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Jan Lee headshot

Company Execs Stand Up Against North Carolina's Anti-Transgender Law

By Jan Lee

North Carolina's controversial Public Facilities Privacy and Securities Act, also known as the state's "bathroom bill" or HB2, has garnered significant opposition since it was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in March. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy and lobbying organization, is at the forefront of a call for McCrory to repeal the law, which it says creates a hostile environment in schools and workplaces toward those who reserve the right to choose their own gender identity.

And the momentum is growing against the state law. Earlier this month, the National Basketball Association yanked its prestigious 2017 All Star Game out of Charlotte over the legislation. And a growing number of musicians have bowed out of major performances, citing the law as "discriminatory" and an "attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens."

That last criticism was by Bruce Springsteen, who along with Ringo Starr, Cirque du Soleil and Pearl Jam have refused to play in the state while the law is in force.

But truthfully, as much money as the NBA, Springsteen and other entertainment brings to the state's coffers in tourism and other forms of revenue, they likely have less of the governor's ear than, say, pharmaceutical companies and financial industries.

That's because the healthcare and financial sectors are North Carolina's bread and butter, as is manufacturing, technology, personnel and staffing services. In fact, these days you can pretty much pick an industry and find a little piece of it in North Carolina.

Which presents a unique problem for Gov. McCrory's anti-LGBT bathroom law. Since April, more than 170 CEOs and company representatives from across the country have signed a letter to McCrory calling for a repeal of the legislation. Many are small businesses, but others -- like HP, John Hancock Financial and Jet Blue Airways -- rank high on the list of national corporations.

"The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business," the executives wrote in their letter, which appears under HRC's letterhead. "This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development." They also noted that HB2 will make it "far more difficult" for companies across North Carolina to recruit and keep talented workers. It will also make it all the harder to promote tourism, a vibrant industry in the country's southeastern region.

The list of signers on HRC's letter continues to grow, as do protests against the law's enforcement. It will be interesting to see if North Carolina, buffeted by increasing calls for social justice, will change its stance and repeal the law.

Image credit: Flickr/Steve Snodgrass

Jan Lee headshot

Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.

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