Mike Meno, who represents the North Carolina ACLU, said that HB 142 has harmed transgender people in North Carolina by creating uncertainty and keeping discrimination in the law.
“What the public wanted was for HB 2 to be fully repealed, but unfortunately that is not what the legislature did,” Meno said. “They should never have been signed into law in the first place.”
A proposed settlement that has been signed by Cooper and Lambda Legal is still in the works. If the settlement is approved, transgender people in North Carolina would be able to use the bathroom that corresponded with their gender identity, and it would put an end to the legal debate.
“It would bring clarity to this very uncertain situation that trans people in North Carolina have been put into,” Meno said. “Transgender people in North Carolina have suffered greatly because of House Bill 2.”
Meno also said that gender identity discrimination occurs at the elementary school level in North Carolina, where students have been banned from using the facilities that match their identity.
According to the Associated Press, the lawyers who represent UNC said in the hearing that the school has no place in the lawsuit since university officials cannot change a state law. Yet according to the ACLU and the plaintiffs in the case, UNC continued to enforce discriminatory provisions and did not establish a clear policy after HB 142 was passed.
"The University is committed to the ongoing safety and well-being of all students, faculty and staff and to providing appropriate care, support and resources to all parties," said Jeni Cook, a UNC media relations manager. "If a member of the campus community feels they’ve experienced threats, discrimination, or harassment due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, they can utilize several support-based or reporting resources provided by the University."
UNC currently has 323 single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms across campus. The locations of these places are available on an interactive map online. Individuals may also report incidents of harassment or assault due to their sexual orientation or gender identity to the UNC LGBTQ center or at the UNC SAFE website.
“HB 142 hasn't done anything to make anyone safer,” said Kris Cone, who is a leader of the Transgender Initiative at the LGBT Center of Raleigh. “In fact, it has made LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people, feel more unsafe and unsure about the future.”
Cone also said that the Center has been working to give transgender people a safe community in a number of ways, particularly by helping them begin the legal name change process. If somebody’s legal name doesn’t match their perceived gender identity, it can leave them vulnerable to discrimination, especially due to HB 142.
“The bill prevents state agencies, branches of government, and public universities from passing trans inclusive policies and protections,” Cone said.