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North Carolina's 'Bathroom Bill' should be flushed

I believe I've occasionally mentioned my Tar Heel bias here.

I am a proud alumnus of "the university of the people, for the people, by the people." The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Taking a little poetic license with the saying, I was Nittany Lion born, and Nittany Lion bred, but when I die, I'll be Tar Heel dead, for sure.

"The wells and the bells and the ties that bind" are the soundtrack accompaniments when I hear James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind."

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My boss is a proud Tar Heel too, and so too is another Tar Heel co-worker. Both also happen to have been born in the Tar Heel State.

In a conversation with my co-worker on Friday morning, he mentioned how he and many of his Carolina-born friends are, given the current conversations and contexts surrounding and/or being associated with the Tar Heel state, ashamed and/or disgraced by the actions and subsequent stubbornness of their home state's legislature and its anti-LGBT law(s).

North Carolina's Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, "An Act to Provide for Single-Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations," "HB2" for short, and/or "the bathroom bill" is an act passed in March 2016, and has been described as the most anti-LGBT legislation in the United States.

There seems to be some sense of inbred irony in the fact that proponents of the bill and those advocating for its repeal both point to the "common sense" of their respective stances.

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A core component, and the most contentious element of the law eliminates anti-discrimination protections for gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people, and legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.

The act also prohibits municipalities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies.

The hypocrisy of hearing friends that went to a certain local Big Ten school that used to be an ACC rival to UNC, or worse, listening to those that went to SEC schools, try to talk as though the academic "scandal" at UNC gave them some sort of holier-than-thou higher-ground standing to cast stones at our integrity was a bit much to bear at times.

Two wrongs may not make a right, and for UNC to be pointed at as some sort of ultimate and/or lone bad actor among its high profile sports programmed peers is a joke, and not the funny kind.

Carolina lost out on a number of top recruits over the past few years for fear from parents and players alike of potential NCAA sanctions (with the NCAA dragging its feet like a case of tortoise nervosa when it came/comes to Carolina).

Then, just as the school and all of its alums could see the light at the end of the tunnel, the state's anti-LGBT legislation, and the media's decision to use the UNC logo in media releases, takes us back to the mat.

When it comes to college sports, politics certainly has made strange bedfellows: UNC, Duke, and N.C. State fans, often at odds and flying flags of their respective school colors, displaying the sort of pro-school pride bias that comes with an affinity and affiliation for their respective brand of (basketball-based) tradition, are all cringing together, hoping for a resolution in the form of the repeal of the legislation.

First the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game. Then, the NCAA and ACC followed suit, moving tournaments and championships out of North Carolina.

Again, though typically divided by and huddled under flags of varying shades of blue (and/or red), students and alumni of the state's schools can come together to agree that the state legislature's anti-LGBT law, and its unwillingness and usurping of any localized right to enact anti-discrimination protections that would make gender presentation and sexual orientation a protected class is unequivocally wrong; uniting them all under or in defense of rainbow-ed pride flags.

Anti-discrimination laws, by definition, protect the rights of people to be treated equally.To enact and defend as "common sense" a law that flies in the face of anti-discrimination laws that are, themselves enacted as a mirrored image of "common sense" to protect the rights of protected classes is, as my Carolina-born co-worker said, disgraceful.

"Bias" when expressed as a positive sense of school pride is an acceptable "prejudice." In contrast, fear- and ignorance-based biases, particularly those with the negative connotation or hate-filled versions of the word are sad, dangerous, antiquated, anti-progress, and anti-inclusive prejudices that simply seek to divide rather than bring us together.

I am a proud Tar Heel, and always will be. In this instance, and on behalf of friends who are proud Dukies too (and for those who call the state of North Carolina home), I hope people are able to separate the schools from the dystopic decisions of the state's legislature and its anti-LGBT "bathroom bill."

Hopefully, as the economic impact on the state is felt, as more and more events pull out in protest of HB2, "common sense" will prevail, and the bill will be repealed.

410-857-7896

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