In high school, Kristen Blessing was president of the science club, took calculus, and played the violin and earned As and Bs, but mostly As, in her advanced-placement courses. Genetically male and raised in the central North Carolina town of Fuquay-Varina, she remembers wishing—since childhood—for things she couldn’t have, like long hair and dresses and most of all for people to see her as she was: a girl. When she thought about her gender, or the way her outward appearance did not match the way she felt inside, she had the sensation of ants crawling all over her skin—“an awful feeling,” she remembers. She shoplifted clothes from Walmart—dresses and blouses and skirts, “whatever teenaged girls liked”—and hid them in her bedroom. Her mother found them and told her, with an air of dismissal, “If you want to wear these, that’s your deal.”
“That’s when I knew I was alone,” Blessing says. And why wouldn’t she be alone? she sometimes thought: most representations she’d seen of trans women in movies and television presented them as comical or ridiculous. “There’s a guarantee that in any comedy, there’s going to be a joke at trans women’s expense. You learn that it’s not okay pretty early.”
She disappeared into her work, studying physics and astrophysics at the University of Missouri, graduating with honors, and then returned to North Carolina for graduate school in physics at NC State. She took the core classes—quantum mechanics, electricity, and magnetism—and worked as a teaching assistant in lab sections of undergraduate courses. She rented an apartment in Raleigh with her girlfriend, a romantic relationship that had begun years earlier in friendship. She also felt a growing sense of gender dysphoria—the skin crawling, anxious feelings that had started in her childhood were only becoming stronger.
“I delved into physics just to not think about anything else,” she says. “That’s one reason I did well in it.”
She saw a counselor at school and found herself talking a lot about feeling trapped. The trap is me, she realized in late 2014. I’m trapping myself. She didn’t talk about this realization with her counselor, with her family, with her girlfriend, with anyone. On New Year’s Eve she found herself running, drunk, from a party. She found herself on a bridge, looking down.
She called a taxi. She went home. She came out.
Kristen Blessing is now twenty-five. Though she lives in North Carolina, a state infamous for a 2016 law that makes it illegal for transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice and legal for employers to discriminate against them, Blessing no longer feels trapped.
Getting untrapped wasn’t easy. She left school not long after that New Year’s—it was too difficult to focus on physics and transitioning at the same time—and her girlfriend kicked her out after her teaching assistantship ended. Despite a strong résumé, she couldn’t land a job in her field. One potential employer told her she couldn’t dress in drag at his office. (“That’s fine,” she replied coolly. “I don’t own men’s clothes.”) She worked for a while in health insurance—she had a lot of experience navigating her own—before finally finding more fulfilling work as a math and science tutor for high-school and college students.
Today Blessing wears her sandy blonde hair long, in face-framing layers, and dresses in a quirky professional style that reminds me of Ms. Frizzle in the Magic School Bus series—colorful, abstract-printed dresses that evoke things she might teach her students about: electrons, planets, cells. She’s unusually good at explaining, a natural teacher.
“I practice it,” she says, describing how she spends time alone thinking about how to communicate ideas ranging from energy fields to gender identity. “Most people get it backwards. They think the best way to understand being a transgender woman is to think about a man who feels like a woman. I tell people they need to empathize with the trans woman. What would it be like to be a woman, but look so much like a dude that everyone treats you that way?”
Blessing wants to be a mother and, like a growing number of young trans women and men, imagines that the science of assisted reproductive technology (ART) will one day help her build a family. This is one reason we met—I’d experienced ART myself and wondered what it would be like, for someone whose body had already borne so much change, to look again to science and technology for answers. To want something that felt impossible.
When Blessing began hormone replacement therapy at Planned Parenthood, the doctor counseled her on the consequences. Did she understand that testosterone blockers would likely cause infertility? She did. As an undergraduate, she contributed research to a published endocrinology paper, so she had more than the average person’s understanding of how hormones work. Did she want to consider fertility preservation—freezing and storing her sperm? She did not. “I don’t need to become a mother that way,” she says. “I just don’t feel connected to it.”
Instead she thinks about pregnancy, nurturing and protecting a baby with her own body. “I don’t feel very different from a cis woman who’s infertile,” she says. “I just don’t have a uterus or eggs.”
