The controversial Bathroom Bill could dominate the 2016 Republican National Convention and overshadow policy discussion, if Ted Cruz and his supporters push the issue, an LGBT group warned.
Log Cabin Republicans, LGBT members of the GOP, have cautioned that Cruz could push the issue onto the 18 July convention agenda – steering delegates who are sympathetic to his cause to shun other subjects in order to debate the Bill.
The group's president, Gregory T Angelo, told IBTimes UK: "I think common sense conservatives would do well to prepare [for the Bathroom Bill to dominate the Convention], whether or not it actually happens, but I think it is most definitely something Cruz supporters are planning on making an issue.
"Whether or not they succeed is largely contingent on our better angels taking hold of the platform committee and common sense.
"As I understand it, Ken Cuccinelli [GOP politician and former attorney general of Virginia], who has a magical knack for losing elections that Republicans should win, put out an email to Cruz delegates saying they needed to push for language in the GOP platform that addresses this non issue.
"I wouldn't be so concerned about it but for the fact that Cruz has done a tremendous job in recruiting delegates, who are committed to him on principal even if they are bound to vote for another candidate in the first round of convention voting."
Nicknamed the Bathroom Bill, the HB2 Bill in North Carolina dictates people must use the bathroom of the gender they were ascribed at birth rather than the one they identify with – discriminating against transgender people.
In addition, it has been criticised for limiting state protection for LGBT people, and the effect it has on the workforce – preventing cities from raising the minimum wage.
In legislation that has been discussed nationally, similar bills have also been considered in other states such as Arizona, South Dakota and Tennessee, which Angelo said was distracting people from other topics.
"In multiple respects this is absolutely unnecessary legislation," he said. "It has become a major distraction for Republicans around the country going all the way up to our presidential candidates and presumptive nominee and it has resulted in an election cycle dominated by discussions about toilets – is that really where we want to go as a party?
"It's just so absurd to me. When I got involved in politics it was not to litigate toilet use."
Transgender activist and journalist Paris Lees told IBTimes UK the issue in the US had demonstrated a genuine lack of awareness about transgender people, with the new legislation being harmful to everyone.
"I think it's a non-issue that has been whipped up out of nothing," she said. "It's a problem that's bred on fear and stereotypes.
"The most important point that's being missed is that transgender people have been doing this for decades - I personally have been using female toilets for 10 years - and all that's happening now is people are aware that we exist now.
"It's policing women's bodies and will affect all women. I'm privileged in that I pass, so the Bill wouldn't affect me, but for trans women and cis women who don't fit into a traditional idea of what a woman is supposed to look like, it will make a difference. Are there going to be wardens in the toilets that will lift up girls' skirts to see what genitals they have?"
"It's already happening. Several women have been harassed in lavatories in the past couple of months because they 'looked' like men."
Discussion of the bill has already seen one woman thrown out of the toilets of a coffee shop in the US after police refused to believe she was female, and Angelo maintains it has overshadowed issues like the economy, which should be being discussed.
"For the most part, the Republicans would rather be talking about anything else – it is such a crude thing to debate, it is such an unnecessary thing to debate," he added. "It is such a childish thing for adults to be bringing into the arena of deliberative politics, I see its impact ultimately either being a push – so it will be a discussion we end up happening that has little effect – or it will be a net negative."