There is a common refrain coming from supporters of the recent anti-LGBT laws like HB 2, that those protesting are ignorant, and simply reacting to spin and misinformation. That we don’t get it. In the address announcing his executive order, NC Governor Pat McCrory said:
You know, after listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, passion and frankly selective outrage and hypocrisy especially against the great state of North Carolina.
And people like this guy trolls Twitter for mentions of HB 2, posting memes abusing the likeness of legendary NFL referee Ed Hochuli:
And a Twitter account that claims to be “Rapid response, fact checks and updates from North Carolina Governor @‘s campaign team” (I have not been able to verify this) piled on today, with the announcement from Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas that they were canceling their show. The tweet below is in the middle of a three tweet rant against them:
They are mostly incorrect. There is probably one area some people protesting didn’t (and perhaps still don’t) understand about HB 2 in particular: that the restroom portion applies only to truly public facilities: those belonging to a public school, college or other government entity. (The governor did try to clarify that with his executive order, and even the Washington Post initially reported that as if it were a change; it wasn’t.)
But the rest of the misinformation and confusion is on the other side. In particular with HB 2, proponents concentrate almost entirely on Part 1, the restroom portion, neglecting the other two very significant parts, about public accommodations and employment. The media plays right into this by referring to it as a “bathroom bill.” It’s often in quotes, even when the story is about someone discussing the law who didn’t use that terminology at all.
Bruce Springsteen did not use the term “bathroom bill”.
This makes it easier to convince people the law is all about public safety: won’t someone please think of the women and little girls?! I have to laugh at this, albeit without any mirth; after years of being told that gay men were the deviants and predators, now it’s suddenly straight men who are going to say “I’m a lady” so they can prowl women’s facilities with impunity?
Team McCrory spreads misinformation of its own:
It is a fact that 29 other states do not have state-wide anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. North Carolina didn’t before HB 2 either. But even neglecting the portion about not being able to sue in state court (only one other state has that, but McCrory has asked the legislature to roll it back) the statement flies in the face of honesty. There are not 29 other states that lack state-wide protections and prevent their counties, towns and cities from passing them as well. This is a non-trivial distinction. Many larger municipalities pass those protections before their states do (Chicago did, as did several local governments in NC) so even in a state without them, many people who live there may still be covered by them. Furthermore, the truth is that the law is regressive. The people who protest these things believe there should be more protection for LGBT people, not less. Pointing to a lack of LGBT protections in other states doesn’t mean much unless those states have also recently rolled back rights or at least re-affirmed that lack.
We’re not fooled by your smoke and mirrors. We do get it, and we’re not going to forget it.