Last night North Carolina’s legislators held a special session in order to prohibit local governments from passing anti-discrimination laws, particularly targeting an ordinance in Charlotte that would have allowed trans people to use public restrooms corresponding to their gender.
“Lawmakers returned to Raleigh because a Charlotte City Council ordinance was supposed to take effect April 1 that expanded protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for treatment at hotels and restaurants.
Critics focused on the ability of transgender people to use the bathroom or locker rooms aligned with their gender identity. So did McCrory, Charlotte’s mayor for 14 years.
The resulting legislation went further. Now cities, towns and counties can’t pass anti-discrimination rules beyond a new state standard. And public schools, public college campuses and government agencies must require bathrooms or locker rooms be designated for use only by people based on their biological sex.”
Lambda Legal has a primer for anyone uncertain about what protections are available to them when it comes to bathroom access in various parts of the country. The Transgender Law Center has an update on anti-trans bathroom laws being proposed in several states; take a look and see if your state is on the list and contact your state representative if any legislation is on the books.
“REFUGE is a web application that seeks to provide safe restroom access for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals. When the Safe2Pee website passed out of functionality it left a hole in our hearts. REFUGE picks up the torch where Safe2Pee left off and makes the valuable resource available to those who find themselves in need of a place to pee safely once again. Users can search for restrooms by proximity to a search location, add new restroom listings, as well as comment and rate existing listings. We seek to create a community focused not only on finding existing safe restroom access but also looking forward and participating in restroom advocacy for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming folk.”
Jos Truitt writes about an increase in trans visibility and in anti-trans legislation at The Nation:
“According to a new report from Human Rights Campaign, there are 44 anti-trans bills in the works in 16 states, double the number that were filed in the previous legislative session. Seventeen of the bills—including those in Illinois, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Virginia—place trans students in their crosshairs by focusing on bathrooms, locker rooms, or sports…The timing of this legislation is terrifying; 2015 saw the highest number on record of reported murders of trans women in the United States in a single year—most of them black or Latina and engaged in sex work or profiled as such—and the murders have continued in 2016, part of a global epidemic of violence that seems to have only worsened with the increased visibility of trans women. Conservatives have found that combating LGBT rights with panic about “men in women’s restrooms” has proved successful in blocking antidiscrimination legislation at the same time there is increased trans visibility.
Who Birthed the Anti-Trans Bathroom Panic?
“This stuff—the invocation of a threat to the personhood of anyone who isn’t trans, this victim mentality so divorced from the reality of anti-trans discrimination and violence—is not the province of the conservative right alone. The conservative trump card, the myth that women and girls face a particular threat from transgender women, is still alive, painfully, in feminist circles.”
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.