We Cry And We Fight: The Failure Of HB142

They failed me, my body, and our community.

We cry and we fight. We cry. And, we fight.

That was the refrain of Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart when we were together at the PULSE nightclub this past November where 49 of our LGBTQ+ siblings were gunned down, many of whom were people of color. We’ve not even recovered from PULSE and yet we are crying and we are fighting because of the passage of HB 142 in North Carolina. This bill is an absolute failure for LGBTQ+ folks. Read the Slate article here to learn more about why it is a failure. I want to address the overwhelming violence and ways that this bill minimizes Trans people and erases their humanity.

The incoming governor ran on a platform to repeal HB 2 (commonly known as the ‘bathroom bill’), and what we have now in HB 142 is a bill that systematically removes all civil protections for LGBTQ+ persons in North Carolina AND silences LGBTQ rights and advocacy groups for up to one year. This is an utter failure of our political system that not only dehumanizes those who are different from the dominant crowd or those who deviate from the perceived norm, but reduces any sort of visibility for Trans-identified people. In my estimation, Republican lawmakers wielded their twisted power regime and in the name of bipartisanship, Democrats capitulated. They failed me, my body, and our community.

This is an act of violence on my body, my people and many of yours.

What folks don’t realize is that this bill increases the violence against Trans folks in ways that are unimaginable. And so, while we cry and fight, it is imperative that we begin to name the violent and supremacist logic that allows for such bills to be passed. For one, we need to name the ways in which the moral discourse that is deeply embedded in expressions of Christian Supremacy allow for these sorts of violent acts against the LGBTQ+ community. When we are able to name the supremacist ideology that allows for political power to be wielded in these ways, we can then begin to dismantle the logic from the inside out.

We ought to begin thinking about those who are most impacted by the failure of such bills, like HB 142. This is not just about bathrooms...

This is not just about bathrooms for Trans people. This is about fundamentally recognizing Trans people as human, allowing for Trans people to be visible as they ought to be. This is absolutely a question of the ethics of our political parties, and I ask the question to both Republicans and Democrats: who ought our politics and policies be serving? The dominant strand of population who can pay to have their voice heard and who are visible in all of civil life? Because that’s who is being served in HB 142.

We ought to begin thinking about those who are most impacted by the failure of such bills, like HB 142. This is not just about bathrooms; this is about the ethics of our politics and policies and a nationalist ideology that attempts to erase the differences that exist in our civil world. When we allow for a theocratic rule of law to be the norm, then we re-inscribe the very policies and politics that over-burden the ones who lack visibility in society and in the case of HB 142, it is Trans people and the LGBTQ+ community in North Carolina.

And, if this is not enough, I will note that this bill was passed on the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility. What the passage of HB 142 says is that there is no need for Trans people to be visible in North Carolina. This is an utter failure, and one that devastatingly has compromised the North Carolina governor’s perceived solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in his state.

We cry. We fight.

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