Big news in sports and civil rights. The US’ National Basketball Association (NBA) has decided to move next year’s All-Star basketball game from the city of Charlotte, North Carolina because of a draconian anti-LGBT law recently passed in that state.
The impact of the NBA’s decision cannot be overstated. This could cost Charlotte $100 million in revenue from the game, and it will likely fuel other events to now pull out of the state, as the boycott had already been gaining ground even before this news.
The law at the heart of the controversy, HB2, does a number of distasteful things:
- It repeals city ordinances protecting the civil rights of LGBT North Carolinians;
- It forbids North Carolina cities from passing future LGBT rights protections; and
- It requires that people who are transgender to only use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity (more on that below).
The transgender provision is especially silly, and offensive.
It’s a bit complicated, but in a nutshell, your “gender identity” is how you self-identify your gender. Do you see yourself as male or female? Your gender identity is not based on what gender you look like, male or female, or what sex organs you may or may not possess. It is based on who you know, in your hearts of hearts, that you are.
Thus, the new law is going to require that trans women, who have not had sexual reassignment surgery, use men’s bathrooms. And vice-versa for trans men. And that gets particularly problematic in the case of, say, a trans man who has not had sexual reassignment surgery — so his birth certificate says “female” — but who is undergoing hormone replacement therapy (aka receiving testosterone). That trans man is going to look like every other man. And when he enters a woman’s bathroom in accordance with North Carolina law, all bearded and hair-chested, women are going to freak out. (Though it does offer some delicious opportunities for civil disobedience, or rather, civil obedience.)
It’s really amazing the extent to which this move has backfired on North Carolina. It was only a few month’s ago that the LGBT rights movement was scratching its collective head trying to figure out how to effectively respond to the new law. Now, it’s clear that the law is toxic, and corporate America, and others, are on our side.
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