South Carolina's anti-trans bill defeated, sponsor threatens new bills


Today, South Carolina Senate Bill 1203, which would prevent municipalities and schools from establishing protections that would allow transgender people from using sex-designated bathrooms, missed a key legislative deadline, effectively nullifying any chance of passing.

South Carolina's The State explained, "Sponsored by state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, the legislation will miss Sunday’s crossover deadline for bills to pass from one legislative chamber to the other. Bills that do not have that deadline have almost no chance of passing this year."

"This is an important victory for equality and acceptance in my home state of South Carolina," said Zeke Stokes, GLAAD's Vice President of Programs, who was in South Carolina recently speaking out in opposition to the bill. "South Carolinians of all political parties came together to say clearly that discrimination has no place in the Palmetto State and joined together to defeat this bill. I couldn't be more proud."

Local and national trans advocates, organizations, businesses, and even S.C. Governor Nikki Haley—who said S1203 was unnecessary--spoke out against the bill. Earlier this month, GLAAD was on the ground in the Palmetto state, amplifying the voices of trans South Carolinians targeted by this legislation as advocates spoke to the state senate during a hearing.

It's believed Senator Bright missed the deadline as a strategy to avoid putting it to a vote in the Senate General Committee, where it was expected to lose.

Though the harmful S1203 is no longer considered a live danger, the bill's sponsor, State Senator Lee Bright, has made clear that his efforts to discriminate against LGBT South Carolinians are far from over. According to The State:

When the state budget comes up for debate next week, Bright said he will try to add a proposal to ban state aid to local governments that pass laws requiring businesses to allow transgender people to use the bathrooms of their choice. Local governments that require that are telling businesses “how to run their restrooms,” he said.

Bright said he has high hopes that his no-aid proposal will pass. “We’d rather have the full bill, but we’ll take what we can get.”

… Bright said Wednesday he would reintroduce his original transgender bathroom bill next year if he wins re-election.

Despite persistence in the legislature, trans South Carolinians and their allies stand strong against these attempts at legislative inequality. Just yesterday, Berkeley County became the Lowcountry's first public school district to respond to the national conversation around trans-inclusive bathroom policies, indicating they would allow trans students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

While celebrating today's victory, GLAAD will continue to work on the ground and in partnership with local advocates throughout the U.S. South to support LGBT Southerners from discriminatory legislation.

For more information on LGBT South Carolinians and accurately covering bills like S1203, check out GLAAD's resources: