Last month, North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that repealed many protections for gay and transgender people across the state. One of the most controversial pieces of House Bill 2 required transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond to their gender at birth.
In the weeks since McCrory originally signed the bill, a federal appeals court in Virginia has ruled in favor of a trans teen who wishes to use the boy’s bathroom at his public high school. As North Carolina falls under the same appellate system as Virginia, the court decision may nullify parts of McCrory’s bill.
In collaboration with WFDD’s Radio 101 project, we asked teenagers in North Carolina how they feel about HB 2. Here’s what they said.
I think that what [the legislature] had in mind, I think they thought that it would be a good idea, but right now it seems like it’s really going to take a hit on our economy, with concerts and jobs pulling out of the state. Because [the band] Boston just pulled out their concert and Pearl Jam and several other concerts are probably going to do that also. So I think that [the legislature] just didn’t think about what this would do to our economy and it’s going to hurt us.
My name is Kathryn Bethel. I was born Jonathon, though. I realized I was transgender at sixteen, so I used the male bathroom for sixteen years. After that, I tried using the women’s bathroom at school, and a lot of teachers came after me about that and said that I had to use the men’s because apparently there was a safety issue. I didn’t understand why. But when I was out in public, I would always use the women’s bathroom, because I feel a lot safer using the women’s bathroom. Men kind of make me a little bit uneasy in the bathroom, especially when I’m walking around in something like a dress or a skirt. It singles me out, whereas women typically wear things like that — or stereotypically would wear things like that.
If I could say anything to Pat McCrory, I would say he seriously needs to rethink his priorities. A bill like this damages the economy; it causes problems between teacher and student; it causes problems in families and different things like that. It disrupts entire communities, and so I think he really needs to reassess his priorities before he tells somebody where they can and can’t pee.
I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to discriminate against the transgender community, but I can kind of understand the side of some people [who] may feel uncomfortable with [their lifestyles]. I don’t think [this bill is] giving a good look to North Carolina.
I like Pat McCrory, and obviously I think he’s fallen to supporters. He’s done this in response to his supporters, passing this bill. And I think he’s done the right thing listening to the people of North Carolina and backpedaling. I don’t know if [Pat McCrory] is doing it for the religious people, or who he’s doing it for.
[With this bill,] you’re not just shutting [transgender people] out; you’re stopping cities and you’re stopping principalities of North Carolina from doing what they want to do. To me that’s not very good.
I think the HB 2 that has been passed in North Carolina kind of impedes on the whole Civil Rights movement, and instead of being progressive, it’s kind of moving [our state] backwards. It’s definitely taking away the rights of some people, and I think there’s a misconception about why the bill is being passed. And some people are kind of making excuses for it, saying that “transgendered people — it’s a danger to women and their children”. And there’s this falsified belief that it will lead to men going into women’s bathroom and assaulting people, and that just isn’t kind of true.