HB2, solution in search of a problem

Just days ago (mid-2016), there were radical Muslim terrorist attacks at two different LGBT locations. One resulted in 50 deaths and 53 casualties; the other was thwarted before execution at a public parade in America's second-largest city. It's been difficult to absorb the finger-pointing and name-calling that followed. This has been called an attack on America, an abuse of unregulated gun availability, and other things that escape the primary issue. A religious extremist chose a building full of gay people and tried to kill them all. I happen to live in the city that prompted the North Carolina HB2 legislation, and the aftermath of that fiasco has helped me crystallize a few of my opinions.

First, it grieves me to lump all Muslims in the same basket. I've had Muslim acquaintances who were nice folks and good neighbors. They came to America to escape this exact fanaticism at home. The one feature of this modern Islamic extremism that separates it from all other spiritual cultures today is that they would rather celebrate their highest holy days by executing crowds of unbelievers in public buildings than by inviting them into their homes and winning over their hearts and souls to the faith.

I grew up in an extremely conservative Southern Christian environment. I could literally introduce you to people from my own church history who would pray that God rain fire and brimstone down on gay night clubs. I was nearly an adult before I actually met any homosexuals, and they didn't try to molest me or change my sexuality even once. Some of them were, dare I say, nice. I was also an adult before I met another Christian with homosexual friends, to whom they extended love and generosity and prayers, not just for their change, but for their health and peace.

The city of Charlotte approved an ordinance to extend gender-based civil rights to the LGBT community. It took barely 12 hours for the state to forbid its cities from extending gender-based civil rights protection to trans-gendered people. Barely days later, a link was circulating on Facebook about a man who dressed as a woman to prey on little girls in public restrooms. It was a single event in 2009, but it was being cited as current news and the epidemic threatening our children from which HB2 would save us.

The purposes of law are to preserve the sanctity and safety of the nation and to protect the rights of the individual. Is there an epidemic of trans-gendered individuals preying on our little girls in Women's Rooms? No, there is not. Do we want to move these these so-called predators back to the Men's Room with our little boys? Ironically, no one considers predation against little boys an epidemic problem unless priests are doing it, and nobody really seems to be accusing women transitioning to male. That point is purely aimed at "men in dresses". So the question remains, is there a problem that requires a sweeping legal solution in the first place?

We continue to legislate the problem of strangers, as if our greatest threat is a gay, brown-skinned clown in a panel van with "Free Candy" painted on it. Our children's greatest danger is not unfamiliar strangers in public restrooms, but their own broken families. This linked article reads, "A 2000 report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs reported that more than 3/4 of kidnappings were committed by family members or acquaintances of the child. The study also found that children abducted by strangers were harmed less frequently than those taken by acquaintances." There is no epidemic of trans-gendered people molesting children, and to fabricate a problem and blame it on a vulnerable minority is sheer bigotry.

From a purely social point of view, people taking the extreme measures of changing their body are already uncomfortable in their own skin and aware of suspicious eyes around them. Forcing them to choose the door that no longer matches their appearance only spreads their discomfort to everyone around them. They have been secretly using their preferred restroom for some time without your notice, and without abducting your children. What this legal uproar has done is shine a spotlight on a silent, victimless practice and blame strangers for actions that are statistically blamed on family and acquaintances instead of strangers.

To bring this up to date, we have 3-4% of our population (multiple studies) living an atypical lifestyle, but without impinging on my own freedoms. If you know 100 people from church, work, and your neighborhood, then a handful of people you know fit the description. Those people were singled out for a massacre based on their community, in no way different from the Emanuel Church shooting in Charleston, SC or any other hate crime. Blaming these people's demise on their lifestyle does not solve our problem. Blaming them for crimes they did not commit does not solve our problem. Any of us who claim to represent a faith, a higher moral cause with a righteous creator, we are obligated to win people to our faith as a better way and a higher calling, not to drive them away and blame them for problems they did not create.

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