After North Carolina: 9 States Have 14 Anti-Trans Bills in The Works

The horrific anti-trans bill that North Carolina governor Pat McCrory signed into law last night is not an isolated piece of legislation. The new law, which only allows transgender people use restrooms designated for the gender they were assigned at birth, is part of a broad campaign spearheaded by the Family Research Council to scapegoat and dehumanize transgender people, and to deny them basic rights. Nine other states have “bathroom bills” pending, and some of them are joined by other pieces of legislation that seek to deny transition-related healthcare to imprisoned trans people and make it impossible for trans people to obtain vital records (like birth certificates, marriage licenses, and driver’s licenses) that accurately reflect their gender.

Last year 21 anti-trans bills were introduced into various state legislatures, and while none of them passed, it set the stage for the 44 anti-trans bills that have been introduced in the first three months of 2016. Like the one in Tennessee this week, many of these bills will die in committee, which is where they go to be scrutinized after they are introduced but before they are voted on by the general assembly. However, South Dakota’s bill made it all the way to the governor before it was vetoed. And now North Carolina’s has now made to the governor and been enacted as law.

Opening the floor for this kind of transphobic debate only preys on people’s ignorant fears and perpetuates the kind of untrue stereotypes that have led to a pandemic of violence against trans people, particularly black trans women.

Whether or not these bills are passed, the simple introduction of them into state legislatures can be deadly for trans people. These bills seek to dehumanize trans people by leaning into dangerous and untrue stigmas that trans men and women are predators and deviants, and that they deserve to be punished. Stereotypes that are reinforced year after year by what people see on TV, by the way. Opening the floor for this kind of transphobic debate only preys on people’s ignorant fears and perpetuates the kind of untrue stereotypes that have led to a pandemic of violence against trans people, particularly black trans women.

Below is a list of anti-trans legislation that is in currently in play in state legislatures around the country, and links to resources to join the fight to stop these lawmakers from making the world even more dangerous for trans people.

Public School Bathroom Bills

Illinois HB4474 

Status: In committee

Resources: Equality Illinois

Kansas HB 2737 // Kansas SB 513

Status: In committee with only two weeks left in session

Recourses: Contact state legislators

Kentucky HB364

Status: In committee

Resources: Contact Kentucky House representatives

Missouri HB 1624 // Missouri HB2303 // Missouri SB720

Status: Introduced, no committee yet

Resources: #MoTransRights

South Carolina H. 4761

Status: In committee

Recourses: SC Equality // National Center for Transgender Equality

Senate Bill 582

Status: In committee

Recourses: Contact state legislators

General Public Bathroom Bills

Massachusetts Bill H.1320

Status: In committee

Resources: Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

Minnesota H. F. No. 3396 // Minnesota SF 3002

Status: In committee

Resources: OutFront Minnesota

Mississippi HB1258

Status: Going to floor for full vote from the House

Resources: Contact Mississippi House representatives

Missouri HB1847

Status: Introduced, no committee yet

Resources: #MoTransRights

Vital Records Denial Bills

Tennessee HB2600 // Tennessee SB2275

Status: In committee

Resources: Contact state legislators

Transition-Related Healthcare Refusal Bills

South Carolina S. 108

Status: Introduced, no committee yet

Resources: SC Equality // National Center for Transgender Equality

Ballot initiatives

If Washington State anti-trans group “Just Want Privacy” receives 246,372 signatures on their ballot initiative by by July 8, the public will be able to vote on the rights of transgender people in the general election in November. Their initiative seeks to overturn state protections already in place for trans people, institute a new bathroom law, and prohibit any individual municipality from issuing protection for trans people in individual districts.

For information on how to stop their initiative, check out the resources at Washington Safe Alliance.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. The bill in North Carolina is about SO much more than bathroom usage. The media is downplaying what the bill actually will do. It is the broadest pro-discrimination bill in the nation and it was signed into law a mere 12 hours after it was introduced.

