If This Is How North Carolina Republicans Think HB2 Can Be Fixed, They’re Wrong


Transgender bathroom sign

Pressure from the NBA over where it will hold its All Star Game next year was apparently enough for North Carolina Republicans to rethink HB2, the anti-transgender law forced through earlier this year, according to the Charlotte Observer. A drafted bill circulating in the House of Representatives, however, does absolutely nothing to address the primary concern raised by transgender advocates.

One of HB2’s most burdensome requirements is that transgender people are forbidden from using restrooms in public buildings that match their gender identity. Currently, the only way for an individual to change their birth certificate is to undergo a surgery that can be expensive, that is sterilizing, and that not all trans people want or need to resolve their gender dysphoria. The new bill doesn’t change this requirement at all, but merely creates a new process for meeting it.

The drafted legislation instead suggests creating a new kind of document that recognizes a person’s gender reassignment. This document will alleviate the problem for individuals from other states, like neighboring Tennessee, who have no process for changing their birth certificates to align with their transition. But nothing else really changes.

The new requirement reads, “The State Registrar shall issue a certificate of sex reassignment upon a written application from an individual 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.”

The World Health Organization and United Nations issued a statement two years ago calling for the end of any requirement that transgender people undergo sterilizing surgeries to achieve legal recognition. But that’s exactly the requirement North Carolina lawmakers are considering reiterating in a new law.

Moreover, the new bill sounds like it will actually encourage people to be even more suspicious of what happens in bathrooms, even though there continue to be zero incidents of trans people somehow abusing bathroom access to engage in nefarious behavior. According to the Observer, the new draft “increases the penalties for suspects convicted of committing certain offenses in a multi-person bathroom or changing facility.”

An insider who has been part of these negotiations said that what the NBA is looking for “is for anyone to be able to use, at any All Star venue, the bathroom associated with their gender identity.” If the new bill still requires surgery for access, it will very much not meet that threshold.

Laurel @laurelgreen

The reassignment ID is available only as a substitute? Still have to change BC if born here? And only post surgery? This is pathetic. #hb2


Laurel @laurelgreen

What will the required badges look like? Yellow stars and red Ls are taken, purple smiley faces perhaps? #hb2 gender reassignment IDs 🙄

Both LGBT activists and organizations are already decrying the proposed “fix.” In a statement, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin called the fix “nothing more than HB 2.0,” implying that it’s no different from HB2.

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro similarly decried the draft as “draft is the result of another backroom deal that does nothing to fix the problems of HB2. We need to repeal HB2 immediately. The legislature cannot cut and run.”

This isn’t even the first time that North Carolina’s Republican leaders have attempted to feign changes to the law without actually changing what’s harmful about it. In April, Gov. Pat McCrory (R)issued an executive order clarifying aspects of the bill but leaving the bathroom restrictions untouched.


Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress