The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors joined a growing boycott of North Carolina in response to a law viewed by many as discriminatory.
Board Chair Hilda Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl asked colleagues to adopt a motion that would suspend all official county travel to the state of North Carolina "unless the chief executive officer determines that the failure to authorize such travel would seriously harm the county's interests."
The motion, approved in a 4-1 vote, also calls for the board members to sign a letter to the governor and legislators in North Carolina calling for the repeal of the law, known as HB2. Among other things, the law requires transgender people to use public restrooms that match the sex designation on their birth certificate, and not the gender with which they identify.
"Last October, this board voted unanimously to stand up for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in the Los Angeles County child welfare system by proactively training county workers to more fully address the unique needs of these children," according to the motion by Solis and Kuehl. "HB2 requires us to stand up again, in solidarity with the LGBTQ community."
The motion also asks that its staff report back in 60 days on any county policies that could be in need of updating to reflect legal standards relating to gender identity or expression, "including the provision of all- gender restrooms."
Advocates applauded the move, saying that North Carolina's legislation falsely depicts transgender people as predators when they are instead the victims of predators.
"Transpeople matter. Transpeople deserve to be safe," activist Drian Juarez told the board.
Top news of the day
Marianna Marroquin of the Los Angeles LGBT Center thanked the board, but said she was frustrated that HB2 forced her to "fight for the right to use a bathroom, when so many other important things are happening."
One young man instead urged the board to "honor traditional family values," saying that the open use of restrooms would create "a lot of confusion, leaving a lot of space for crime."
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas disagreed.
"HB2 and measures like it are often framed as protective ... (but are) anything but protective," Ridley-Thomas said, calling them "vehicles to instill fear and hate" that often lead to violence.