RALEIGH NC: The National Center for Transgender Equality president Mara Keisling was arrested during the HB2 protest at the State Legislative building Monday. Fifty-four protesters against House Bill 2 were arrested inside the Legislative Building downtown Monday evening, and protests continued inside even after the North Carolina House and Senate opened their 2016 regular session and then promptly adjourned.
The protesters, who had gathered in a crowd of hundreds on Bicentennial Plaza south of the building, were allowed late in the afternoon to enter in groups of 100 to continue their protest inside.
About 6:30 p.m., a group of protesters entered the office of state House Speaker Tim Moore, and at least two dozen others gathered outside the door, chanting for repeal of HB2. Law enforcement officers corralled members of the media nearby.
Police began arresting some who refused to leave the area of the speaker’s office about 6:45 p.m. Eighteen were arrested then, said interim Chief Martin Brock of the General Assembly police force.
Meanwhile, other protesters in a gallery disrupted the House with shouting as the chamber adjourned shortly after the gavel fell to open the legislature’s short session at 7 p.m.
Groups of protesters continued chanting in other parts of the building. Some protesters, when told by Brock that they would be arrested if they did not leave, chanted, “We shall not be moved.”
General Assembly police then began arresting a group who sat on the floor outside Moore’s office. Thirty-six were arrested then, bringing the day’s total to 54, Brock said. They were charged with second-degree trespassing and violating building rules.
The building was cleared shortly before 9 p.m.
Read more here: 54 HB2 opponents arrested inside NC Legislative Building
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) April 25, 2016
Mara told Buzzfeed she used the ladies room at Gov. McCrory’s office.
“It was uneventful,” she explained. “No one was bothered, because when I go to the bathroom, I do my business, I mind my own business, and then I go about my business.”
Women saw her enter the restroom without showing any concern, Keisling said, and a state police officer nearby also didn’t speak up. Keisling said she told a group of about 20 people in the capitol rotunda what she had done — while the officer stood in immediate earshot — but the cop did nothing.
“They are not even enforcing this stupid law in state office buildings, which is where it applies,” she said, adding that “they can’t enforce this.”
According to the law, restrooms in government-run buildings may only be used by those with a corresponding sex on their birth certificate at the time of birth.
“How many tourists and lobbyists carry their birth certificate when they go to capitol?” Keisling asked. “If they are going to check my birth certificate, they damn well check everybody’s birth certificate. And if they check my anatomy, they have to check everybody else’s. That is how this country works — laws have to be enforced equally.”
— Paul Woolverton (@FO_Woolverton) April 25, 2016
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) April 26, 2016