April 25, 2016 at 10:15 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Trans advocate, others arrested in protest over N.C. law
National Center for Transgender Equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality Mara Keisling (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A leading transgender advocate was among those arrested Monday night at the state legislative building in North Carolina as a result of civil disobedience over the state’s anti-LGBT law.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, was detained after participating in a sit-in at the state legislative building in protest of House Bill 2, which bars cities from enacting pro-LGBT ordinances in the state and prohibits transgender people from using the public restroom in schools and government buildings consistent with their gender identity.

The sit-in was part of the “Moral Monday” movement led by the North Carolina NAACP, which conducts sit-ins on a regular basis while the legislature is in session. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, Keisling and 17 others were arrested on charges of trespassing and were being at the time of this posting, although they were told they’d be out in “several hours.”

It wasn’t the first time Keisling participated in an act of civil disobedience that day. On her Facebook page, Keisling posted a photo indicating she used the women’s public restroom in the governor’s office, which she says was in violation of House Bill 2. According to a report in Buzzfeed, Keisling informed law enforcement officials she had used the facility against the law, but they declined to act action against her.

According to the News & Observer, there were a total of 54 arrests in the state capitol Monday as a result of civil disobedience over House Bill 2 — 18 in the afternoon; 36 after closing time.

Civil disobedience was but one act against House Bill 2 on the first day the legislature convened following a period of recess after the state enacted the anti-LGBT law. Other acts included the introduction of a bill to repeal the law and LGBT groups submitting a petition signed by 150,000 people against the law.

Despite these efforts, there’s no indication the Republican-controlled state legislature will act to repeal any or all of the anti-LGBT law. The first day of the legislative session came and went without action on the bill.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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