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April 15th, 2016

Will North Carolina’s HB2 Affect State’s Open Source Conferences?

While North Carolina’s HB2, the so called ‘bathroom bill,’ has already had a major negative economic effect on the state’s economy, it’s doubtful it will have much impact on the two major open source conferences held in the state.

At this point, how much effect the continuing economic backlash caused by the North Carolina General Assembly’s passage HB2, otherwise known as the “Bathroom Bill,” will have on the state’s two major open source conferences is anybody’s guess. Certainly, the past three weeks have not been good for operators of event venues in North Carolina, nor have they been good for the state’s bean counters, whose job is to make what the General Assembly spends balance with incoming tax revenue, which is certainly taking a hit in at least some counties.

Jamie Clayton as Nomi Marks

Transgender actress Jamie Clayton in her role as transgender ex-hacktivist Nomi Marks in the Netflix series “Sense8.”

Three weeks ago, on March 23, in a hastily called special session of the state’s General Assembly, HB2 was passed as a knee jerk response to a local ordinance enacted in Charlotte which, among other things, gave transgendered people the legal right to use the public restroom of their chosen gender, regardless of their gender at birth. HB2 takes away that right, but doesn’t stop there. It ends up limiting the rights of all North Carolinians except straight, white and Christian males.

The “bathroom” part of the bill seems to be a red herring, with proponents of the bill attempting to turn transgendered people into bogeymen lurking in bathrooms to sexually prey on the state’s innocent daughters and wives. Never mind that transgendered people have been using the “wrong” bathrooms for decades without incident, or that legislation similar to Charlotte’s has been in effect in three South Carolina cities for years with no repercussions. Charlotte went too far, said Pat McCrory, the state’s Republican governor and once-upon-a-time mayor of Charlotte. The time had come to bring Christian family values back to the state’s public toilets.

This part of the law mandates that public restrooms at government facilities be used only by people of the designated “biological gender,” or more precisely, the gender that is on a person’s birth certificate. The law applies to all state, city and county run properties, as the new legislation also forbids local governments from enacting “gay rights” laws which give legal protection to LGBT people. It also wipes out local laws already on the books. Before the passage of HB2, sixteen counties, towns and cities in the state had gay rights ordinances, some of which had been on the books for more than 30 years.

The law also specifically fails to offer equal protection to gay people, and removes the right of people of other minorities, like women and African Americans, to address cases of discrimination or harassment through the state court system, leaving the federal courts as the only available option.

On Tuesday, under economic and public pressure, Governor McCrory urged the General Assembly to change portions of the law, to return the state court system as an option for discrimination cases and to include protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees, but leaves other key portions, including the bathroom issue, intact. So far the Republican majority in the state legislature doesn’t seem to be inclined to make even those modest changes.

Backlash to the new law was almost immediate. The day after the governor signed the bill into law, the NBA issued a statement saying the law could affect the 2017 All Star Game which is scheduled to be held in Charlotte, and the Greensboro Coliseum’s scheduled participation in next year’s first and second round NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been questioned. Even the Atlantic Coast Conference, which has deep historical roots in the Carolinas, has indicated that the future of basketball playoffs being held in the state might be in jeopardy.

In addition, Bruce Springsteen cancelled a planned performance last Sunday in Greensboro, citing HB2 as the cause, and on Wednesday Ringo Starr cancelled a planned performance by the All Starr Band that was scheduled for June 18 at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre near Raleigh. “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area,” Starr said, “but we need to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love.” There has also been an online petition drive underway since at least last weekend to get Dead & Company, a band composed of former Grateful Dead members, to cancel a planned concert in Charlotte.

The fallout hasn’t been confined to sports and entertainment. On April 5, PayPal cancelled a planned World Operations Center which would have brought 400 jobs to the state, a project which Governor McCrory had worked hand-in-hand with Charlotte’s Democrat mayor Jennifer Roberts to bring to the state. Ironically, just five days after McCrory stood beside John McCabe, PayPal’s senior vice president of global operations, to announce the deal, McCrory signed HB2 into law, which very quickly led to PayPal ending the agreement and begin looking for a location in another state.

On Thursday another financial institution, Deutsche Bank, cancelled expansion plans at a software center in Cary, just outside of Raleigh, which would have added 250 new employees to the 900 already employed there.

Also hit by the backlash is the biannual High Point Market, set to open on Saturday for its spring run. As the largest home furnishing market in the world, it brings 600,000 visitors and contributes $5 billion annually to the state’s economy. Market Authority chairman Doug Bassett said a few weeks back that “dozens” of customers” had already cancelled plans to attend the April market, and that he expected “hundreds if not thousands” of regular buyers to cancel over concerns about the law.

Since the bill was passed, the CEOs of more than 100 corporations, including Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank with headquarters in Charlotte; Google and Facebook, both with large data centers in the state; Cisco, with offices at Research Triangle Park near Raleigh; and Red Hat, which is headquartered in Raleigh and the anchor for dozens of smaller open source software development firms in the Raleigh-Durham area, have signed a letter expressing opposition to the bill.

Opposition to HB2 is also having an impact on the state’s sizable convention business. On Monday, Ryan Smith with the Raleigh Convention Center where the All Things Open conference is held, said that so far the facility has seen the cancellation of five planned events, with an economic impact of more than $730,000.

That’s just one convention center in a state where at least nine cities have multiple convention facilities.

With HB2 fallout increasing with each passing day, it would be understandable if the people behind the state’s two large open source conventions were getting a little nervous right about now. So far, however, both are hopefully optimistic.

Charlotte’s SouthEast LinuxFest, or SELF, is only a few months down the road, making it the most likely to first feel ramifications. It’s also the most likely to move if necessary. The convention got its start in neighboring South Carolina and has always kept the door open for a temporary move to another southern city — although it’s much too late for a move this year.

Jeremy Sands, SELF’s head honcho, told me in an email exchange last week that so far the fallout has been minimal.

“I can say several people have asked SELF for a position on this and I have largely deliberately not answered these questions to avoid making SELF political,” he said. “Several people have contacted SELF, largely through social media, saying they refuse to come because of HB2.

“Officially, the SouthEast LInuxFest is mostly apolitical,” he added. “The exception is we openly and broadly support the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation. While their missions and goals aren’t overtly political, they frequently become so due to the nature of what they’re fighting for. Beyond that, SELF takes no official political positions.”

That doesn’t mean that Sands doesn’t have his own political beliefs on the subject.

“Taking my official SELF hat off and speaking for myself personally, as a staunch libertarian I do not agree with HB2,” he said. “To me it is just another bill in a very very long list of bills — local, state, and federal — where the government is overreaching beyond its intended scope and trying to jam a one size fits all ‘solution’ down everybody’s throats.

“But I also don’t agree with the reflexive cheering every time somebody like PayPal says they’ll kill expansion plans in North Carolina or whatever the latest story along those lines is today. To me, that’s a lot of collateral damage.”

The fact that SELF doesn’t take any sort of official stand on HB2 probably works well for them. It’s a regional conference, with most attendees coming from southern states where there is probably more support for the bill than in other parts of the country. In all likelihood, the biggest difficulty SELF might face is scheduled speakers dropping out, which should not pose much of a problems as there are plenty of qualified Linux and open source speakers available locally, both in Charlotte and Raleigh.

The attendees at the larger All Things Open aren’t so regional, however. Last year, over 1,750 attended the event, coming from as far away as India and Australia. The option to move All Things Open out of state probably isn’t really feasible either, as much of the event’s appeal comes from being held in the Raleigh-area, which is something of open source’s version of Silicon Valley.

Working in All Things Open’s favor is the fact that the organization behind the conference — IT-oLogy, headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina — has always been highly vocal in its support of diversity. Indeed, the one transgender woman I know who attends the conference each year says that, other than receiving the occasional mean spirited look, she has always been treated graciously both by the organizers and by other attendees.

The organizers are also on top of the situation. The day after HB2 passed, the conference posted a notice of its disagreement with the law on its website: “We don’t agree with any law that results in an unsafe environment for any person at our events or in the public at large, including this one.”

I managed to exchange a few emails with All Things Open’s chairperson, Todd Lewis, who seems hopeful that HB2 flack won’t negatively affect this year’s conference, which is scheduled for October.

“We certainly hope it doesn’t have an impact on the conference,” he said. “We’ve been contacted by people concerned about safety at the event and expressing overall disappointment regarding the legislation. We’ve assured them we’re working with the Convention Center, the City of Raleigh, and everyone else to ensure a safe and welcoming environment. We’re also hoping people and companies understand we’re not responsible for the legislation and that we’re working extremely hard to host an inclusive event they can be proud to be a part of.

“So far it appears they do and we truly hope that continues.”

Lewis also had a comment for those who might decide to drop out of the event in response to HB2. “Regardless of what people and/or companies decide to do, we completely respect their decisions and greatly appreciate any consideration regarding participation.”

Although it’s doubtful that HB2 will be repealed by the time SELF opens in June, as the bill’s supporters in the General Assembly seem intent on standing by their guns, as evidenced by their reactions to the governor’s recent attempt to soften the legislation. SELF is fortunate, however, since it’s held at a private venue, the Sheraton Charlotte Airport, and won’t be subject to restroom gender issues mandated by the bill.

All Things Open is still six months away, meaning there’s still time for the assembly to come to its senses and repeal the bill, which is likely if there continues to be economic repercussions. This is an election year, after all, and all 50 Senate seats as well as all 120 House seats are up for grabs in November’s election.

Like voters everywhere, North Carolinians tend to vote with their pocketbooks. If jobs continue to disappear to other states, voters are likely to lay their fears about the bogeyman in the ladies’ room aside and vote for the promise of prosperity.

