Call it Out: NC Senate Pres Phil Berger’s 5 Most Ignorant and Blatantly False Comments about HB2

by Elliott Kozuch

Washington - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, called out North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger for his campaign of hate against transgender people. Repeatedly, Berger, the top ranking official in the North Carolina State Senate, has taken to social media to spread hateful anti-transgender rhetoric and lies about his shameful and discriminatory HB2 law. Here are 5 of Senator Berger’s worst lies and attacks on transgender North Carolinians:

1.      BERGER: “Federal Judges Could Force Middle School Boys and Girls to Use Same Bathrooms, Locker Rooms: #NCGA #NCPOL” [Twitter, @SenatorBerger, 4/19/2016]

In a statement released after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that civil rights protections can be extended to transgender students, Sen. Berger exhibited deep ignorance of both the law and transgender people, claiming that allowing a transgender student to use facilities consistent with their gender identity was the same as “forcing” students to integrate gender-segregated facilities. Wrong.

2.      BERGER: “Mayor @jenrobertsnc’ Radical Bathroom Sharing Ordinance Costs Charlotte PayPal: #NCGA #NCPOL” [Twitter, @SenatorBerger, 4/19/2016]

Sen. Berger flat out lied when he asserted that PayPal’s decision to seek an alternative location for its new “global operations center” was in response to Charlotte’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. PayPal changed its plans to build a North Carolina center, which would have created 400 jobs, because of the discriminatory HB 2. They even announced it in a press release. PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman is also one of the more than 180 business leaders who have signed onto an open letter to both Sen. Berger and Gov. Pat McCrory calling for the repeal of HB 2.

3.      BERGER: “...Roy Cooper ...failed to do his job and protect our children.” [Facebook, /SenatorBerger, 3/23/2016]

Berger lobbed this attack at North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who said he would not defend the discriminatory HB2 bill in court because it is unconstitutional. Cooper, whose job specifically requires him to uphold the constitution and safeguard the rights of children -- including transgender children -- across the state has done his job exactly right. Moreover, a Fourth Circuit decision this week supports Roy Cooper’s position by ruling that it is a violation of federal civil rights law for schools to force transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. And the American Academy of Pediatrics recently spoke out against this bill on behalf of North Carolina’s trans youth, stating HB 2 goes against the health, safety and well-being of transgender children.

4.      BERGER: HB2 is “the common sense bathroom safety bill protecting the privacy and safety of women and children throughout North Carolina.” [Facebook, /SenatorBerger, 4/2/2016]

HB 2 does nothing to protect North Carolina’s women and children. In fact, beyond eliminating cities’ ability to create their own protections for the LGBT community, it removed people’s ability, including women experiencing sex discrimination, to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin and sex. Now, North Carolinians have no state-based recourse when they experience discrimination - that’s not common sense at all.

5.      BERGER: “QUESTION: Why is Roy Cooper making it easier for peepers like this to sneak into women's bathrooms and young girls' locker rooms?” [Facebook, /SenatorBerger, 4/11/2016]

In voting for HB 2, Sen. Berger took action that has harmed young girls -- specifically, young trans girls who are now forced to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity. Yesterday, a broad coalition of more than 250 sexual assault and domestic violence organizations, led by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, released a powerful statement calling for the end to the scourge of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation, highlighting that outrageous rhetoric, including that employed by Sen. Berger, is not only demonstrably false, but terribly dangerous.

For more on the lies spread by North Carolina’s anti-LGBT leadership, watch HRC’s “True or False” video, which debunks the worst of Governor McCrory’s smears, such as saying transgender equality is somehow new, even though non-discrimination protections just like those passed in Charlotte have been around for decades and exist in 18 states and more than 100 cities - including nearly all of the nation’s largest cities. 


The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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