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ACLU requests public records from potential NCAA hosts

The American Civil Liberties Union has requested the release of public records from 11 sites and public universities aiming to host NCAA championship events — in order to assess whether sites are safe and inclusive. 

This comes after the NCAA announced last Tuesday that North Carolina's bids for championship sites would be considered after a partial repeal of HB2 passed in the legislature. 

Requested documents include the “NCAA Questionnaire," which potential bidding parties are required to conduct as a means of displaying their capacity to provide healthy and nondiscriminatory environments during NCAA events.

Chase Strangio, staff attorney for the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said in a conference call that it's hard to understand how the new law, House Bill 142, functions differently than HB2. 

“It’s quite impossible that these cities and universities can provide an environment for LGBTQ athletes and coaches that would meet the NCAA non-discrimination standards given that HB142 requires the same restrictions on non-discrimination protection that HB2 did," he said. 

The ACLU knows the discrimination is persisting, Strangio said. 

“I’m hopeful we can expose the hypocrisies here and continue to hold the state of North Carolina and the NCAA accountable to its constituents,” he said. 

Strangio said the ACLU aims to promote transparency during the consideration of state venues for NCAA championship events.

Sarah Gillooly, policy director at the ACLU of North Carolina, said she believes the partial repeal bill perpetuates the notion that trans people are a threat to safety by singling out restrooms as a place of particular concern. 

“The most important thing to know about House Bill 142 is that it wasn’t a real repeal of HB2," she said on the conference call. "It leaves intact many of HB2’s harmful provisions, and it still leaves LGBT people, particularly trans people, subject to discrimination."

Under HB2, individuals were barred from facilities that did not match the gender on their birth certificate. Although this provision was removed as a part of the partial repeal bill, the new law puts a moratorium on enacting or changing nondiscrimination ordinances in state municipalities until December 2020. 

Chris Mosier, the first transgender athlete to compete for Team USA, spoke during the conference call and offered insight into the implications of House Bill 142. 

“As a trans athlete, bills like HB142 put me at risk of discrimination, harassment and exclusion here in the United States," he said. "So I can represent my country internationally, but I am not safe to participate here."

Mosier discussed his personal experience as a trans athlete competing in a North Carolina duathlon during HB2's tenure last April.  

“Imagine being at the starting line of one of the most important races of your career and worrying about being attacked,” he said.

Having met twice with the NCAA Inclusion Forum as a representative for transgender athletes, Mosier said he does not believe rewarding North Carolina for the partial repeal of HB2 falls in line with the organization’s previous efforts to promote tolerance and acceptance. 

“The message has been sent that trans people are not worthy of protection, that we should exist in fear because this type of message can spread to other states," Mosier said. "The NCAA has shown that there will be no consequences for other states."

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