June 06, 2016 Articles

Transgender Rights Litigation Moves Through Fourth Circuit

The issue has found footing in the Fourth Circuit, particularly in the context of the right of transgender individuals to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identities.

By Nancy C. Marcus – June 6, 2016

On multiple fronts, the issue of transgender rights is moving through the courts within the Fourth Circuit, particularly in the context of the right of transgender individuals to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identities.

One case that has been at the forefront of national attention is the challenge by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB 2), recently enacted by the North Carolina legislature as a backlash response to the passage of a Charlotte ordinance that would have extended municipal antidiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents of Charlotte. Steve Harrison, “Charlotte City Council Approves LGBT Protections in 7–4 Vote,” Charlotte Observer, Feb. 22, 2016. Before the Charlotte ordinance could take effect, the North Carolina legislature rushed through HB 2, a broad statewide law that, on its face, preempts local antidiscrimination ordinances like Charlotte’s, prohibits other localities from enacting protections against LGBT discrimination broader than the protections under state law, and requires state agencies and institutions (including schools, libraries, rest stops, and other public facilities) to prohibit transgender people from using the bathrooms that conform with their gender identity, forcing them instead to use the bathrooms that match their “biological sex,” defined by the state as set by one’s original birth certificate (regardless of other biological factors that might point to a different gender identity, such as hormones, chromosomes, intersex status).

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now