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Disability community voices concerns about special session to overturn Charlotte bathroom ordinance

As legislators gather this morning in special session to repeal Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance, they might want to take time to read today’s  lead story at NC Health News.

Reporter Rose Hoban spoke with disability rights advocates who worry heavy-handed action by the General Assembly might make it more difficult for North Carolina caregivers assisting someone of the opposite sex in a bathroom setting.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

restroomPeople with profound physical and developmental disabilities often need help while going to the bathroom.

And for those people who have caregivers of the opposite gender, the legislative language being bandied about ahead of this week’s special session to overturn Charlotte’s ordinance forbidding discrimination for transgendered people looking to use the bathroom may have lots of unintended consequences.
photo of a disabled accessible bathroom

“When you go to hire someone as a caregiver, you’re looking for the most qualified person to assist you and that may not be a person who shares your gender,” said Julia Adams-Scheurich, head of governmental affairs for The Arc of North Carolina.

She said it’s all too common that someone, say, a mother with a son in a wheelchair, needs to enter the bathroom of the opposite sex.

“You may have an individual with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy or spina bifida or some other profound disability who does not share the same sex with their husband, caregiver, mother, father,” Adams-Scheurich said. “We’re afraid that legislation created by the General Assembly would have the unintended consequence of possibly prohibiting that assistance.”

This concern was echoed by Corye Dunn, who represents Disability Rights North Carolina at the legislature. She noted that having a disability often makes using a traditional public restroom less practical.

Read the full article on the North Carolina Health News website.

Here’s the bill legislators will be voting on today.

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