Mark Robinson says transgender women should be arrested for using women’s bathrooms

Mark Robinson says transgender women should be arrested for using women’s bathrooms

Mark Robinson speaks at a Donald Trump in Selma, N.C. in 2022. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

By Michael McElroy

February 16, 2024

Robinson, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks, revived the 2016 ‘bathroom bill’ idea that sparked a public outcry and cost the state billions of dollars in lost business.  

At a recent campaign stop in Cary, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson said that if he is elected governor in November, transgender women would be arrested if they tried to use a women’s restroom in public. Arrested, he said, “or whatever we got to do to you.”

At a separate event, Robinson, the frontrunner in the NC Republican primary for governor, said that transgender women could “find a corner outside somewhere to go.”

His comments were widely condemned, even by two of his fellow Republican candidates, but his threats revive an issue from  2016 that cost the state billions of dollars in lost business after the Republican-led General Assembly passed HR2—better known as the “bathroom bill”—which sought to similarly dictate which restrooms transgender people could use. 

That legislation fell apart under court challenges and sparked a national outcry, causing businesses to back out of deals to bring jobs to North Carolina and high-profile artists to cancel concerts and other performances.

But Robinson has openly ridiculed LGBTQ people since coming into public view in the years after that outcry, and he’s found a receptive audience in a Republican Party that is just as openly moving farther right. 

A history or anti-LGBTQ comments

Robinson has called members of the LGBTQ community “filth” and “demonic,” and, in his 2022 memoir, said that transgender people should not be allowed in the military or to fly planes. 

In his role as lieutenant governor, Robinson presided over the NC Senate last August as it passed a bill requiring teachers to out any students wanting to change their pronouns. That legislation was one of several passed by the General Assembly last year targeting LGBTQ communties.

Robinson would have immense power as governor to target LGBTQ individuals in the state.

‘Mark Robinson is going to lose’

In his memoir, Robinson wrote that he became disillusioned with the Republican Party in the George W. Bush years because all they did was “talk about things that weren’t going to draw anybody into the party.” 

He added: “You must draw in new voters. You must if you want to stay viable. They were not doing it.”

But Robinson’s views on abortion and other issues are often extreme and out of touch with  the general public, even some Republicans. 

LGBTQ protections are particularly important to young voters, who are engaging in the elections process in record numbers, voting rights groups say. Robinson’s support for restrictive abortion bans are also wildly unpopular with voters. 

Bill Graham and State Treasurer Dale Folwell, two of Robinson’s gubernatorial Republican opponents, said that his comments would doom the party to lose the general election in November.

“Mark Robinson is going to lose,” a spokesperson for Graham told WRAL this week. “He will hurt all Republican candidates up and down the ballot if he’s the nominee.”


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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