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

33 comments to Will North Carolina’s HB2 Affect State’s Open Source Conferences?

  • Lizzi Swane

    This is not a complete sentence

    Since the bill was passed, the CEOs of more than 100 corporations, including Bank of America, the nation’s second largest bank with headquarters in Charlotte; Google and Facebook, both with large data centers in the state; Cisco, with offices at Research Triangle Park near Raleigh; and Red Hat, which is headquartered in Raleigh and the anchor for dozens of smaller open source software development firms in the Raleigh-Durham area.

  • Greg R

    Many people are uncomfortable with having someone of the opposite sex in the same restroom regardless of whether the opposite sex person chooses to dress cross-gender or not. Do these people have the right to privacy or do only transgender people have privacy rights? Let’s not take away the rights of the majority in order to assign rights to the few.

  • Mr. Data

    The bathroom part is dicey, I agree, but the “no cities can pass anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT persons” is positively dictatorial and certainly unconstitutional.

  • JT

    How exactly does this ‘bathroom bill’ limit the rights of anyone who’s not ‘straight white chrisian male’?

    how exactly does this bathroom bill limit the rights of…
    straight women?
    gay women?
    gay men?
    Muslim men?
    Jewish Women?
    Asian men?
    Hispanic women?
    Black gay women?
    Hispanic gay men?
    Need I go on?

    This Bill seems to be about ‘transgender issues’ not about Race or Religion. Are you saying it only protects ‘straight while christian males’ to make the bill so much more offensive.

  • Bob

    This is interesting and confusing to me. The so-called “bathroom” bill is nothing more than it was a 3, 6, 9+ months ago.

    I am the father of 3 now 18+ year old daughters. And I would NOT want a transgender dude whipping it out or dressing in front of them when they were growing up, so a very small percentage of the population can feel all good about themselves.

    This really isn’t about transgenders or gays for that matter IMO, it is more about how the law will be perceived and used by perverted men and women. There have already been numerous reports of men claiming to be “transgender” going into women’s restrooms and locker rooms setting up secret camera’s and in one case, a guy was getting dressed v e r y s l o w l y while a group of 12-yo girls were coming in from a swimming lesson. So, now, these perverts can get their toe in the door legally.

    Just my $0.02 worth.

  • Mike

    Where’s the part of the bill that keeps Catholic priests and ultraconservative christian white men out of the Boy’s bathroom?

    They’re the most likely to prey on young boys.

  • @JT The bill specifically disallows ANY of the groups you mention to take discrimination claims to state court, make the much more expensive to prosecute federal courts the only option. As for all of the gay groups of people you mention, they are specifically not granted equal protection under the law, and local governments in N.C. are now forbidden to grant them equal protection.

  • Mike

    The hypocrisy behind this bill is so strong as to be almost tangible.

    They say it isn’t about trans-gender but rather protecting women and girls from evil men. Yeah, let’s keep the evil men in the bathroom with the little boys, that’ll certainly solve everything.

    Perverts come in all sorts of shapes. I imagine there are a hell of a lot more perverts presenting as straight than trans.

    If the idea of bogeymen in the bathroom really bothers you so much, don’t use public restrooms, or only frequent establishments that have individual bathrooms. Problem solved.

    …but of course it really is about trans-gender fear.

    Sheesh…people.

  • tracyanne

    @Bob

    “And I would NOT want a transgender dude whipping it out or dressing in front of them ”

    You Bob are a willfully ignorant Arsehole.

    I’ve been using the ladies for the last 64 years, in both Gay and strait bars (I’m a Lesbian and I sincerely hope you have a problem with that too). In all my life I have never seen a Trans-gendered (male to Female) woman “whipping it out” in the ladies (those Trans-gendered “Dudes” usually want to get “IT” cut off). In fact I’ve never seen anyone in the ladies take their clothes off in a “restroom”, that’s what the cubicles are for, and all the Trans Women I’ve known, are usually so ashamed of “IT” that they don’t want anyone to see “IT”.

  • Bob

    @tracyanne

    Yes tracyanne I am an Arsehole. My point is not for legit transgenders, gay, lesbian or otherwise. I have ZERO issues with them. I meant to put transgenders in quotes to say that it opens the door, no pun intended, to perverts who claim to be “transgender” to allow them to more easily go into women’s restrooms and locker rooms. It is already happening and will happen more and more. Yes, I know pedophiles are already doing this in men’s room but this just opens it up in more of an unknowing way for perverted men to be around young women. That is my biggest problem with this overall issue.

  • tracyanne

    @Bob

    “My point is not for legit transgenders…”

    Oh and so you can keep these immaginary illegitimate? transgenders out of Public toilets (and it works bothways, there’s also Female to male transgenders aka Trans men, who don’t feel comfortable using the Ladies), you support removing the rights of the legitimate transgenders that you “have ZERO issues with”.

