A nonprofit human rights organization called Athlete Ally organized 50 of its members to sign an open letter opposing new Texas legislation that is currently being considered by the state government. Senate Bill 6 (SB6) regulates bathroom access based on a person’s birth certificate and does not take into consideration a person’s gender identity.
Athletes like Seattle Storm stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird and tennis player Martina Navratilova signed the letter with hopes that the bill will not pass.
The letter states: “As long as bills like these remain a possibility, Texas is sending a clear signal that LGBT players, fans, coaches and administrators are not welcomed or respected, both on and off the field.”
“I’m fortunate to play in a league that’s affirming and progressive on so many issues,” Stewart told ESPN. “I believe in fighting for a world that’s inclusive and respectful of players, coaches and fans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
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If the bill is passed in Texas, the sports market could be affected as evidenced by North Carolina’s enactment of a similar “bathroom bill.” In 2016, the North Carolina government issued House Bill 2 (HB2) which mandated that people use the bathroom according to the gender marked on their birth certificates. In response, the NCAA relocated championship competitions which were previously held in the state, and the NBA moved the All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.
“The athletic community refuses to be sidelined while the state of Texas debates anti-transgender bills like SB6,” Athlete Ally executive director Hudson Taylor said in a statement. “Today, the athletic community made it clear that SB6 is counter to the values of sport, and that all Texans — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — deserve equal respect and protection on the playing field, in the locker room, and under the law.”