What is North Carolina’s bathroom bill? And other questions about the anti-transgender HB2

Alternative Image

North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ is one of the top most trending searches on Google, as it was introduced in March.

It turns out a lot of people are Googling details about what the law is, what it does and why it was introduced.

bathroom cred flickr

Here are the top 5 questions on the Bathroom Law

1 What is the North Carolina bathroom law?

The North Carolina ‘bathroom law’ is House Bill 2, also known as HB2 or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.

2 What is the transgender bathroom law?

The law is a state-wide law which specifies that people must use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate.

It also rolled back local ordinances passed to protect LGBT people and eliminates anti-discrimination protections in the state.

HB2 also prohibits councils from enacting local anti-discrimination laws, as well as setting a local minimum wage, regulating child labour, or making certain regulations for city workers. It also removes the statutory and common law private right of action to enforce state anti-discrimination statutes in state courts.

3 Why did North Carolina pass the bathroom law?

The state called an emergency session to pass HB2 in response to a local ordinance in the city of Charlotte, which allowed transgender students to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity.

Its proponents, including Governor Pat McCrory, state that the bill is “common sense”. Those supporting the bill often suggest that it protects children from sexual predators using a bathroom different to their gender to harass or sexually assault someone, despite no recorded case of anyone using a trans-inclusive law to such end.

Opponents of the bill often argue that those who plan to sexually assault someone in a bathroom would be unlikely to obey the rule of law regarding which bathroom to use.

4 What does the North Carolina bathroom law state?

HB2 is called “An Act to Provide for Single-sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations”.

The full text of HB2 is available to read and download on the North Carolina Legislature website here.

5 When did North Carolina pass the bathroom law?

The North Carolina House of Representatives on 23 March 2016 passed HB2 in a special session with 82 votes in favour, 26 against and 11 absences.

Three hours later, the state Senate also passed the bill with 32 in favour and 6 absent. 11 Democrat Senators walked out in protest against the bill and did not vote.

Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law that evening.


McCrory has continually defended the bill, and filed a counter-lawsuit after the state was sued by the federal government.

The state was warned to repeal the bill or face losing billions of dollars in federal funding as Governor McCrory this defended HB2, taking aim at those who have criticised it including Bruce Springsteen and PayPal.

Cirque du Soleil last month cancelled gigs in North Carolina over the state’s new anti-LGBT law.

Hundreds of business leaders have urged the repeal of North Carolina’s HB2, and multiple celebrities have pulled out of appearances, including Ringo Starr and, Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen was even accused of using “bully tactics” for cancelling the concert by one of the state’s Representatives.

But dozens of celebrities and hundreds of fans came to the defence of Springsteen, commending him for taking a stand.

Others such as Mumford and Sons and Cyndi Lauper have said they will appear but that they will donate their profits to LGBT rights organisations.

Mississippi also faces similar threats as Bryan Adams and Sharon Stone have pulled out of appearances there.