In a blatant act of malice and ignorance, the N.C. General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory have set the state of North Carolina back decades. As physicians and health care providers who care for members of the LGBT community, we find this legislation deplorable and truly irresponsible.
House Bill 2 was drafted to discriminate against the transgender community – human beings whose sex assigned to them at birth and their gender identity do not conform to societal expectations. Every human being has a gender identity and a sexual orientation. Every human being is equal and should have equal protection under the law. This is not just our position as medical and mental health providers, it is the truth and constitutionally and ethically correct.
The first part of the bill states that public schools, agencies and departments under the direction and control of the state require a person to use the restroom of the gender assigned at birth. The second part of the bill nullifies any other non-discrimination ordinance in the state, with the most disturbing part establishing that people cannot be discriminated against based on biological sex, butmentioning nothing about gender identity or sexual orientation.
This will allow businesses in North Carolina to legally discriminate against people based on their gender identity and has implications beyond just the transgender community. Republican lawmakers have stated that this bill was signed into law to protect the public from sexual predators by forcing people to use the restroom of their gender assigned at birth.
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As physicians and health care researchers, we know LGBT youth have a higher incidence of being bullied and harassed in school and have a higher incidence of depression, self-harm and suicide. Most of this harassment occurs in schools and in the restrooms at these schools. House Bill 2 will now force an entire community of people to use a restroom where they are neither comfortable nor safe.
While there is strong evidence that transgender and LBG youth are in danger, there is no scientific evidence supporting the rationale used to pass this legislation. The LGBT community has long been stereotyped as pedophiles and sexual predators, but these stereotypes could not be further from the truth.
We have several questions for the Republican majority in the General Assembly about HB 2. What about protections for our transgendered patients? What about protections for our lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients? Why do they not get equal protection under the law? What scientific basis do you have for discriminating against one group of people, but not others?
We support the Senate Democrats and commend them on their protest and refusal to vote on HB 2. We also want to thank all the businesses and associations that came out against this bill and continue to show support for equality. The community as a whole needs to come together now and show support for all human beings and voice disgust for House Bill 2.
As health care providers we will continue to provide compassionate care and fight against such overt discrimination. We are telling Governor McCrory and the N.C. General Assembly that we are not okay with discrimination and that this law should be repealed.
One of the best ways to challenge ignorance, stereotypes and injustice is to support love and equality while also working to become more aware of the issues, educating ourselves and each other. This is an opportunity, North Carolinians: join with us in condemning this act of discrimination.
Dr. Clayton Alfonso is a resident in Duke University’s Obstetrics and Gynecology department. He wrote this in collaboration with 15 other Duke health care professionals. They are:
Kristen Russell, MSW, LCSW, Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care
Beverly Gray, MD, Assistant Professor, Duke Obstetrics and Gynecology
Deanna Adkins, MD, Director, Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care
Jonathon Routh, MD, Associate Professor, Duke Surgery (Urology) & Pediatrics
Carolynn Dude, MD, PhD, Resident, Duke Obstetrics and Gynecology
William S. Meyer, MSW, LCSW, Associate Professor, Duke Psychiatry and Obstetrics
Nancy Zucker, PhD, Director, Duke Center for Eating Disorders
Angela H. Annas, M.Ed., MSW, LCSW
Kathryn Keicher, MSW, LCSW, Duke Children’s Primary Care
Jeremy Belch, MD MPH, Resident, Duke Obstetrics and Gynecology
Jennifer St. Clair, MSW, LCSW, Duke Pediatric Neuro-Oncology
Kevin P. Weinfurt, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral
Sciences and Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Diane Meglin, LCSW, Duke University Health System, Faculty Advisor for
Shelia Rittgers, MSW, LCSW, Duke Outpatient Team Leader
Robin Siska, MSW, LCSW, Duke University Hospital ED