South Carolina legislature targets trans people with new public accommodations bill

In South Carolina, Senator Lee Bright has introduced a bill, S 1203 to the Senate floor that seeks to limit the rights of the Palmetto state's transgender community. A hearing before the Senate General Subcommittee on the bill has been scheduled for April 13.

South Carolina's WISTV reports:

An Upstate senator has introduced a bill largely mirroring North Carolina's controversial law blocking local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances covering the use of public bathrooms by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Sen. Lee Bright brought S. 1203 to the Senate floor on Wednesday, which is says is essentially the same bill as North Carolina's HB2

"I've about had enough of this," Bright said. "I mean, years ago we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance, and tolerance, and now they want men who claim to be women to be able to go into bathrooms with children. And you got corporations who say this is okay." 

In the same speech, the elected official called trans people "pedophiles" and said multi-gender bathrooms are "just beyond [him]."

Think Progress breaks down the bill's reach, explaining:

S. 1203 would do three things: it would ban municipalities from establishing protections that would allow transgender people to use bathrooms, it would ban any state building from allowing transgender people to access sex-designated restrooms, and it would ban schools from allowing transgender people to access sex-designated restrooms.

You can read the short but pervasively harmful bill here in its entirety here, but this is not Senator Bright's first outlandish proposal. His public statements, authored bills, and voting record show a history of discrimination against women and Muslims.

Governor Nikki Haley (R) has spoken against bill S 1203, saying it is unnecessary. The state's Democratic Party Chairman, Jaime Harrison, also released a statement about the bill's discriminatory and unwelcome nature. Harrison also calls on the South Carolina's Republican Party to stand against discrimination. Hear their statements in the video below:

wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Zeke Stokes, GLAAD's Vice President of Programs, spoke against S 1203 in a statement: "As a native South Carolinian, it's disheartening to see my home state seek to discriminate against friends and family, about whom I care so deeply. Governor Nikki Haley is exactly right when she says this bill is unnecessary. South Carolina legislators must protect all South Carolinians and stop this senseless attack on our LGBT neighbors."

LGBT southerners and their allies have taken to social media as well to say "no" to S 1203:

GLAAD has been speaking out against discriminatory laws in several states, including most recently Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Dakota. GLAAD’s resource, "Debunking the 'Bathroom Bills Myth'" is a valuable resource for journalists and everyday people to understand the importance and impact of nondiscrimination bills, and ways to debunk falsehoods that often are raised in opposition to such bills. . GLAAD is calling on media, both in South Carolina and nationally, to ask media to hold promoters of such discriminatory bills as S 1203 accountable for false claims they have made.

LGBT advocates and media figures can also find background information about the LGBT community in South Carolina through GLAAD's guidebook on the state. GLAAD developed the resource with SC Equality.