A cis woman who’s infertile—that was me, for five difficult years, until I finally conceived my daughter through in vitro fertilization, a medical milestone not marked until 1978, two years after I was born. More recently, new treatments have made it possible for a wider variety of women to conceive. Egg freezing—an advance that not only allows women to preserve fertility but also to use previously frozen eggs in donor cycles—was still considered experimental when I began fertility treatment. Just last year, a baby was born with genetic material from his parents plus a small amount of genetic code from a third person, a before-conception treatment that protects the baby from a genetic disease carried by his mother. Knowing about these medical advances, plus my own experience with ART, made Blessing’s dream of motherhood sound less far-fetched and futuristic. Weren’t we always expanding the beneficiaries of new treatments?
Blessing was especially excited by successful births, following uterus transplants, to cisgender women in Sweden. By September 2015, Swedish doctors had performed nine uterus transplants, resulting in five pregnancies and four births. In the United States, Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, whose doctors participated in the research that led to the Swedish births, is engaged in similar efforts to advance reproductive possibilities with a new program in uterus transplantation for women with uterine factor infertility—the ten women chosen for the clinic’s ongoing study were either born without uteruses or have uteruses that can’t sustain a pregnancy. After an in-depth screening, each patient in the study will undergo in vitro fertilization, followed by the removal of her own uterus and blood supply and a transplant of a healthy uterus and blood vessels taken from a donor. After a year of healing and recovery, and the resumption of menstruation, the woman’s frozen embryos will be transferred one at a time, with a goal of one to two pregnancies before the transplanted uterus is removed.
Uterine transplants are risky for cis women and involve teams of doctors, surgeons, social workers, psychologists, and bioethicists. Pregnancies must be carefully monitored, and women must take powerful anti-rejection drugs throughout. Babies are delivered by cesarean section, as a vaginal delivery is considered too dangerous.
Cleveland Clinic’s first uterus transplant—the first in America—was performed in February 2016 on a twenty-six-year-old woman. The surgery lasted for nine hours. Just one day later, after an infection threatened the woman’s health, doctors removed her transplanted uterus. They have not attempted a second transplant, but according to a statement from Cleveland Clinic, “There is an ongoing review of all the data, and the team is modifying the protocol to reduce the chances of this complication occurring again in the future.” In addition to Cleveland Clinic, Baylor University Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are all registered to perform pilot trials of uterus transplantation for women with uterine factor infertility. In September 2016, Baylor completed four transplants taken from living donors (the first such transplants in the US), but three patients had to have their transplants removed after testing revealed blood flow complications.
For some trans women, like Blessing, this technology—however nascent—is tantalizing, a medical innovation they believe could one day help them achieve their own dreams of pregnancy. Kimball Sargent, a North Carolina-based therapist who specializes in gender identity, says this is a common interest among her trans patients. Many of her trans women patients feel as Blessing does—they long not only for children but also the bodily experience of pregnancy. “If you have a female brain, and estrogen, a female hormone, that probably influences your desire for pregnancy,” Sargent says. “Some of my clients have been surprised by how powerful the feeling of loss was, when they realized they can’t carry a baby. That’s exactly the feeling infertile women go through.”
She notes that many of her patients experience jealousy when their partners become pregnant, as well as deep frustration with the limits of their transition. “Some think, ‘I’m not a real woman because I can’t carry a pregnancy,’” Sargent says. She remembers seeing a gender-variant four-year-old, genetically male, pretend to give birth to a doll. “She put the doll under her shirt and said, ‘Look, I’m pregnant. I have a baby in my belly.’ She took the baby out, wiped it, and rocked it back and forth. It’s very instinctive.”
Despite the recent, pioneering work with uterine transplants in cis women, transgender uterine transplants exist only in a distant—and, some doctors believe, unlikely—future. There are currently no plans to attempt uterine transplants with trans women, as the enormously complex procedure has only been attempted in about a dozen cis women worldwide, and for trans women, the hurdles and dangers for both mother and baby would be even greater. For a trans woman to have a uterus transplant and carry a baby, the patient would take the same powerful anti-rejection drugs as cis women, but she would also need a complicated series of male-to-female transition surgeries, including castration surgery (male sex hormones could threaten the pregnancy), the creation of a wider pelvic inlet to house the uterus, and a vaginal canal and vagina to shed menses and give the doctor access to the uterus for follow-up care.
Knowing this, Sargent focuses her counseling on what patients can do in the present to achieve their goals, to feel comfortable and productive and happy. Because of the expense and the alienation many feel from the gametes they were born with, she rarely sees trans women or trans men who freeze and store sperm and eggs before beginning hormone therapy. “Money is a big deal,” she says. It can cost more than $10,000 to retrieve and freeze eggs, and more than $1,000 to bank sperm. Storage can run between $350 and $1,000 a year.
“It’s a grief issue,” Sargent says, about patients who struggle with the knowledge that they may never experience pregnancy or have genetically related children. She dealt with infertility herself, and so she understands firsthand some of the anger, sadness, jealousy, and loss her patients express. She works, she says, on “resolving the grief.” She asks her patients to write letters to themselves or someone close to them, expressing their feelings about lost time or chances they may not have. At the end of the letter, they write, “I forgive you. The debt is canceled.” They burn or shred the letter and move on to the next important question: What do I want in my life?
Twenty-one years ago, when Sargent began counseling transgender people in central North Carolina, her gender-therapy practice was so unusual that patients traveled across the state to see her; some came from Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Most of her patients were older, with established careers, marriages, and often kids, and some of the trans women she counseled were so new to their transitions that they’d use a powder room in the hall to transform themselves in a way they couldn’t in the outside world, applying makeup and changing into dresses or skirts and blouses before entering her office. “It’s important for people to be themselves when they meet with me,” Sargent says, “especially if they can’t be their authentic selves anywhere else.”
Today, many of Sargent’s patients are younger—in their twenties, teens, some even children—and more comfortable coming out. Like Blessing, they have their whole lives ahead of them. Aside from her desire to have a child, Blessing has other big plans. She wants return to graduate school to study energy and thermodynamics and has hopes of becoming a college professor. “It would be great if I could help facilitate women in science groups, and help LGBT scientists at the same time,” she says. “I want to teach, do research, be a professor, be awesome.” Sargent has had a few patients go on to have children with partners who conceived through different kinds of ART. But it’s the trans women, she says, who more commonly express the “deep ache” to become pregnant, to give birth.
For transgender people, the challenges of living in many parts of the United States—like North Carolina, for example—are so vast and multifaceted that the question of reproductive futures can seem less pressing than more immediate concerns. The 2015 US Transgender Survey, which compiled responses from more than twenty-seven thousand transgender adults living in all fifty states, does not address fertility preservation, but it does provide an important window into the patterns of discrimination and struggle faced by transgender people. Almost half of the survey’s respondents experienced harassment in the year prior to completing the survey; 9 percent were physically attacked because of their transgender identity, and 10 percent were sexually assaulted. For those who came out, or were identified as transgender while in school, 17 percent were so mistreated that they left school early. Nearly a third of transgender adults live in poverty, more than twice the rate of the general population. They have trouble securing healthcare, experiencing routine insurance-coverage denials and mistreatment from doctors. Thirty percent report workplace discrimination. Their unemployment rate is 15 percent, more than three times that of the general population. For transgender people of color, the unemployment rate is 20 percent, and the rate of poverty three times the rate of the general population. In the month prior to completing the survey, 39 percent of respondents reported experiencing serious psychological distress; 40 percent had attempted suicide in their lifetimes.
Still, respondents listed “parenting and adoption rights” as a top policy priority, with 96 percent listing parenting and adoption as “important” or “very important.”
Online, it isn’t hard to find communities of young transgender men and women expressing grief and struggle around reproduction—as well as hope for acceptance and future treatments. On a Tumblr page devoted to transgender pregnancy, a user named transguysuggestions posted a list of reminders geared toward people with a binary concept of pregnancy:
Trans men who want kids are still men.
Trans men who get pregnant are still men.
Trans men who try to get pregnant because they want children and their partner can’t carry are still men.
Trans men who don’t discover that they’re men until after they already have kids are still men.
Wanting to or choosing to have kids doesn’t invalidate your gender. (1.)
But it was sarahjeanfox’s post, reblogged and liked by more than a hundred people, that felt the loneliest, most painful, and most familiar. “You won’t ever understand the pain,” she wrote, “of wanting to be a mother. Of wanting to carry a child. To give birth. To dream of it. To wake up crying. To know you can never bring a child into this world. The pain of being a transgender woman. Don’t ever fucking tell me I’m lucky i don’t have to deal with periods…”
Underneath her anger, I recognized sorrow. Her post wasn’t so different from what I’d read and heard (and said) in my own days on infertility message boards and support groups, private places where women gathered to share the feeling of being left behind or misunderstood by fertile friends and family. It was worse because we couldn’t talk about it, weren’t supposed to talk about it, except in these safe spaces.
