Don’t just speak against prejudice

Daily Editorial Board

A new law in North Carolina prevents transgender people from using the locker rooms and bathrooms that service the gender with which they identify. The law has upset many people — and rightfully so. 
Activists across the country have expressed vehement criticism of and strong opposition to the law, but Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s response was perhaps most interesting of them all. He decided to ban nonessential travel to North Carolina for any department in Minnesota. 
Other political leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, have joined Dayton by passing similar measures. However, we believe Dayton could have reacted more strongly than he did. 
Dayton’s travel ban doesn’t actually have many major repercussions for Minnesota. While the stand against North Carolina’s law looks strong, in practice, it mostly affects people like a handful of Metro Transit staffers planning to travel to Charlotte for a conference. 
We urge Dayton to push for more meaningful measures than a nonessential travel ban. He has already promised to veto any legislation that discriminates against Minnesota’s transgender community in any way. This is certainly a good step in the right direction. The governor, however, should also promote active protection of human rights, not merely speak out in reaction to abuses that have already happened. 
This country’s transgender population continues to face problems like minimal access to health care and discrimination in the workplace. Dayton would show more good will if he promised to pioneer efforts to tackle these concerns head-on.