Transgender

Photo of Rome's Gay Pride parade
Fabio Frustaci / AP Photo

LGBT issues continue to make headlines across the country, whether it's in regards to North Carolina's controversial HB2 or how the presidential candidates plan to address LGBT rights.

But how does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of cultural support and government policies for its LGBT community?

Still from "Deep Run"
Courtesy of producer Chris Talbott

There are tens of thousands of transgender individuals living in North Carolina.

House Bill 2 sparked a national conversation about one particular aspect of their lives, but the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival aims to paint a broader picture.

One of the documentaries featured this year "Deep Run," is a verite portrait of a trans man named Cole Ray Davis living in Deep Run, N.C., a rural town outside of Kinston.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has stirred up numerous conversations about the lives of transgender Americans. It has also illuminated many misconceptions about what gender identity is and how it is formed.

Groups of scientists have stood up in opposition to HB2, arguing that there are genetic and biological causes of gender differences, and for the vast majority of trans individuals, their gender identity is not a choice.

Image of Eugene from the new opera Body Politic
Scott Bump

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has been making national headlines for the past two months and has inspired a wide range of social action. There have been both pro and anti-HB2 rallies on Jones street, businesses have left the state, and performers have canceled appearances in protest. The law inspired a different response in two UNC School of the Arts alumni who were inspired to bring their artistic work to the state.

Hunter Schafer, 17, is a transgender student at the UNC School of the Arts.
Hunter Schafer / via Instagram

Hunter Schafer is one of several North Carolina residents challenging the state's controversial new discrimination law in federal court.

Gov Pat McCrory speaks to reporters about the state's HB2 lawsuit
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has sued the U.S. government and the Justice Department, asking federal courts to clarify a controversial new state law that limits transgender access to bathrooms.

The Justice Department in turn filed its own lawsuit against the state, saying the law restricting use of public restrooms by transgender people constitutes a pattern of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity.

Allen County Public Library via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified Governor Pat McCrory that House Bill 2 violates Title IX of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, potentially jeopardizing millions in federal funding for public schools.

The department, in a letter signed Wednesday, gave state officials until Monday to respond confirming whether or not they will comply with their advisory. If the department’s opinion is upheld by the courts, North Carolina could lose federal school funding for violation of Title IX, which bars discrimination in education based on gender.

John King
U.S. Department of Education / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Secretary of Education John King spoke out against North Carolina's controversial new law limiting bathroom access in public schools.

At a conference for education writers in Boston, King called the law known as HB 2 and a similar law in Mississippi "hateful," and said lawmakers should repeal it.

Donald Trump
Greg Richter / Flickr Creative Commons

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has weighed in against North Carolina's controversial discrimination law.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

UNC School of the Arts high school junior Hunter Schafer breaks the law every time she uses the women's restroom at school.
Emme Black

One of the largest groups most affected by House Bill 2, or HB2,  is the state’s public school students. More than a million North Carolina students spend most of their day in facilities where they are now prohibited from using restrooms that do not correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. This new law presents problems for the state's transgender students and conflicts with several school districts’ practice of allowing students to use the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

Photo: Hundreds of supporters of the controversial House Bill 2 gathered outside the state capitol building on Monday.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Hundreds of supporters of the controversial North Carolina law that prevents cities from expanding rights for gay and transgender people gathered outside the state capitol building on Monday, cheering Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican legislators who wrote the law.

Demonstrators gathered on Franklin Street to protest House Bill 2.
Jessa O'Connor

Amid national criticism over the law that restricts anti-discrimination protection, McCrory says he's willing to "make this bill better."

Photo: Attorney General Roy Cooper
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will not defend the state’s controversial new law that requires transgender people to use bathrooms that match their sex at birth. He said today the mandate is unconstitutional and conflicts with some state agency policies.

Photo: Joaquín Carcaño, a 27-year-old transgender man, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's new bathroom law.
Jorge Valencia

Two transgender people and a lesbian law professor filed a federal lawsuit on Monday challenging a new North Carolina law that requires public school students to use bathrooms assigned to their biological sex and blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules.

The filing argues that the law violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment, discriminating against certain groups because of their gender or orientation and threatening their personal safety.

Cities, counties and states across America are contemplating non-discrimination protections for transgender people. It would allow them to use the bathroom of their choice, but that has caused controversy.
Rusty Clark / Flickr Creative Commons

The transgender community has received greater visibility in pop culture with the stories of Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner in recent years. And in North Carolina, the Charlotte City Council recently passed an ordinance to include non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.

But despite the progress, 2015 also saw a record number of murders of transgender people, specifically women of color.

Image of bathroom sign
The LEAF Project / Flickr Creative Commons

The Charlotte City Council passed an ordinance to include non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

Although the expanded protection includes a variety of changes, the most controversial measure allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

The city council voted 7-4 in favor of the ordinance expansion, but Governor Pat McCrory and other Republican legislators have indicated the state may intervene.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

A high school student is petitioning the Wake County Public School System to create a policy allowing transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

CJ Lewis's petition on change.org has more than 600 digital signatures.

Headshot Photo of Terri Phoenix, the director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.
lgbtq.unc.edu

This is a rebroadcast of a program that aired last year.

Terri Phoenix (T) grew up always feeling like an outsider. As a young child in a poor, fragmented family, Terri moved around more than 10 times before starting high school and was always the "new kid."

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

The American military permits people to serve regardless of sexual orientation, but there are still policies precluding military service based on gender identity.

About 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the American military in violation of the rules. The United States lags behind many other Western nations that allow transgender people to serve openly, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is pushing for change.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

The American military permits people to serve regardless of sexual orientation, but there are still policies precluding military service based on gender identity.

About 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the American military in violation of the rules. The United States lags behind many other Western nations that allow transgender people to serve openly, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is pushing for change.

Laverne Cox
UMKC / Flickr Creative Commons

    

November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is meant to honor those who have died from violence against transgender people.

On top of the hostility, those who do not identify themselves within the historical definitions of gender struggle with daily issues from filling out the gender section on medical forms to using a public restroom without ridicule.

Meet Terri Phoenix

Apr 21, 2014
Headshot photo of Terri Phoenix, the director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.
lgbtq.unc.edu

Terri Phoenix (T) grew up always feeling like an outsider. As a young child in a poor, fragmented family, Terri moved around more than ten times before starting high school and was always the "new kid."

Karin Vlietstra via Flickr

After events involving a six-year-old student who identifies as the opposite gender, a Cumberland County school board member says he hopes to develop a policy on how to accommodate transgender and gender nonconforming students. 

Wikimedia Commons

  

Today is transgender day of remembrance, a day designated to remembering transgender people who have lost their lives to violence this past year.