Policy Resource Center

Senate Bill 49 – "Don’t Say LGBTQ+" Law

Senate Bill 49, also known as North Carolina’s “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” bill, was enacted in August 2023 following the NCGA’s override of Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. The anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship and school policy law is a cruel attack on LGBTQ+ students and educators. Its implementation is currently being determined by individual school districts in North Carolina, and it’s up to all of us to push back, speak out, and take action against this shameful law.

What Does S49 Do?

SB49 censors LGBTQ+ students themselves and LGBTQ-related school curriculum in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Prohibiting the discussion of gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality in Kindergarten-4th grade
  • Requiring that schools create a process for parents to inspect and review all textbooks and instructional materials that will be used in their child’s school, as well as access their child’s records at the school library
  • Requiring that school personnel notify parents about changes in the name or pronoun used for a student at school. This has been called the “forced outing” provision of the law.

The impact of SB49 is already being felt in North Carolina. It is a disturbing attempt to take away two proven lifelines from LGBTQ+ students in North Carolina: supportive teachers & school materials/books that affirm their identity.

Want to learn more about SB49? View this FAQ document compiled by Equality NC, Campaign for Southern Equality, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

In October 2023 the Campaign for Southern Equality published a legal memorandum about S.B. 49. The memo highlights the many ways S.B. 49 creates a hostile educational environment for LGBTQ+ students. In doing so, S.B. 49 violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

The memo, which has been shared with the General Counsel of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and local Boards of Education, explains how school districts cannot both follow S.B. 49 and remain in compliance with Title IX. As a result, the Campaign for Southern Equality recommends that compliance with S.B. 49 be postponed or suspended until the Department of Public Instruction has had a chance to address the Title IX issues prompted by S.B. 49.

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House Bill 808 – Gender Affirming Healthcare Ban for Trans Youth

HB808 prohibits the initiation of any gender-affirming care in NC for people under the age of 18, including puberty blockers, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and surgery. It does not restrict care that is already initiated – youth who have begun a “course of treatment” before August 1, 2023 can remain in care. It is recommended that you ask your provider about how they are interpreting this language.

The law does not say that people cannot leave North Carolina and access care in states where it is legal to do so, and a court would likely agree that it is unconstitutional to block people from traveling to other states. Youth can also continue to access mental health care, which is not restricted or banned by this law in North Carolina.

Want to learn more about HB808? View this FAQ document compiled by Equality NC, Campaign for Southern Equality and Planned Parenthood.

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House Bill 574 – Transgender Sports Ban

On August 16, House Bill 574, a transgender sports ban, was passed into law through a controversial veto override. This law now bans transgender student athletes from participating in school sports in middle and high schools as well as colleges and universities. All teams must be designated as all male, all female or coed/mixed, and students must participate according to their “reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” North Carolina is one of 22 states with state laws restricting transgender students from playing sports. This law goes into effect and applies to the 2023-24 school year.

The law leaves many questions unanswered about how the law is applied and enforced for transgender student athletes and their families.

Want to learn more about HB574? View this FAQ document compiled by Equality NC and Campaign for Southern Equality.

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