Expansion of LGBTQ Protections in North Carolina: Tip Sheet for Coverage



  • On Monday, October 18th, Wake County, the most populous county in the state, and its board of commissioners voted unanimously to expand a nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in places open to the public like stores, restaurants, hotels and during hiring.
  • On Tuesday, October 19th, the Raleigh City Council voted unanimously on a similar nondiscrimination resolution to expand protections for LGBTQ people and Black people.
  • Wake County and Raleigh now become the 14th and 15th municipality or county in North Carolina to expand protections this year for LGBTQ people, joining Charlotte, Apex, Asheville, Buncombe County, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Hillsborough, Winston-Salem, Chatham County, and Orange County — with one ordinance pending in Mecklenburg County. 
  • Raleigh’s nondiscrimination order will not create a new ordinance for the city but adopt Wake County’s ordinance presented on October 11th, which expands upon the city’s existing nondiscrimination measures enacted in 1969, that would now apply to private employers and public accommodations, such as restaurants and retail stores. 
  • Five years ago, North Carolina lawmakers passed HB2, discriminating against transgender people using the restroom aligned with their gender identity, and triggering a massive financial and political backlash nationwide, with estimates of $3.76 billion in losses.


North Carolina’s Continuing Expansion of LGBTQ Rights:

  • Chapter 34 of Title III of the Wake County Code of Ordinances will protect people from discrimination by private businesses and employers “based on race, natural hair or hairstyles, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, pregnancy, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, National Guard or veteran status, religious belief or non-belief, age, or disability.” 


Data and Polls: 

  • According to studies, one-third of LGBTQ people, including three-fifths of transgender people, have experienced discrimination in the past year. Polling from one report reveals that 67% of people in North Carolina support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.


Background on North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson

  • Robinson, a Republican from Greensboro, North Carolina, the second-highest-ranking elected official in North Carolina, referred to LGBTQ-inclusive education and being LGBTQ as “filth” during an appearance last June, as well as inaccurately and harmfully described transgender people’s existence as “transgenderism.”
  • In August, Robinson referred to the movement for transgender liberation as “demonic” and “full of the antichrist spirit.”
  • On October 7th, some North Carolina state senators called for Robinson to resign, including Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) who said Robinson hasn’t had “enough conversations with [LGBTQ people]” and that they are “every bit deserving of respect as everyone else in this state.”
  • Gov. Roy Cooper denounced Robinson’s comments, calling them “abhorrent.” 
  • On Friday, October 8, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, a native of North Carolina, issued a statement, calling Robinson’s remarks as “repugnant and offensive,” adding, “The role of a leader is to bring people together and stand up for the dignity and rights of everyone; not to spread hate and undermine their own office.”

More Information: 

Follow Equality North Carolina and Campaign for Southern Equality for ongoing updates on North Carolina's LGBTQ expansions.