    In my 64 years, I have yet to com across or even hear about these imaginary Devients of yours, who pray on young women in public toilets, yet I have in that time heard of deviants praying on young boys in Public Toilets. So maybe we need to shut down public toilets all together, that should solve the problem, eh.

    On the Subject of Trans Men, what to do, what to do, or are we now going to worry about them praying young boys, or do you wish to protect them (they are after all Biologically Female) from the naughty goings on in Mens Public toilets.

    Oh Bob, you aren’t just an Arsehole. You are an egregiously and willfully ignorant one. Ignorance I can understand, willful ignorance where you project your own fears of imaginary bogeymen onto others is unforgivable.

  • (Yes tracyanne I am an Arsehole. My point is not for legit transgenders, gay, lesbian or otherwise. I have ZERO issues with them. I meant to put transgenders in quotes to say that it opens the door, no pun intended, to perverts who claim to be “transgender” to allow them to more easily go into women’s restrooms and locker rooms.)

    No, it doesn’t and you should have stopped at “yes I am an arshole” as the rest of your post is bullshit. If someone “Whips it out” in the bathroom, they are going to be talking to the policeman for incident exposure. They can’t use the excuse of ‘going to use the Urinal’ as female bathrooms don’t normally have urinals. So the idea that the pervert is going to use that to get into the woman’s bathroom and expose himself is just plain bullshit.

    Secondly, if it is already happening as you claim then the bill isn’t going to allow it to happen more, with no consequence. Illegally exposing yourself in public is still a crime.

    Third, we have had several bathrooms where I work designated Gender inclusive and lo and behold we don’t have anybody hanging out in the bathrooms waiting to whip it out. In fact, that your using that phrase makes me wonder, is that what you are really hoping for, to go into a female bathroom and “show the ladies your tool”? Because that is what it sounds like.

    You have come up with a false premise to support a minor problem, if it actually exists. In all the years that I have dealt with bathrooms, I don’t ever recall someone hanging around the womans bathroom ‘waiting to whip it out’. I have however, noted that in many public bathroom for men, you have to be exceedingly careful not to get your back pocket picked while standing at the urinal.

  • Michael Adamson

    As a linux user and resident of North Carolina, I encourage every group planning meetings in the state to cancel that meeting. This is a critical period when national attention is focused on the injustice of this law. If the law survives and the focus of attention moves on, the next law may be aimed at your freedoms.

    This is not a bathroom bill. It’s a discrimination bill that allows race, age, and religious discrimination. The bathroom stuff is there as a “shiny object” so the right-wing pols can use it as cover for their real intentions.

  • Fred

    FOSSForce, I am VERY disappointed in your spin on this story. I’m with Bob on this one — Governor McCrory did the right thing by signing this bill into law, because it’s about protecting the public as well as the right to privacy when using the john. As a Christian, this makes me MORE, not less, likely to want to visit and do business in North Carolina (I am, however, 2 states away, which makes that difficult to do, though). Moreover, one thing I find very odd on this one is that the feminist movement has been strangely silent on this one — and their silence is DEAFENING, which oughta tell ya something about what they stand for.

    And TracyAnne, I’m sure you don’t wanna hear this, but I’m gonna say it anyway (and your getting angry will not change the facts, no matter how much you’d like for it to): You WILL stand before the Lord one of these days and give an account of your life before Him (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore, you have two choices: You can either repent of your lifestyle (Romans 1:24-32) and trust Jesus Christ to save you from out of your lifestyle and acknowledge Him as Lord…or you can wait until you will be FORCED to do so. TracyAnne, I’m being as serious as a heart attack here when I say that you do NOT wanna do the latter! (Revelations 20:15)

    Yes, what I have just said is tough medicine, to be sure, and I already have an idea just how you’ll respond. But the reason I said what I did is because I care about you and I love you with the love of the Lord and I want to see you in heaven, where only those who have been pardoned and freed from their sins by the blood of the Lamb will live forever in His presence, where there will be no more death, sickness, or pain.

    And Padre, the reason you haven’t seen this is because only about 0.3 percent (that’s less than a third of a percent) of Americans identify as transgender. Therefore, to me, it does not make sense at all to cater to such an insignificant portion of the population, especially when it has the potential to cause problems for the rest of us.

    And Mike, there is no way that you will ever see me doing what you describe, as that’s not even a temptation for me. In fact, I have a personal policy that if I have just entered a restroom and find that there’s a boy in there alone, I leave immediately and wait until either he exits or another man enters, whichever happens first. This is because I want to honor my Lord and my Savior and, as much as possible, leave no room for false accusation.

  • Mike

    @Fred

    > “getting angry will not change the facts”

    There are no facts in your post, only fairytales about an unjust and immoral God.

    >”acknowledge Him as Lord…or you can wait until you will be FORCED to do so”

    I say this will all due respect: Screw your God.

