One of the biggest controversies of the year has been North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill,” which would discriminate against transgender people by disallowing them to use the public restroom of their choice. House Bill 2 has drawn critics from all across the country, perhaps most notably the NBA, which has been a consistent and ardent support of LGBTQ rights. Numerous players, coaches, and other league personnel have come out in favor of relocating — or boycotting — the 2017 All-Star Game, which is scheduled to be hosted by the Charlotte Hornets next February, if there aren’t significant changes to the law.
The hope is that it would put political and economic pressure on the North Carolina legislature, lest the NBA pull out and take with it the enormous revenue stream that accompanies the league’s annual event. Now, it looks like the state legislature is going to cave on at least some key aspects of the bill in an effort to keep the game in Charlotte. Via Nick Ochsner of the Charlotte Observer:
Among the draft bill’s biggest changes is the creation of an official document that would recognize a person’s gender reassignment. The new document, which is treated as the equivalent as a birth certificate in the draft legislation, is referred to as a certificate of sex reassignment.
“What the league is looking for is for anyone to be able to use, at any All Star venue, the bathroom associated with their gender identity,” the person [with knowledge of the league’s plans] said, adding that that goal extends to all venues used by NBA teams.
Previously, the bill stated that individuals would be required to use the restroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate. The new document, which would have to be certified by the individual’s sex-reassignment surgeon, would officially recognize their new identity, thereby allowing them to use the restroom corresponding to that identity. Other amendments to the bill would include increased protections against discrimination in the workplace, as well as harsher penalties for hate crimes associated with these scenarios.
This is just the latest installment in the NBA’s ongoing crusade for equal rights. On Sunday, Adam Silver and other NBA and WNBA personnel made history by becoming the first major professional sports league to march in the annual NYC Pride parade.