The origins of anti-trans bills
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday signed legislation that will ban transgender women from playing on female sports teams in college, becoming the latest state to place restrictions on transgender athletes.
The legislation expands the state's existing 2021 ban on transgender athletes on K-12 sports teams to include college teams. Students assigned one sex at birth would be prohibited from playing under a different gender identity, even after undergoing hormone treatment.
"Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women's and girls' sports in Alabama. It's about fairness, plain and simple," Ivey said in a statement.
The bill is part of a wave of restrictions on transgender people being pushed in conservative states. According to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit LGBTQ think tank, 21 states have bans on transgender athletes competing in sports consistent with their gender identities.
While supporters say transgender women have an unfair advantage in competition, opponents say the bills are about shaming transgender people and are rooted in discrimination and politics.
Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey, Alabama state director of the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ people, said the legislation is part of a "systematic attack against LGBTQ+ people" in Alabama and elsewhere.
"In just two years, she and extremist lawmakers in Alabama have passed four anti-LGBTQ+ bills. From dictating what bathrooms we can use to blatantly ignoring the actual problems in women's sports, these politicians are making Alabama an increasingly hostile place for transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole," Anderson-Harvey said.
Alabama lawmakers approved bills restricting bathroom and locker room usage and a ban on the use of gender-affirming hormones and puberty blockers to treat transgender minors. A judge has temporarily blocked the medication ban from taking effect while a court challenge goes forward.
The latest sports bill was approved with lopsided support in both chambers, passing 26-4 in the Alabama Senate and 83-5 in the House of Representatives. More than a dozen House members abstained from the vote.
Iowa and South Dakota enacted similar bans last year. Earlier this month, the Missouri legislature also passed a bill banning transgender athletes from competing in girls' and women's teams, and the governor is expected to sign it.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled against West Virginia's own such ban and in favor of a 12-year-old transgender girl who sought to compete on her middle school's cross country team.
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