The latest frontier in America's civil rights battle: Restrooms

source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-latest-frontier-in-americas-civil-rights-battle-restrooms/  (video available here)

A delicate constitutional question flared up this past week: Do transgender people have the right to use the restroom they feel is right? Mark Strassmann explores that issue in our Cover Story:

"This is about the dignity and the respect that we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them -- indeed, to protect all of us," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Joaquin Carcano wants that protection. The 27-year old activist living in Raleigh, North Carolina, was born a girl. Last year he transitioned into what he believes is his proper gender: a man.

He sees himself at war with his own state.

"As trans individuals, for me personally, there's always a fear that you carry with you, and so that is a part of it definitely, but that goes for any sort of space you navigate in," Carcano said. "But I've never had an issue going into a restroom, [or] coming out."

"And what message in this law was the governor and the legislature do you think sending to you?" asked Strassmann.

"That we're not welcome," Carcano replied, "that they don't want to believe we exist. North Carolina is sending the message that we are not in a welcoming area."

North Carolina's public bathrooms are the new frontier in American civil rights law. That's because almost two months ago, state lawmakers passed a bill saying transgender people have to use the bathroom which matches the gender on their birth certificate.

Backlash was immediate and fierce, from Fortune 500 corporations, celebrity critics like Bruce Springsteen, and President Obama, who said, "I also think that the laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned."

But the law's supporters insist it was enacted to protect women and girls -- both their privacy, and their risk of attack from sexual predators.

"Our nation is dealing with a very new, complex and emotional issue: how to balance the expectations of privacy and equality," said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.  read more and view video