A State Divided: HB2 And Transgender Rights

A photo illustration depicting two different House Bill 2 rallies. On the left: LGBT and pro-equality North Carolinians call for the repeal of HB2 on April 25, 2016 at the old state capitol building in Raleigh, NC; on the right: supporters of House Bill 2 gather outside the same building on April 11, 2016.
Credit Jason E. Miczek & Gerry Broome / AP

It’s been a year since House Bill 2 advanced through the North Carolina General Assembly. The law requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate. The so-called bathroom bill is an intersection of gender identity, religion, politics and power. “A State Divided: HB2 and Transgender Rights,” takes a look at the unintended consequences this complicated chapter in North Carolina history continue to present.

Reporters: Jess Clark, Jason deBruyn, Rusty Jacobs, Jeff Tiberii, Jorge Valencia
Music: Robin Copley
Photos: Matt Couch, AP
Editors: Elizabeth Baier, Dave DeWitt, Brent Wolfe
Host & Executive Producer: Elizabeth Baier

Editor’s Note: On March 30, 2017, legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly passed a measure that repealed House Bill 2. For full coverage, visit our HB2 archive here.

          For a closer look at how HB2 impacted North Carolina, click on the stories below.

a bathroom sign at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham
Gerry Broome / AP

A year ago, state legislators passed House Bill 2, a controversial law that almost immediately set off a national debate about public safety, common sense, and government authority. 

HB2's Impact: Politics

Mar 23, 2017
A composite photo of former Gov. Pat McCrory (left) and current Gov. Roy Cooper (right).
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

One year ago, House Bill 2 moved through the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory. A frenzied political day amplified partisan bickering, triggered unintended consequences, and established a divisive law that remains on the books.


A young soccer fan poses for a photo in front of a giant inflatable soccer ball outside of WakeMed Soccer Park prior to the NCAA Women's College Cup final between Penn State and Duke in Cary, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.
Ben McKeown / AP

Legislators have spent much of the past year - even the last few weeks - posturing on House Bill 2's pros and cons, without any action. But perhaps the most tangible impact of the law has been on the business front.


HB2's Impact: Legal

Mar 23, 2017
In this photo taken Thursday, May 5, 2016 Joaquin Carcano is shown at his home in Carrboro, N.C. Carcano, a 27-year-old transgender man, works for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After HB2 passed, he found himself in a difficult position
Gerry Broome / AP

Politically, and economically, the question swirling around HB2 is when. When—or will—the legislature reach consensus and repeal the controversial law? Legally, however, the question is: what now?


HB2's Impact: Schools

Mar 23, 2017
Hunter Schafer and her parents Katy and Mac
Allen G. Breed / AP

At the heart of the HB2 court case is the question of which bathroom and locker room transgender students are allowed to use in public schools. For one of the plaintiffs in the case, HB2 has made life much more complicated.


In this photo taken Thursday, May 5, 2016 Payton McGarry is reflected in the entrance at his workplace, Replacements Ltd. in McLeansville, N.C.
Gerry Broome / AP

After state legislators passed House Bill 2 last year, transgender rights took center stage in North Carolina - and across the United States.


All Our HB2 Coverage

Mar 23, 2017
The LEAF Project / Flickr/ Creative Commons

House Bill 2 has had a significant impact on North Carolina's image and economy. WUNC - North Carolina Public Radio has covered the story since the law passed on March 23, 2016.