Attorney General Loretta Lynch believes that transgender rights are part of the legacy of civil rights--despite protests from African-American pastors that comparing the two is offensive.
Lynch spoke in Fayetteville, North Carolina, this week on new policing policies in the city. During her speech--her first visit back to her home state since her department sued North Carolina over HB2--she fielded several questions regarding her comparison of transgender rights to the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
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"While the civil rights movement, certainly in this state, focused on racial discrimination, civil rights and human rights are not limited to any one particular issue or any one group of people," she said."
HB2 prohibits transgender people from using restrooms, changing rooms, and other facilities matching their gender identity. Instead, they must use a facility matching their biological sex.
Prior to Lynch's visit, African-American faith leaders rallied at Raleigh in support of HB2 and spoke out against the attorney general using the push for racial equality to justify her lawsuit.
Clarence Henderson, a civil rights activist, said he was "offended" by the comparison.
"They had bathrooms downstairs," Henderson said, "one saying white and one saying colored and water fountains, the same thing. So, this in no way compares."
"Where people are victimized because of a physical characteristic over which they have no control, that is exactly what the civil rights laws are meant to cover," she said.