As of the writing of this article, Wizards of the Coast has yet to make a public statement about restroom safety for Grand Prix Charlotte. In the wake of this anti-trans bathroom law, trans people and cis people alike are at risk of arrest should someone decide they don’t look enough like their gender. These laws are never limited to just trans people; we are admittedly a small minority, though we are overrepresented in Magic, specifically with regards to competitive play. If there is an incident, there’s a chance it could be you facing it, particularly if you’re a tall woman or overweight man. Inasmuch as anyone can “look trans,” those archetypes tend to be the most stereotypical distinguishers for trans women and trans men respectively.

Star City Games, the tournament organizers for GP Charlotte, had a lesser duty to release a statement, yet they released one anyway. As statements go it was C work, literally; it showed passing familiarity with the subject matter while displaying a failure or unwillingness to understand the higher level concepts illustrated. I mean, it’s a statement on cis potty panic that didn’t include the words trans, transgender, or LGBTQ, and gave no advice or guidance for what to do in case this happens to you. And the policy announced, more gender neutral bathrooms, is not a laudable place to land this day and age. A decade ago, when I was involved with campus activism, “trans people are gender complicated so they should use a third, different type of bathroom,” was already an unacceptable solution. And yet it’s apparently the best solution that SCG could offer.

Though I can’t dispel the suspicion that SCG was planning to do this anyway, after GP Pittsburgh’s independent bathroom woes. More gender neutral bathrooms means way more places for cis dudes to defecate, after all. I’d expect to see this restroom conversion whether or not there was a trans issue in play.

Given these factors, and reading some ally work that, while well-meaning, was fuzzy on the terminology and goalposts, I realized that WotC and SCG might just be unaware of what a good statement looks like. After all, why should they be experts in the ins-and-outs of trans politics? FYI, here’s a primer on trans politics if you’re interested; between writing that, my extensive contributions to the Trans Bodies, Trans Selves comprehensive resource guide, and a history of trans activism so long that I forget parts of it, I actually kinda am an expert on trans issues.

So here’s a statement I want to hear from Wizards, which includes elements I’d like see adopted by SCG as well. Perhaps they’ll listen.


Recently there has been some controversy over the host city for Grand Prix Charlotte. In the wake of North Carolina’s passage of HB2, a piece of legislation targeting the LGBTQ community (specifically transgender people), trans members of our community have raised some concerns about attending the event. North Carolina’s law makes it an arrestable offense to be in a bathroom that does not conform to your assigned gender at birth, and, given the ways in which transgender people are at increased risk within the criminal justice system, these are reasonable concerns.

In short, we hear you.

Clearly it was not our intent to wade into this contentious issue; when we scheduled GP Charlotte, the city was in the process of passing the very LGBTQ protections which incited HB2. We scheduled our GP in Charlotte because recognize that no one should be at risk at a Magic event; we also recognize that too many people have sunk costs into our currently listed slate of GP locations for us to change them now. But what we can do, and will do going forward, is to make sure to schedule these domestic GP events in states that have not passed these types of bathroom laws. These laws serve no function but hurting trans people; Magic has a long history of being welcoming to transgender folk, a history we want to continue. As such, we will no longer schedule major Magic events in North Carolina until the law changes. The same holds true for the many other states eyeing passage of similar laws, states like Mississippi, who recently passed a similar bill.

In the meantime, let’s talk solutions. If you are a cisgender (i.e. non trans) person and you feel there is someone in the bathroom who does not belong there, please approach the event organizers, not security. Generally people know which bathroom they’re supposed to be in better than any outsider could, but we understand the level of fear that has been ginned up against trans people, and we want to respect your beliefs as best we can.

Tournament organizers, should a player or security staff approach you with these concerns, send a judge to investigate. Judges should then investigate the situation, find out the facts and take down names, and then report back to the tournament organizer. Players found to be engaging in inappropriate conduct independent of trans status will receive a DCI response; trans people, or cis people thought to be trans, will be told that a cis person has made a complaint, and then will be asked to use gender neutral bathrooms for the rest of the tournament to avoid these situations. It is not an ideal solution, but it reflects action that should settle all but the most ideological complaints.

If you are a trans person or a cis person assumed to be trans by some third party, and that person has made you feel uncomfortable in the bathroom no matter which one you are using, find a judge and this process will again be engaged. People found to be harassing or threatening others in the bathroom may face DCI sanction. Should security get involved independently, ask that they consult with the tournament organizer, and the TO will do what they can to deescalate the situation without further danger to any parties involved.

Magic the Gathering is an inclusive hobby, and we are trying to become more inclusive as time goes on. If there’s a way you think we can improve in these regards, please feel free to contact us. I can’t promise we’ll always be able to make the change requested, but I can promise that we’ll listen.

Good luck, players!


That is a good public statement I’d love to see, though these things are never perfect. Hopefully, one day soon Wizards will release something like this. I truly believe the people behind Organized Play want what’s best for the players and the game; they might just not know what to do. Perhaps this article will help with that.

Jess Stirba is an honest-to-goddess trans expert.

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