Curt Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher, was fired as an analyst for ESPN Wednesday for sharing a transphobic meme on Facebook, and on Thursday, Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor, blasted the network for its decision.
"ESPN continues to screw up," Palin wrote on her Facebook page, after sharing a transphobic meme similar to the one posted by Schilling. Both Schilling and Palin's memes were responding to anti-trans "bathroom bills" that have been introduced in various states recently — and passed in North Carolina.
N.C.'s House Bill 2 bans local governments from including sexual orientation and gender identity in their antidiscrimination ordinances. The law also specifically targets transgender people by requring them to use public bathroom and locker room facilities that don’t match their gender identity.
Schilling has since deleted the post that cost him his job as a baseball analyst on the sports network, but Outsports screen-shotted it, along with a comment the retired baseball player posted below the photo, saying:
"A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don't care what they are, who they sleep with, men's room was designed for the penis, women's not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic."
Since Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law, he has been saying the sweeping legislation is about protecting the safety and privacy of women and children. McCrory and his supporters continue to advance the provably false claim that allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity permits sexual predators to enter gender-segregated spaces and assault people.
In reality, while more than 200 localities nationwide have trans-inclusive laws on the books, there has never been a single verified report of a transgender person assaulting a cisgender (nontrans) person in a restroom, nor have there been any instances of someone “pretending” to be transgender to gain access to sex-segregated spaces for nefarious purposes. By contrast, however, transgender people face a much higher risk of being the victims of physical and verbal assault in sex-segregated spaces, compared to their cisgender peers.