We’ve been witness to a level of ideologically driven mass media hysteria in recent weeks unseen since the Duke lacrosse rape hoax story. I’m talking about the General Assembly’s nullification, via House Bill 2, of Charlotte’s ordinance designed to legislate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender discrimination.
The Charlotte ordinance, which was defeated in March 2015 in a close vote, but which passed 7-4 on Feb. 22, was billed as a nondiscrimination proposal that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories in such things as job discrimination and public accommodations.
“Public accommodations” turned out to be the fly in Charlotte’s social-justice ointment. It was undeniable, and universally agreed, in fact, that this law would allow transgender people to use public or private-business restrooms that, shall we say, didn’t match their born-with plumbing.
The concerns of many that men dressed as women were going to be able to enter restrooms and locker rooms with women and girls were ridiculed by the media, in print and even on sports radio talks shows, who used the NBA’s threat to yank the NBA all-star game from Charlotte as a means of entry into this story.
Nearly every news story ignored the real concern of men being able to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, even though stories abound nationwide of men using such ordinances as cover to invade those once-protected premises.
Most reports were content to call the Charlotte ordinance an “anti-discrimination ordinance” and leave it at that. The News & Observer, for instance, ran a headline, “North Carolina not the only state restricting LGBT rights,” unquestioningly classifying restrictions on men using women’s facilities as a restriction of LGBT rights.
If there has been any concern in the mainstream media with the right of privacy for girls and women in restrooms and locker rooms, I haven’t found it.
The immediate hysteria on the part of corporate giants like Facebook, Apple, Bank of America, and the NBA was something to behold, spurred by inaccurate reporting and sensationalism.
The degree of hypocrisy behind these reactions was best captured by Charlotte blogger SA Matthews. She pointed out in an online column that since Charlotte didn’t pass its anti-discrimination ordinance until February, the situation now is exactly the same as last year, when the NBA awarded the city the all-star game.
As it stands, private businesses can do what they like, but public restrooms are restricted to those whose birth certificate gender matches the sign on the restroom. This is status quo ante, which prompts the question: Why so much media and corporate hysteria?
Jon Ham (@rivlax) is a vice president of the John Locke Foundation and publisher of Carolina Journal.