Wearing a flower-print sundress, Shakina Nayfack stopped by the Legislative Building Friday afternoon to use the men’s bathroom – and follow the state’s controversial LGBT law.
Nayfack is a transgender actress who’s in North Carolina performing a play about her transition from male to female, including her trip to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery. Despite having the surgery, her birth certificate still says male – meaning House Bill 2 requires her to use the men’s bathroom at government facilities.
“I’m looking for the men’s room,” Nayfack told the two women staffing the General Assembly’s reception desk. They pointed the way without asking any questions.
Nayfack’s visit did prompt concerns from General Assembly police, but not because she looks like a woman.
She brought a video crew to record the visit. Officer Bobby Barcafer approached Nayfack and her crew after she walked out of the bathroom. “Is there a reason you’re taking pictures in there?” Barcafer asked.
The officer said he was concerned that cameras were present when a young man entered the bathroom while Nayfack was inside. Barcafer said he had no problem with Nayfack using the men’s bathroom and did not ask to see her birth certificate or other identification proving she was using the correct restroom.
Nayfack later asked the other bathroom user if he found her presence awkward. “A little bit,” he replied as he quickly walked away.
“He was startled,” Nayfack said, adding that she also found the experience to be awkward. She says she’s worried about threats to other transgender people who are forced to use a bathroom that conflicts with their gender identity.
“I’m making light of it in a way, because irreverence is a great form of protest,” she said.
Before heading back to her home in New York City, Nayfack will perform her show at 8 p.m. Sunday at The Pinhook in Durham. Proceeds from the event will be donated to a summer camp for LGBT kids.