Later I learned that what we were feeling had a name: “disenfranchised grief,” a term coined by scholar Kenneth Doka to mean “grief as resulting from a loss that leads to intense sorrow which is unrecognized or minimized by others, and absent the usual customs, rituals, and validation that facilitate grieving and the healing process.”
“This can never be said enough,” wrote one blogger, reposting sarahjeanfox’s comment.
“THIS,” wrote another. “FUCKING THIS.”
Thirty miles from Kimball Sargent’s office, a new center has opened in Duke Children’s Hospital to treat young people with gender-related disorders. Founded by endocrinologist Deanna Adkins, Duke Child and Adolescent Gender Care sees patients with issues ranging from ambiguous genitalia to gender dysphoria through a practice that includes endocrinology, pediatric urology, gynecology, psychiatry, psychology, and social work. Since the center opened in 2015, Adkins and her team have seen more than 150 patients. On full clinic days, Adkins sees about sixteen children, a mix of new and returning patients. She sees each patient personally and will often squeeze in a patient with an emergency—usually a manifestation of severe dysphoria.
For younger trans people, the question of fertility preservation often arises before they’ve considered how or if they want to build their families. Most patients who present to Duke’s clinic as transgender are between twelve and seventeen, but Adkins sees children of all ages, referred by primary-care doctors and therapists across the state and region. The clinic accepts patients regardless of their health insurance or ability to pay, but the waiting list is long—currently three months for a first appointment. Adkins and her team are seeking funding to expand their practice and reach more kids.
When patients present before puberty, Adkins can prescribe reversible hormone blockers, which delay or prevent development that’s harder to change later, like a deeper voice or breasts. At age sixteen, patients can choose to begin hormone replacement therapy.
“Ninety percent of my time is spent in education,” says Adkins. The most important question she asks children and their families to consider is the potential fertility impact of hormone therapy. “What I’m going to do to them is highly likely to make them infertile, and that won’t change,” she says. She counsels patients and families on their options—storing sperm or eggs—and has worked with a fertility clinic on sensitivity training for staff interacting with transgender patients. That includes calling patients by their preferred names and pronouns and “not making a big deal” out of the patient’s presence in the clinic. Adkins also counsels patients that they may remain fertile, and that safe sex and regular reproductive-health screenings are important.
Similar to Sargent’s experience, few of Adkins’s patients choose to preserve their fertility. “Kids come in knowing they’ll probably be infertile [after HRT],” she says. “Many say, ‘I don’t want kids’ or ‘I’ll adopt.’” She says she talks with them about the possibility of adoption and sometimes also discusses new research, like the use of peripheral cells and stem cells to create new gametes in mice. Though this research targets cancer patients and men born without sperm, it’s possible that it will one day help transgender people too. Parents express more concern about fertility loss, and Adkins and her team counsel them as well. They fear that their children are giving up something that they don’t yet understand.
More pressing right now, for many patients fearful of lack of support for transgender rights within the Trump administration, is the need to change the names and gender markers on their birth certificates and passports (more than two-thirds of respondents to the US Transgender Survey report that none of their identity documents reflect their name and gender). Each form has to be signed by a doctor and notarized, and Adkins handles the paperwork herself.
Maybe the greatest benefit Adkins’s clinic offers—aside from access to care—is the sensitivity of the environment: The inclusive signage on the bathroom doors. Being asked for pronouns and a preferred name. Feeling like they’re in a safe zone. “For many,” Adkins says, “that has never happened before.”
Erica Kasper and her fifteen-year-old son Drew Adams drove eight hours from Florida to Duke’s center in North Carolina after Drew came out as transgender; their local pediatric endocrinologist was uncomfortable treating trans kids but had given Erica and Drew a list of possible doctors, including Dr. Adkins. Erica remembers when Drew received his first prescription for testosterone—he filled it in the hospital’s pharmacy and gave himself an injection in a hospital conference room, an experience that was recorded for WNYC’s Only Human podcast. “I’d never heard Drew so excited,” she says.
