New law makes North Carolina first state to pass anti-transgender legislation

NCCapitolYesterday, in a rushed special session that cost taxpayers over $40,000, North Carolina legislators hurriedly enacted a sweeping new law targeting LGBT people on an unprecedented scale. Within less than 24 hours of introducing the bill yesterday morning and giving many legislators who had not seen the bill just five minutes to review, legislators passed the anti-LGBT and anti-worker bill through the House and Senate, and Governor Pat McCrory signed it into law. The law forces transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with the gender they live as every day, putting student lives and billions of dollars in federal funding under Title IX at risk. The law also eliminates existing and prohibits future local non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and any local regulation relating to compensation, such as increasing the minimum wage or providing sick leave.

“There is no way to characterize the legislature and Governor’s actions yesterday as anything but dangerous and irresponsible, and North Carolinians will be the ones to suffer for it,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center. “To rush legislation past the House, Senate, and the Governor’s desk in a single day, without time for consideration or debate, is bad governing no matter what the bill. Doing so for a law like this, with consequences that range from billions in lost federal funding to direct harm to youth and families, is nothing short of dereliction of duty by the state’s leadership. They are using their power as elected officials to launch an attack on transgender students and LGBT people across the state, without thinking of or caring for the many unintended consequences for all North Carolinians.”

Southerners on New Ground, TLC@SONG staff, and other organizations are holding a rally tonight at 5:45 at the Governor’s Mansion to protest the law.

“North Carolina politicians drew a line in the sand when they passed HB2 yesterday,” said Mary Hooks, Co-Director of Southerners on New Ground. “The Trump Effect is not only impacting white conservatives in the right wing base. It is showing up in the statehouse, where a handful of regressive political players are undermining all the gains won at the local level by communities that value their residents and have taken a stand to uphold justice and inclusive values regarding public space. This is an alarm to our movements in North Carolina, the South, and across the country that it is time to escalate.”  

Several other states considered similar bills this year, but ultimately rejected them after hearing from transgender young people, parents, business leaders, and others about the harmful impact a law like this would have. Most prominently, South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a similar bill earlier this month, stating that the bill “[did] not address any pressing issue” but rather would “[remove] the ability of local school districts to determine the most appropriate accommodations for their individual students” and “[invite] conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state.”

Hayashi added: “This law will invade the privacy of all students, potentially creating gender checks and other invasive measures for students to somehow prove their gender before using the restroom, and will particularly hurt transgender youth who are simply trying to go to school and get an education with their peers. We thank the North Carolina leaders who fought hard to stop this bill yesterday, and we are committed to working with those leaders to continue challenging the law and supporting the young people targeted for discrimination and harassment through this law.”


Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

TLC@SONG is a newly formed national collaboration based in Atlanta, GA. The collaboration joins the Transgender Law Center’s long history of legal, policy and trans-specific expertise with Southerners on New Ground’s well-respected southern base-building and organizing shop. TLC@SONG focuses on policy advocacy, legal work, public education and movement building.

Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South.  SONG builds a beloved community of LGBTQ people in the South who are ready and willing to do our part to challenge oppression in order to bring about liberation for ALL people. We develop leadership, build our membership base, and identify and carry out community organizing projects and campaigns. All of our work strives to bring together marginalized communities to work towards justice and liberation for all people.