Raleigh, N.C. — More than 150 mental health professionals across North Carolina sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday, seeking a repeal of a new state law they say "has created a climate of fear and confusion" among transgender people.
House Bill 2, which was approved during a one-day special legislative session last month, prohibits transgender people from using public bathrooms that align with their gender identity. It also excludes gay and transgender people from discrimination protections and bars cities and counties from extending such protections to them.
The psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers cited studies that show transgender students have lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression and are more likely to commit suicide because of the bullying and discrimination they face at school. They dismissed the argument put forward by supporters of the law that it prevents sexual predators from going into women's bathrooms and locker rooms, saying there has been no increase in public safety threats in other places where transgender people are allowed to use the bathroom where they feel most comfortable.
"As mental health professionals, keeping people safe is a top priority," the mental health professionals said. "The only real threat is to the safety of transgender people who can't use appropriate bathrooms."
McCrory and legislative leaders have defended the law, calling it common sense.