Watch BuzzFeed's Dominic Holden Debunk The "Bathroom Predator" Myth Behind North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law
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From the March 24 edition of PBS' NewsHour:
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JOHN YANG (HOST): Dominic, help us put this in perspective. How does both what Charlotte did in their ordinance and what the North Carolina state legislature did fit into the spectrum, as it were, of what's going on around the country in city councils and in state legislatures?
DOMINIC HOLDEN: What the city council did in Charlotte was very common in the United States. There are about 200 cities with ordinances like these that ban discrimination against LGBT people. What the lawmakers did in the North Carolina capitol in response is increasingly common this year. There were more than 100 bills filed that target LGBT people in some way, an unprecedented number, and that is seen as a backlash to the decision last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allowed marriage in all 50 states between same-sex couples. These bills have a number of forms. Some of them are religious protection bills, such as one in Missouri, and another one in Georgia right now, although the one in North Carolina was somewhat unique, in that it combined two other types of bills we have seen. One is a preemption bill that overrides local jurisdictions, and the other would ban transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. And so North Carolina put these two together. And the second one about banning students from school restrooms is the first of its kind in the entire country. And there are questions then raised about what this means legally for the state. The Obama administration has said that civil rights laws ban that sort of discrimination against transgender people in schools, and so this seems like it's ripe for a legal challenge.
YANG: Dominic, you mentioned the same-sex marriage decision by the Supreme Court last year. We have also seen gays in the military issue being resolved. Is this now the new battleground for LGBTQ rights in state legislatures over issues like this?
HOLDEN: After marriage equality, there's no question that the primary interests of the LGBT movement is to pass nondiscrimination protections federally. Where they're running into problems is on the local level with this issue about bathrooms. But it's important to note that in the 200 cities and 17 states with laws like this already on the books, there are no examples documented of someone using it for nefarious purposes, of a transgender person who is this sex predator in the bathroom. It's got no factual foothold. If anything, the irony in this is that it actually would require -- and North Carolina now requires transgender men who have beards, who are muscular, to use the women's restroom. So it actually creates the very problem that it claims to solve. Nonetheless, it's really put LGBT advocates in a difficult place because they haven't figured out how to respond to this. And for the most part, they have not taken it on directly.