With North Carolina, the NBA, and the NCAA Caving on Trans Rights, Texas Finds New Momentum for Discrimination

Last month, North Carolina lawmakers passed what they called a “compromise repeal” of the state’s notoriously costly and discriminatory anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2. HB2 mandated statewide discrimination against trans people in schools and other government buildings and restricted the ability of localities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances protecting against sexual orientation and gender-identity-based discrimination.

But the HB2 replacement, House Bill 142, is no repeal — it is just a slightly restructured version of the same discriminatory mandates of its predecessor and once again singles out trans people for discrimination in both rhetoric and law.

Shortly after the passage of this fake repeal of HB2, both the NCAA and the NBA announced that they would again consider North Carolina to host events after they had pulled events from the state in 2016 — costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue — following the passage of HB2. Showing just how quickly the defense of civil rights collapsed in the name of profit, the NBA and the NCAA have now further opened the door to new waves of discrimination in North Carolina and across the country.

Wasting no time, leading anti-trans lawmakers in Texas are now rushing to pass a clone of North Carolina’s HB142 — seizing on the tacit, if not explicit endorsement, of discrimination by the NCAA and NBA. The Texas bill, House Bill 2899, is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 19. And like its clone in North Carolina, and the bill once again animated by the dangerous lie that it “provides clear direction to public schools and government institutions on how to protect privacy and safety by ensuring that men do not enter women's showers, locker rooms and restrooms.” 

But make no mistake — this bill protects no one.

Texas’s HB2899 and SB6 — the HB2-like ban on trans people using restrooms that accord with their gender — and North Carolina’s HB142 are not about privacy or safety. These measures are about cultivating fear of trans people in public space, and they ultimately seek to expel us from participation in public life.

The proposed laws and the support for them rely on and reinforce the idea that women who are trans are “really” men and that trans people, by living as our authentic selves, are deceiving others.  And the subtext is always that our mere presence in single-sex spaces compromises the safety and privacy of others.

But this is simply not true.

Most of these lawmakers have already shared restrooms with trans people, and it went unnoticed because like all people, we (trans) people go to the restroom to do our business and get out. The only people who seem fixated on our presence there are the lawmakers seeking to bar us from the spaces we have been using for as long as we have existed.

And whether North Carolina, Texas, or any other state uses overt or covert tactics to restrict us from using the restroom that accords with who we are, the effect is the same and the message is clear: “You are not welcome here.”

In December of 2016, Roy Cooper, then governor-elect of North Carolina, rejected a proposed repeal of HB2 that was far less discriminatory than the fake repeal he signed last month. Nothing changed in the meaning of the law or the dignity of trans people. All that changed was that Cooper, the NCAA, the NBA grew tired of defending civil rights while profits waned.

Well, you know what is far more exhausting than holding a principled line against discrimination? Living under relentless discrimination and the demonization of your existence. That is happening to trans people in North Carolina, in Texas, and across the country. And the costs are dire as trans women of color are being murdered in record numbers, trans students are wondering whether they will face state-sponsored bullying and harassment in school, and entire generations of trans people are hearing the message that we are not welcome in public life.

But thankfully, we are far more committed, have far more endurance, and far more principle than Cooper, the NCAA, and the NBA. We will never cave when it comes to our rights. We will never back down when it comes to defending our humanity and neither will our allies. We will welcome back the NCAA, the NBA, and even North Carolina lawmakers should they choose to re-join us on the right side of history.

On Wednesday, we will show up in opposition to Texas’s HB2899 and every other anti-trans, anti-LGBT measure Texas puts up for consideration.

There is no such thing as compromising on civil rights. As I have said elsewhere: “Compromise on justice is not a beginning — it is an end. It does not build but forever changes the target away from our vision of decency and justice.”

There is still time for Texas to do the right thing. We are watching. We are fighting. And we are not giving up.

