Transgender North Carolinians Win Victory in Bathroom Bill Case

Southern transgender activists won a partial victory after a federal judge approved a legal settlement in the issue of the North Carolina transgender bathroom bills, reported The Guardian.

The settlement, brought by Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper and LGBTQ rights groups, puts an end to the three-year long battle over HB2, which forced transgender people to use the bathroom that matched their birth sex, not their gender identity, in state-owned bathrooms.

Judge Thomas Schroeder approved the settlement on Tuesday (July 23). In the agreement, both parties agreed that the state cannot block transgender people from using gender-congruent bathrooms.

“After so many years of managing the anxiety of HB2 and fighting so hard, I am relieved that we finally have a court order to protect transgender people from being punished under these laws,” said lead plaintiff Joaquin Carcaño.

“Using facilities that match one’s gender identity is a basic necessity for full participation in society, and this order’s confirmation that transgender people can do so is an important victory,” said Tara Borelli, a lawyer at Lambda Legal and the attorney for the six transgender plaintiffs.

However, the victory does have limitations; the agreement only applies to buildings that the executive branch of government has control over. A provision of replacement bill HB142 that prevents cities and local government from introducing anti-discrimination protections until 2020 also will stay in place.

Despite this limitations, local LGBTQ activists are celebrating the victory.

“This settlement is cause for celebration and a step in the right direction,” said Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson. “However, it only goes so far to protect the lives and safety of trans people in this state. We must continue to fight for the full repeal of HB 142 and comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ folks across our state and nation. Otherwise, LGBTQ North Carolinians will never truly be safe.”