REGISTER & VOTE!

You can register to vote during one-stop early voting in North Carolina Oct. 17-Nov. 3.
Click here to visit ncsbe.gov
for more information.

As legislative session nears the end, HB2 debate continues

Gubernatorial candidates, advocates, educators say their piece

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — House Bill 2, which decrees that transgender individuals use the bathroom designated on their birth certificates, is still a matter of hot debate in political and media circles. Widely nicknamed “Hate Bill 2” by opponents of the legislation, HB2 has undoubtedly impacted the perception of North Carolina throughout the nation.

The bill also prohibits wrongful-termination lawsuits from state court, the only portion of the legislation that Gov. Pat McCrory has called to be repealed. McCrory is currently campaigning for re-election against Attorney General Roy Cooper, and HB2 was a key issue in the candidates’ debate on June 24.

“I think Gov. McCrory has failed us,” Cooper told the audience. “[He] wants to make this campaign about where you go to the bathroom.”

Despite McCrory’s unwavering support of HB2’s anti-trans language, opposition against the bill has only grown more intense. A rally held on June 22 in support of a full repeal was led by N.C. House Representative Chris Sgro, who also serves as executive director of Equality NC, an LGBT rights organization.

One attendee of the rally, Oudia Meyers, told WNCN that the event brought to mind her childhood in Alabama during the civil rights movement.

Advocates for LGBT rights and the repeal of HB2 hope to see action taken by legislators before this season’s session ends. However, the time is bearing down, with the end of the legislative session to come by July 4.

In another twist, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system has announced a new policy in defiance of the HB2 state law; CMS announced that transgender students may either request a private facility for bathroom and locker room purposes or use the bathroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify.

“Our first and foremost duty is to take care of the children,” said Erlene Lyde, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators. “It’s to make the child feel safe and secure and nurtured and understood and accepted.”

Gov. McCrory’s office denounced CMS’ new policy, arguing that “The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System should have waited for the courts to make a decision instead of purposely breaking state law.”

One can only wonder how CMS’ new policy, if issued earlier, might have impacted the fate of Blake Brockington, East Mecklenburg High School’s transgender homecoming king who died of suicide last spring. No doubt remains that North Carolinians on both sides of the issue will be awaiting news from the state legislature with bated breath.