The debate over House Bill 2 revolves around bathrooms, but what it’s really about is knowing versus not knowing.
Prior to the explosion of news regarding the law, few in North Carolina knew much about transgender people nor did they worry about which bathroom transgender people used in public buildings. Now the people of North Carolina are working their way up a steep learning curve about what transgender means. As that knowledge grows, so will acceptance.
To that end, Martine Rothblatt provides a strong dose of edification. The former Martin Rothblatt became Martine after undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 1994. Now she’s CEO of United Therapeutics, a $5 billion biotechnology company in Research Triangle Park. She also started several satellite communications companies including CD Satellite Radio, which later changed its name to Sirius XM.
In an interview with News & Observer business editor David Bracken published Sunday, Rothblatt, 61, expressed confidence that HB2 will not last. That patience, combined with Rothblatt’s business accomplishments, shows that transgender people are ordinary people capable of making extraordinary contributions. They are not confused. They are themselves.
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North Carolina’s legislature and governor are making life harder for transgender people and driving away people who could be – and are – making great contributions here. A master of solving problems, Rothblatt wonders why state leaders are needlessly creating one.
“I think that there’s enough real problems we have in the world that I think we should focus on solving real problems rather than causing trauma to our own fellow North Carolinians,” she said.
That’s a message more people in the state will agree with as they come to know who transgender people are – their fellow North Carolinans.