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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If you're born with a vagina, you use the ladys room, if you're born with a penis you use the Mens room. Stop all this insanity. Get a thicker skin and live with it. Better yet...move to the Middle East and try enforcing this crap.

Lori Cleaver

I have a couple questions I am hoping someone can help me with. I have posed these questions on MANY boards and websites and the only answer I have received is to be called filthy names and be told I'm a hateful bigot. I'm hoping the ACLU is it's other members can be more more helpful than hateful. I want to use my voice and my vote to be a force of change but not change that places the most vulnerable segment of our society in more danger, our children.

I am wondering, in the case of this particular law, what measures will be put in place to protect them?

Before I get called names, please understand, I DO NOT feel a need to protect my children from trans gendered men or women. We do not care. If you are happy and not hurting others to achieve that happiness, you are miles ahead of most. I do, however think less scrupulous individuals will take advantage......especially pedophiles .

What will "identifies as female" really mean? Anyone who was ever in high school, I'm sure, can imagine the locker room dare between callous teenage boys that leads to one boy suddenly being trans gender and exercising his right to use the girls locker room. Teenage boys are not known for their class or consideration. Our school has swim. My kids put on a swim suit in their locker rooms. Do I have to force my daughter to disrobe in front of a boy? What about pedophiles. One in ten children are sexually assaulted now and a pedophile will do anything to gain access to a child. What's to stop a pedophile from putting on a dress and make up just to gain access to the woman's restroom? I have six kids, 5 boys 1 girl. There were numerous times I had to send my daughter to the restroom alone, as 2 or 3 little brothers and a double stroller are a tight fit in any restroom. I had to rely on the kindness of others, in essence, to ensure her safety. What if a pedophile was inside instead of another woman. In NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM, am I insinuating trans gendered men are pedophiles. I am saying pedophiles are not above lying or pretending. How are we going to protect our most innocent citizens from theses dangers?

Not to mention ALL public restrooms, school restrooms and locker rooms would have to be retrofitted, the cost would be astronomical for cities, towns and schools already struggling to provide basic services. How will they pay for that? Most schools can not afford paper and ink, how can we expect them to find millions of "extra" dollars for retrofitting every restroom and locker room? There are mushrooms growing on the walls of Michigan's public schools. Shouldn't that be our priority, financially? Who is going to pay for this?

This law scares me.....not because my granddaughter may have to share the restroom at the public park with a trans gender man but because she may have to share it with a pedophile.


Which is the greater harm, women getting raped by men in the ladies room, or men getting beat up by men in the men's room? Compassionate for both issues, I believe the former is the greater harm.


We feel that it is against all women's rights by having men use restrooms that are designed for women! Most public restrooms are either women's or men's! What is wrong about that?


Most women prefer having paper towels to try their hands on instead of the air blowing machines in the public restroom. Also women prefer using seat covers when using the restroom. When they do not have paper towels women have to use the new seat covers to dry our hands after washing our hands. That is what happens every time that people use the places to give blood for our doctors checkups! They do not have separate women and men's restrooms!


The right to privacy is an inherent component of this issue. That right to privacy is an inherent reason for having restrooms separated between “Men” and “Women.” Having a member of the opposite sex present in a restroom is a form of intimidation and harassment. The desire of 0.1% of the population to “identify” as a gender opposite their physical reality has no effect in changing the reality that the presence of the opposite sex in a restroom is sexual harassment. Those who promote sexual harassment need to be identified, pursued, arrested, and sued. That includes organizations such as the ACLU and all those who want to force this harassment on others.


We do not think that there was anything wrong with the passage of Yes on Prop 8. We do not think that there is anything wrong with having women's only and men's only restrooms! If somebody cannot figure out which restroom to use they should go to see a Shrink instead of filing a lawsuit with the ACLU!


It seems ironic that the ACLU wants to only protect a certain group of people that are odd and strange! Why on so many old TV reruns are the one's that are sexually confused are the ones that murder people!


It seems ironic that the ACLU wants to only protect a certain group of people that are odd and strange! Why on so many old TV reruns are the one's that are sexually confused are the ones that murder people!

Debra Walker

I am not one bit worried about the anti discrimination legislation which the sneaky Republican legislators tried to "protect" me from.
I am absolutely terrified by the trend of discrimination driven by NC Republicans. You do not represent me or my views. We will vote you OUT so you can go back to the slimy rocks you live under. McCroy, how dare you hijack this fabulous state!


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