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2 People Affected by North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill Speak Out

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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory sued the U.S. Justice Department Monday over its charge last week that the state’s House Bill 2, which prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination measures and bans transgender people from using the bathroom of the sex they identify as, violates civil rights protections for LGBT people.

Here are two people who are affected by the law—and why they think North Carolina should change it.

Joaquin Carcano, a transgender man, is HIV Project Coordinator at UNC-Chapel Hill. In a piece for TIME, he describes how the bill could affect his work supporting transgender people in the state—and his own life.

I am a transgender man, yes, but I am a man. My family, my friends, my coworkers and many more in this state affirm my male identity. Who I am is not something that can be stripped away by this bill. What has been attacked is a basic right—a right to feel protected and safe.

I use the men’s room exclusively as I should, yet this bill could deny me that fundamental right. This bill opens the door for me to get fired from my job or kicked out of my home simply because of who I am. The same goes for my lesbian, gay and bisexual community members. It could affect the health and well-being of me and many others multiple times a day in our workplaces and in our daily lives.

As members of the transgender community, we are no different than anyone else. We exist. You’ve probably passed us on the street whether you’ve known it or not. You may have shared a restroom with us. We use it, just like you, to pee. In peace. In privacy. Without fear. Instead of with this anxiety that has gripped my chest since this legislation was passed. A basic right such as this should not be the internal conflict it has become.

Kelly Trent, a lesbian woman, and her wife were turned away from a fertility clinic after HB2 passed. In a piece for TIME, she explains why she became a plaintiff in a lawsuit against McCrory and other North Carolina leaders over the law.

No customer should be denied service from a public business—whether it’s a restaurant, a hotel or a fertility clinic—just because of who they are. …

To me and my wife, there is no doubt that this was a case of discrimination. Despite the unfairness of being denied service because we were a same-sex couple, the new law left us with virtually no protections against biased business practices. Many people have described HB2 as a “transgender bathroom bill,” and while trans people are disproportionately harmed by the bill, the truth is that it affects all members of the LGBT community—and all of us as a society because we’re leaving many behind.

By signing HB2 into law, our lawmakers told us that we were no longer welcome in our state. But we know that’s not how many North Carolinians feel. We decided to join a lawsuit against this bill, along with other LGBT plaintiffs, because we know that discrimination does not reflect the values of North Carolina. We believe that it’s possible for families of all kinds to live and thrive in this state, and that no couple should have to go through what we did. We believe that North Carolina can and must do better.

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