LGBT
North Carolina is the first state to introduce a 'bathroom bill'iStock

More than 50 people were arrested as opposing protest groups gathered outside the North Carolina statehouse to demonstrate their feelings on the controversial 'bathroom bill'.

The HB2 bill, which was passed last month and has been described as an 'anti-gay, hate bill', bans transgender people from using the bathroom that matches the gender they identify with, and also limits state protection for LGBT people.

But Democrats filed a repeal bill against the Republican-made law on 25 April, causing groups of demonstrators both for and against the original bill to descend on the courthouse in droves, with police putting numbers at more than 1,200 at points during the ongoing protests.

President of North Carolina NAACP, Reverend William Barber, told WNCN the bill affected the whole LGBT community and was "Hate Bill 2."

"We make a mistake when we call it the 'bathroom bill,'" he said. "It's an anti-worker bill. It's an anti-family bill. It's an anti-civil rights protection bill. It's an anti-gay bill."

Several celebrities, including Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, have cancelled appearances in North Carolina over the bill, which reversed the little protection offered to LGBT people.

The law now prevents transgender people who have not legally and medically changed their gender from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, and excludes the LGBT community from being included in state protection against discrimination.

In North Carolina, a state which voted against gay marriage back in 2012 prior to the federal court ruling in favour of same sex unions in 2015, it remains legal to fire someone because they are gay, and the new law has made it clear LGBT people have no protection from the state in this matter.

But people demonstrating in favour of the newly passed law said it was designed to keep 'women and girls' safe while using the bathroom.