  • @Fred I would ask you not to judge people on the basis of your religious beliefs on this site. I am happy for you that you’ve found benefit in your belief, but it has no place at this table. Religious beliefs are best left at home or in the temple. As far as I’m concerned, tracyann is just fine the way she is.

  • Lizzi Swane

    Glad to see an edit was made to complete the thought of the previous sentence fragment.

  • Lizzi Swane

    it’s not a matter over over zealous religious people persecuting innocents, it’s a matter of malignant narcissists masquerading as religious leaders but who are in fact fascist at their core that do these things>

    also, in the 21st century everyone lines up to choose their favorite scarlet letter from the diverse identities offered by the alphabet soup community (lgbtqqiiaaaa) and the malignant narcissists masquerading as religious leaders have access to your whereabouts and your medical records and your friends list and they know exactly who you are and where you go and what you’ve done.. and can now deny you the means for survival….

    Post from Ultraviolet below

    Anti-abortion radicals in the Missouri state senate have just issued a subpoena demanding the name and personal medical information for every woman who’s had an abortion at the last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri.1

    And now they’re threatening to throw the CEO of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis in jail if she doesn’t comply.2

    This is an outrageous violation of medial privacy, not to mention federal law–and we won’t stand for it. We’re mobilizing a nationwide backlash to demand and end to the bullying and threats from anti-abortion Republicans.

    The subpoena demands copies of signed consent forms for every woman who’s had an abortion over a six year time period.

    And since this is the last abortion clinic in the state, they’re basically demanding a complete list of every woman who’s had an abortion in the state of Missouri.

    And once they get their hands on those names, they won’t even promise not to release them to the public, risking not only public embarrassment but harassment by anti-abortion extremists or worse.

    These are issues that should be decided by a woman and her doctor–no one else. These Republicans want to make every one of these women’s private health decisions a matter of public record.

    Nothing shows more clearly the total lack of respect for women than this blatant violation of medical privacy. To hold them accountable, our strategy is to make this a national controversy and force anti-choice Republicans around the country to answer questions and take a position.

    Via UltraViolet

    You see, all these things are connected in my world view.

  • Fred

    Mike, if you have a problem with anything I’ve said, take it up with God, not me. (John 14:6)

  • Mike

    @Fred

    Nope, you can’t dodge responsibility for the things you direct at other people. The crap you are spewing is definitely your problem. I won’t waste my time with imaginary beings.

  • Mike

    Fred’s latest post is EXACTLY the problem with people foisting their religious bullshit on other people.

    > “if you have a problem with anything I’ve said, take it up with God, not me.”

    A COMPLETE denial of responsibility for their own speech and actions, claiming it is “God’s” doing and not their own twisted beliefs.

    Absolute and utter bullshit. You and you alone are responsible for the things you believe, say and do.

  • tracyanne

    @Fred

    “And TracyAnne, I’m sure you don’t wanna hear this, but I’m gonna say it anyway (and your getting angry will not change the facts, no matter how much you’d like for it to):”

    Oh Fred get over yourself. I’m certain you have no facts to present… lets see.

    “You WILL stand before the Lord one of these days and give an account of your life before Him (Hebrews 9:27).”

    Ah right on cue, the initial threat. I’m sure it gives you great comfort to believe this fantasy, but as a threat, to an Atheist, it leaves something to be desired. You see Fred I don’t believe in the existence of your zombie god.

    “Therefore, you have two choices: You can either repent of your lifestyle (Romans 1:24-32) and trust Jesus Christ to save you from out of your lifestyle and acknowledge Him as Lord…”

    Well a couple of things here Fred.

    1/ You actually have no idea what my lifestyle is,

    2/ I’m quite happy with my lifestyle, although I will admit that from time to time I do feel like tossing it, usually in the winter when it’s cold and it’s lambing time, but mostly I’m very happy

    3/ I don’t believe in the existence of your zombie god

    “or you can wait until you will be FORCED to do so. ”

    “Ooh another threat, bring on the fear brigade.

    “TracyAnne, I’m being as serious as a heart attack here when I say that you do NOT wanna do the latter! (Revelations 20:15)”

    I quite certain I don’t need to waste my time worrying about your zombie Fairy in the sky.

    “Yes, what I have just said is tough medicine,”

    No, not really, that was pretty mild compared to what I had to put up with when I came out to my family.

    “to be sure, and I already have an idea just how you’ll respond. ”

    I hope I managed to meet your expectations.

    “But the reason I said what I did is because I care about you”

    Actually you neither know me nor give a rats arse. Your response to me assumes many things that are untrue about me, and your so called love is based on nothing more than a selfish desire to ingratiate yourself with your imaginary Fairy in the sky, because one thing Christians fear most is missing out on “promise” of “Life Everlasting”

    “and I love you with the love of the Lord”

    As I said you neither know me nor give a rats arse, because toe feel such love as a fantasy person can give means nothing at all.

