trans bathroom

Illustration by Max Fleishman

It was likely an effort to keep the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte—but it failed.

After the NBA threatened to pull its 2017 All-Star game from North Carolina unless the state dropped its anti-trans law, lawmakers tried to appease the basketball league, but to no avail. 

On Thursday, the NBA announced in a statement that new changes to the H.B. 2 law, which forbids trans people from using the bathrooms that match their gender identity, were not satisfactory. Under what's being called H.B. 2.0, transgender people would have to register with the state to get a special document that would allow them to use their gender-correlating restroom—but only if they can prove they've had sex-reassignment surgery.

“There has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game,” said the joint statement from the NBA and Charlotte Hornets that the Charlotte Observer published. “We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature."

The proposal to amend H.B. 2 has been criticized for being a step backward—as well as non-inclusive: 33 percent of trans people opt out of surgery altogether, for reasons that range from financial to personal choice. It also—per the legislation's exact language—only applies to transgender people from the four states that currently don't allow gender changes on birth certificates: Tennessee, Idaho, Kansas, or Ohio.

But it would also have positive benefits—such as restoring the right to sue based on anti-LGBT employment discrimination and mandating that North Carolina adopt federally recommended anti-discrimination policies. The proposed legislation would also increase punishments for a variety of crimes such as sexual assault and "peeping," were those crimes to be committed in a bathroom.

"Legislative leadership must stop digging their own hole ever deeper. North Carolina can't afford it,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro in a June 28 statement. “This leaked draft is the result of another backroom deal that does nothing to fix the problems of HB2. We need to repeal HB2 immediately. The legislature cannot cut and run."

Correction 10:15am CT, July 6: The NBA All-Star game referred to in this story is in 2017, not 2016.


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