Letter from a reader:
NCAA and NBA Backtrack on LGBTQ Equal Rights and Discrimination
April 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
In March 2016, North Carolina passed House Bill 2 (HB2), saying people can only use bathrooms according to the sex on their birth certificates. In response to this anti-LGBTQ law, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) pulled their championships out of the state and the NBA pulled their all-star game out of Charlotte.
Now North Carolina has passed a new law, HB142, that gets rid of HB2 but says that until 2020, no legislation can be passed that provides equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people with regards to private employment or use of public accommodations.
This new law has prompted outrage from the LGBTQ community and those who support equal rights for LGBTQ people. But both the NCAA and NBA have backed off in their protest against North Carolina’s discrimination of the LGBTQ community.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says Charlotte will now be eligible to host the 2019 All-Star Game. And the NCAA Board of Governors has voted to now allow consideration of championship bids in North Carolina.
HB142 still puts transgender people in jeopardy. Sports journalist Katie Barnes said, “If you are at UNC [University of North Carolina] and are out as trans, what bathroom do you use? No one is telling you, and it puts LGBTQ people and particularly trans people in a precarious position....” (on espnW radio show The Trifecta). Barnes pointed out that Arkansas is considering 14 anti-LGBTQ laws—and that this is a legislative trend across the country.
A statement signed by 166 current and former collegiate athletes in opposition to North Carolina’s new anti-LGBTQ law called on the NCAA “to uphold its values of inclusion—full inclusion—and stay out of North Carolina until HB2 and HB142 are fully repealed and all of the NCAA’s athletes, coaches, and fans are safe.” The statement also says:
North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2) and House Bill 142 (HB142) put athletes at risk for discrimination, harassment, and exclusion. These laws single out transgender people both sending the message that transgender people are unworthy of legal protection and worse still, that they should be excluded from public life.
HB2 and its mirror image HB142 create unsafe environments for people who are or who are perceived to be LGBTQ, with a particular focus on and particular harms to transgender people. They authorize discrimination and dangerously situate transgender people as a threat to the safety and privacy of others—which we are not.
The NCAA says, “NCAA championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.” But it has failed to take a stand against horrific anti-LGBTQ practices at Brigham Young University (BYU) and Christian schools that isolate and target gay people.
An article on Outsports.com, demanding that the NCAA “kick out BYU and anti-gay members,” says, “Married same-sex couples cannot live together at BYU. Their children are considered bastards by the school. Gay students are afraid to show simple affection on campus.... BYU has maintained these anti-LGBT policies for decades, openly discriminating against gay, lesbian and bisexual student-athletes in the name of God, Jesus, religion and the Mormon Church.... There are dozens, if not hundreds, of NCAA member institutions with policies that specifically target LGBT people. LeTourneau University in Texas makes it against the rules—punishable by expulsion—for two people of the same sex to hold hands. Erskine College has tried to ban gay student-athletes. Azusa Pacific University in Division 2 created a hostile environment for a newly out transgender professor, asking him to leave the school (which he reluctantly did). Pepperdine Univ. refuses to recognize an LGBT student group on campus.”
The NCAA should not allow championships and the NBA should not allow all-star games in states that continue to discriminate against anyone. And the NCAA should kick out schools that discriminate against the LGBTQ students and community.
I encourage everyone to get into the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. This is a concrete plan for the kind of world we need, where “No one shall be subjected to denial or abridgement of rights or liberty, or to discrimination, on the basis of nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or religious or other belief.”
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