New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is apparently so disturbed by the fact that transgender people in North Carolina cannot choose which restroom or locker room to use based on their gender identity that he has banned all non-essential travel to the state.
The ban, which took effect upon the signing of the order Monday, requires all New York state agencies, departments, boards and commissions to review any requests for state-funded travel to North Carolina. Any such travel that is not essential to the enforcement of New York state law or public health and safety will not be allowed.
“In New York, we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the eyes of the law,” Cuomo said in a press release. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.”
The new legislation was “passed by a bipartisan majority to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette,” Gov. Pat McCrory said last week after signing the bill into law.
It should be noted that transgender people who have transitioned to the opposite sex and have changed their birth certificate aren’t affected by this law. Lawmakers were simply concerned about the safety of women and children in very private settings given that the language in Charlotte’s anti-discrimination rules would’ve allowed anyone who called themselves transgender—including perhaps sex offenders— to enter a women’s restroom or locker room.
"It's common sense — biological men should not be in women's showers, locker rooms and bathrooms," GOP Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe said last week.
Cuomo did the same thing to Indiana after legislators passed a religious freedom law, but later lifted the ban after Gov. Mike Pence signed a watered down version of the bill.
UPDATE: It is worth pointing out that Cuomo recently visited Cuba and even teamed up with JetBlue to encourage travel to the nation, which would “[open] the door to new economic opportunities” for New York businesses. As The Washington Free Beacon points out, however, this move is quite hypocritical in light of the governor’s ban on state travel to North Carolina. Cuba has a horrible history of sending gay and transgender people to prison and labor camps for their ‘deviant lifestyle.’ And while things have certainly improved on the island nation for this minority group, many say they are still harassed and detained by police, and have a difficult time finding work.