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Anonymous

I'm going to preface this by saying I am a transgender person. That said, I'm sick of the dramatics of Chase Strangio! Can the ACLU find someone to write blogs that reflect facts and leave out all the dramatics? I had to stop reading this because the dramatic spin is too annoying and contains a dearth of facts, as seems to be typical of Mr. Strangio's blogs and his writings elsewhere. For instance, does the law in North Carolina still ban trans people from using the restrooms in public buildings or not??? I couldn't find it in the links provided. What I saw about it seemed to be saying that localities in NC cannot make laws about it. And while I agree that's not good or right, it's not correct to call it a "fake repeal" is it? I don't know because I'm not a lawyer nor do I have the time to search these things down. Strangio apparently does but when he writes about these things it's like it's one big drama rama not really reasonable or containing facts in plain English that most of us can understand. Strangio also seems to believe that there's no such thing as biological sex, which to my mind is just making all of us trans people seem like delusional idiots. Of course there is biological sex, where do you think babies come from!!?? Why does Strangio need to visit a gynecologist (posted publicly on his twitter account) if there is no biological sex? COME ON! Please ACLU stop with the dramatics and post something that actually informs us of what is going on.

Texan

What's so hard to understand? The Texas House Bill requires people in Texas to use the bathroom of the same gender they were born with. It also requires businesses to discontinue unisex or same sex bathrooms.

Both are wrong and very dramatic. It is very much a first step to outlawing trans people alltogether. So as a trans person, you, in a few years may not be allowed to travel to Texas or other states with similar laws. It may get as bad as your being arrested and imprisioned for being trans. Next laws will be passed that imprision doctors who provide treatment for transgender people.

Yes you should be concerned. You are about to be illegal in your own country.

Somewhere in th...

@TEXAN

I think what Anonymous is saying is that the article failed to do what you did in the first paragraph of your comment which is to explain what the new bill is."The Texas House Bill requires people in Texas to use the bathroom of the same gender they were born with. It also requires businesses to discontinue unisex or same sex bathrooms," you said, which is more reported information that Strangio's entire piece. Although Strangio linked to the bill, he didn't tell us what it is other than in the most sweeping terms. He also didn't outline what it is the NBA and NCAA have done or said to signal their readiness to start working with North Carolina again. That's not to say I am skeptical of his assertions, but he didn't give the reader anything to consider from a factual basis. The issues are dramatic, yes, but Strangio failed to outline the events, instead giving a rough and tumble version of an outline and spent most of his words expressing upset. That upset is warranted and worth expressing (and worth us reading), but those of us who need to be better educated about the issues surrounding these bills would find no education in this piece.

GEChristopher

Thank you Anonymous. I felt thr same way.

Anonymous

Give the LGBT transgender rights to the bathroom of their choice so we can open the door to RAPE of our little girls/women by males in pink dresses and our little boys. It will give the innocent people more legal agenda to sue the government for sexual assault and rape of our girls/women and boys SALUTE ! Hope they winnnnn...............

Anonymous

Assassinate Jeff Sessions!

Erin

I just finished reading NC HB 142 and I don't know what this part means: preempted from regulation of access. Could someone with legal experience/education please clarify?

Anonymous

I want to go into women’s bathrooms if there are pretty women in there & if a pretty woman wants to use men’s bathrooms, then that is fine with me. I want a pretty woman to go into men’s bathrooms but I wouldn’t want uglies like Ellen Lee DeGeneres and Rosie T. O’Donnell shitting in any bathroom as they’re ugly so Ellen & Rosie can shit in diapers. Ellen Lee DeGeneres & Rosie T. O’Donnell both probably like to have farting & shitting contests in bathrooms, so Ellen & Rosie both want to do battleshits contest in men’s bathrooms since women’s toilets got dirtied by them.

Anonymous

Simple, why don't you make law that requires truly private bathrooms instead of saying who can use what.

Stalls that have short walls are not private or adequate. Install bathrooms with full walls and a door around each stall. Any reason that can't be done? I don't think so.

What I think is that right wing alt right white men, who pretend to be straight but are actually gay, like seeing others penis at the toilet. It's a right for them. Their daddy told them it was ok to shit and piss in front of other men as a right so they can compare penises. Why else does the "trough" pisser exist? Do you like looking at others penises while pissing. You must.

Make adequate bathrooms and you won't know or care who's in that private stall.

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