Trans Folks Fight Back Over Anti-LGBT Law In North Carolina

It’s always sad when lawmakers do everything in their power to reverse all the positive change that has been made in the LGBT community. Take North Carolina, for example. On Monday, a federal lawsuit was filed against the North Carolina governor, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, and other state officials.

The reason? A new law in the state prohibits transgender individuals from using public restrooms that match their gender identity. Not only that, but the law also prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.

By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, [the new law] violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution,” the lawsuit reads.

According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, the new law makes North Carolina the first state that requires students to use restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

Advocates for the LBGT community claim that using potential restroom risks as the main reason for the law is just an excuse for lawmakers to further discriminate people of various sexual orientations and identities. Supporters of the law believe that the new law prevents them from having to share restrooms with individuals who make them feel uncomfortable.

The two plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit, UNC-Chapel Hill employee Joaquin Carcano and Payton Grey McGarry, a student at UNC-Greensboro, were both born female. They now identify as male, but have not changed the gender on their birth certificates.

Before the law passed, Carcano used the men’s restroom at work and McGarry used a campus locker room without any hassle. Now that the law has passed, Carcano and McGarry are anxious and fearful about going about their daily routine. They’re now forced to search for restrooms in other buildings and local businesses.

For McGarry, being forced to use the women’s restroom would “cause substantial harm to his mental health and well-being,” as well as would pressure him to “disclose to others the fact that he is transgender, which itself could lead to violence and harassment.”

Not only does this law go against all the positive change surrounding the LBGT community, but it begins a conversation that should’ve been ended years ago. LBGT people are human beings. They deserve the right to choose which restroom they use.

Public restrooms are awkward and uncomfortable as they are; there is absolutely no need to make such a decision to cause fear, anxiety and embarrassment for an individual. Transgender people and others should not have to fight to use the restroom, locker room, etc. that they feel most comfortable in. It’s time lawmakers make a positive change and help people who are discriminated against on a daily basis. When is the unfair prejudice going to finally come to an end?

Features image by Peter O’Connor under a Creative Commons license.

Laura Muensterer is a public relations student minoring in psychology at the University of North Texas. She also writes for EDM World Magazine. In addition to her remote jobs, Laura is a PR intern at J.O. Design in Fort Worth, as well as an editorial intern for Southlake Style the magazine.


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