RALEIGH, N.C.—Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at Wake Technical Community College on Sept. 27. She took the setting to heart in her speech to the audience, heavily criticizing Gov. Pat McCrory for signing a bill that Clinton called “mean-spirited” and “wrong-headed.”
“House Bill 2 has hurt this state,” Clinton said. “But more than that, it’s hurt people. It has sent a message to so many people that, well, you know, you’re not really wanted. You’re not really part of us.”
“My American dream is big enough for everybody,” Clinton declared.
Her point about the law’s effect on individuals is particularly poignant. The personal and psychological impact of anti-LGBT legislation like HB2 is one that may leave invisible scars for years to come. The fact of exclusion that results from being the victim of legal discrimination is not easy to overcome for individuals who already experience discrimination on an everyday level.
“Living under oppression legally, experiencing microaggressions, and living with direct violence takes its toll,” said transgender activist and social worker Mel Hartsell in an August interview.
The psychological toll of HB2 was readily apparent to the 150 mental health professionals who wrote a letter protesting the new law back in April.
Clinton’s other point highlighted the way the state of North Carolina has suffered as a result of its legislators’ discriminatory law. The economic cost of HB2 has topped $395 million so far, according to Wired.
This report precedes the most recent event cancellations, including the Colonial Athletic Association’s (CAA) Sept. 23 threat to move its women’s golf championship, which was planned for Southport, North Carolina. The CAA is following suit with other athletic groups that have relocated events from the state, most notably the NBA All-Star Game.
Aside from these athletic organizations, and private corporations like PayPal that have canceled North Carolina expansions, even other governmental bodies have recognized the need to repeal HB2. Clinton is not the only politician to condemn it, not by a long shot.
Most recently, the California state legislature passed a bill banning state-funded travel to any states that have discriminatory laws in effect. This ban not only covers North Carolina, but also any other states that may adopt similar legislation.
The pressure is mounting for the North Carolina legislature to address this issue. With even a presidential candidate acknowledging the serious impact HB2 has had on the state and its citizens, it seems that the governor and lawmakers may not be able to afford ignorance any longer.