While we were away, the South Carolina Senate defeated one of those “Bathroom Bills.”
That’s right. South Carolina, for the moment, is one of the most progressive Southern states, and the defeat of this kind of anti-transgender Hate Bill is the latest bit of good news for us.
At the start of the year there were eleven anti-LGBT bills filed in the South Carolina Legislature but now, with a month left in the session, only one of those bills made it to full committee and none have advanced to the floor.
South Carolina. Progressive. Who knew?
State Senator, Joel Lourie, a Democrat who opposed the Bathroom Bill, seems to have seen it coming and points to a change in attitude and politics and feelings after the Confederate flag was removed from the statehouse grounds last year:
“I think you’ve seen South Carolina in the last year take two strong positions against intolerance. One, by removing the Confederate flag and two by the governor and business community and many members of the state Senate standing up against the bathroom bill. We are more open-minded and progressive perhaps than people have viewed us in the past.”
Now, does that mean hate won’t rear its ugly head again in South Carolina? Of course not; but we have seen how our politicians and our business community and our citizens have changed in the past year to become more open, and educated, more tolerant, and more accepting.
It’s a good day in the state, y’all. And made even better by the news that the Horry County School district has announced that it will adopt new policies on bathroom use after a transgender student was suspended for using the bathroom matching his gender identity.
The student, identified as R, had been using the boys’ bathroom since middle school but was suddenly told in his senior year of high school that he had to use the girls’ restroom or the nurse’s bathroom. He was later suspended after a teacher saw him using the boys’ bathroom.
R transferred to an online school to complete his senior year.
Horry County Schools is the first district to affirmatively change their policy following a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming that transgender students have the right to use facilities that match their gender identity.
The district superintendent said that should R return to school, “he, and all other transgender students, will be allowed to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.” In addition, the district will remove the suspension from R’s record, educate faculty and staff on the appropriate use of pronouns, and update classroom attendance rosters to reflect a student’s preferred name.
In South Carolina, y’all.