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.”


View comments (92)
Read the Terms of Use


It is the law of the land that a state cannot prohibit laws to protect its LGBT citizens. That has been the case since the US Supreme Court struck down Colorado's Amendment 2, which sought to do the same thing N. Carolina is trying to do.


We think that the ACLU has ruined everything for the religious right! We cannot even have restrooms that are safe from the weirdoes!


How can so many of you be so ignorant and still survive your day to day lives? There is no law discriminating against gay people in NC. There are thousands of places with unisex or family restrooms for people to use the restroom privately. What this law is is simply saying that if you still have your penis then you must use the mens room and if you have a vagina you must use the ladies room. the majority of the people in NC just want to be comfortable in the restroom. Is that really too much for you morons to understand? If a man (who identifies in his mind as a woman but is a man) came out of a restroom that my 7yr old daughter was in he would not simply walk by me without being jerked clean off his feet.

The gay community is not the majority anywhere but san fransisco and maybe Key West so I'm sorry to my brother my friends who are gay and everyone else but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.


Please clarify: is the law protecting people that have had the sex change or just dressing as the other sex ?
Why can we not create another bathroom? and all these companies who want to move out of the state why don't they add more bathrooms in their buildings? Everyone has the right to feel safe in a public restroom.


"Transgender" and "gender identity" includes people who have had, and who have not had transitioning processes. They may be anywhere from fully transitioned to not having done anything at all to transition.


I think approximately 1 in 1000 trans have had the surgery.


Your idiots this law does not discriminate people at all


really?? then lets just have all gender bathroom facilities....makes sense..


We have another suggestion to people that hate the Christians so much. Since people cannot tell what other people are just by looking at them. Why do you have to broadcast to businesses what sexual orientation you are?


God is perfect and all that is made by him is perfect. Why change your perfection.


Stay Informed