Women for the Repeal of HB2: A Transgender Perspective

Ryan Wilson

Today, TurnOUT! North Carolina (NC), a coalition of HRC, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU and the Campaign for Southern Equality, launched a three-city press tour across the Tar Heel State featuring the voices and perspectives of women in North Carolina against the discriminatory HB 2. Starting in Raleigh today then continuing to Greenville and Charlotte later this week, “Women for the Repeal of HB2” will feature a diverse range of women’s voices, experiences and concerns calling for full repeal of this discriminatory law.

Women from North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NC CASA), Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Action NC, WomenNC, League of Women Voters--Charlotte-Mecklenberg, Sister Song and several state and local elected leaders are joining the tour.

Today in Raleigh, Alexis Dee, President of the Southern Comfort Conference Board of Directors, kicked off the press conference. The Southern Comfort Conference is one of the largest transgender conferences in North America, celebrating 26 years of service. Alexis, who is wife, mother and grandmother, has lived in Southport, North Carolina for the past 15 years as a proud transgender woman.

“I frequent local restaurants, shopping malls and theaters in both North Carolina and South Carolina. I fly extensively throughout the United States using various North and South Carolina airports, including Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Raleigh and Charlotte,” she said. “I have used the women’s restrooms exclusively in all those places for the past 15 years with absolutely no incidents, problems or privacy issues with other users of the restroom.”

HB2 is an outrageous and unprecedented anti-LGBT law that eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and living wage ordinances and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting 4.5 billion dollars in federal education funding alone at risk, and it compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, convention centers, and airports. Further, it gutted the existing ability of people who have been discriminated against - including on the basis of race, religion, and sex - to sue in state court, undermining critical discrimination protections for all.

“The governor’s contention that transgender women and men are predators or pedophiles is personally hurtful and very insulting,” she continued. “It is hurtful and insulting for entire trans community…and it is very wrong!”

It’s already illegal to enter a restroom for the purpose of assaulting anyone. That was true the day before Charlotte passed its non-discrimination ordinance, and it was true the day after. Additionally, there have been no increases in public safety incidents in the more than 100 cities and 18 states that have passed non-discrimination laws like Charlotte’s. What’s more, a survey of transgender North Carolinians found that half of respondents had been harassed or discriminated against in public places like hotels, restrooms, restaurants and other public services.

Recently the Charlotte Observer confirmed what advocates for equality have been saying all along: “Virtually no cases of sexual predators benefiting from transgender anti-discrimination laws

This is why TurnOUT! NC is working to mobilize the voices of women, both transgender and allied, to speak out for the full repeal of HB2. TurnOUT! NC has field organizers based in Asheville, Charlotte and the Triangle area. Additionally, HRC staff is on the ground working with coalition partners across the Tar Heel State. There are daily opportunities to volunteer with weekly phonebanks and weekend canvassing opportunities.

If you live in North Carolina and want to join the efforts to repeal HB2, RSVP for upcoming phonebanks and volunteer opportunities. For more information about our work in North Carolina, contact HRC Associate Regional Field Director Ryan Rowe at Ryan.rowe@hrc.org.

Above: Alexis Dee, President of the Southern Comfort Conference Board of Directors speaking in Raleigh on Monday about how HB2 impacts transgender North Carolinians.

Below: Monika Johnson Hostler, Executive Director of NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NC CASA), sharing that HB 2 does nothing to protect women from sexual violence.

Monika Johnson Hostler

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