After months of boycott threats and a brief national firestorm, North Carolina leaders are reportedly moving to fix the state’s controversial anti-LGBTQ law, according to local reports. But the proposed legislation, leaked by WBTV in North Carolina, doesn’t fix any of the major problems with the existing legislation.
North Carolina’s law bans anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in private workplaces, housing, and public accommodations. And it prevents transgender people from using the bathroom for their gender identity in schools and public buildings — unless they go through the arduous legal process of changing the gender marker on their birth certificate after attaining gender-affirming surgery.
The new so-called “fix” simply creates a “certificate of sex reassignment” that a trans person could obtain only after they submit a written application “accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery.”
But trans people born in North Carolina could already get the gender markers on their birth certificates changed through this type of process. The biggest beneficiary, then, is mostly out-of-state trans people residing in North Carolina whose home states may not let them change the gender markers on their birth certificates. But by and large, the supposed fix really just allows people to carry a “certificate of sex reassignment” instead of a birth certificate to prove they’re in the right bathroom.
This does not, however, help trans people who either can’t go through the process of getting this new certificate or don’t want to obtain gender-affirming surgery. These people may go through every other transition-related procedure (such as hormone therapy), and may fully pass as men and women in terms of physical appearance, but simply aren’t interested in getting genital-reconstruction surgery done.
This actually isn’t that uncommon among trans people: The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found about 14 percent of trans women and 72 percent of trans men said they don’t ever want full genital construction surgery.
Beyond bathrooms, the legislative changes would still prevent local governments from banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination within their borders — guaranteeing that it’s legal in North Carolina for an employer to fire someone, a landowner to evict someone, or a businessperson to kick someone out of a store simply due to a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
The legislation is still bound to change, since this is a leaked draft of the bill that may change in light of public criticism. But if this proposal is what North Carolina legislators really plan to push, they’re not going to really fix anything.