In the five years since HB2 tore the state apart, North Carolina Republican legislators have remained notably unrepentant. While cutting a deal to gradually phase out the law, they never renounced their motivations for passing the so-called “Bathroom Bill” that fateful day in 2016. No greater evidence of this exists than the legislation introduced today by Senators Hise, Sanderson and Daniel, called SB514, to obliterate trans people’s healthcare rights.
This bill is nothing short of dystopian. It bans young transgender people from receiving trans-affirming care of any kind until they are 21 years old. This goes well beyond the hateful and ignorant legislation proposed in other states by walling off trans people from their medical autonomy until they are several years into adulthood. Gender-reassignment surgery would be illegal. Even counselling related to gender-reassignment surgery would be against the law for any North Carolinian under the age of 21.
The medical elements of this bill pale in comparison to another provision that is so offensive it is almost unreal. Under SB514, state employees including teachers and counselors would be required to “out” children to their parents if they disclose to the employee that they are transgender. Privacy, a core right of American medical patients, would be voided for an already extremely vulnerable population. I’m no lawyer, but even a nonspecialist can see that Hise’s gambit flagrantly contravenes the spirit of the Fourth Amendment.
Beyond constitutionality, this provision turns state-employed caring professionals into informants for an authoritarian government ideology. It’s like something out of Ceausescu’s Romania, where as many as 1 in 7 citizens were informing on their friends and family members to an all-powerful state. In this case, the forcibly conscripted medical spies would be legally obliged to put their patients in danger. Physical violence and abandonment are not uncommon occurrences when a transgender youth comes out of their own accord. To have a government agent make the disclosure would only add more volatility to what can be a dangerous situation.
SB2, HB2, SB514: It’s a chilling gallery of acronyms representing state-sponsored hatred in North Carolina. If this bill gains traction, it will traumatize thousands of North Carolinians even though it will not make it past Roy Cooper’s veto. The more politically pragmatic of Republican senate leaders had gotten squeamish about anti-LGBTQ legislation. Hise, Sanderson, and Daniel have learned nothing, forgotten nothing, and kept on the narrow path to making North Carolina once again a pioneer in bigotry.
Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.