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Ejaculating Justice: The Porn Company Protesting Anti-Trans Law Speaks Out

xHamster and other major corporations have taken a stand against anti-trans law reform in North Carolina. We spoke with the porn company, and some guy on Craigslist who's into trans girls, about this fear-mongering bill.

by Diana Tourjée
Apr 12 2016, 7:10pm

Photo via Google Images

In February, Charlotte, North Carolina passed an ordinance extending the existing state anti-discrimination protections to include gender-identity, which meant that, among other protections, people would be able to use public bathrooms aligned with the gender with which they identify. In March, state legislatures retaliated. Called the "bathroom bill," House Bill 2 (HB2), the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, is a now-notorious law that revokes the changes made in Charlotte and permanently omits gender identity from the state's anti-discrimination laws, making it illegal for cities to pass their own local amendments to protect trans people from discrimination. All of this, of course, is politically centered around the use of public restrooms by trans people.

Now, in an effort to support HB2, Republicans in North Carolina are campaigning on fear-mongering lies about transgender people as sexual predators. According to these lawmakers, HB2 is a fight against men invading women's restrooms. A website endorsing Governor Pat McCrory's choice to legalize HB2 claims the law "protects women and young girls from local laws and extreme groups trying to force them to use the same bathrooms and locker rooms as men."

Considered by many to be blatant prejudice, the push for HB2 has caused some major companies across the US to retaliate by ceasing business operations in North Carolina or revoking plans to expand in the state. Apple, Bank of America, and Facebook have spoken out against the bill. Paypal will no longer build a facility in the state because of it. And the latest company to take a stand? xHamster, one of the world's top websites and a major player in online pornography.

Read More: Why We Should All Be Terrified of Anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bills'

In protest of HB2, xHamster has blocked North Carolina residents from accessing the content on their site, instead displaying a message that reportedly tells viewers to stop their "homophobic insanity." In a statement provided to Broadly, xHamster explained that as marketers in sexuality-related content, they believe in the rights of all people, regardless of who they love or who they are, including members of the LGBT community. "Naturally, we are not aimed at banning the access to xHamster in North Carolinians forever," the company said. "We blacked out the access to our website because we wanted to draw the attention of millions of people to patterns of human rights violations, and we are glad that our voice has been heard across the globe."

Now that even porn companies have joined the resounding chorus of corporate protest against trans prejudice, I had to wonder: How do the men living in North Carolina who sexualize transgender women feel about it all? These guys are typically removed from the mainstream, unaffected by laws like HB2, yet are intimately involved with the people those laws oppress. They're able to live their lives free from the consequences of anti-trans injustice, and very few of these men ever speak out during times of crisis such as this. Are they allies to transgender people?

Photo by Christian B. via Stocksy

Brian* is a straight male resident of North Carolina who has, in recent years, sought a male-to-female transgender partner for a long-term relationship. In an interview with Broadly, Brian told Broadly that he doesn't agree with the companies that have taken a stance against HB2. "Having states cave to corporate threats is the last thing we need in today's political system, and we all know, in a few months, those businesses will reverse their decision." He even believes that HB2 is a good law. "While I am attracted to trans women and believe in their rights, my broader view of individual rights takes precedence and I don't disagree with the law for several reasons," he said. Basically, he thinks anti-discrimination laws need to be state-wide, not local. Explaining this, Brian parroted back the fear-mongering slogans that Republicans have produced. According to him, the original pro-trans bathroom ordinance passed in Charlotte this winter encompassed too much, "basically allowing anyone to use either bathroom [means they] could be taken advantage of by creeps, pervs, predators, and bullies."

Brian may think that HB2 is a protection of sorts, but, ironically, the Human Rights Campaign recently released a video featuring health care professionals discussing the very-real dangers of laws like HB2. Jay Brown, the director of research and public education at HRC said: "These healthcare professionals are speaking out because they know better than anyone the very real harm these discriminatory measures inflict on transgender youth."

"Unfortunately, real individual liberty means the right to be a jerk, a bigot, an isolationist, or any other pejorative that does not cause direct harm to another person," Brian said. "And I do mean 'cause' harm," he added, like a wind-up-doll for ignorant opinions. "Refusing service to someone does not cause harm, it has simply denied a benefit...big difference."

But based on the testimony of health-care providers in the HRC video (and as evidenced by the massive cultural backlash against HB2) such legislation does appear to place transgender people in harm's way. It is especially disturbing to realize how such legislation may affect the development of transgender youth. One Pediatrician via the HRC underscored the benefits of acceptance in young people's lives: "When kids are affirmed, they learn better, they're able to have better relationships with their peers, they feel more support from their family system and more connected with the people around them." That's far less likely to occur if young people grow up in a world where they're portrayed by their government as freaks and sexual predators. Just glance at the horrifically high, rate of attempted suicide in the transgender community—41 percent—for an understanding of how prejudice affects marginalized groups.

From corporate protest, non-profit advocacy, the fear-mongering campaigns of republican bigots, and even the warped opinion of trans-amorous men on Craigslist—the anti-transgender legislation underway in the United States is a polarizing issue that positions ignorance against the fight for human rights.


*Name has been changed.

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