LGBT activists blasted the University of North Carolina on Thursday after the school announced it would comply with state law and require students to use biologically correct bathrooms, saying the decision will inflict “real harm” on students.
UNC president Margaret Spellings issued a university-wide memo earlier this week, announcing the school will comply with the the recently-passed House Bill 2, which requires the state’s public schools to limit multi-occupancy bathroom usage by biological sex. Put differently, the law prevents female students from having to share a bathroom or locker room with biological males. Under the law, UNC can still designate single-user bathrooms as “gender neutral,” something the school already does.
Unhappy with the single-user accommodations, the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT activist group named to the American Family Association’s list of “openly-bigoted” anti-Christian groups, criticized UNC for doing “harm” to transgender students. The organization blasted out a press release that accused Spellings of ordering UNC campuses to “discriminate against transgender students by forcing them to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.”
“This decision by UNC President Margaret Spellings not only inflicts real harm on transgender students in the UNC system, but also risks all federal funding flowing to the university, including federal student loans and grants to the thousands of students attending the state’s 17 campuses,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “All students have a right to learn without fear of discrimination, and President Spellings has an obligation to protect them.”
UNC’s decision to comply with state law is just the latest in a national debate over whether transgender students should be able to use whatever bathrooms they prefer.
This past February, Michigan’s Board of Education drafted a guidance that — if adopted — will pressure schools to let students (elementary students included) to choose their preferred gender, name and bathrooms. The guidance has been met with opposition from Michigan parents uncomfortable with their daughters sharing bathrooms with male students. The board is scheduled to make a final decision on the guidance on May 11.
Last fall, the University of Toronto changed its gender-neutral bathroom policy after two separate incidents of “voyeurism.” In both cases, male students were caught using their phones to record girls in the shower.