SAN FRANCISCO, May 10, 2016—San Francisco AIDS Foundation commends Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Vanita Gupta, director of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for the swift and historic response to blatant discrimination against transgender individuals in North Carolina.
Lynch delivered remarks at a press conference announcing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the State of North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina to stop discrimination against transgender people caused by backing and implementing House Bill 2—which states that people must use bathrooms consistent with their sex as noted at birth.
“You’ve been told that this law protects vulnerable populations from harm – but that just is not the case. Instead, what this law does is inflict further indignity on a population that has already suffered far more than its fair share. This law provides no benefit to society – all it does is harm innocent Americans,” said Lynch. “Let me speak directly to the transgender community. No matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”
“The words of Attorney General Lynch are historic, and passionate. They signal to my community that we are an equal part of the American family, and that the stigma and discrimination we face is wrong, illegal, and that the federal government is standing with us to fight for full equality,” said Tanesh Nutall, program manager of the TransLife1 program at San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) notified North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory that the North Carolina Public Facilities, Privacy and Security Act, known as House Bill 2, put North Carolina in direct violation of federal Civil Rights laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex and gender identity, by putting restrictions on bathroom access based on gender identity.
“I applaud the clarity of Attorney General Lynch’s remarks rebuking discrimination, and debunking the idea that transgender people create risk or that the LGBTQ community is bullying others by demanding equality,” said Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the foundation. “Transgender individuals across the country all too frequently experience discrimination, harassment and other forms of violence, including murder. Transgender and gender non-conforming people deserve to be safe and have access to the same basic rights as others. We are proud of the work we do at the foundation on behalf of the transgender community and proud of the Attorney General for standing up for the rights of trans-people across the U.S.”
1 TransLife, a program of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, is a health and wellness group that supports and empowers our transgender, gender fluid and genderqueer community members.