Getty Images

In a much-needed victory for transgender Americans, a federal judge on Friday blocked North Carolina from enforcing a transphobic law that insists people use the restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate.

Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of Federal District Court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, ruled Friday that the University of North Carolina must allow two transgender students and an transgender employee to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Advertisement

While it’s the first real blow to the much-hated law, it only applies to students who sued at UNC. In the 83-page decision, Schroeder said the law violates Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.

Schroeder, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, wrote that “the court has no reason to believe that an injunction returning to the state of affairs as it existed before March 2016 would pose a privacy or safety risk for North Carolinians, transgender or otherwise.”

The law, known as HB2, has become a flashpoint in transgender rights. Shortly after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCory signed HB2, the state faced national blacklash. PayPal has suspended plans to build a $3.6 billion business center and the NBA has said it could move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte if changes are not made.

Advertisement

McCrory has walked back some portions of the law, but is defiant about keeping the part that restricts bathroom access for transgender people. The U.S. government is suing North Carolina for violating the Civil Rights Act.