    The bill eliminates ALL anti-discrimination ordinances at the local level, effectively wiping out protections across the board for all LGBT peoples. If a business decides to hang a sign that says “No Queers Allowed”, this bill legally gives them the right to do this without repercussion. It also removes protections from discrimination based on gender, age, sex, race and veteran status.

    In the words of Josh Stein: “Their law makes it legal for a hotel to deny a room to a gay couple, for a restaurant to kick out a person because she is transgender, and for a city contractor to fire an employee because of his or her sexuality. And if a North Carolinian is discriminated against on basis of race, religion, national origin, gender or disability, he or she can no longer vindicate his or her right of nondiscrimination in state court. A right without a remedy is just words on a page.”

    This bill is a terrifying violation civil rights on every level and is an enormous regression of the civil rights progress made in this state in the last 50 years.

    • And just to be extra-mean, they slipped in a provision that forbids municipal-level minimum-wage laws. This bill is a really nasty piece of work.

    • Definitely not defending this bill, but the new law replaces the local anti-discrimination laws with a statewide law that still protects based on race, religion, color, and national origin. It does leave out other statuses that are protected in most places–namely age and Veteran status–as well as the LGBT protections.

      It’s such a nasty bill, regardless.

      • While the state does technically have language to protect against discrimination based on race, religion, color, and national origin, the bill removes the avenues necessary to get legal restitution in the event such discrimination occurs. Which makes those protections effectively useless.

        • This is an absolutely relevant analysis I’ve not yet seen anywhere else. Would you please provide a link detailing this argument?

  2. On one hand, Heather, I want to thank you for laying out this comprehensive list of all the nastiness that’s out there in our “laboratories of democracy.” On another hand, though, I have to say that I’m finding this political season to be exhausting. Terrifying. Overwhelming. I’m not doing well at all at self-care in what feels like a very dark time.

    • I’m sorry this season is so hard. Please keep trying to be hopeful. From the outside, I’m seeing issues getting discussed, attention being brought, and good people fighting for the rights they deserve. They are forcing some who could’ve ignored this to face their morals. But I’m untested, this isn’t my every day. I wish I could give you some of my patience to get through this. I can’t imagine how much you would pull and recycle every drop of energy out of it, even when I would cry that it could endure no more. You are phoenix, and these fires are going to reveal better things. Dammit.

  3. It’s disgusting that a country that considers itself an example of human rights is doing this, even if it’s only at state levels. I’m also flabbergasted by the very short-time memory. Nobody remembers what happens when you discriminate a minority, when you legally decide to do that?

    How can North Carolina say “hey, the bus stops here, this is as far as you would go” when you’re talking about human rights, particularly when your state laws are so obviously lacking?

    How can you live with yourself when you’re subjecting your citizenship to discrimination, the risk of constant violence and possible death? How can you live in the XXI century and allow this to happen? Why you don’t want to protect your whole people?

    Mr./Mrs./Ms. Politician you don’t need to love the trans community, you don’t need to embrace the LGB community or march on Pride Parade, just let us live our life.

  4. Is there anything that non-US citizens can do to help fight these bills? I mean, I doubt US lawmakers have much reason to listen to me, a small angry person from the UK who has never even visited their country, but there must be something I can do?

    • The issue needs international attention so just keep talking about it, sharing statuses, organizing stuff in solidarity. How much media is it getting over there? McCrory wants the issue to be over and done with because he knows it makes him look like the fascist that he is, so the more and farther -reaching the scrutiny, the better.

      • Unfortunately (if understandably), European media is currently more or less exclusively focused on the Brussels bombings and likely to stay that way for a while, so I doubt it’ll get much play over here. I’ll keep sharing stuff, at least!

    • There are talks of a boycott, or campaigns for corporate pressure on the legislature. (They are biz tools when all is said and done anyway.) Paypal is moving their HQ, or part of it, to the city of Charlotte, NC. Such strategies are a double edged sword, but have had some success, ala Georgia. Supporting such a campaign in the offing is something folks abroad might ponder.