Before that shot, Drew had to listen as a social worker read a long list of side effects and checked his understanding of the consequences. He understood that his testosterone was being prescribed off-label, that it increased his risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. He understood that he faced potential liver damage as well as emotional changes and headaches. He would need lifelong screening to closely monitor his therapy. He understood that the treatment could make him permanently infertile.
For Drew, none of this information was a surprise. Like many of Adkins’s patients, he’d done research online and knew what Adkins and the social worker would say about changes to his body and fertility. He had no interest in becoming pregnant or freezing his eggs, but had spent a lot of time thinking about his future—a future that includes fatherhood. “I’ve never wanted to become pregnant or carry a child,” he says. Though he acknowledges that medical advances are being made every day, he says that he’s always thought of adoption as the way he’d build his family.
Since his transition, Drew’s mother says that he seems much happier. He cares more about his studies—he has plans to be a psychiatrist and wants to work with trans youth. In his spare time, he plays guitar, piano, and drums, practices jiujitsu, works as a restaurant host, and volunteers at a local hospital. Though Drew and his mother have battled the local school district—they won’t allow him to use the boys’ bathroom—friends and teachers have been supportive, as has Drew’s family. “However hard this is for us, I know this is absolutely the right thing,” Adams says. “And I know that any kids he has will be my grandkids.”
For Joey, a transgender teenage girl from North Carolina whose family asked to use only her first name, the decision to bank sperm before beginning hormone therapy was unequivocal. “Of course I said yes,” she says, now six months into hormone replacement and, at age sixteen, sure that she wants to have a family someday. “Just the fact that you have this little life inside of you—it’s more than just a pregnancy to me,” Joey says. “Being a mother is something I really want.”
Joey has followed the stories of uterus transplants in Sweden and the United States with interest, but she tempers her optimism about medical advances with the understanding that her banked gametes have a shelf life of ten to twelve years. One reason, perhaps, that Joey found the decision to preserve her fertility less difficult than some is that she saw her path forged in different ways by members of her own family. She has an older transgender brother—Danny, who has thrived since his transition, did not preserve his eggs—and a triplet brother, Trey, who is transgender too. (Her other triplet sibling, Ryan, is a cisgender boy.) Joey knows that her parents conceived all of them with the help of ART, using IVF for their first pregnancy and IVF with donor eggs for their second, triplet pregnancy.
Knowing her family’s reproductive history helped Joey feel comfortable banking her sperm, despite the awkwardness of the procedure, and also helped her feel hopeful about the future. “My parents couldn’t conceive on their own, so they went to NCCRM [North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine]. It made it easier.”
Andy, her father, says that when their doctor presented the fertility-preservation options, he and his wife left the decision up to Joey. Andy remembers experiencing their own reproductive journey as different from how he imagined building his family, but with the kids now in high school and college, it also feels like a long time ago. “When you go down the path, you go so slowly. They’re first suggesting things to you. A little at a time. The first indignity is not awful,” he remembers. “Once you get past that, the other steps are incremental. When you wind up at the other end, you think, Wow, that was nothing.”
Like Drew, Joey also plans for a career in medicine and a future serving others. She wants to be a clinical psychologist, “helping patients who’ve gone through trauma,” she says. “I like to help people feel safe and happy.”
“I’m really good,” Blessing assured me when we met before Christmas at a beautiful modern university library not far from where she used to teach physics. From the café where we sat with tea and muffins, we could glimpse the state-of-the-art book robot retrieving books from the stacks. It was just over three weeks since the election, the last time we met. That night we’d watched the initial returns together at Raleigh’s LGBT Center then walked back to my neighborhood through strangely deserted streets. We passed the cheering victory party of our newly reelected lieutenant governor, a supporter of HB2 (the so-called “bathroom bill”) who earlier that year claimed that “transgenderism is a feeling…it could be a feeling just for the day.”
“Hill-a-ry for pri-son, Hill-a-ry for pri-son,” we heard children chanting as they cartwheeled across the lawn of a rented mansion.
Though our governor had finally conceded to his democratic challenger after a protracted recount process—Blessing called it the “silver lining on the shitstorm of the election”—our state’s legislature is still majority Republican, and the future of HB2 is unclear. It’s easy to see how the law, which cost businesses in the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue, also cost Pat McCrory his job. But it may take a US Supreme Court ruling—justices will hear a Virginia case concerning bathroom access this term—to overturn it. (2.)
