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Plaintiff in HB 2 Suit: I Can't Believe NC Is Passing Laws Requiring Anti-Trans Discrimination

March 30, 2016
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Payton McGarry

student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit filed Monday to challenge a new North Carolina law, House Bill 2.

North Carolina is facing a growing backlash over a new law barring cities and towns from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations. The law, known as House Bill 2, was introduced after the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, passed an ordinance seeking to protect the right of transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. On Tuesday night, North Carolina’s largest corporation, Bank of America, came out against the anti-transgender law. Earlier in the day, 80 chief executives from Facebook, Apple and other firms wrote an open letter to Governor Pat McCrory opposing it. Three North Carolina residents have already sued the state over the law. And North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, who is running for governor against Pat McCrory, announced he would not defend the new law in court. We speak to one of the plaintiffs, 20-year-old trans student Payton McGarry, who attends UNC-Greensboro.


TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: North Carolina is facing a growing backlash over a new law barring cities and towns from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations. The law, known as House Bill 2, was introduced after the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, passed an ordinance seeking to protect the right of transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

On Tuesday night, North Carolina’s largest corporation, Bank of America, came out against the anti-transgender law. Earlier in the day, 80 chief executives from Facebook, Apple and other firms wrote an open letter to Governor Pat McCrory opposing it. And North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, who is running for governor against McCrory, announced he would not defend the new law in court.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, I spoke to one of the plaintiffs, 20-year-old trans student Payton McGarry, who attends UNC-Greensboro. I started by asking Payton to tell us his story and explain how he ended up being a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

PAYTON McGARRY: Yes, I am a 20-year-old student at UNCG in accounting and business. Give you a little bit of backstory, I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. At about the age of 15 or 16, I started feeling different. You know, something just felt a little bit off. I started coming out to my family, my friends, and seeing a therapist based on like gender and all that good stuff at 17 years old, and started hormone replacement therapy at 20—18 years old, sorry. And here we are. So, it means a lot to me that this lawsuit is taking place just because of my own experiences with opposition to my gender. And I’ve experienced a lot of just distressing discrimination in North Carolina. And I can’t believe that we’re passing laws now that actually not only enable it, but in some cases require it.

AMY GOODMAN: Payton, can you talk about how HB 2 will affect you directly?

PAYTON McGARRY: Well, first and foremost, I mean, everybody calls this the bathroom bill, so let’s go ahead and get that out of the way. It’s requiring me to use the female restroom, is essentially what’s happening. And this is distressing because I used the female restroom until it was not feasible for me to, until I was getting pushed, shoved, slapped, screamed at every time I went into a female bathroom. So, now, it’s putting me in a tough situation, because it’s putting me in a situation where I have to choose between going into this distressing situation where I know harm to my well-being could come—you know, I could be screamed at, I could be shoved, slapped, beaten to a pulp, essentially—or I can break the law. And that’s not who I am as a person. More so than that, though, by excluding LGBT from your discrimination ordinance, which is now the statewide discrimination ordinance, you’re allowing that kind of discrimination to take place, that already takes place in so many places. You know, my—I could be kicked out of my housing. I could be fired from a job. I’ve already been denied employment before this law passed. And now people know that it’s legal. So, what adverse effects will that have on my life, in the lives of so many other LGBTQ students or just people in general?

AMY GOODMAN: After HB 2 was passed, the North Carolina governor, Governor McCrory, said he signed the bill to, quote, "stop the breach of basic privacy and etiquette, ensure privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms." If you could speak to the governor directly, what would you tell him?

PAYTON McGARRY: I would tell him to go speak to the professionals in this field, go speak to people who study gender and sexuality, and study these types of things, and maybe have a little bit of empathy. Go talk to the community. Go talk to the people who suffer directly from this bill, which was based largely upon the idea that I, as a transgender person, can cause harm to somebody else in a bathroom just by simply being there, which is a—it’s a hurtful and unfounded statement based on bias and animosity towards the LGBT community in North Carolina. So I would tell him, "Learn a little bit about these issues. Learn a little bit about who we are as a people. And learn a little bit more about our background and the things that we go through."

AMY GOODMAN: Payton McGarry, 20-year-old trans student at University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Payton is a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU challenging a new North Carolina law banning local governments from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations. And if you want to see the whole interview with Payton, go to democracynow.org. That does it for our show.

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