Michelle Scott, 54, is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. She works as an assistant manager at a Walmart in Greensboro and was riding home to Charlotte on her motorcycle not long after HB2 became law. She said she stopped at a rest area on Interstate 85 near the N.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Thomasville.
As she left the women’s room, Scott said, an older white man demanded: Do you know you’re in the wrong bathroom?
I’m in the right bathroom, she remembers telling him. She said she suggested he take a closer look. Scott wears her hair short, in tight braids. She rides a motorcycle. She’s a woman. Her birth certificate says so.
A spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Transportation said no employee at that rest area is a white male. Based on what the Observer learned, he said, DOT has alerted attendants to be on the lookout for anyone harassing travelers.
A second Charlotte woman, a 61-year-old business executive, who is 6-foot-1 with short hair, described a similar encounter at the same rest stop on her way home from the Outer Banks in August. She said it involved an older white man she assumed was an attendant because he wore a uniform.
“I was in the stall. I hear this male voice saying, ‘This is the women’s bathroom.’ ” She said she washed her hands and walked out. “He’s standing there. ‘This is the women’s bathroom,’ he said. I told him, ‘I am a woman.... a female-born woman.”
She asked not be be identified by name because she fears losing business if clients discover she is a lesbian. “This is what we live with every day,” she said. “It is an environment of intolerance and misunderstanding.”