  5. This shit is horrific. It’s fostering, as you said, deadly conditions for trans people. And gender-nonconforming people. People have mistaken me for a man more times than I can count; I’ve been harassed even in the northeast. I already consider my driver’s license a shield. I already thank my lucky stars that I can squint and see an “F” on a slip of plastic, that I can justify my presence in the bathroom marked by the triangle figure instead of the rectangle figure. How much will that bit of relief matter if someone jumps to conclusions before I can wave that proof in front of them? How much will I care that I was legally allowed to exist there after the mental or physical damage caused by a bigot who felt just as righteous because they live in a country with laws like this? And how much do I really care that the law is on my side when it would punish people who have just as much right to that space as I do?

    It’s wrong. It’s so wrong. I’m writing this and I’m at turns boiling mad and chilled to the bone. Why, why is it so hard to leave people alone? God! Trans people have every right to use the bathroom that they feel most comfortable in! Not just to use it, to use it free from harassment! [insert incoherent gurgling, I don’t even have words anymore.]

    Ugghhh, writing this comment tired me out. I’m usually better at managing my emotions when it comes to stuff like this. This one got to me, though. Like the arrow that struck Achilles, I guess. Also, I think maybe I need to start a journal so I can avoid using Autostraddle comment threads for that particular function.

  6. Just to clarify: I think the Massachusets bill is actually an antidiscrimination bill. We want that one to pass!

    The legislatures are being cowards and not voting. It’s frustrating and awful.

    • I’m guessing you didn’t read it? Because it is very much *not* an antidiscrimination bill; it specifically calls for “sex-segregated” spaces* to be segregated based on “an individual’s anatomical sex of male or female, regardless of that individual’s gender identity.”

      * (“facilities, accommodations, resorts, and amusements, as well as educational, athletic, and therapeutic activities and programs”)

  7. The only small silver lining is that this law can now be challenged in the courts, since it’s the only one that’s actually been signed into law so far. In the meantime, however, the law is going to cause unimaginable harm.

    Isn’t it interesting, though, that these bathroom bills have started popping up after the marriage equality decision? I’m sure it also has to do with recent visibility in the media, but these lawmakers didn’t give a damn about which bathroom transgender folks were using before now. It’s almost as if they’ve decided that since they’ve lost the war on marriage equality, they’ve moved on to the portion of the LGBT community who are easier to pick on. Explicit homophobia has become less and less socially acceptable, but transphobia is still A-OK in the eyes of many.

    Same with these “religious liberty” bills (I’d love a companion piece listing enacted/pending bills). LGB folks may have won the right to marry, but these assholes are still going to let us know in every way possible just how little they think of us.

    Luckily, the direction of progress is on our side (at the moment), but it’s disheartening and infuriating just how difficult and slow it is.

  8. Sorry, but could you explain why the linked Wisconsin bill belongs on this list? It seems to be mostly about shoreland zoning and property transference. I’m not sure I fully understand.

  9. Does anyone know of a resource that lists what the current (enacted) transgender bathroom laws are, state-by-state? I know HRC keeps a list of LGBT discrimination laws by state but they aren’t specific on that particular issue.

  10. Do you have the right bill for Wisconsin? It seems to lead to one talking about shoreline zoning. No mention of bathrooms of transgender that I could find on my admittedly non-legal expert reading.

  11. I honestly don’t know how trans people can fight this war, sometimes. There are too few of us to ever reach the kind of PFLAG-personal saturation that has done good for lgb rights. This list is immensely… dispiriting.

    I’ll never understand why they loathe us so much.

  12. At a time when the government here in Scotland is talking seriously about giving legal acknowledgement to both trans, and non-binary genders (changing birth certificates, passports, etc.), it is a bit shit to hear about what is going on for a lot of you in the US.

    I suggested to a friend on FB that maybe an organised day (even an hour) of mass public restroom misuse by everyone opposed to this legislation would highlight the absurdity of it and create a high profile but peaceful protest.

    And if Donald the human Trumpet ever gets in, you can all come to Scotland :-)

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