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Did this North Carolina politician just seriously try and limit trans bathroom use again?

Joseph McCormick April 5, 2017
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Just hours after the NCAA said it would resume programming athletics events in North Carolina after the partial repeal of its anti-trans law, politicians in the state appear to have introduced another bill limiting trans bathroom rights.

Despite not specifically mentioning trans people, House Bill 562, co-sponsored by Representative Brendan Jones would increase penalties for anyone found “trespassing” in a bathroom.

It was filed on Tuesday, and does target anyone using a restroom which does not align with their sex assigned at birth… Sound familiar?

“My bill will do two things,” wrote Jones on Thursday on Facebook.

“First, it will specifically state it is a second degree trespass for entering the restroom or changing room of the opposite sex; secondly, it would enhance the punishment from what is now, a class 3 misdemeanor punishable up to only 10 days, to a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable up to 120 days in jail.” Jones did not respond to a request for comment.

Human rights groups have already expressed concern at the bill’s wording, and what is meant by being required “authorisation” to be in a bathroom.

The NCAA earlier this week announced that athletics events could resume in North Carolina, after threatening to overlook the state until at least 2022.

Announced by Majority Republican leaders Tim Moore and Phil Berger and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper as a “compromise,” HB142 outraged LGBT leaders.

Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro said it was a “fake repeal,” while Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called the law a “disaster” which “doubles down on discrimination”.

But despite the backlash, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which makes about $1 billion a year in revenue, said its board of governors had “reluctantly” overturned its prohibition.

Bids from the state to hold the NCAA Championship will now be considered again, and the championships previously awarded to North Carolina for next season will take place.

Even though HB142 allows for discrimination to legally exist, the NCAA said it had “minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.”

The organisation admitted that “this new law is far from perfect,” adding that it was still worried about the state of LGBT rights in North Carolina.

It said that “the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behaviour is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.”

The NCAA also attempted to soften the blow to LGBT activists by warning that any state awarded an event in future will have to show “how student-athletes and fans will be protected from discrimination.”

The organisation had pulled seven events from the state over the past year while HB2 was in place, joining many companies, music stars and sports organisations in boycotting North Carolina.

Earlier today, major city mayors reiterated travel bans to North Carolina.

And yesterday, the last Kennedy in Congress, Representative Joseph Kennedy III, urged the NCAA to maintain its position on banning North Carolina.

LGBT leaders were predictably angered by the NCAA’s decision.

Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said: “NCAA caves & gives in to discrimination. We will all suffer because of this and Roy Cooper this is on you”.

He added that the decision made it clear that “Trans people are expendable, disposable, our bodies situated as threats”.

“At the end of the day, we should have known better than to rely on corporate interests who would quickly sell us out,” he added.

Equality NC head Sgro tweeted: “Disappointed that NCAA abandons LGBT community + succumbs to NC Governor cheap political stunt that doubled down on discrimination”.

HRC president Griffin also made his outrage clear:

Related topics: basketball, bathroom law, hb142, hb2, Law, ncaa, North Carolina, sport, US, US

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