A group of House Democrats, two businessmen and the mother of a transgender child held a news conference Wednesday at the Legislative Building to promote a newly filed anti-discrimination bill.
The legislation, House Bill 1078, is a companion to bills filed in the House and Senate that would repeal House Bill 2, which in March pre-empted some LBGT protections, including prohibiting people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity rather than their sex at birth.
Rep. Chris Sgro, a Democrat from Greensboro and an LGBT rights activist, said the new bills were filed despite likely defeat by the Republican majority because his oath of office requires him to "uphold liberty and justice." He said he believes the legislature will vote on the repeal bill during this short session.
Hope Tyler, a Raleigh mother of a transgender son, at times tearfully related her family’s experience.
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"In the short time that Pat McCrory decided to pass HB2, it’ painfully obvious that he did not think about how this would affect our transgender children."
She said 15 years ago she gave birth to a "beautiful blue-eyed blond-hair little girl who never liked dolls or girl’s clothes." By the time she was 8 she was the only girl on her flag-football team. Anxiety attacks increased as the child grew older, she said, and she was diagnosed at 12 as transgender.
"That day my daughter became my transgender, beautiful son," Tyler said.
Her daughter underwent surgery and treatment and did well in school, she said, always having his physical education class as the last period of the day so he wouldn’t have to shower.
"He had comfortably begun to settle in until discussion of HB2 came along," Tyler said. "Suddenly, everyone in the trans community had a spotlight on them when there was never an issue before."
She noted calls to suicide hotlines for the transgender community have doubled, according to a letter presented to McCrory by more than 200 mental health-care workers in North Carolina. “This bill is emotionally killing our children,” she said.
"To the transgender community: You are not alone. We are going to repeal this bill."