On Wednesday, North Carolina passed one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ state laws in the country. It overturns and bans cities' and counties' anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people. And it forces transgender people in schools and government buildings to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate, not solely their gender identity.
On Twitter, J.P. Sheffield, a trans man, demonstrated the absurdity of the bathroom law in one tweet:
@PatMcCroryNC It's now the law for me to share a restroom with your wife. #HB2 #trans #NorthCarolina #shameonNC pic.twitter.com/4b4OdmfmeN— JP Sheffield (@JayShef) March 24, 2016
The law would let trans men like Sheffield use the men's bathroom if they changed the gender marker on their birth certificates. But to do that, trans men from North Carolina would have to go through an arduous legal process and only after they go through full gender-affirming surgery — meaning, change their genitalia. Other states have different standards.
But not all trans people want to or can go through this procedure. The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found 61 percent of trans and gender nonconforming respondents reported having medically transitioned, and 33 percent said they had surgically transitioned. (What a full transition entails in either of these categories varies from person to person.) About 14 percent of trans women and 72 percent of trans men said they don't ever want full genital construction surgery.
Yet even if trans people go through all sorts of gender-affirming treatments short of genital construction (like hormone therapy), the North Carolina law will force them to use the wrong bathroom in schools and government buildings. That could place people like Sheffield in some very uncomfortable situations.
For more on North Carolina's law, read Vox's explainer.