The 'bathroom myth' is fueling North Carolina's new anti-LGBTQ law

North Carolina Passes Anti-LGBT Bill In One Day

Republican state legislators in North Carolina dealt a blow to LGBTQ rights Wednesday.

The Republican-led General Assembly approved a bill Wednesday that prevents cities from passing their own anti-discrimination legislation.

SEE ALSO: GOP voters want for a new candidate to run for president -- but who?

The issue centers on an ordinance the city of Charlotte recently passed. The ordinance bans the discrimination of LGBTQ people, specifically allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Wednesday's legislation, signed into law by North Carolina Republican governor Pat McCrory, effectively overturned Charlotte's ordinance.

RELATED: Notable LGBT women and activists

Notable LGBT women and activists
See Gallery
The 'bathroom myth' is fueling North Carolina's new anti-LGBTQ law
Actress Portia de Rossi and television personality Ellen DeGeneres pose backstage at the People's Choice Awards 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Actor and honoree Laverne Cox poses at Variety's Power of Women Luncheon in Beverly Hills, California U.S., October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Caitlyn Jenner arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Chely Wright

Country music star Chely Wright performs at the 2014 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at President's Park on December 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)

Tammy Baldwin

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) listens during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee is examining the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, focusing on combating campus sexual assault. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown arrives at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards at The Great Hall at Cooper Union on June 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)

Martina Navratilova

Navratilova was born in Prague in 1956, and defected to the United States in 1975, becoming a US citizen in 1981. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles including the women's singles title at Wimbledon which she won a record nine times, as well as 40 Grand Slam doubles titles. She came out as a lesbian in response to speculation about her relationship with Rita Mae Brown. In 1991 her split from partner of 9 years Judy Nelson was much publicised in the media. In 1994 Navratilova retired from the singles tour and was introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000. She is the oldest ever Grand Slam champion having won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles in 2003 aged 46 years and 8 months. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro attends PETA's 35th anniversary party at Hollywood Palladium on September 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury speaks to the media after Game Two of the WNBA Western Conference Semifinals against the Tulsa Shock on September 19, 2015 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge performs at The Bardavon 1869 Opera House on June 14, 2015 in Poughkeepsie, New York. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)

Portia de Rossi

Actress Portia de Rossi attends the celebration of ABC's TGIT Line-up held at Gracias Madre on September 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Sheryl Swoopes

Sheryl Swoopes #22 of the Seattle Storm during a press conference on March 3, 2008 in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE via Getty Images)

Wanda Sykes

LAST COMIC STANDING -- Episode 905 -- Pictured: Wanda Sykes -- (Photo by: Ben Cohen/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell performs onstage at the 3rd Annual One Billion Rising: REVOLUTION at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage for V-Day)

Ellen Page

Actress Ellen Page stands for a portrait at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in advance of the release of her movie 'Freeheld' in Washington, DC on Friday, October 02, 2015. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch poses in the press room during the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)

Rachel Maddow

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Rachel Maddow -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images


Supporters of the recently passed legislation have cited the debunked "bathroom myth" — that transgender non-discrimination laws give sexual predators access to women's restrooms, according to Media Matters for America, a nonprofit progressive organization.

As Republicans have taken over the state legislature, progressives have looked to use local city governments, that lean left, to enact change. The bill passed by the state legislature on Wednesday is an effort to preempt these local governments, reports The Atlantic.

McCrory personally objected to Charlotte's ordinance saying that Charlotte's inclusionary law would put women and children at risk.

"This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy,"McCrory said in an email to ThinkProgress, after Charlotte passed its ordinance. "Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor."

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump fumes at 'The View' after panel fries Ben Carson for supporting him

Others Republicans shared his sentiment.

"It's common sense — biological men should not be in women's showers, locker rooms and bathrooms," GOP Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe said, according to the Associated Press.

Even some citizens have expressed similar concerns.

"It's going to open the door for people with malicious intent who would masquerade as transgenders to come in and actually take advantage and have access to our kids," Donna Eaton of Carey said, according to Talking Points Memo.

Police departments and sexual assault experts, however, beg to differ, according to Media Matters, "a non-profit progressive information and research center," as the organization defines itself.

In a new report, Media Matters interviewed 15 experts across the country — from law enforcement officials to sexual assault victim advocates — who all said that the notion that LGBTQ laws open up women's bathrooms to sexual predators is baseless.

"Sexual assaults stemming from non-discrimination laws are not even remotely a problem," John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police, told Media Matters.

Other police departments around the country also said the "bathroom myth" was unsubstantiated.

"Specifically, as was raised as a concern if the bill were to be passed, there have been no incidents of men dressing up as women to commit crimes in female bathrooms and using the city ordinance as a defense," Christopher Burke, the superintendent for the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department told Media Matters in an email.

In rare cases, people have tested the law. For example, a man — not dressed as woman — entered the women's locker room at a Seattle, Washington pool. He reportedly said, "The law has changed, and I have a right to be here," according to the New York Daily News.

North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger used that instance as a reason why the Charlotte law needed overturning.

"Something a lot worse could happen as a result of this ordinance," Berger he said, according to the Charlotte News & Observer.

North Carolina's bill comes on the heels of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Georgia.

Lawmakers in Georgia recently passed a bill that permits faith-based organizations to cite religious beliefs when making decisions about access to their services as well as employment decisions.

Read Full Story