As a workplace diversity consultant, with a specialty in LGBT issues and working with multiple businesses and organizations across North Carolina, I am deeply entrenched in our infamous anti-LGBT HB2 law passed earlier this year. Though it has multiple components, the one part that has grabbed the most attention is the provision that transgender individuals must use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates in public facilities.
I have previously written two blogs about this bill
• “Why do we all need someone to hate on? … and now in North Carolina, it’s transgender people” on how I believe it is politics of hate and division which motivated HB2.
• “North Carolina’s HB2 — don’t boycott us, Cyndi Lauper-ize us!” which provides an alternative to boycotting our state.
Now that the law has been on the books for a while, I am following up with these “Five Impacts of HB2.” The first two are focused on broad economic impact and the final three are focused on various personal impacts.
1. Negative business impact. North Carolina has lost millions of dollars of revenue and thousands of jobs as various entertainment and sports events have been moved out of state, and various planned corporate expansions into North Carolina have been cancelled.
2. Impact on talent recruitment. I have heard from several of my clients that they are having a far more difficult time recruiting top talent for key positions, including enticing people to take internal transfers from other states. North Carolina is now viewed by many professionals as a “backward, bigoted, anti-diversity” state that they do not want to live nor raise a family in.
3. Overall safety and self-esteem of transgender individuals. This state law that singles out transgender people as “abnormal” and “not fit to use the bathroom of their gender” both stigmatizes transgender individuals as well as making them an increased target of hate crimes and ridicule. In addition, it diverts law enforcement from more pressing issues and increases the chances of vigilantism and violence.
4. Impact on transgender children. With a higher number of high profile transgender people “coming out” and more acceptance of transgender people in corporate America, more children are feeling safer about coming out to their parents and getting the support to live in their true gender. However, now in North Carolina schools they are singled out in terms of restroom and locker room usage and this undue attention also opens them up for additional schoolyard bullying.
5. Impact on cisgender people who may appear “gender non-conforming,” particularly “butch-looking” women or gender ambiguous people. For example, this law may make it very uncomfortable for a female cancer survivor who has a mastectomy and lost her hair who uses the women’s room and has her gender questioned.
This horrific law has caused so much harm at some many different levels, immediate and total repeal is truly the only reasonable option. And even with that, it may still take years for state economic and personal psychological harm to be reversed.
— Stan Kimer, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, is a Raleigh, N.C.-based business consultant who provides corporate and organizational training on a wide range of diversity topics including transgender diversity.