Jessica Williams and The Daily Show aired a thoughtful segment last night on the issues transgender people are now facing, after a week where GOP dominate states passed new discriminatory laws. In the segment, Williams points out the disturbing harassment a transgender person may face on a daily basis, and the irrational arguments of religious zealots, that oppose LGBT rights.
Governor Phil Bryant signed into law the Mississippi Religious Freedom bill into law. The new law says that it protects the,
“sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals, organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by state government or its political subdivisions.”
Supporters of the law say, that this law is necessary to protect religious beliefs that stand in opposition to the Federal Government’s recognition of same-sex marriages. The law essentially allows businesses to discriminate based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity in areas of housing and employment. The law also affects wedding products, services, and goods. Mississippi goes further, now defining a person as a sole proprietorship, or closely held company, partnership, association, organization, firm, corporation, cooperative, trust, society, or other closely held entity. This allows businesses to act as individuals, who object to LGBT rights, to discriminate.
Bryan Dewan’s article on thinkprogress.com, points out how states like New York and Vermont have banned most states’ work-related travel to Mississippi.
The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act stipulates transgender people (and everyone else) to use public restrooms according to the biological sex on their birth certificate. It also bars local governments from passing ordinances like Charlotte’s. Charlotte city council passed a ordinance stating that businesses, can’t discriminate against gay, lesbian, or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion, and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants, and stores. It also applies to taxis.
“Tucked inside is language that strips North Carolina workers of the ability to sue under a state anti-discrimination law, a right that has been upheld in court since 1985. If you were fired because of your race, fired because of your gender, fired because of your religion,” said Allan Freyer, head of the Workers’ Rights Project at the North Carolina Justice Center in Raleigh, “you no longer have a basic remedy.”
Wednesday night’s edition of The Daily Show focused entirely on this issue. Catch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, on Comedy Central Monday through Friday at 10 p.m. Central Time.