In the light of passage and implementation of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2), there have been a number of organizations, programs and campaigns started in support of transgender people or to fight for the repeal of HB2. Some are designed to shame those involved with the passing and signing of the bill by Gov. Pat McCrory.
The newest initiative was launched on May 12 at a press conference at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center located at 600 E. 4th St.
The campaign entitled “Yes, You Can Go,” was started by The Freedom Center for Social Justice, a Charlotte-based LGBT advocacy group, to focus on restroom safety for transgender individuals. The Freedom Center, citing statistics from the National LGBT Task Force, reported that in 2015, there was a transgender person murdered every 29 hours and that 78 percent of transgender individuals experienced harassment in their daily lives. They also reported that 72 percent of hate crimes against LGBT individuals were against those who are transgender or gender-nonconforming — 90 percent of them being people of color.
“Yes, You Can Go” is a way for businesses, organizations and places of worship to demonstrate that the transgender or gender-nonconforming patrons may use the restroom facilities with which they identify.
A.J. Williams, a transgender individual and campaign organizer, said, “The goal is to explain, in the simplest terms, why transgender people using the bathroom is no big cause for uproar, and, in fact, is absolutely normal.”
Also speaking on behalf of the campaign was Andraya Williams, a transgender woman, who shared that she had been removed from a women’s bathroom on the campus at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C., by school security on March 18, 2014.
James Funderburk, speaking as a business owner, said, “If you are a business owner like me, you just need to let trans people use the bathroom of their choice.”
Business organizations or places of worship that want to support the effort should contact The Freedom Center which will provide a free starter kit that includes clinging window stickers, placards, educational materials and even training for those who want it.