Anti-sexual assault groups: NC’s LGBT law puts transgender people at greater risk

Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law March 23.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law March 23.

A collection of over 250 anti-sexual assault and domestic violence groups have come out against North Carolina’s House Bill 2, saying it does nothing to reduce assault but rather puts transgender people at even bigger risk of violence than they already are.

The groups said they condemn how the needs and experiences of survivors of violence are used to justify marginalizing transgender people, according to a statement Thursday that was initiated by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.

Transgender individuals, the groups said, already experience “unconscionably high rates of sexual assault,” and forcing them out of the bathrooms consistent with the gender they live every day makes them vulnerable to assault.

“The claim that allowing transgender people to use the facilities that match the gender they live every day allows men into women’s bathrooms or women into men’s is based either on a flawed understanding of what it means to be transgender or a misrepresentation of the law,” the statement reads.

The groups also note how in the 18 states and hundreds of cities with transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, none has seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues because of the law. Assault in a restroom or changing facility remains illegal in every state, they note.

The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the North Carolina Coalition to Against Sexual Assault are among the groups that put their names on the statement.

Along with striking down a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, HB2 sets a statewide definition of protected classes of citizens that doesn’t include sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the measure into law March 23.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta