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Trans people can use preferred bathrooms in North Carolina, court rules

Trans bathroom

North Carolina’s law cannot be used to deny transgender people entry to public restrooms, a court has ruled.

US District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled on Sunday that “nothing in the language” of the current law bars transgender people “from using public restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity.”

North Carolina has been a focus point for clashes over transgender rights, with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper signing a law, HB 142, restricting bathroom use in 2017 as part of a compromise with Republicans who had previously passed a more extreme law, HB 2.

 

Unisex signs hang outside bathrooms at Toast Paninoteca on May 10, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Sara D. Davis/Getty)

Cooper’s compromise law banned cities from enforcing LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances before 2020, and maintained several softened measures from the previous law aimed at restricting bathroom access.

The case had been brought by the ACLU and LGBT+ law firm Lambda Legal on behalf of six named plaintiffs.

Joaquin Carcaño, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said: “I am relieved to finally have the court unequivocally say that there is no law in North Carolina that can be used to bar transgender people from using restrooms that match who we are.

“For the past two and a half years, I have been unable to use restrooms in my home state without worrying that I will be subject to discrimination, harassment, or even arrest.

“Our community has faced so much discrimination because of HB 2 and HB 142, and this decision will give us more support to defend the rights and basic humanity of our community members across the state.”

Roy Cooper (Getty)

ACLU of North Carolina Legal Director Chris Brook said: “By making clear that transgender people in North Carolina cannot be barred from using public facilities that match their gender identity, this decision lessens some of the harm that has been caused by these laws’ disgraceful and indefensible attacks on LGBT North Carolinians.

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