Blessing doesn’t think about the bathroom bill much. She uses whatever bathroom she pleases and says employers have always gotten away with discrimination. Right now she’s focused on the future. Her future, and the future of someone close to her.
Not long ago, her ten-year-old niece (her brother’s fiancée’s child) came out as transgender. They spent Thanksgiving together, along with extended family that included Blessing’s mother, father, and grandmother. Blessing’s family has supported her since she came out, in early 2015—she lives at home again and has enjoyed a new closeness with her mother and grandmother, who often go on shopping dates with her and told me they’d do anything to support her. Her father calls her his “sunshine.” They changed her name on personalized Christmas ornaments from her childhood. They all oppose HB2 and its oppression of LGBT people.
Blessing is grateful that her niece won’t endure the same dysphoria she faced for so long, but feels a sense of loss when she thinks about her own childhood and young adulthood. The loss is tempered by the presence of a young woman who clearly looks up to her and by the responsibility of being an aunt to a trans girl. She has encouraged her brother and sister-in-law to take her niece to counseling and hopes they may make use of the resources at Duke Child and Adolescent Gender Care. She has plans to do some Christmas shopping soon, with her grandmother, for preteen dresses.
“I can’t change how I grew up,” she said. “But I can be a good aunt.”
As for her own future, she’s studying for the GRE again and planning to reapply for graduate school, perhaps in another state this time. She’s attracted to the work in quantum and atomic physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, but is keeping her options open. Meanwhile she’s busy tutoring students in astronomy and physics and calculus.
Blessing still knows she wants to be a mother and, like I once did, thinks about her own mother’s experience as a model. Two kids before the age of thirty. No pain medication. “Even as a kid, I was so impressed with that,” she remembered. “I was inspired by my mom.” Blessing says she’d get a uterus transplant tomorrow if it were offered to her, but she also knows she may one day need to consider adoption. “I’ll be a cool mom.”
It was almost time for her noon tutoring appointment. We went into the library’s vast study room together and worked at a low glass coffee table while she waited. I asked her if she saw the world differently—if it made more sense—because of her interest in science. She took her empty paper cup and held it in the air, explaining that there was no real separation between the cup and the table. “Objects are fields. There’s no real physical boundary between objects, and I know that.”
I thought about the way seeing permeable, unfixed boundaries might help someone like Blessing—someone with specific, difficult-to-achieve goals but who didn’t know what was next in her life or her country or her state. Someone in the process of becoming.
1. The body’s reproductive capacity has been used in many places around the world to determine gender legally. Many European countries still require confirmation of gender-reassignment surgery before granting legal recognition of a gender change on official identification documents. These surgeries and procedures—including hysterectomies, genital removal surgery, and sterilization—were proof, some felt, that people who wanted to change gender were serious about the decision, but they were also a means of controlling who became a mother or father. According to the advocacy group Transgender Europe, twenty-three European countries required sterilization as of May 2016. Only in the last few years have some countries, facing pressure from transgender and human-rights organizations, begun overturning these outdated laws. In 2013 Sweden overturned laws that forced sterilization on transgender people seeking surgical gender confirmation; France (one of the twenty-three countries noted on Transgender Europe’s map) did away with their sterilization-for-changed-identification requirement in late 2016. As of last year, only four countries in Europe—Denmark, Malta, Ireland, and Norway—used the principle of “self-determination,” advocated by the Council of Europe and other human-rights groups, for legal gender recognition.
2. In late 2016, it appeared that North Carolina’s majority-Republican legislature would repeal HB2 in a compromise with Democrats and newly elected democratic governor Roy Cooper. Progressive groups including LGBT activists, voting rights groups, and the North Carolina NAACP gathered at the General Assembly—hopeful, but wary—to observe the repeal process on Tuesday, December 20. Over two days, journalists reported the long, slow process. But after Charlotte’s city council repealed their ordinance protecting LGBT rights—a requirement of the legislature for moving forward on HB2 repeal—the state senate failed to pass a new bill. The house adjourned without voting
Despite the public outcry—and the hundreds of millions in revenue lost in North Carolina due to boycotts and corporate relocations—five states (Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia) have introduced their own bathroom bills, and three states (Alabama, South Carolina, and Washington) have reintroduced bills for the 2017 legislative sessions. Sometime after February 23, when the petitioner’s merits brief is due, the Supreme Court will hear Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a case involving a Virginia transgender teenager forced to use noncommunal “alternative facilities” at his high school.