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Things You Should Know About the “Bathroom Bill” and Its Repeal

In February 2016, the city of Charlotte passed a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations and other areas. On March 23, 2016, Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) signed the “Bathroom Bill,” more officially known as the House Bill 2 (HB2) or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, into law. It removed anti-discrimination clauses protecting the LGBT community and mandated that in government buildings people must use the bathroom or changing facility corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. The controversial bill was repealed in March of 2017, but the new bill is not seen as much of an improvement from its predecesor, and LGBTQ groups are continuing to fight for protection under the law. 

  • State Standings:

    • Sixteen states – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming – have considered legislation that would restrict access to multi-user restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth or “biological sex.”

    • Six states – Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia – have considered legislation that would preempt municipal and county-level anti-discrimination laws. North Carolina is the only state to pass this type of legislation (House bill 2 and then House Bill 142). Legislation is still pending in Missouri, South Carolina and Texas.

    • Fourteen states – Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia – have considered legislation that would limit transgender students’ rights at school. The bills in New Jersey and Oklahoma are in response to withdrawn Federal Guidance issued in May 2016 regarding schools obligations to transgender students.

    • Arizona considered a bathroom bill that failed to pass in 2013.

    • At least nine states considered bathroom bills in 2015, including: Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. None of these bills were enacted.

    • At least 19 states considered bathroom bills in 2016. One state – North Carolina – enacted this type of legislation. South Dakota’s bill passed in both chambers, but was vetoed by the governor. Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin also considered similar legislation in 2016.

  • What is The Debate Surrounding the “Bathroom Bill” Really About?

    • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, while addressing the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville in February 2015, said, “Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’”

    • He said at the same convention, “We are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your 7-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.” What Huckabee is clearly ignorant about is who is most at risk in public bathrooms and locker rooms.

    • As Rev. Miller Jen Hoffman, A Huffington post contributor writes, “…locker room privacy rests on some nostalgic myth of gender harmony. It presumes that, before trans folks got involved, no school student ever felt surveilled or exposed or under threat in the locker room. We know better from the first five minutes of Carrie! And we know from any five minutes of our own high school PE experience that trans kids aren’t what’s wrong with U.S. locker rooms. And locker room safety never seems to center on the safety of the trans student and never seems to acknowledge that trans people are among society’s most vulnerable populations, evidenced by the disproportionate suicide rate or the record number of trans people murdered each year for well on our way to three years running. If safety is the primary concern, why don’t discussions of restroom safety include the safety of those most at risk, in and out of the restroom?”

  • Pushback Against the “Bathroom Bill”:

    • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) relocated games to move them out of the state.

    • Huge multinationals like Paypaland Deutsche Bank retracted plans for proposed branches in North Carolina, and stars like Bruce Springsteen canceled their concerts. The pressure was immense, and helped to finally bring down Governor Pat McCrory — though only by a few thousand votes.

    • A statement from Bruce Springsteen on North Carolina: “As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

  • Repeal of the “Bathroom Bill”

    • Officially known as House Bill 142 (HB142)

    • Passed on Thursday, March 30, 2017 by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D)

    • Fierce criticism from LGBTQ groups, which say the new bill eliminates rules about who can use which restroom but retains other features and still allows for discrimination against transgender people.

    • Opponents of the bill claim that lawmakers are choosing basketball and economic gain over transgender rights.

    • Critics call it HB2.0

    • It prevents local governments, until December 2020, from passing or amending their own nondiscrimination ordinances relating to private employment and public accommodation.

    • Under federal law, it is NOT illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.










Carolyn Cross is a junior at Connecticut College and is excited to be the Campus Correspondent for the fall! She is a Sociology major and a Psychology minor. She also plays club soccer and is in Habitat for Humanity at Conn.
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