ESPN fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling on Wednesday due to a controversial Facebook post. Schilling shared a Facebook meme featuring a man in a wig and tight outfit and wrote below "A man is a man no matter what they call themselves." The post was in reference to the transgender community and equal access to public restrooms, a social issue recently pushed to the news' forefront as a result of newly crafted legislation.
Not many were sad to see Schilling go - he has been taken off the air by ESPN in the past for a variety of incidents including comparing Islamic extremism to Nazi Germany as well as saying that Hillary Clinton "should be buried under a jail somewhere." However, Schilling's conduct brings attention to an issue that has troubled many: how to provide equal and safe public restroom access to all members of society, including the transgender community.
Transgender refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match his or her biological identity. For example, an individual who is biologically male but identifies as female (and vice-versa). Transgender people may dress to match their gender identity rather than their biological sex, which can pose uncomfortable questions as to which public restroom they can safely and comfortably use.
Most believe that a transgender person should use the restroom that corresponds to his or her gender identity. Many institutions, organizations, and companies have taken further steps to be inclusive of all communities by providing gender-neutral bathrooms, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, Target, and various hotels and airports.
However, others have taken great offense to these changes. South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Minnesota have all proposed legislation that discriminates against gender-neutral bathrooms and equal public restroom access. Most recently, North Carolina passed HB2, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex, on grounds that men who consider themselves female being allowed to use women's bathrooms puts other women in danger.
North Carolina faced immediate backlash. PayPal canceled a plan to expand operations in North Carolina, which cost the state around 400 jobs; Deutsche Bank halted expansion plans, and other corporations (including the NBA) are considering similar tactics. Courts have generally leaned towards a more inclusive approach - a federal court recently ruled in Virginia that a transgender male could use the men's bathroom and the Maine Supreme Court upheld the rights of a transgender girl to use the women's bathroom at school. Due to the negative reactions and court precedent, North Carolina's widely-contested and divisive HB2 will likely be thrown out in court as discriminative.