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Religious Tolerance logo


The religious freedom to discriminate against
transgender persons in North Carolina:

Part 4

2016-JUL/AUG
The NBA will move their 2017
All-Star Game from North Carolina.
Injunction against HB 2 sought
in federal district court.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Alexander James Adams

Alexander James Adams is a FTM transsexual man, who is an American singer, musician and songwriter. He was identified as a female at birth.

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2016-JUL-21: The National Basketball Association (NBA) decided relocate its 2017 All-Star Game:

The NBA announced that it had decided to not hold its 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina, as originally scheduled. Their decision was based on the NBA's opposition to the anti-LGBT law HB2 which was passed by the North Carolina legislature in late March as emergency legislation and quickly signed into law by the Governor. 1

Governor Pat McCrory (R) was apparently displeased with the NBA statement. He issued a statement saying:

"The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present. Twenty-one other states have joined North Carolina to challenge the federal overreach by the Obama administration mandating their bathroom policies in all businesses and schools instead of allowing accommodations for unique circumstances. Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process." 4

As with every other disagreement involving transgender persons and transsexuals, the conflict has its source in two different definitions of gender.

  • Political and religious conservatives almost always define a person's gender according to their sex-dichotomous differences in genital structures at birth as recorded in the newborn's birth certificate filed at birth. It is regarded as unchanged and unchangeable throughout the person's life.

  • Political and religious liberals, the LGBT community, and therapists almost always define a person's gender according to their gender identity -- the individual's perception of gender -- which is caused by sex-dichotomous differences in structures in their brain.

Transgender individuals are generally persons who were identified as male at birth, and now identify as female -- or vice versa. The North Carolina law requires them to use the washroom facilities reserved for people of the sex opposite to their current gender identity. That is, a person who was identified male as a newborn but who now identifies as a female must use the male washroom. A minority of transgender persons either do not identify themselves as having a gender, or experience alternating genders.

With the aid of puberty blocking medication, cross gender hormones, and gender reassignment surgery, many transgender women cannot be distinguished from cisgender women (women who were identified at birth as male and continue to identify as women today). Thus, one can anticipate frequent major disturbances if transgender women obey the new law in North Carolina and use the men's washroom. Similar disturbances will occur when transgender men -- such as Alexander James Adams shown above -- use the women's washroom.

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Bernie Sanders, who was ultimately an unsuccessful contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2016 election praised the NBA for moving the game out of Charlotte. He said:

"Great move by the NBA pulling next year’s All-Star Game from NC. We must stand with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters." 5

Bill Johnson, a reader of the Huffington Post article quoted above 5 posted a comment which adds an important degree of balance to discussions of HB 2. He wrote:

"While the bathroom part of the bill that is in question is bad, the bigger fact is, that the rest of the bill takes away any possible anti discrimination laws for LGBTQ or any others, from the local governments. That is a much larger problem than a TG or similar, going into a bathroom." 5

"TG" is an abbreviation for a transgender person.

HB 2 nullified all municipal human rights ordinances affecting the LGBT community. It is important to remember that for every 1,000 adults in the U.S., about 50 have a homosexual orientation, 50 have a bisexual orientation, and 6 are transgender.

On August 19, the NBA had decided to hold the game in New Orleans. They issued a formal statement, explaining:

"While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB 2." 2

On the same day, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement:

"New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities." 3

They made this decision to protest North Carolina's House Bill 2 which refused to recognize the gender identity of transgender persons, repealed all anti-discrimination protections against the entire LGBT community in the state, and had additional negative effects on human rights throughout the state.

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2016-AUG-01: Request for a preliminary injunction against the HB 2 law was heard in U.S. District Court:

 

A preliminary hearing was held on AUG-01. The trial itself is scheduled for 2016-NOV. 6

The U.S. Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union represent the plaintiffs who are opposed to the HB 2 "bathroom law." Governor McCrory, Republican legislative leaders, and a citizens' group are defendants who support the HB 2 law.

In court, Republican lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder to deny the injunction. Judge Schroeder refused, requested written briefs, and said that he would rule on the request later. He asked Butch Bowers -- Governor Pat McCrory's (R) lawyer -- specifically:

"How does this law make bathrooms and changing rooms safer in North Carolina?" 6

The government maintains that the law is needed to keep transgender women -- individuals who were identified as male at birth but who now identify as female -- out of women's washrooms in schools and many public buildings. They give privacy and safety as their justification. Meanwhile, transgender residents and the LGBT community generally argue that existing laws are sufficient to protect people's safety in washrooms and that the HB 2 law is harmful and discriminatory. They note that the law went far beyond dealing with washroom issues; it also nullified all state and municipal human rights legislation and ordinances that protected the LGBT community throughout North Carolina.

Judge Schroeder asked how a transgender individual who identifies as a woman could offend others in a woman's restroom equipped with separate stalls with no urinals. He said:

"I’m at a loss as to the circumstances unless someone strips down naked." 6

He then asked whether a better arrangement would be for transgender women to use a men's washroom while dressed as a woman. He asked:

"How on earth is that supposed to work? So we are now going to have people dressed as women using the men’s room?"

Bowers replied:

"My guess is that some transgender people will use the restrooms they always have, and no one will notice." 6

In other words, the state has created a law that gives transgender women, who typically appear indistinguishably from other women and who dress as women two intolerable options:

  • To use the men's washroom, create a disturbance, and run the risk of being assaulted, or

  • To disobey the law, and use the women's washroom as they have in the past.

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Samantha Schoenfeld, writing for Fox61 said:

"Schroeder also questioned lawyers representing the transgender plaintiffs, asking whether the injunction they’re seeking could create a situation in which 12-year-old students would wind up showering next a 17-year-old transgender teen with different anatomy.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Paul Smith said that would be an 'extraordinarily unusual event,' but that transgender North Carolina residents must choose each day between breaking the law and using restrooms that don’t match their identity or appearance.

'They’re essentially left with no option,' he said." 6

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "NBA Pulls All-Star Game Out Of Charlotte Over ‘Bathroom Bill’," Huffington Post, 2016-JUL-21, at:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  2. Paul Blake & Avianne Tan, "NBA All-Star Game Moved to New Orleans Because of Controversial NC 'Anti-LGBT' Law,"ABC News, 2016-AUG-19, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  3. "New Orleans selected to host NBA All-Star 2017," official release, National Basketball Association, 2016-AUG-19, at: http://www.nba.com/
  4. Pat McCrory, "Governor McCrory Issues Statement on the NBA's Decision to Relocate 2017 All-Star Game," NC Governor's office, 2016-JUL-21, at: https://governor.nc.gov/
  5. Travis Waldron, "Bernie Sanders Praises NBA For Moving All-Star Game Out Of North Carolina," Huffington Post, 2016-JUL-22, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  6. Samantha Schoenfeld, "Federal judge grills GOP lawyers over need for HB2 law, asking how it makes bathrooms safer," Fox61, 2016-AUG-01, at: http://fox61.com/

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-AUG-20
Latest update : 2016-AUG-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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