"Disappointed." "Sadness." "Shame." "Embarrassed." "Angry." "Invisible — again."
Those were some of the ways transgender North Carolinians described their reactions to the state's sweeping anti-LGBTQ law in a new video by the News & Observer, a local newspaper. The law struck down local nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, and it bars trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity in schools and government buildings.
Beyond the clear tone of despair and sorrow echoed in the video, some trans people — who identify with a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth — pointed out that the policy was unnecessary.
The law was passed under the fear that letting trans people use the bathroom that matches their gender identity would allow men to disguise themselves as women and attack women in women's bathrooms.
But there are no reported incidents of sexual assaults caused by letting trans people use the bathroom of their choice. "I don't know that that's ever happened," Austin Fonville said. "I've been online looking for it — like looking for the news article where this has happened before — and I haven't found it."
Experts from 12 states with laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination — and generally allow trans people to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity — told Media Matters that they don't know of a single reported instance of sexual assault in bathrooms stemming from the laws.
In another investigation, Media Matters also found that 17 school districts around the country with protections for LGBTQ people, collectively covering more than 600,000 students, had no problems with harassment in bathrooms or locker rooms after implementing their policies.
Even if trans people are allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, rape and sexual assault remain completely illegal. "Laws are already in existence to protect [women and children] from predators," Wendy Ella May said in the News & Observer video.
One trans person, C.J. Lewis, was optimistic, arguing the law won't stop the push for equal rights. "It's not going to stop us. I think we're going to continue to persevere," Lewis said. "This is something that is going backward as far as societal progress is. So we want to continue moving in the direction that society should be moving in. We're not going to let HB2 or any sort of legislation stop that."