In an interview on UNC TV’s Legislative Week in Review, Buncombe County Representative Susan Fisher compared North Carolina Session Law 2016-3, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, to Jim Crow laws pushed by Democrats during the fifties and sixties.
McCullen: On the issue of bathroom and restroom facilities, public ones, can someone say, “I support transgender issues and the right for a transgender person to select which matches closer with their identity, but I still want segregated bathrooms in terms of male, female bathrooms, because it seems the debate now is becoming over gender neutrality and all bathrooms are bad if they allow only one person, one sex or the other.
Fisher: I, I think that you can. I think that what we have seen and what you’ve probably seen as well are bathrooms that are for families. There are family bathrooms. There are male; there are female. There are lots of businesses around the state that have had bathrooms that are no gender specificity at all, and what I think has to happen is that people need to realize that transgender people are male or female. It’s not that, that should not be an issue for people. What should be the issue is: why are there not protections for every single person in the state, not, and to try to keep from segregating people. This is so reminiscent of pre-civil rights time. I will not begin to compare the suffering, but I will tell you that the transgender community is one community that has a lot of suicide. Lots of calls came in to the trans hotline, the suicide hotline, and they are feeling just as threatened as one might have felt back in the sixties or the fifties before when we had signs above the door that said “whites only” or above the water fountain that said “whites only.” This is a similar thing, and it’s all fear based.
McCullen: We’ll leave it at that. This lawsuit is just getting started on both sides, but the state house bill is there. It’s the anti-HB2, and I appreciate you coming on to talk about the issue.
Fisher: Thank you, Kelly.
At no point does McCullen challenge Rep. Fisher, but as David Harsanyi wrote at National Review, “Likening a spat over biologically segregated male and female bathrooms to the genuinely violent, systematic, state-sponsored, and society-wide bigotry that took place in this country for a century is both intellectually and morally corrupt.” Session Law 2016-3 not only allows businesses to set any policy they choose, it specifies zero criminal penalties if violated.
Furthermore, NCGS § 130A-118 allows transgender individuals who have undergone sex reassignment surgery to have their birth certificates amended to reflect their gender identity. I don’t know of a single Jim Crow law that would have allowed a black North Carolinian to change his race.