Athlete Ally’s Open Email to the NCAA Board of Governors

Today, Athlete Ally published an open email to the NCAA Board of Governors calling on the organization to reject the fake repeal of HB2 and commit to upholding the ban on North Carolina’s ability to receive championship events.

Dear NCAA Board of Governors,

First, I want to thank you for your past and continued commitment to selecting future site venues that protect and respect your LGBT constituents.

That commitment is why I’m writing today. Tonight, all eyes will be on Phoenix for what will surely be an exciting Championship game. But as thousands of fans are cheering on their team of choice, our thoughts are on North Carolina, where HB142 — or the HB2 “replacement bill” is now the law of the land.

I’m told the NCAA is prepared to make a decision in the coming days on whether or not you’ll lift the ban on North Carolina’s ability to be selected for future championship events. I know you’re taking this decision very seriously, and are thoroughly examining whether HB142 addresses the initial problems the NCAA laid out with HB2. Below are the reasons the NCAA moved out of North Carolina and why HB142 doesn’t meaningfully remedy those problems:

· HB2 invalidated any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals.

HB 142 bans all local laws protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity until 2020. This invalidates local laws, and leaves LGBT people in North Carolina vulnerable to discrimination. Even worse, it bans protections allowing transgender people to use the right restroom indefinitely – there’s no expiration date. That means cities, schools and government agencies are banned from passing protections for transgender people.

· North Carolina had the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity.

By replacing HB2 with HB142 (or HB2.0), North Carolina has now gone from being the only state to “make it unlawful to use a restroom different from the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity,” to being the only state that singles out transgender people by categorically banning all schools, state agencies and local governments from having policies that allow people to use the right restroom consistent with their gender identity.

· North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community. With respect to government officials, North Carolina law hasn’t changed.  HB142 didn’t address this issue at all.

· Five states plus numerous cities prohibited travel to North Carolina for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletic staff. These states were New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut.

None of the states that banned travel to North Carolina because of its discriminatory laws have publicly indicated any intent in changing their positions. HB142 leaves in place many of the provisions of HB2, and we believe it is unlikely these states will allow travel to a state that continues to discriminate against LGBT people.

When you examine North Carolina’s replacement law, it is obvious that they have more work to do to ensure a safe, healthy, and discrimination free environment for LGBT participants and attendees.

The NCAA only has one clear choice should you wish to maintain your commitment to the LGBT community — keep the ban intact. HB142 doesn’t meaningfully address the above challenges. Bringing NCAA championships and events back to North Carolina is an endorsement of the discrimination that still exists in the state. Hosting NCAA events and championships is a privilege that should only be awarded to those states and cities that reflect the values of the NCAA. HB142 does not reflect the values of the NCAA, and therefore North Carolina should not be rewarded for their continued discrimination against the LGBT community.

Given your ongoing commitment to LGBT inclusion, and your public support of the LGBT community, we’re hopeful you’ll make the decision that sides with LGBT protection and equality.

Please let me know if you’d like to discuss this important topic. Our supporters are eagerly awaiting your decision.