North Carolina recently passed House Bill 2 (HB2), or Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which specifies that transgender individuals who have not had surgery or gone through the legal process of changing their birth certificates must use the bathroom of their birth gender, not the gender they identify as.
This is not the first bill of its kind to be proposed. Tennessee proposed a similar bill that was pulled for the time being with plans to reintroduce it next year. Louisiana also has anti-LGBT bills that are fighting to be passed. However, Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the Non-Discrimination Executive Order which provides employment protection to the state’s LGBT employees. There was also a bill prohibiting transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their gender identity in South Dakota. After researching the topic, and hearing from transgender people, the Governor decided to veto the bill.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, there is an ordinance that not only prevents businesses from discriminating against LGBT customers, but also allows transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify as. The HB2 was made in response to this ordinance, reversing its power and ensuring that no other laws similar to the ordinance can be made.
The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act does not restrict businesses or private institutions from creating gender-inclusive rules within their facilities, instead it is shutting down common law complaints before they even go to court.
To some people, the requirements they are requesting such as surgery and legally changing the birth certificate may seem reasonable. However, full reconstructive
surgery can cost thousands of dollars that may not be accessible and not all transgender individuals wish to have surgery. Legally changing gender on a birth certificate also costs money, the amount depending on the state. Not every individual has the extra funds and resources to adhere to the new bills requests.
Governor Pat McCrory stands by this bill and went on Twitter after signing it, stating the “ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”
Michael Hughes, a transgender man, has started a movement on Twitter by taking a series of photos of himself in a bathroom with his female friends to show the public what it would be like for him to follow laws such as the HB2. Hughes’ movement shows people such as McCrory what these laws are truly prohibiting.