In Austin Fonville’s experience as a transgender man, House Bill 2 has given people permission to say aloud what they’ve been thinking all along.
Fonville, 48, said a woman at a recent meeting he attended pointed her finger at him and said: You people are opening the door to pedophiles to come into the bathroom with little girls.
“A lot of people who didn’t agree with who I am knew better than to open their mouth before,” Fonville said. “HB2 gave them the OK to say it.”
Fonville, who grew up in New York City, said he began transitioning two years ago. He is African American.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, “the chances of facing discrimination, harassment and violence increase exponentially for transgender women of color, who also face racism and sexism.”
“Let me tell you what it’s like to get up in the morning, get dressed and step into that world,” Fonville said. “You’re scared. Because there’s a fear that you don’t know what will happen. Before HB2, it was easier. When I go out now, to conduct business and go places, I have bathroom anxiety.”