NC’s dramatic HB2 repeal

Today: Transgender rights, podcasts, and mental health

Good morning, Jess here.

Welcome to Wednesday. The weekend is closer than you think. Today, we share three things to bring you fresh perspective. ONE provides the FRAY team’s reactions to the repeal of North Carolina’s controversial HB2. TWO shares a pair of podcasts that invite you to consider other points of view on current topics from acne to job security to conspiracy theories. THREE discusses the creation of the World Health Organization, which seeks to bring awareness about mental health this Friday for World Health Day.

Meanwhile, I’m off to declutter my apartment (again). I blame the Minimalists.

ONE: NC repeals HB2

One year after the NC General Assembly enacted its controversial legislation, the law was repealed and replaced with HB142 on March 30, 2017. This action came after a dramatic year of legislators challenging Charlotte’s protections for the LGBTQ community. Although North Carolina is not the only state to face this controversy, it has received extensive national coverage. Due to its widespread following, we asked contributors to weigh in.

The Facts:

  • On Feb. 22, 2016, the Charlotte City Council voted 7–4 to add the LGBTQ community to a nondiscrimination ordinance for local businesses. (Municode Library)
  • During a 12-hour special session on March 23, 2016, the NC General Assembly proposed a law to reverse Charlotte’s ordinance and nullify any municipal ordinances for employment and public accommodations. The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, or HB2, was signed into law immediately by then-Governor Pat McCrory. (NC Legislature)
  • According to HB2, transgender people who have not taken surgical and legal steps to confirm their gender could not use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. The law also clarified that standards must be consistent across the state.
  • Five days after HB2 became law, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against North Carolina, representing the interests of the transgender community. Roy Cooper, then attorney general (who would later defeat Gov. McCrory in his reelection campaign), refused to defend the state in the lawsuit. (ACLU, News & Observer)
  • HB2 caused several entertainers and businesses to cancel their plans in North Carolina, including Bruce Springsteen, Paypal, the NBA, and the NCAA. This added up to nearly $400 million in lost revenue. (Business Insider)
  • On Dec. 21, 2016, the Charlotte City Council repealed their additions to the nondiscrimination ordinance in response to assurances that legislators would repeal HB2 alongside the city’s action. However, the General Assembly did not follow through, generating outrage across the state. (U.S. News)
  • Following the NCAA’s 48-hour ultimatum to repeal HB2 or lose all NCAA events through 2022 along with another appeal from Gov. Cooper, the General Assembly voted 70–48 on HB142 on March 30, 2017. HB142 repealed HB2 and placed a moratorium on municipal ordinances regarding employment practices and public accommodations through December 2020. Gov. Cooper signed the bill, saying it was “not perfect” but “a step forward” for the LGBTQ community. (NC Legislature, NBC News)

So we asked our contributors, “How should states respond to the question of transgender rights?”

Progressive Opinion: “NC doubles down on discrimination” by Alexis Cole
The bait-and-switch law touted as a repeal of North Carolina’s anti-transgender HB2 is nothing but a new set of discriminatory policies targeting the LGBTQ community. While the law does repeal HB2, it also effectively bans any LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections…
Read Alexis’s full opinion ►

Conservative Opinion: “Freedom is better” by Oscar Silva
As I’ve said before, sometimes freedom is better just because it’s freedom. The role of the state is to protect that freedom, for LGBT citizens and all citizens, even (and especially) when freedom conflicts with popular opinion…
Read Oscar’s full opinion ►

TWO: Podcasts to challenge your perspective

One of my favorite ways to pass time during my commute to and from work and long runs while training for my upcoming half-marathon is to listen to podcasts. It all started with Serial last spring and I’ve found myself down several podcast rabbit holes since then. In the midst of the greatest distrust in America’s mass media to date, I’ve found podcasts to be a great way to learn directly from experts in various fields and to further develop my empathy muscle. Today we begin a series that gives our recommendations for podcasts that will invite you to view things from a different perspective.

  • Code Switch: This NPR podcast is an unapologetically honest depiction of the hosts’ experiences with the hope of establishing greater empathy. They share viewpoints about race, ethnicity, culture, and how the intersection of these topics impacts our daily lives. The team explains the meaning behind their name, saying: “Much of [what we explore] are the different spaces we each inhabit and the tensions of trying to navigate between them. In one sense, code-switching is about dialogue that spans cultures.” (iTunes, Google Play)
  • With Friends Like These: Political columnist Ana Marie Cox hosts a podcast revealing what divides us and what doesn’t. Through this process, she makes it a priority to explore political and cultural division with thoughtfulness and respect. This is the latest podcast from Crooked Media, which emphasizes political activism and participation, while also keeping things relatable and (mostly) in plain English. Through these episodes, Ana communicates the vital component we need moving forward: listening to (and really hearing) one another. (iTunes, Google Play, Spotify)

THREE: #LetsTalk about mental health

On April 7, 1948, the United Nations established the World Health Organization (WHO) through the adoption of its constitution signed by 61 countries. April 7 is recognized as World Health Day. This year’s focus is depression, which affects over 300 million people. The statistics supplied by WHO on Twitter are startling, but serve as a great way to raise awareness. WHO also created a web application with additional resources you can use to share the message and find events near you. Invest in mental health this week through WHO’s #LetsTalk About Depression campaign as we celebrate World Health Day together.


That’s it for today’s FRAY; we’ll see you on Friday! Don’t forget to click that little ❤︎ to let us know you liked it, share it to bring your friends along with us, or sign up to get FRAY in your inbox below.

Make it a great day, friends.

Jess Hall
Deputy Editor


FRAY is a thrice weekly email written by a team of liberals, moderates, and conservatives dedicated to separating fact from opinion. Subscribe below and we’ll send you a new issue with perspectives from all sides of the political debate each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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