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How Hate Laws Work

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The flux of religious freedom [to discriminate] bills is as good a time as any to review when bills designed to limit the rights of women and minorities begin to work, how they work, and why they’re effective even when they aren’t enforced.

A bill like HB 1840 or HB 2 starts to work the moment its contents reach the general public. It works first by reminding bigots and intended victims alike that the state backs oppression of whoever happens to be in the targeted group, this week.

Then the bill’s sponsors and supporters can get down to the serious and important business of further demonstrating their power by painting the powerless as a threat to the public.

So it isn’t that women who don’t necessarily fit society’s rigid definition of Girl want to use the toilet or locker room, it’s that hordes of predatory men will invade women’s toilets and locker rooms if those women are allowed to use the women’s toilet. People who are not heterosexual don’t want mental health counseling, they want to attack religious freedom. Women don’t seek prescription medicine or medical procedures, they murder babies, etcetera, ad nauseum.

Now a group that is already subject to discrimination has to deal with the additional stress of opening the morning paper and reading “State legislators met yesterday to demonize you and discuss a law that will help ensure that you aren’t treated like a human being. [Quote from Assemblyman Goatgroper citing a paper from a hate group that “proves” you’re a menace to society].”

And then they get to go out into a world full of people who are now armed with a fresh steaming pile of official excuses to view them as dangerous and disgusting. Have a nice day!

However long it takes such a bill to pass, it has already done a lot of work, i.e, regularly reminded its victims that the state can and will fuck with them on a whim. That’s why the methods by which the law will be enforced may not even reach afterthought stage.

(As an aside, this is why the suggestion that HB 1840 potentially protects people by keeping them away from bigoted therapists or counselors is grotesque, insulting and not based on anything approaching reality. There is never a silver lining to discrimination, and if you think you’ve found one, please remember to use chemicals such as rubber cement and paint thinner in a well-ventilated area.)

Take North Carolina’s HB 2 – The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, AKA the Naughty Bits Obsession Act, which states in part:

Public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex.

The law defines biological sex as whatever is listed on a person’s birth certificate.

How should this law be enforced? The police don’t know.

At the Wilmington Police Department, spokeswoman Linda Rawley said the law struck her as strange. “So that means people have to go to the bathroom with birth certificates? Yeah, that was curious to me.” At the Asheville Police Department, spokeswoman Christina Hallingse noted, “We’re not checking birth certificates. We just don’t have the police power to be able to do that in bathrooms.”

Perhaps Rep. Dan Bishop, one of the bill’s co-sponsors can provide guidance?

“There are no enforcement provisions or penalties in HB2. Its purpose is to restore common sense bathroom and shower management policy in public buildings, not to pick out people to punish,” he wrote in a statement to WBTV.

Yes. Of course. There was no need to think about that sort of thing, because the law allows for harassment and humiliation of anyone who looks like fair game. Even if no one ever yells “Get out of here!” or calls the police, it will have worked.

The transgender community is fearful of the bill. Alyson Nicole Jamison is transgender and calls House Bill 2 ridiculous. She has used the women’s bathroom before and is troubled about what to do.

“Go to the female’s bathroom and go by my identified gender,” Jamison said, “Or be rejected from the female bathroom or go to the males’ bathroom and then worry about either getting jumped or beat up or brutally hurt.”

And from the MJ article

…some transgender people in the state have stopped using public restrooms altogether. They’re “terrified,” she says, and that’s enough to keep them away even if it means enduring physical discomfort.

Mission accomplished.

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