The Fight Against North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Heads to Court


Apparently the most urgent need in the state of North Carolina involves stopping transgender people from using bathrooms.

For North Carolina lawmakers, the urgency was so great that they felt compelled to call a special legislative session — costing taxpayers’ $42,000 a day — to pass the most sweeping piece of anti-LGBT legislation in history, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed the same day.

The reason for this extreme and unusual action by state lawmakers: The city of Charlotte dared to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance that extended legal protections to LGBT people. Though the ordinance did many things, it was dubbed the “bathroom ordinance” by opponents who falsely claimed that protecting transgender people from discrimination would somehow threaten the privacy and safety of others. But in actuality, it’s a myth that has instead served to justify and perpetuate violence against the transgender community for years. 

Animated by this distorted rhetoric about privacy and safety, state lawmakers moved HB2 through the state legislature swiftly. After he signed the legislation, Gov. McCrory disingenuously proclaimed it necessary to prevent “men from using women’s bathrooms.”

In addition to repealing the Charlotte ordinance, North Carolina’s new, hateful measure also:

  • Forces transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that accord with the gender listed on their birth certificate, whether or not that matches how they identify
  • Forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms and locker rooms in any government building, including public universities and colleges, that accord with the gender listed on their birth certificate, whether or not that matches how they identify
  • Prohibits local governments from passing LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections

It is a dangerous law and a disgrace. It is also unconstitutional. And today, we are suing to strike it down.

Nothing about Charlotte’s nondiscrimination law or any other law or policy in North Carolina would have allowed men into women’s restrooms. As The New York Times explained on Friday: “That threat exists only in the imagination of bigots.”

This imagined threat, however, is what prompted Gov. McCrory to become, as the Charlotte Observer wrote, “a 21st century governor who joined a short, tragic list of 20th century governors. You know at least some of these names, probably: Wallace, Faubus, Barnett.”

The law is intolerable and puts the most vulnerable among us at risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence. But as I wrote to lawmakers last week when this law passed:

“Whether through our families by blood or by choice, [trans people] have community. We will not be forgotten and the reverberations of your actions, lawmakers, will be felt and responded to with vigorous reminders that you are on the wrong side of history. And perhaps someday you will realize that someone you love was harmed by your ignorance and your inability to see our beautiful and common humanity and maybe then you will regret your vote.

Until then, I care less about you, hateful lawmaker, and more about my beautiful community. You are all loved and I will never stop fighting for you.”

Today, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality North Carolina are fighting in court for the trans folks who have been targeted relentlessly in North Carolina and for the entire LGBT community who is harmed by this regressive and discriminatory law.

This is just one tool among many to counter the horrible rhetoric that has led to the passage of this law and the introduction of many others in state legislatures across the country. Unless and until we embrace the humanity of our trans community members, we will continue to see this hateful rhetoric and legislation.

In court, on the streets, in schools, and across the country, we will be saying, “Enough is enough.”


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S. Carpenter

Responding to Diana's comment:
"In God We Trust"? Indeed? In deed?
Truth is, God made us unique, every one of us. He is Judge, not you, not me. We are to Love One Another, as Jesus commanded. How dare you try to use God to justify your own inability to follow His commandments.


Man knows no greater evil than religion and it's followers!


You failed to explain how it's unconstitutional. If you're going to make a claim, back it up.

Besides that one unproven claim, this article is entirely made of opinions and only the most biased facts.


Lamba Legal, one of the co-counsel in this case wrote this on their website:
"The complaint argues that HB 2 is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because it discriminates on the basis of sex and sexual orientation and is an invasion of privacy for transgender people. The law also violates Title IX by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex."

They wouldn't file a lawsuit if they didn't have the legal basis to back it up.


If people look at the full disclosure of what HB 2 does it prohibits and discriminates against a whole lot of other groups and others things also like veterans and allowing local govts. To adopt a higher minimum wage if they want to. The proof is in ALL the small details also. Any type of discrimination is wrong!!


North Carolina finally has adopted some COMMON SENSE!


I believe ALL people have the right to live their loves free from stigma. No law should tear us apart . I have no problem with sharing a bathroom with either sex as long as I have a private stall and they clean up after themselves. No one should have to face discrimination - it just diminishes us as a people to have any law that says someone is less than anyone else. If you do not believe in LGBT rights then in your home proceed as you wish - but out in the world you need to keep that enactment to yourself. May we al be blessed with good health and peace


My 12 year old daughter and I believe that it is contrary to the Bible to hate anyone. With that said, she is anxious about having people with penises in her bathroom/locker room. I think the lgbt movement is doing a huge disservice to those who identify with them. You are now as insensitive as those you prosecute. You now refuse to consider the feelings of anyone outside your group. This us no longer about equality, but justification. This NC bill would have been signed already if you remove the bathrooms portion. You'd be celebrating now. The ready answer is for the Governor to sign the bill as it was then add that all companies in NC must pay to meet the needs of these employees and customers. Lets be clear, despite all the press your group gets, majority of people are against hate of all kinds but when you fail to consider the feelings of others in your power lust you become no better than those you fight against. Please don't overreach. Lets compromise to meet everyone's needs. Thanks.


Let me alleviate your fears, then.

If there were no law, the default state of things would be that if someone looks and acts like a woman, they are allowed to use the women's restroom. This is because as a general rule, it would create more problems walking into the other room. In fact, transgender people know that if they get outed and sent to the men's room, men will beat them up. Because of this, transgender people are not likely to do anything to cause trouble. They don't want to do anything to you, because they would be hurting you. This is not a matter of "overreaching", they literally cannot safely use a men's restroom while presenting as female, and are not likely to do anything to you. This is the same principle as immigrants should face, they are there by permission, if they rape or murder, they deserve to be deported.

Now, let's talk about the alternative. Suppose this law is in play. You and your daughter would get accosted by some random creep asking you two to pull down your pants. Either that, or they would use reasonable suspicion, meaning they would leave transgender girls who pass alone, and possibly harass cisgender (what you call "biological") women who happened to look sort of mannish. Either one of these is totally unacceptable, and not just for people like me. This is not about power lust, although there are some who may ovverreach as you say. This is about, for most of us, blending in with other women.


Let's also not forget about trans men in this. With this in place it now requires trans men to use the women's room, which is far more concerning, as they don't belong in the women's room. As dangerous as it is for me, a trans woman, to go into the men's room, I feel it's even more dangerous for a trans man to go into the women's room. It instantly looks like a creep heading in there, and with NC's gun laws they'll potentially be shot on sight.

Not to mention...any cis guy could potentially claim to be a trans man to get in there without even thinking about changing his appearance. See why HB2 needs to go away?


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