Alabama lawmakers send two bills limiting transgender youth protection to governor’s office

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Another bill, requiring K-12 students to use restrooms designated for their biological sex, Thursday included a late-night amendment that critics have compared to similar Florida legislation called the “Don’t Say Gay” law. It would prohibit classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools.

The state House of Representatives also approved SB 184, making it a Class C felony for medical professionals to provide gender-affirming care — such as hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and gender reassignment surgery — to people 18 and younger.

If the Republican government Kay Ivey signs the bill, medical professionals providing such care could face up to 10 years in prison.

“The decision to take a course of hormonal and surgical interventions to address a mismatch between gender and the individual’s sense of identity should not be brought before or adopted for minors who are unable to understand the negative implications and life-course problems of these interventions,” the bill reads.

The legislation would also make it a violation for public or private school officials, such as teachers, principals, nurses and counselors to encourage a minor to withhold from their parent or guardian “the fact that the minor’s perception of his or her gender or gender is incompatible with the gender of the minor.”

The bill, called the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, was passed by the Republican-controlled House after a 66-28 vote, according to the state legislature’s website. The GOP-led Senate passed the bill on February 24-6, and it will go into effect 30 days after its signature by the governor.

Alabama would be the last state to introduce such a measure. Last year, Republican lawmakers in Arkansas overruled a governor’s veto to put their own health ban on the books, and Tennessee and Arizona passed similar bans.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued Arkansas over the ban last year, and in July a federal judge temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the law.

The ACLU, the ACLU of Alabama and other legal advocacy groups announced plans to file legal charges against the bill.

“Our representatives have spent the past three years hearing from medical experts, parents, transgender youth and other advocates in an effort to prevent this harmful law from being passed. But despite this strong opposition, the legislature seems determined to press ahead with this outrageous effort. to prevent parents and children from choosing the best treatment for themselves,” said Kaitlin Welborn, Alabama’s ACLU staff attorney. “If the state makes any progress in passing this unconstitutional law, we will see them in court.”

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Later, the legislature passed a bill that would require K-12 students to use bathrooms designated for their biological gender.

HB 322 also includes a late amendment banning classroom discussion or instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools.

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An original version of the bill was intended to “require public K-12 schools to designate the use of rooms where students can be in various stages of undressing based on biological sex.”

Just before Thursday afternoon’s final vote, Republican state Senator Shay Shelnutt introduced an amendment that would “prohibit classroom instruction or discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity for kindergarten through fifth grade students.”

Shelnutt’s amendment also states that schools “should not participate in classroom discussions or classroom teaching related to sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

The bill, including Shelnutt’s amendment, was passed by the state Senate by 26-5 votes. After the bill was sent back to the House for a concurrence vote, the amendment passed Thursday night after a 70-26 vote.

The bill now goes to Ivey for final approval, according to Julie Saint, enrollment supervisor and envoy for the Alabama House of Representatives.

Opponents of the measure condemned its adoption, with Alabama’s ACLU saying, “It also invokes legislation similar to Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law by banning classroom teaching or discussion of gender identity in public elementary schools.” .” The legislation violates the US Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, the ACLU said.

The Human Rights Campaign released a statement Thursday evening: “Transgender students will bear the cost of the discrimination — discrimination that already makes transgender youth feel unsafe at school, suffer academically and have a greater chance of dropping out of school.”

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