    “and I want to see you in heaven, where only those who have been pardoned and freed from their sins by the blood of the Lamb will live forever in His presence, where there will be no more death, sickness, or pain.”

    I don’t and have never sinned. Sin is a religious concept, and I am an Atheist.

    Perhaps if you would like to continue this conversation you should go to http://freethinkerspub.yuku.com/forums/64/Clink-of-Glasses-Hum-of-Conversation, I and a few others would be very happy to educate you.

    “And Padre, the reason you haven’t seen this is because only about 0.3 percent (that’s less than a third of a percent) of Americans identify as transgender. Therefore, to me, it does not make sense at all to cater to such an insignificant portion of the population, especially when it has the potential to cause problems for the rest of us.”

    And yet this Bill does exactly that, but specifying that people must use the Toilet of their biological gender, specifically to keep Transgender people out of the Toilet of the gender they identify as, this Bill caters negatively to that 0.3%. Even more so, it does this so as to nullfy existing laws that make it lawful for people to use the Toilet of the gender they identify with.

    And in doing so, catering negetively, as it does, to that 0.3% it causes a great deal of problems for everyone else, because now people who might get mistaken for the opposite gender will need to prove their gender, and the flow on effects to family friends are potentially quite considerable.

  • Lizzi Swane

    “And yet this Bill does exactly that, but specifying that people must use the Toilet of their biological gender, specifically to keep Transgender people out of the Toilet of the gender they identify as, this Bill caters negatively to that 0.3%. Even more so, it does this so as to nullfy existing laws that make it lawful for people to use the Toilet of the gender they identify with.”

    Does the bill specify the use of the bathroom according to ones biological gender as expressed on their birth certificate? Because post operatively, someone could have their birth certificate changed to reflect the gender/sex of their reassigned sex/gender. Also in washington dc i believe that one not need even reassignment surgery on ones genitals but simply convince a psychiatrist to write the proper letter and you can have your dc birth certificste altered to reflect your stated identified gender/sex.

    And of course in both of those cases there’s no stipulation that you ‘pass’ as that gender/sex or even present as that sex/gender.

    So on the face of it it doesn’t pass muster for people to be required to present a birth certificate because that paper might not be an accurate measure of one’s biological sex as purported by one’s dna. In fact i find that this law is ridiculous and ineffective on the face of it for the very reasons i stated. What north carolina really needs is some way to test ones dna prior to allowing persons to enter public bathrooms and then the law would need to be changed to reflect that requirement.

    Simply put the north carolina law is sloppy and will not produce the effect they desire and should be struck down due to it’s lack of efficacy in establishing one’s biological sex through current legal means.

    Also the whole trans* thing is an elaborate bait and switch ponzie scheme, one of many 21st century scarlet letters available from the alphabet soup ‘community’ and also in my final analsys – an epithet.

  • tracyanne

    @Lizzi Swane

    Good points.

    The point I’m making is with respect to Fred, who seems so concerned that governments do nothing with respect to a group of people who make up only about 0.3 percent of the population, that he seems to believe it is reasonable that a government pass a law that actively, however ineffectively, discriminates against that group of people. In other words, true to his ability to believe at least 3 impossible things before breakfast, he is unable to see the hypocrisy of his stand.

    I tend to agree with Michael Adamson. The Bill is “a discrimination bill that allows race, age, and religious discrimination.” Transgender people are merely scapegoats, the smoke and mirrors that every good stage magician, Tele Evangelist, and scummy politician uses to keep the punters off balance. From my perspective, as a member of the LGBT community, this is obscene. Remove the scapegoat from the equation and everyone will be able to see what this bill is really about.

  • ((And Padre, the reason you haven’t seen this is because only about 0.3 percent (that’s less than a third of a percent) of Americans identify as transgender. Therefore, to me, it does not make sense at all to cater to such an insignificant portion of the population, especially when it has the potential to cause problems for the rest of us.))

    Wrong answer bucko me lad, I deal daily with LGBTQ community with a 5,000 plus Freshman from 118 countries, and we happen to be one of the more accommodating of the colleges with respect to LGBTQ. We have full time staff devoted to just that segment, and couple of the staff are good friends of mine. As a matter of fact I have to personally know at least one “Female to Male” transgender. I can assure you, they are not interested in sneaking into the ‘ladies room’, or as he put it so well, “I already know what the equipment on both sides look like.”

    1. The only people who try and sneak into a women’s bathroom to ‘whip it out’ are male, heterosexual, Christians who seem to think that for some reason “the female” is going to be mesmerized into have sexual dalliances with them by showing the women their dinky dongs. That is a fact, because that is the only ones we have had to chase out of the ladies rooms.

    2. You have no clue the stuff I have seen, and therefore have no basis for comparison except in your narrow, limited scope based on a fairy tail in your head.

