The Nightmare Continues – Five Impacts of North Carolina’s Infamous HB2

Recently, the US court of appeals sided with trans teen Gavin Grimm that he may use the restroom corresponding to his gender identity in his high school

Recently, the US court of appeals sided with trans teen Gavin Grimm that he may use the restroom corresponding to his gender identity in his high school

As a workplace diversity consultant, with a specialty in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), and working with multiple businesses and organizations across North Carolina, I am deeply entrenched in our infamous anti-LGBT HB2 law passed earlier this year. Though it has multiple components (link to the actual bill), the one part that has grabbed the most attention is the provision that transgender individuals must use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates in public facilities.

I have previously written two blogs about this bill
“Why do we all need someone to hate on? … and now in North Carolina, it’s transgender people” on how I believe it is politics of hate and division which motivated HB2.
“North Carolina’s HB2 – don’t boycott us, Cyndi Lauper-ize us!” which provides an alternative to boycotting our state.

Now that the law has been on the books for a while, I am following up with these “Five Impacts of HB2.” The first two are focused on broad economic impact and the final three are focused on various personal impacts.

1. Negative Business Impact: North Carolina has lost millions of dollars of revenue and thousands of jobs as various entertainment and sports events have been moved out of state, and various planned corporate expansions into North Carolina have been cancelled.

2. Impact on talent recruitment: I have heard from several of my clients that they are having a far more difficult time recruiting top talent for key positions, including enticing people to take internal transfers from other states. North Carolina is now viewed by many professionals as a “backward bigoted anti-diversity” state that they do not want to live nor raise a family in.

3. Overall safety and self-esteem of transgender individuals. This state law that singles out transgender people as “abnormal” and “not fit to use the bathroom of their gender” both stigmatizes transgender individuals as well as making them an increased target of hate crimes and ridicule. In addition, it diverts law enforcement from more pressing issues and increases the chances of vigilantism and violence.

4. Impact on transgender children. With a higher number of high profile transgender people “coming out” and more acceptance of transgender people in corporate America, more children are feeling safer about coming out to their parents and getting the support to live in their true gender. However, now in NC schools they are singled out in terms of restroom and locker room usage, and this undue attention also opens them up for additional schoolyard bullying.

Cisgender people (like female cancer survivors who lost their hair) my now be getting questioned about their rest room usage.

Cisgender people (like female cancer survivors who lost their hair) my now be getting questioned about their rest room usage.


5. Impact on cisgender* people who may appear “gender non-conforming,” particularly “butch-looking” women or gender ambiguous people. For example, this law may make it very uncomfortable for a female cancer survivor who has a mastectomy and lost her hair who uses the women’s room and has her gender questioned.


This horrific law has caused so much harm at some many different levels, immediate and total repeal is truly the only reasonable option. And even with that, it may still take years for state economic and personal psychological harm to be reversed.

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Cisgender* – refers to people who have no issue expressing their gender in the typical manner of someone born into that gender. Cisgender is to transgender as Straight (or heterosexual) is to gay

Take my transgender diversity 12 question self assessment to see if you organization is truly supporting transgender employees and clients.

I have added a new transgender consultant, Elaine Martin (link to the announcement) to assist me in providing transgender diversity workplace training, policy development and program management. Please contact me at [email protected] or 919-787-7315 to discuss how we can assist your organization around transgender diversity.

North Carolina’s HB2 – don’t boycott us, Cyndi Lauper-ize us!

Cyndi Lauper visiting Raleigh's LGBT Center before her June 4th concert.  I recognize the bookshelves in the background!  (Photo courtesy of the Raleigh News and Observer)

Cyndi Lauper visiting Raleigh’s LGBT Center before her June 4th concert. I recognize the bookshelves in the background! (Photo courtesy of the Raleigh News and Observer)


North Carolina has now become quite infamous for passing perhaps the most anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) state law in country also referred to as HB2. Provisions of this bill include dictating that transgender individuals must use the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate instead of their “current presenting gender” in public facilities, and municipalities and counties are forbidden to have local non-discrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation and gender identity. In large part, HB2 was passed to invalidate a recent ordinance in the city of Charlotte that is equivalent to non-discrimination protections currently included in a vast major of Fortune 500 companies’ corporate policies. (Link to my letter in the Raleigh News and Observer about this.)

I truly believe this arcane law was passed out of fear, misunderstanding and /or hatred of gay and transgender people. I also believe the law is meant as political fodder to divide the people of North Carolina and pit us against one another. Do check out a blog I wrote earlier this year, “Why do we all need someone to hate on – and now in NC it’s transgender people.”

In response, many music performing artists like Bruce Springsteen have boycotted North Carolina and cancelled their performances. They all articulate their displeasure with this law and their unwillingness to travel to a state which discriminates so blatantly against a segment of their population. I do agree that these cancellations raise the visibility of the issue and that the economic impact may drive our leaders to reconsider their actions. However, these artists are also punishing the many fair-minded people and the LGBT citizens of North Carolina who enjoy their music and want to attend their concerts. Now if more events that may appeal to those who support HB2 (like the NBA all-star game or NASCAR events) decide to boycott, that may really raise the visibility of this issue.

So what is a viable alternative? Do what Cyndi Lauper did!

Instead of cancelling her concert, she came early and met with LGBT youth at Raleigh’s LGBT Center. She discussed the impact of HB2 with them and expressed that there are many many adults who love and care about them as full equal human beings despite what they may be hearing from our government leaders. And then she proceeded to donate the concert’s profits toward working to have HB2 overturned. Quote from Ms. Lauper, “I will be donating all of the profits from the show to Equality NC’s efforts to repeal HB2 and I am proud of my manager and agent for joining me in this effort by donating their commissions from the show to this vital effort.”

I just know having a heart to heart chat with a mega-star like Cyndi Lauper is an experience that will remain with those teens the rest of their lives, and that her donated funds will really help Equality NC’s efforts significantly. Read the details in this Raleigh News and Observer article, “Singer Cyndi Lauper meets with LGBT youth in Raleigh to talk to HB2.”

Though I respect artists and groups who are boycotting North Carolina due to HB2, I encourage them to perhaps think different and more creatively. Don’t desert us and isolate us in our time of need. Instead, come be part of the solution, and consider Cyndi Lauper-izing us instead!