Court Asked to Clarify That Transgender North Carolinians Have Access to Public Facilities Consistent with Their Gender Identity
Transgender people in North Carolina will not be barred from using public restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity under a consent decree proposed by Gov. Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, and LGBT North Carolinians who are challenging state anti-LGBT laws H.B. 2 and H.B. 142 in a federal lawsuit. The judge in the case must agree to the terms of the proposed consent decree before it takes effect.
The consent decree was proposed and agreed upon by some of the parties to the lawsuit because of the significant constitutional harms H.B.142 has caused transgender North Carolinians. If entered, the consent decree would alleviate some of the sweeping harms that vulnerable transgender North Carolinians suffered from the H.B. 2 and H.B. 142 saga.
In a separate action October 18, Gov. Cooper also issued an executive order that provides nondiscrimination protections for LGBT state employees and affirms equal rights for transgender North Carolinians.
“Nothing can make up for the cruel and senseless attacks transgender people have faced in North Carolina, but I am hopeful that the court will agree to clarify the law so that we can live our lives in less fear,” said Joaquín Carcaño, a transgender man who is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit,Carcaño v. Cooper.
Karen Anderson, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said, “H.B. 2 and H.B. 142 remain shameful and discriminatory attacks on LGBT people that should never have been signed into law, but under this proposed consent decree North Carolina would finally affirm the right of transgender people to use facilities that match their gender. The work of fully protecting LGBT people from discrimination across North Carolina is far from over, however, and we will continue fighting to advance equality and hold all North Carolina officials accountable.”
Simone Bell, Lambda Legal southern regional director, said, “We are pleased to have reached a resolution with the governor that supports the right of transgender people to use facilities that match who they are. The state-sanctioned discrimination of H.B. 2 and H.B. 142 and the hollow attempts by North Carolina’s public officials to find a solution opened a deep wound that continues to bleed into the lives of LGBT North Carolinians, but the proposed consent decree can be the start of a healing process. We will continue to fight for full nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT North Carolinians.”
The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal are representing six LGBTQ North Carolinians in a federal court challenge to H.B. 142, the law Gov. Cooper signed in March that replaced the sweeping anti-LGBT law H.B. 2. But by prohibiting regulation of restrooms and other facilities in schools or other state and local government buildings, the law creates widespread uncertainty about whether and where transgender individuals can use restrooms in government buildings. It also prevents cities from passing any protections for employment discrimination or discrimination by places of public accommodation – for LGBT people or anyone – until December 2020.