LGBT Caucus Asks Rahm To Take A Stand Against North Carolina's Bathroom Bill

By Mae Rice in News on Mar 30, 2016 5:17PM

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(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Chicago City Council’s LGBT Caucus has written a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, asking him to ban non-essential travel to North Carolina on city business in light of that state’s transphobic new bathroom law, the Windy City Times reports.

The caucus's letter, as quoted in the Windy City Times, reads:

As you are aware, the state of North Carolina has enacted legislation which bars transgender persons from using bathrooms and changing facilities corresponding to such person's gender identities, excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from its anti-discrimination protections, and prohibits units of local government from extending such protections to LGBT citizens. …Chicago is on record supporting efforts to promote mutual understanding and respect among all people who live and work in our great City.

…You have been a tireless leader on LGBT issues in Chicago and we are hopeful that you will lead us again in standing in solidarity with New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle, which have taken similar actions to condemn North Carolina's discriminatory law.

The letter was signed by the five members of the LGBT Caucus: Tom Tunney (44th), James Cappleman (46th), Deb Mell (33rd), Raymond Lopez (15th) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th). (All caucus members are out gay aldermen, RedEye reported in 2015, when the caucus was first organized.)

The LGBT Caucus letter was also signed by Ald. Ed Burke (14th), the Windy City Times reports, though he is not a member of the caucus. Burke recently helped contest Chicago’s tampon tax (and got it struck down, according to the Tribune).

North Carolina travel bans similar to the one the caucus proposes have already been implemented in New York City, New York State, Seattle, Washington State and Vermont in light of the new bathroom law. The offending North Carolina law—signed late last Wednesday night by North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, according to the New York Times—prohibits local governments throughout North Carolina from allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms allotted to the gender they identify as. Instead, transgender people in North Carolina must use facilities labeled for the gender on their birth certificates.

In Illinois, a similar bathroom bill has been proposed, though it has not passed. As activists in the Chicago Restroom Access Project previously explained to Chicagoist, laws like the North Carolina one can cause health and safety problems for transgender people and other gender non-conforming people.