Apr 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Alabama Gov. Ivey signs transgender sports ban

A view of the Alabama State Capitol in May 2019.

A view of the Alabama State Capitol in May 2019. Photo: Julie Bennett/Getty Image

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Friday signed a law passed by the Republican-held state legislature banning transgender youth from participating in school sports teams inconsistent with their sex assigned at birth, according to AP.

Why it matters: Alabama was among a number of states considering measures aimed at limiting transgender students' participation in athletics and targeting transgender youth broadly, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.

Details: The Alabama law says public K-12 schools “may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team," AP writes, citing an email announcement from Ivey's office.

  • Proponents of the bill say transgender girls have a biological advantage over their opponents in competition.
  • Meanwhile, opponents argue the bill discriminates against children and violates federal law barring sex discrimination in education, according to AP.

What they're saying: "By signing this legislation, Gov. Ivey is forcefully excluding transgender children," Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

  • "Let’s be clear here: transgender children are children. They deserve the same opportunity to learn valuable skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition with their peers.”
  • Republican state Sen. Garlan Gudger said during debate on the bill last week that it "is unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports. There are biological advantages that men possess just naturally because of genetics," according to AP.

The big picture: HRC said there are currently more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the U.S.

  • Of those, at least 66 would ban transgender people from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) vetoed a bill earlier this week that would have banned transgender girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) recently vetoed a similar bill.
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