And the Newest Champion for Transgender Americans Is…Donald Trump (!?!)


APRIL 22, 2016

People protest outside the North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 24, 2016. North Carolina legislators decided to rein in local governments by approving a bill Wednesday that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination rules. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory later signed the legislation, which dealt a blow to the LGBT movement after success with protections in cities across the country. (AP Photo/Emery P. Dalesio)

Photo: AP

So how’s your anti-transgender so-called “bathroom bill” working out in North Carolina so far, GOP Gov. Pat McCrory?  Let’s see…

  • On Thursday, the National Basketball Association announced that if the state does not repeal the anti-trans bill, the lucrative 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be moved out of North Carolina entirely.
  • Also on Thursday, United Kingdom Foreign Office offered an official travel warning to British LGBT citizens of the dangers of traveling to North Carolina (and Mississippi).
  • PayPal has cancelled building their Global Operations Center in Charlotte, costing the state over 400 jobs.
  • Charlotte alone has lost more than 20 conventions (so far), costing the state huge numbers of dollars in potential revenue.
  • Such high-profile (and influential) performers as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Boston, Ringo Starr and even Cirque du Soleil (!!!) have cancelled all their North Carolina engagements.  As their influence grows, more are sure to come.
  • A growing number of U.S. city and state governments have banned funded business travel to anywhere in North Carolina for their employees.
  • On April 19, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers North Carolina) ruled that a transgender student had a legal right to sue his high school that denied him access to the bathroom for men, which reflects his gender identity.

Good luck with that re-election campaign, Governor!

At least he can count on his Republican compatriots to back him up, right?  Uh, no.

On Thursday morning’s “Today” show, when GOP front-runner Donald Trump was asked if he supported the North Carolina anti-trans law, he replied that when people have to go to the restroom, they should use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.

Trump added, “North Carolina did something — it was very strong — and they’re paying a big price.  And there’s a lot of problems. And I heard — one of the best answers I heard was from a commentator yesterday saying, leave it the way it is, right now.”

Trump went on to argue that, prior to the passage of this anti-trans law, there were “very few problems” and now North Carolina must contend with companies not wanting to do business in the state and “strife” between those on both sides of the issue.

Sensing that this was making news, co-host Matt Lauer asked if Trump had any transgender employees, to which he said that “I probably do.”  Lauer pressed further and asked if Caitlyn Jenner wanted to use the bathroom in Trump Tower, would Trump be comfortable if Jenner chose any bathroom she wanted?  Trump replied, “That is correct.”  Boom.

Surely, Gov. McCrory can assume that most of the state’s Republicans would reject Trump’s social viewpoint.  Perhaps.  The only problem is that the definitive winner of the state’s Republican Presidential primary on March 15 was…Donald Trump.

Sensing an opening, noted opportunist Ted Cruz pounced on Trump’s statement, using it as an example that the country “has gone off the deep end” on opposing the anti-trans bill.  Cruz, who is likely to be mathematically eliminated from the delegate contest next Tuesday, added, “It is simply crazy and the idea that grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls — you don’t need to be a behavioral psychologist to realize bad things can happen, and any prudent person wouldn’t allow that.”

The ludicrous idea that transgender individuals are sexual predators (or that such predators would go to the lengths of dressing up in make-up and heels just to get into a public bathroom to diddle “little” girls) seems beneath contempt, but Cruz is grasping at straws at this point in the race.

But will his opposition to the North Carolina bill actually hurt Trump?  Next Tuesday’s GOP primaries in 5 states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island — won’t tell us much, since Republican voters in those states tend to be more socially moderate.  The big test will be the socially-conservative state of Indiana, whose primary is on May 3.  Cruz will certainly use this as a weapon against Trump, but by the time May 3 comes around, other more important issues may arise.  And Cruz may be mathematically out of it by then.

Which leaves poor Pat McCrory all by himself.  His Republicans introduced and passed the anti-trans bill within hours and placed the bill before him, which he signed, all in one day.  That signature has cost the state potentially millions of dollars and has made North Carolina a national punchline and an international pariah.  I hope McCrory thinks his potential reelection was worth it.