September 23, 2016

The NBA was the first to lower the boom, pulling the All-Star Game out of Charlotte. This was actually not that surprising since Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, is the same guy who fired one of the NBA owners after the owner was caught making racist comments to his girlfriend”€”and until then, no one even knew it was possible to seize an owner’s team. It took Silver only three days to do that, so he’s not exactly a “€œwait on due process”€ kind of guy.

Then the NCAA pulled all its postseason events, in all sports, out of North Carolina. This move immediately zapped Charlotte again, removing them from participation in “€œMarch Madness”€ and all the tourism revenue that goes along with it.

But what really stunned the state is when the Atlantic Coast Conference pulled its championship basketball tournament out of Greensboro. This is the conference of the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Duke”€”pretty much the state’s four teams of legend. Pat McCrory grew up in a suburb of Greensboro, and the ACC tournament is the biggest thing to happen to Greensboro since General Beauregard built bulwarks around the city so that Jefferson Davis and his cabinet could have the last meeting of the Confederate government.

And then Mike Krzyzewski started talking.

Mike Krzyzewski, “€œCoach K,”€ the Duke University basketball legend, started giving impassioned interviews about what an embarrassment House Bill 2 was for the state, and how “€œour country is not about discrimination, it’s about inclusion.”€

“€œThere’s a reason all of us are on this planet,”€ said Krzyzewski, “€œand we”€™re all placed on this planet with different races, different sexes”€”we should embrace one another, and then maybe find the beauty of why each of us was placed on the planet instead of saying that, because this is different, it’s no good.”€

It’s one of the more eloquent of many eloquent speeches that essentially called Pat McCrory a bigoted dickwad, but since it comes from Coach K, it has to be something that resonates deeply within McCrory’s survival instincts. Krzyzewski is one of the four or five most popular college basketball coaches in history, coming off his latest gold-medal run with the U.S. Olympic team, and he’s saying, yes, the NBA was right, yes, the NCAA was right, yes, the ACC was right”€”everybody is right about this and Pat McCrory is wrong.

So what? said McCrory. The NCAA is nothing but “€œa multibillion-dollar tax-exempt monopoly”€”€”who needs basketball if it’s run by them?

And then, like a suicide bomber, Pat McCrory decides to play up the whole controversy in his commercials for reelection, ending each 30-second spot with “€œThis is North Carolina”€”let’s do what’s right.”€

He’s protecting our young women from predators.

He’s nipping it in the bud.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest even chimed in to support him. It’s all an attempt to fight against “€œthe progressive sexual agenda”€”€”whatever that is.

Meanwhile, seven other state governments and about fifty cities passed regulations saying that public employees are not allowed to use public funds to travel to North Carolina for any reason. This is no longer Hatfields vs. McCoys, it’s Hatfields vs. Hatfields.

And still Barney insists that all is well, he knew this would happen, there’s nothing to worry about, North Carolina can take care of itself. Who cares what those people up in New York think anyway?

The Hollywood studios said they would no longer be filming anything in North Carolina, even though the soundstages in Wilmington, built by Dino de Laurentiis in the early 1980s, have been one of the busiest production centers outside California.

Ha! Hollywood liberals!

Ringo Starr announced he would no longer perform in North Carolina.

Okay, Pat, you win that one.

Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, Ani DiFranco, Nick Jonas, Itzhak Perlman, Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, George Takei, and Cirque du Soleil took North Carolina off their travel schedules.

French-speaking acrobats in leotards! Screw them, this is North Carolina.

That’s why I”€™m calling for the “€œslap you nekkid”€ female intervention, and not just because I think McCrory is losing his mind. Based on comments from members of the North Carolina legislature, there may be a great many college-educated lawmakers who honestly believe that women are in danger from transsexuals.

As State Representative Mike Hager put it, “€œWe”€™re not willing to subjugate our moral values or philosophy.”€

Okay. If you wanna talk Southern moral values and philosophy, let’s talk Southern moral values and philosophy.

Forty years ago, in 1976, I wrote a series of articles for the Dallas Times Herald about transsexuals. One was about a gay couple. One partner had the surgery and became a woman, but they remained together as a couple”€”which happens more than you would think. Another article in my series was about the surgery itself. I was fascinated by the way the surgeons could take all those nerve endings on the penis and form them into a vagina, and I described it in some detail. (I also wrote about the female-to-male surgery, but it was primitive at the time.) Another article was about the attempts to find the DNA “€œerror”€ that causes people to be one gender in their head and another in their body, with a view toward making corrections at birth in the future. I had an article about various transsexuals throughout history, like Elagabalus, the Roman emperor. And then the last two articles were about the sex-change program at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which at the time was one of only two places in the country where you could get the surgery but also get services to legally change your name and your driver’s license and learn to dress and act like the sex you were destined to be.

I would tell you to access those articles online”€”except that they were never published. My editor told me, “€œWe can”€™t run these. People can”€™t deal with this. Maybe in ten years, but not now.”€

And I argued with him. I argued a long time with him. Part of his argument was that people would think these were just weirdos who wanted attention.

I said, “€œPeople don”€™t get their dicks cut off to get attention.”€

He also thought they were particularly eccentric gays.

I kept saying, “€œThey”€™re not gay. It has nothing to do with being gay.”€

But he kept saying, “€œToo soon, too soon, too soon.”€

And so finally I looked it up and said, “€œThe first sex-change operation was in 1953, so it’s been 23 years. Isn”€™t that long enough?”€

And he didn”€™t think 23 years was long enough.

It was too soon.

And now, forty years later, there are apparently people who still think it’s too soon.

There’s some evidence that McCrory and his conservative Republican colleagues do know they”€™re wrong. They repealed one clause of House Bill 2 that said you can”€™t sue in state court for gender discrimination”€”thinking that would make the controversy go away. It didn”€™t. They dropped their lawsuit against the attorney general, saying it cost too much money”€”even though they don”€™t seem that concerned about the economic damage caused by the boycott. That didn”€™t make the issue go away either. Their latest stratagem was to tell the city of Charlotte that if the city would withdraw the original ordinance passed in March, then the state would repeal House Bill 2.

Not gonna happen. All of these are Barney Fife face-savers. They”€™re at the place in the episode when Barney’s face turns beet red and the vein pops out on his forehead and he says, “€œForget it! Just forget it!“€”€”without ever admitting that his original assumptions were all wrong.

So here’s what I wanna say about the “€œmoral values”€ argument.

During my time with the patients at the University of Texas Medical Branch, I watched as the medical counselors established a definite day when each patient would “€œcross over,”€ meaning they would start functioning as the opposite sex in public. This was done long before they had the surgery. They had to be completely comfortable in their new sexual identity before the surgery would be authorized. And the most frightening day”€”you always took someone with you”€”was the day you went to the opposite-sex restroom for the first time. To make it easy, they would have you just go inside, wash your hands, and come back out. But the main fear was that someone in the restroom would make fun of them or beat them up or cause a scene. They actually had counseling sessions specifically devoted to this one fear.

Who’s most likely to be assaulted here?

All of the supporters of House Bill 2 are Southern Christians, so they should recognize transsexuals as outcasts, the weakest of the weak, damaged and forsaken, the beloved of Jesus.

Call Aunt Bea. She”€™ll explain it to you.


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