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NCAA shouldn’t fall for Texas ‘bathroom bill’ scam

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Allowing exemptions would be to wink at trans discrimination.

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Colorado
The Alamodome in San Antonio is set to host the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas legislature is considering whether to adopt an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” like the one in North Carolina, and the NCAA should not be fooled by claims that the two bills are very different.

The NCAA this week will begin awarding championship events for the next five years and — based on its North Carolina precedent — Texas stands to lose out on such events if it adopts SB6. The bill has been approved by the state Senate and ia now awaiting action in the House. Gov. Dan Patrick said he will sign the bill if it gets to his desk.

One casualty could be the 2018 men’s college basketball tournament set for San Antonio. Moving the tournament will cost Texas many millions in lost revenue (one estimate says $8.5 billion, though that seems high).

The NCAA has not publicly addressed the proposed Texas law, Bloomberg reports. When asked, a spokeswoman gave four reasons that North Carolina’s law required a unique response, including a requirement that people must use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate.

Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, sponsor of that state’s bathroom bill and a former collegiate golfer, wrote an op-ed in a local paper explaining that her law was crafted to avoid sanction by the NCAA. While the two bills are similar, there are small differences. For example, Texas’s bill allows would allow the NCAA to establish its own LGBT protections at championship venues. North Carolina’s legislation doesn’t have that provision.

The NCAA better not fall for such an exception. It would be akin if during the Jim Crow era in the South blacks were able to use any water fountain they wanted in a stadium but then forced to use “colored only” fountains when the left the premises. Discrimination is discrimination and the NCAA must not be conned by such a transparent attempt by the bill’s supporters.

SB6 would force transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate, not the gender they identify with. This is the same as HB2 in North Carolina, which has cost the state NCAA championship events, among other sanctions.

Here is how Kolkhorst defends her Texas bill:

Let’s be clear, when we talk about a child declaring their own gender, we are talking about allowing male students to enter the female restroom and locker room. Unless we define boundaries, young men who are “curious” or hold more nefarious goals will be free to experiment, while girls and parents are left legally powerless. Schools will face lawsuits, and pit parents against school boards, as we have already seen in Fort Worth, Dripping Springs, and Pearland.

Texas must set a sensible, non-discriminatory gender policy, or someone else will do it for us.

We must put safety, and dignity ahead of social engineering that is disguised as civil rights. The Texas Privacy Act is inclusive, allowing personal accommodations for special circumstances while also respecting those who do not consent to a male entering a female restroom.

Let’s remember that parental rights and women’s rights are indeed human rights.

Victims of sexual abuse often say that predators will seek any opportunity. The media has painstakingly ignored this point, instead framing the issue in every other context imaginable.

Let’s take her “facts” and assertions at face value and assume that without a bill men can pose as female to prey on women in the bathroom. SB6 would allow the NCAA to adopt any bathroom policy it wants, so using Kolkhorst’s logic, women would be vulnerable in the bathroom at any NCAA championship event.

If Kolkhorst cared so much for public safety, no exceptions would be allowed, in order to protect vulnerable women in any bathroom in Texas. Her exception shows the bill is all about discrimination against transgender people and not protecting women.

If SB6 is adopted, the NCAA has no choice but to skip Texas when it comes to awarding championship events. Any other action would make the NCAA’s claims to caring about LGBT rights of its student-athletes hollow.