North Carolina Health Professionals Speak Out Against Discriminatory House Bill 2: Detrimental to State Health


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2016

For further information contact:
Pete Thomson, chief communications officer
Tel: 703-665-4786 Email: pr@amsa.org
Nicole Damari, co-president of local AMSA chapter
Tel: 480-215-1131 Email: HealthProfessionalsAgainstHB2@gmail.com

North Carolina Health Professionals Speak Out Against Discriminatory House Bill 2: Detrimental to State Health

Raleigh, N.C.: On May 13th at 4pm at the North Carolina State Capitol, doctors, nurses, and health professions students will deliver a petition signed by 589 North Carolina current and future health care providers calling for the repeal of House Bill 2 (HB2). The petition is sponsored by the American Medical Student Association, but more than just students have answered the call to stand up to the discriminatory and harmful law. Among the signatories are 142 practicing doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from around the state who are concerned about the impacts the bill will have on the health of North Carolinians.

The discriminatory law will have detrimental effects on the health of the transgender population in the state. Already there has been a documented increase in calls to transgender suicide hotlines. Forty-one percent of transgender people attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to only 4.6 percent of the general population, according to the Williams Institute and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A staggering 35 percent of transgender youth in grades K–12 experience physical assault because of their gender presentation according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Karan Ahluwalia, a first-year medical student and head of AMSA gender and sexuality committee states, “The psychological violence experienced by queer folks in North Carolina following the passage of HB2 has been staggering.  How absurd is it that queer people have to fight for their simple right to live in the world without the threat of violence from the state? That they don’t even have a guarantee of life without active, state-sanctioned discrimination based on who they are?”

HB2 has also overturned veteran anti-discrimination legislation in Greensboro and Orange County. With more than 1,430 cases of alleged civil job discrimination accepted by the Department of Labor in 2013, the veteran population faces significant employment discrimination. This poses financial problems for a population that already experiences a disproportionate burden of physical and mental health needs.  

Finally, HB2 outlawed local increases in the minimum wage. According to the American Public Health Association, raising the minimum wage results in improved health outcomes. The biggest beneficiaries are children, women, minorities and queer people, who are most vulnerable to economic discrimination.

About the American Medical Student Association: Founded in 1950, AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at www.amsa.org.

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