    3. If your so worried about a male sneaking into the woman’s bathroom to ‘whip it out’ and show off to the ladies, then I would also suggest that you go see a councilor because after having spent 10 years as a Councillor dealing with sexually dysfunctional people, the only men who worry about that kind of thing are the ones who themselves have that fantasy, and therefore think it normal, thus believing everyone else has the same fantasy. Not so chumly.

    4. And final, to put your little dinky dong back into perspective, having used bathrooms, not just here but in other parts of the world where there is no such thing as “male/female” bathrooms, you could in fact walk and whip it out and then be completely embarrassed to hell as the females all laugh at you for being an arsehole like your buddy bob above, and then find out no one including the men want to deal with or talk to someone with such low, poor social skills with the exception of the policeman who will be kind enough to ask you to come down to the station for some questioning.

    So in the end, your fantasy of wowing the ladies with your dinky dong, and the idea that there are just lines of males waiting to do same is just that, a fairy tale.

    OH, and sorry to hear that you have to believe in an undead, zombie, fairy-sky daddy, who ‘knows all, gets pissed when things happen he doesn’t like’ and use it to beat people over the head with to make yourself feel better. Have you tried therapy, it can really help

  • Ariella

    There are 5 points of ignorance about life and personhood that I’ve noticed people can carry with them as a result of having had kindergarten levels of education on sex and gender. Clear these up, and suddenly people can see the people in people. But let them drop out of The Technical School of Clues, and they run off to write discrimination content and bills.

    1-Life *IS* diversity. Life does not only do one or two things with itself. It explores ALL the things ALL the time. It’s only those who don’t know this who go to war with others armed with a “label” that seeks to ignore the very fabric and nature of life, of the human condition.

    2-Sex, gender and gender identity are DIFFERENT.
    -Gender is a social construct. (ex: girls wear pink)
    -Gender Identity is a varying degree of identity mapping in the mind. (“I am…”)
    -Sex is a varying degree of expression in the body. (Big boobs, or not, maybe one testes and one ovary, or a matching set, small or big hips, carries fat on stomach or butt, can carry child, or cannot, or can once but never again, …)

    That one-letter sex thing on your ID is “doctor lifted your leg like they were breeding dogs, saw some visual cues, and ASSIGNED you a sex category.” It has nothing to do with who you are, how your mind maps, nor does it express the full diversity of your body’s expression. The matrix cannot tell you who you are.

    3-Gender is mind, and fluid. It doesn’t matter what those around you say is or isn’t this or that gender. You will still be you, because who you are is not external opinion, nor is it your body. You HAVE a body. You are not your body. You will feel who you are, how you work inside and in varying ways throughout life.

    4-Sex is body, and fluid. You can have X, XY, XXXY, XX, or any other number of chromosomes. You can also have varying numbers of testes or ovaries or partial direction growths. You don’t know until you’ve had an MRI. Human beings can be androgen insensitive, which means genetic tests will generally say XY karyotype yet most cells in the body refuse to process androgen hormones, so they look and develop female-looking. There are people with full sets of ovaries and a uterus internally, yet male external genitals, and not even know until they suddenly find themselves having cramps in their 30s.

    Intersex people are also diversified in how their bodies express secondary sex characteristics. Sadly you don’t hear from them as much because society seeks to erase them the most. They are some of the most striking examples of living truth that choice doesn’t exist in gender or sex, and they scare the life-diversity-ignorance people something fierce.

    5-Cross-dressing and trasvestism != transgender. Men with a low cut shirt are not women. Women without shirts are not men. Women who wear pants are not men. Women with mechanic overalls on are not men. There is no man in a dress unless you ask the person if their gender identity is male, and it’s none of your business anyway. Medical privacy is a right.

    But more importantly: gender identity is independent of clothes, independent of body, and it persists when naked.

    —-
    If those 5 points aren’t enough, bathroom discrimination drives ignorance and irrational fears even deeper:

    1-Completely forgetting that the bathrooms in their homes are unisex

    2-Ignorant that there have been no incidents of sexual abuse caused by a person pretending to be transgender, and that years after a state passes non-discrimination laws, there remains zero incidents. The province of Ontario passed anti-discrimination laws protecting transpeople 15 years ago. The pretending-to-be-trans incident number today remains 0.

    3-Unaware that almost all rapes are committed by people who are known to the victim, in an existing relationship with them, and happen at or near home. Public spaces with complete strangers are the safest places to be in. Statistically women are too busy being raped and murdered by cisgender heterosexual men to ever have to worry about transwhoever.

    4-Ignorant that bathroom bills force transmen into women’s restrooms, thus INCREASING the presence of male identities and bodies in their spaces, what the supporters of these bills claim to be reducing.

    5-Transwomen (especially transwomen of colour) have their rates of victimhood INCREASED when forced into the wrong bathroom. In this, the supposed witch-hunt for predators in fact victimizes even MORE innocent people. The most violent people are not those with gender identity, but those who seek to police gender identities by selectively favouring their own.

