Am I glad HB2 was repealed? Yes, because it has sucked the air out of the sports scene in North Carolina, because the topic is getting old and, frankly, because it shouldn’t be necessarily.
Yet, the sports media – whether talk radio hosts or print media – won’t take yes to repeal as an answer. Most are happy that sporting events will apparently come back to the state. But they aren’t happy because the repeal legislation doesn’t allow anybody to use any restroom they feel like using.
One sports journalist, who often falls on the leftist side of issues (should we even know if a sports journalist is left or right?), wrote, “The terrible, bitter taste of our state-sanctioned bigotry remains, even if it’s fainter than it was.”
One sports talk show host squarely blamed the GOP legislators for “knee-jerk” and “hate-filled” legislation. First, is that a sports talk show or a political show? When one caller wanted to talk about what he said, the host reminded the caller that it’s a sports show, not a political show. Oh, yeah?
If someone is going to delve into the politics, and what they supposedly care about is making sure North Carolina doesn’t lose all-star games and NCAA tournament games, then they should allow discussion on the topic. And they should do enough homework to know that the Charlotte City Council started the issue by passing a ordinance that would impose on private businesses who could enter their various private facilities. If Charlotte wants to issue an ordinance regarding their own facilities to make a political point, go for it, but they – in a self-important way – were trying to push a new social construct on everyone.
The ordinance allowed transgender people to use either the men’s or women’s bathroom, depending on the gender with which they identify. Presumably, they could also go in the bathroom of the sex to which they are most attracted. It’s simply up to people to decide which bathroom they want to enter.
Not only was that an overreach as far as demands on private businesses, but it was an overreach on their authority. In the state of North Carolina, the General Assembly has the ultimate power over municipalities. And they wielded that power with HB2.
Over the last year, we have been hit with story after story – including from the sports media – about how events were being taken from North Carolina because of meanies in Raleigh, not Charlotte. We were told it was about the economics and how we couldn’t allow so many dollars to leave (or never come to) North Carolina. This repeal, as one Democrat leader said, simply takes us back to where we were before HB2 was enacted a year ago. Well, a year ago, the dollars were staying in North Carolina and there was no huge uproar about transgender people being disallowed to use restrooms.
This was a manufactured issue – a solution in search of a problem. There is a bigger problem in North Carolina with sex predators in bathrooms than there is with transgender people being thrown from restrooms. (The ironic thing is that many times if one is truly transgender, you and I won’t know when someone with female or male parts are using the restroom we’re in.)
The issue was couched as being anti-transgender when it was really more pro-safety. But the left, with willing accomplices in the media – including the sports media, played it as being against those who are transgender. If you are going to keep men out of women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers, there has to be some guideline – and that’s what HB2 tried to do but it was heavy handed and went too far on other aspects of the issue (more on that in a minute). But the part about people using the restrooms, lockers and showers corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate received majority support in North Carolina. A survey after the bill was signed showed that 46 percent of the NC public strongly agreed that transgender people should use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate and another 10 percent somewhat agreed with that for a 56 percent majority – compared to only 34 percent who strongly or somewhat disagreed.
Initially the main pushback on HB2 was that it also did not allow North Carolina citizens to bring discrimination claims to state courts. This went too far and many supporters understood that. Since the studies supported the bathroom part and did not approve of the discrimination claims part, supporters of HB2 naively thought by modifying the legislation to restore the right to sue in state courts, the backlash would end. The change overwhelmingly passed the House and the Senate, and then-Gov. McCrory signed it last summer.
But you wouldn’t know it from all the hateful things the sports talk show hosts and sports print journalists – and others of course – continued to say about the stupidity and various phobias of those who enacted the legislation and who supported the legislation. It’s amusing how tolerant and open-minded these guys are until it comes to certain issues and certain people.
After the March 30 repeal, a sports columnist wrote, “It’s not clear whether what happened Thursday was sufficient in the eyes of the NCAA for North Carolina to be included in the selection process again, but it shouldn’t be.” If this takes us back to before the Charlotte ordinance, as most agree it does, then how is it not enough? Were artists and sporting events relocating from North Carolina prior to HB2? Did he ever write about how North Carolina was discriminatory and shouldn’t have NCAA sporting events located here prior to the Charlotte ordinance and HB2?
One sports talk show host went on and on about how the legislators didn’t bother to call sports venues to see if they ever have problems or complaints about transgender people using the restrooms. He evidently didn’t see the irony that Charlotte enacted its ordinance without bothering to ask if there were a problem with transgender people being denied access to bathrooms.
With the Charlotte ordinance, anyone can say they are transgender and gain access to areas that women in particular feel is private. This political correctness would stifle people from alerting authorities that a man had entered a woman’s bathroom. I have accidently entered a woman’s room before – and I was sober. I apologized and quickly exited. But the looks on the faces were shock and horror. Did they have a phobia or bigotry, or did they have a genuine feeling of violation or fear for their safety?
Supporters of Charlotte’s ordinance believe those fears are overblown yet they believe there are evidently transgender people getting beaten up in bathrooms. There are a lot more sexual predators in North Carolina than there are transgender people getting assaulted in bathrooms.
Left-leaning studies say that as many as 37,000 transgender people live in North Carolina and that as many as 33 percent transition to the other sex – don’t just live as the other sex. That means a third of transgender persons have or could officially change their birth certificate and not be affected by HB2. That leaves fewer than 25,000 transgender persons in the state affected. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation documents about 25,000 sex predators and not all offenders are included in the report because of different registration requirements and because some are pending.
We fear hurting someone’s feelings by not openly welcoming anyone that wants to enter any restroom at the expense of the safety of our children. The media tried to turn it around, saying that transgender people don’t assault people in bathrooms. Maybe that’s true but that’s not the point. The point is that men, in particular, do assault people in bathrooms and spy on people in locker rooms, and they would have easier access to those facilities.
The left argues that there are already laws on the books against assault in bathrooms and that would remain. True, but there are also laws on the books for beating up people for whatever reason and that will remain.
I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, and I don’t particularly like either party. I didn’t like HB2 but I didn’t like what Charlotte did either. I’m glad they are both gone and, unlike any other sports journalist I’ve heard or read, I’m glad there is a moratorium until 2020 on municipalities coming up with similar anti-discrimination ordinances. Give it a rest. Will there be a wave of discrimination now? No. This is about politics and those who want to be as important as those who fought for women’s rights and civil rights. But, again, to a lot of people, this is about men not being allowed in the women’s restroom, locker rooms and showers. We should also be understanding of their rights to privacy.
A male friend of mine was chaperoning some school event recently. While he was using a urinal, a teen girl from the class who identifies as a boy but is clearly a female, came into the bathroom, stood there facing his way and waited for the stall. After a minute or two, she gave up the wait and exited the bathroom. My friend felt paralyzed in front of the urinal for longer than he would have been there and moving forward more than he would have. Should he have been comfortable? Does that make him a bad person? Does that make him a bigot? Does he have privacy rights? He didn’t make a stink, so to speak, about it but he is not happy about it either. People who identify as the opposite sex, need to be understanding and have some common sense as well.
The issue isn’t as cut-and-dried as the politically correct, leftist sports journalists make it out to be. This is something that is going to be decided by the Supreme Court, not the Charlotte City Council, the NCAA, the NBA or leftist sports journalists.
The public overwhelmingly wants this to be over and I think most are happy for things to go back to the way they were before HB2 and before the Charlotte ordinance. Maybe a lesson to be learned for sports journalists – myself included – is that people want sports as an escape from politics not as a weapon to make people adhere to their way of thinking.