignorance of others.”
Sir Elton John is a longtime HRC supporter and HIV & AIDS activist. He is also the founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a global non-profit organization that works tirelessly to combat stigma, prevent transmissions, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end HIV & AIDS.
“McCrory and others who support these discriminatory bathroom bills need to reverse course, but moreover, they need a lesson in compassion,” he concluded. “They need to recognize the existence of trans people, and they need to acknowledge that all people have a fundamental desire — and a fundamental right — to be treated fairly.”