The NCAA Still Has a Chance to Do the Right Thing and Stand Up for Trans Rights
Any day now, the NCAA will announce which cities will host championship events from 2018-2022.
Through emails and petitions, tens of thousands of you have told the NCAA and its president Mark Emmert: Stay out of North Carolina. Don’t condone discrimination.
In late March, the Republican-led legislature and Democratic governor cynically came together to endorse House Bill 142, deceptively labeled a “repeal” of now-notorious anti-LGBT House Bill 2. In fact, by permanently banning protections allowing transgender North Carolinians to use the right restroom — which is necessary to fully participate in public life — and by prohibiting all local nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020, the new law doubles down on discrimination.
Rather than rejecting HB 142 for what it was, the NCAA announced that the new bill created a “minimally” acceptable nondiscriminatory environment. We didn’t know what that meant, so we submitted public records requests asking potential host cities and schools how they plan on ensuring safety for transgender students, fans, athletes, and coaches.
HB 142 has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for other states if powerful organizations like the NCAA give them their blessing. Already, states like Texas are rushing to pass anti-trans bills like HB 2899, a virtual copycat of HB 142.
Despite misleading media reports, tens of thousand of you understood that the replacement bill still allows discrimination. The NCAA would be wise to heed those calls and to listen to other credible voices telling them what the replacement bill means for transgender people:
- Team USA duathlete Chris Mosier, a man who is transgender, said, “HB142 creates an unsafe environment for those who are, or are perceived to be, transgender. [HB 142] situates me as a transgender person as a threat … which I am not. And transgender people are not.”
- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reaffirmed that it will continue to prohibit state-sponsored travel to North Carolina because HB 142 “does not cure” discrimination. The Golden State joins Minnesota, New York, and Washington State, in addition to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C., in banning non-essential government travel because of HB 142.
We should also remind the NCAA that the day after its “reluctant” announcement, the North Carolina legislature introduced a bill that would enhance criminal penalties for transgender people simply using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. That’s about as far from creating a safe environment as we can imagine.
Will the NCAA do the right thing? Don’t sit on the sidelines. Add your voice.