The new legislation mandates that “public agencies shall require every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex.”
Widespread concern has arisen throughout North Carolina that the bill discriminates against the transgender community, and the employees at Sup Dogs, Linda’s Bar and Grill and The Cave agree.
Owner of The Cave Mark Connor said Sarah Shook, a bartender at The Cave, had the idea to put up a sign in front of the business proudly designating them as a safe space for all.
“We don’t want folks to feel alienated or unwelcome,” Connor said. “We don’t have control over the entire world, but we have control over our own place.”
Connor said he hopes displays of opposition to the law continue to occur.
Michael Meadows, general manager of Linda’s, said he feels the same way.
“I am completely against it and extremely disappointed in our lawmakers that House Bill 2 went through,” Meadows said.
Meadows said Linda’s won’t discriminate against anyone because of their sexuality, gender or race.
Meadows said he wants customers to have an enjoyable time without feeling threatened or unwelcome.
The owner of Linda’s, Chris Carini, said he thinks it is ridiculous that people still hold such prejudices.
Carini said the upstairs bathrooms are gender nonspecific, while their downstairs bathrooms will be kept gender specific for now. But, he said, people can use the bathroom of their choice according to their gender identity.
“It’s not something we would police or have an opinion about,” Carini said. “Use whatever bathroom you feel comfortable with.”
Lindsey Ewing, general manager of Sup Dogs, said the owner posted a sign reading, “We value and love all our customers. Please use whichever bathroom fits your personal needs.”
Ewing said they posted the sign because they want Sup Dogs to be a place where everyone can come in and feel welcome.
“Obviously we should still have some precautions just to protect adolescents, but if you just want to identify yourself as the opposite sex, I don’t see a problem with it,” Ewing said.
None of these businesses have had any customer complaints about their stance on HB 2 so far, although Meadows said Linda’s did receive one Facebook comment that seemed to be in opposition to a post Linda’s made about their newly designated gender-neutral bathrooms.
“One person commented on it and said ‘sick,’” Meadows said. “But I’m pretty sure by the person’s profile and picture they didn’t mean it in a nice way.”