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It seems like North Carolina can’t seem to make national news without embarrassing itself. On April 6, NBC reported that the North Carolina GOP has proposed yet another transphobic bill. This time, it prevents gender-confirmation surgery for transgender people under 21. Not only that, but the proposed bill requires state employees to notify a child’s parents if they are experiencing gender-nonconforming behavior and promises to revoke a doctor’s license and potentially pay a $1,000 fine if they provide gender-conforming treatment for minors.

This bill is troubling, especially for college students. Most undergraduate students are already under the age of 21, meaning they wouldn’t be able to get the necessary treatments to conform to their gender if the bill were to pass. Also, some transgender students hide their identity from their parents, and this bill could put them at risk socially, financially and even physically.

Luckily, despite Republicans controlling North Carolina’s House and Senate, the article predicts the bill will not pass. Now, I am a cisgender heterosexual male, and I am not trying to speak on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s concerning and disgusting how Republicans are writing legislation that harms gay and transgender people. 

This isn’t the first time Republicans have enacted anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Who could forget the infamous bathroom bill that required all transgender people to use facilities associated with their sex assigned at birth and prevented counties from creating their own anti-discrimination legislation that wasn’t covered by North Carolina law. As predicted, there wasn’t any benefit to this needless cruelty, as the Associated Press predicted it would cost the North Carolina economy around $3.76 billion in over 12 years.

Some Republicans will claim they are trying to “protect the children.” However, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have expressed their support in providing gender-conforming treatment to everyone, including young people. Considering this is the party that consistently denies climate change, it’s not a shocker that some would prioritize their own transphobia over the advice of medical professionals or science in general.

Plus, a majority of people are in support of anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation and gender identity. NBC reports 76% of Americans, including 62% of Republicans, are in favor of supporting legislation that protects gay and transgender people. 

Considering a majority of Republicans are in support of pro-LGBTQ+ policies, it doesn’t make sense to ignore the wishes of your constituents or alienate potential voters. Also, creating policies to protect others is a good look in many people’s eyes.

But Republican politicians have to do more than just not write or pass anti-LGBTQ+ laws. They have to either write their own pro-LGBTQ+ legislature or sponsor bills written by Democrats.

The Associated Press reports that North Carolina Democrats proposed four bills that protect the LGBTQ+ community just last month, which includes a full repeal of the bathroom bill and banning gay conversion therapy, a practice that has notoriously harmed many gay people. These bills could help protect the rights of gay and transgender people, and it doesn’t make sense for Republican legislators to block legislation that a majority of their constituents would support.

All in all, this bill is a trend of Republican lawmakers making homophobic and transphobic legislation against the wishes of their constituents or any potential economic backlash. For a party that supposedly champions personal freedoms, it’s upsetting to see it push for policies that contradict its message.

Plus, it’s upsetting to see how the rights of a marginalized group have become so politicized. The LBGTQ+ community is not brainwashing your kids into becoming gay or trans. All these people want is for others to be respected and not see their existence as a threat to humanity.

The Republican Party has a stigma for being anti-LGBTQ+ and rightfully so. When these politicians are passing laws that infringe on their liberties, they deserve to be labeled homophobic and transphobic. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Stop passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and write or sponsor legislation that supports that community. After all, not being a bigot is free.

I am currently a third-year studying English. I am also a staff writer who reports for the news or complains about whatever I'm angry towards at the time.