    6-Completely unaware that the reason bathrooms/changerooms feel like vulnerable spaces is because of their (excuse the pun) piss-poor design featuring rows of lockers + benches in the open, flimsy shower curtains, open urinals/troughs and wide-gap stalls, that collectively offer little to no privacy and protection in the first place. If home-like bathrooms with a lockable door were all that was offered in public, there would have never been a need for illusory-sex-binary segregation in the first place.

    7-Completely ignorant about the history of segregated restrooms, and that transpeople have been using them next to cisgender people since they were invented by 1887 victorian paternalism. It wasn’t an issue then, and it’s not an issue now. Discrimination bathroom bills are solutions for problems that don’t exist.

    —-
    Additional reading:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/04/11/sex_segregated_public_restrooms_an_outdated_relic_of_victorian_paternalism.html

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/06/03/17-school-districts-debunk-right-wing-lies-abou/203867

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/03/20/15-experts-debunk-right-wing-transgender-bathro/198533

    http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zinnia-jones/the-transgender-witch-hun_b_9356534.html

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320111756.htm

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/how-much-evidence-does-it_b_4616722.html

    https://disruptingdinnerparties.com/2014/04/08/take-the-red-pill-the-truth-behind-the-biology-of-sex/

    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf

    http://www.amazon.com/Sexing-Body-Politics-Construction-Sexuality/dp/0465077145/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460909655&sr=8-1&keywords=sexing+the+body

    http://www.gendercare.com/library/italiano_paper3.html

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/science/a-pregnancy-souvenir-cells-that-are-not-your-own.html

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-goes-to-hospital-with-stomach-ache-gets-uterus-removed/

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/04/11/sex_segregated_public_restrooms_an_outdated_relic_of_victorian_paternalism.html

  • W. Anderson

    I am aware of several FOSS advocates and professionals that, while not having planned to attend events in North Carolina, have stated quite clearly that under the current status of the State’s HB2 bill stipulations, they would not be going there under any circumstances, even as a point of not supporting necessary accommodations and meals facilities from entities that maybe supporting the very bigotry enunciated by this law.

    By coincidence, the HB2 law is an anathema to the philosophy and policy practices of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS).

    I agree with such principled stand, but many Americans will unfortunately compromise their principles and personal integrity by finding some lame excuse to buoy these N.C. idiotic laws and attitudes.

  • tracyanne

    “By coincidence, the HB2 law is an anathema to the philosophy and policy practices of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS).”

    Given the above, it is difficult to understand why the SouthEast LinuxFest organisers would refuse to cancel, using the excuse that they are apolitical.

  • @tracyanne They’re not “refusing to cancel.” The money has already been spent, which would not be returned if they cancel. Canceling would most likely put them into bankruptcy. Like FOSS Force, SELF is a small organization.

    As a native and current resident of North Carolina, I think it’s good that we applaud people and organizations that take a stand in our behalf, but I think we should be very careful about judging those who, for whatever reason, don’t or can’t.

  • tracyanne

    “Canceling would most likely put them into bankruptcy. Like FOSS Force, SELF is a small organization.”

    I can understand that, and I would guess, in that case they then really have no choice but to continue.

    However given this

    “By coincidence, the HB2 law is an anathema to the philosophy and policy practices of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS).”

    The the excuse for the organisation not taking a stand, and issuing an official statement, still seems a little ingenuous to me.

  • Jess

    First of all, thanks to Christine for totally ruining my view and like for FOSSFORCE. I usually visit the site several times a week to read technical articles and comments. I will no longer do so as this heavily slanted political article has no business being on a technical site, but rather a personal blog or political forum.

    Second, the comments are even worse. The bait was taken and created an argument that cannot be won. No matter which side of the argument you are on, you’re likely not going to convince someone from the other side to believe your way. This is one of those issues that people feel really strong about, not much for the middle ground area.

    In my opinion, sad day for FOSSFORCE and everyone visiting the site. I particularly like the Linux and BSD articles, and really was thinking about a donation, but not now. If I want to read about this topic, I go to a news or political site. I come here to avoid all of that nonsense and get some technical reading done, while trying to learn something. This article is a useless waste of space on this site, serving no purpose rather than to create more conflict and arguing between different groups of people. By reading these comments, mission accomplished. Well done Christine.

  • Colonel Panik

    Best article ever! The environment (s) that FOSS workers
    function in is important. Open is part of FOSS, eh?

    Comments were a hoot. This kind of explains why Community
    is the hardest part of FOSS. tracyanne you don’t have to
    hold back. Please say what you really mean. I’ll give
    tracyanne a +1 and the rest of the week off.

    So many sites have run me off, it is not what I say but for
    the way one or a few people seem to TRUMP every discussion.

    It starts with Free and Open and thats why I am here.