The NBA has awarded its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the Associated Press reported on Friday, a month after removing it from Charlotte, North Carolina, to protest a state law forcing transgender people to use public restrooms matching their gender assigned at birth.

The AP cited a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had yet to be announced by the league. NBA representatives were unavailable for comment.

The National Basketball Association had expressed its opposition to state House Bill 2, or HB2, since it was passed in March and tried to work with state officials to change the law before ultimately making a decision to relocate its mid-February exhibition game.

Moving the event out of North Carolina follows similar moves by top entertainers who have canceled shows in North Carolina, including Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Boston, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and the circus group Cirque du Soleil.

The exhibition, seen as an economic boon to the city that hosts it, could be rescheduled for Charlotte in 2019 if there is an "appropriate resolution to this matter," the NBA has said.

New Orleans, which hosted the game in 2008 and 2014, had previously been identified in a Yahoo report as the leading candidate to be awarded the game.

HB2 made North Carolina the first U.S. state to require transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings and schools that match the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

Civil rights advocates have criticized the law as hostile toward transgender people and praised the NBA for punishing the state. The law also has the effect of requiring transgender men, many of whom wear facial hair and obviously masculine clothing, to use the women's room alongside young girls.

Backers of the law, including North Carolina's Republican governor, Pat McCrory, have said boys and girls should be able to use public bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without fear of the opposite sex being presen

Sarah McBride made history as soon as she took to the stage and spoke her first words on the last day of the Democratic National Convention.

With the simple declaration, “I am a proud transgender American," McBride, a 25-year-old press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, became the first trans person to speak at a national party convention.

New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay congressman, introduced McBride during a portion of the convention dedicated to the LGBT community. That focus stood in stark contrast to the Republican National Convention, which adopted a party platform that advocates for overturning same-sex marriage and supports the discredited "conversion therapy."

In her speech, McBride referenced the social progress that has been made in regard to transgender rights, but cautioned about the work that remains.

“Will we be a nation where there is only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live?" McBride asked the audience. “Or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live freely and openly? A nation that's stronger together? That is the question in this election.”

Earlier this year, McBride also made headlines after she took a selfie inside a women’s restroom in North Carolina, a move in defiance of the controversial HB2 law, which requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their sex at birth.

McBride has long been involved in political activism, but often feared that her dreams and identity were at odds, she told Time in an interview prior to her speaking at the convention. Though she was helping others, she didn’t feel complete, she said.

So she came out to her fellow college students via an op-ed in the campus newspaper.

“People forget our humanity,” McBride told Time. “Behind the dialogues and debates are real people that hurt when they are made fun of, that hurt when they are targeted for discrimination and that have the same dreams and aspirations as everyone else.”

McBride also shared her own love story with Andy Cray, whom she was married to for a few days before he passed away from cancer. Cray, a transgender man, was also an advocate working on LGBT health issues in D.C.

"Knowing Andy left me profoundly changed," McBride told the audience at the convention. "But more than anything else, his passing taught me that every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest. Hillary Clinton understands the urgency of our fight."

ALBANY, N.Y., July 8 (Reuters) - Dozens of large U.S. companies on Friday backed the Obama administration's bid to strike down a North Carolina law restricting the use of public bathrooms by transgender people, saying the law hurts their recruitment efforts and could discourage investment in the state.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in federal court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 68 companies including Apple Inc , Bloomberg LP, Microsoft Corp, General Electric Co and Nike Inc, said the law, known as H.B. 2, should be blocked pending the outcome of the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit seeking to have it overturned.

"H.B. 2 and the naked, invidious discrimination it condones is already damaging (some companies') ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce and is imposing a substantial disincentive to investment and commerce in the state, directly impacting their bottom line," the brief says.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, said in a statement on Friday that businesses were free to adopt their own anti-discrimination policies, and that the law was designed to protect the privacy of the state's residents in public places.

"It's disappointing that some companies are joining the Obama Administration's position which jeopardizes those long-held expectations of privacy," he said.

The state law, which was passed in March, requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates even if it conflicts with the gender they identify with. The Justice Department says that violates federal civil rights laws prohibiting gender discrimination in employment and education.

The lawsuit is just one front in a nationwide debate over civil rights for transgender people. Since 2012, several federal agencies have separately said that existing laws include protections for transgender people in employment, education and public accommodations, but federal courts have not settled the issue.

Separately on Friday, 10 states including Michigan, Ohio and Kansas filed a lawsuit in federal court in Nebraska challenging a May 13 letter the Justice Department sent to states warning them that restricting public bathroom use by transgender people was a violation of federal law that could lead to cuts in federal education funding.

Thirteen states are mounting a similar challenge to the administration in a lawsuit in federal court in Texas.

There’s still no federal law barring people from being fired for being LGBT.


WASHINGTON — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed an executive order Thursday that bans discrimination in state government against transgender people.

“Throughout our history, it has been clear time and again that we always grow stronger when we work to ensure the full inclusion of all citizens in our democracy, our economy and our communities,” Hassan said in a statement. “By making clear that gender identity and gender expression are protected in the State’s anti-discrimination policies, this Executive Order helps ensure that New Hampshire state government welcomes and incorporates the talents and contributions of all of our citizens.”

The executive order also requires the state’s Justice Department and Department of Administrative Service to review their contracts with the private sector to ensure they include protections against discrimination based on gender identity. The state’s Division of Personnel has until Sept. 15 to give guidance to agencies on how to roll out the new policy.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell cited a new rule added to the Obamacare law to prevent discrimination, including “sexual stereotyping,” as one of the Obama administration’s successes in advancing homosexual rights.

“We took a major step just last month in the final rule of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act,” Burwell said at an event on June 9 at the agency in Washington, D.C., to mark Gay Pride Month.

The new final rule – which goes into effect on July 18 and was issued by HHS’s Office of Civil Rights – addresses three types of discrimination – those based on disabilities, persons with limited English proficiency, and discrimination “based on sex.”

Patricia Dean, a partner in the Holland & Hart law firm in Washington, D.C., analyzed the portion of the 99-page regulation that is focused on sex discrimination, including gender identity and sexual stereotyping.

Dean explained the regulation as follows:

“The final rules define ‘gender identity’ as an individual's internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual's sex assigned at birth,” Dean wrote in the analysis posted on the law firm’s website on June 8.

“A ‘transgender individual’ is an individual whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to that person at birth,” Dean wrote. “In defining what includes ‘sex stereotyping,’ the new rules reflect the Supreme Court's holding in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 250-51 (1989) that stereotypical notions of appropriate behavior, appearance, or mannerisms for each gender constitutes sex discrimination.

“The new rules thus define ‘sex stereotypes’ as stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, including expectations of how individuals represent or communicate their gender to others, such as behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice, mannerisms, or body characteristics,” Dean wrote. “Stereotypes can include the expectation that individuals will consistently identify with only one gender and that they will act in conformity with the gender-related expressions stereotypically associated with the gender.”

Dean called the rule “the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination ‘on the basis of sex,’” including gender identity and sex stereotyping in health care programs.

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