OUT Politics and Policy

Alabama Passes Bills Targeting Transgender Minors and LGBTQ Classroom Discussions

The Alabama Legislature passed two bills Thursday, a combination of similar bills in other states that target LGBTQ classroom discussion and transgender youth.

On the last day of legislative session, the Alabama Senate passed what LGBTQ Supporters have described it as a bill that combines “bathroom bills” and “Don’t say gay”. Receipt, HB 322would ban transgender students from using sexist school facilities consistent with their gender identity, similar to a controversial measure passed in North Carolina in 2017 and subsequently repealed. partially quit after some corporations threatened to pull their businesses out of the state.

Just before the bill’s passage, the Senate added an amendment that prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-5 – adopting language used in a recently signed invoice by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that Critics have named the bill “Don’t Say Gay”.

A few hours later, the Alabama House passed SB 184a bill that would make it a felony to provide sex-affirming medical care, such as puberty-blocking drugs, hormones, and surgery to people 18 years of age or younger in the state parents and health professionals.

SB 184 was passed by both houses and is now moving to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk. The House will have to approve the revised version of HB 322 before sending it to the governor. Ivey, a Republican, has not said whether she will sign either bill, but she signed a measure last year that would ban transgender girls and women from playing on teams. School girls sports.

Republican Representative Scott Stadthagen, sponsor of the bathroom bill, Indicate the invoice is to protect the girls.

“It’s an issue that came to my attention last fall,” he told a Senate committee on Tuesday. It says whatever on your original birth certificate states your gender, which is the bathroom you use in K-12 schools. ”

Residents of Alabama Vanessa Tate Finney, the mother of a 13-year-old transgender boy, told the committee that there is no evidence to support Stadthagen’s claims and that the bill targets transgender youth for political gain.

One year 2018 research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found no evidence that letting transgender people use public transit consistent with their gender identity increases safety risks.

The measure is one of the first bathroom bills passed by the state legislature since North Carolina partially repealed HB 2 in 2017.

Alabama could also become one of the few states to restrict sex-determined medical care if Ivey signs that bill.

During the debate over the healthcare bill, its sponsor, Representative Shay Shelnutt, a Republican, compared sex-identified medical care to vaping and tattooing, saying that Minors should be prohibited from engaging in activities that could harm or alter their bodies. He said the state had a “responsibility” to protect children.

Representative Neil Rafferty, a Democrat and the only LGBTQ representative in the state, said the health care bill was “undermining family rights,” which Republicans generally support.

“It’s hard to grow up, it’s hard to grow up to be different,” Rafferty said. “It’s even harder to grow up to be different and then the State Legislature – your elected officials, the leaders of this state – put its goals on the backs of children, its goals on the backs of children. parents.”

However, only two other states – Arkansas and Tennessee – have similar laws on books a judge blocked Arkansas law in July. Like a parade, 13 states, including Alabamais considering bills to ban gender-based care for transgender youth, which could jeopardize the care of an estimated 42,950 transgender youth, according to the Williams Institute.

If Ivey signs off on the transitional care bill, it will face legal challenges. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama, Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center and California-based firm Cooley LLP announced Thursday — hours before the bill was passed. – that they plan to sue the state.

“If the Alabama legislators are determined to pass this cruel, dangerous, and unconstitutional legislation into law, the state will immediately have a lawsuit to resolve,” said Sruti Swaminathan, Lambda Legal’s staff attorney, said, according to a news release. The Alabama Legislature and Governor Kay Ivey need to consider the time and resources they will invest, not to mention the stigma of discrimination that often means lost opportunity and investment, and ask themselves whether the goal child health care standards are really worth it because we are prepared. to make that investment to protect transgender youth, their families, and their doctors in Alabama. “

Another group of civil rights organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Advocates & Legal Defenses, and the Human Rights Campaign also announced that they plans to oppose the bill, if Ivey signed it on behalf of two health care providers and many families would be harmed by it.

“The passage of this measure means that families who love Alabama and call it home will have to move elsewhere to ensure their children get the basic medical care they need.” Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, one of the vendors representing the lawsuit. , said, according to a news release. “The parents possessed by SB 184 are kind, loving, and supportive people. They come from every corner of Alabama. This bill puts doctors like me in a position where we cannot choose between ignoring the medical needs of our patients or risk being sent to jail.”

Ladinsky, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and co-leader of UAB Pediatrics’ sex health care team, told NBC News last month that the measure could affect about 150 of her patients, both those in Alabama and those from the Mississippi, Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Tennessee.

Her group is asking emergency rooms across the state to be “on high alert” if the bill goes ahead, because she hopes transgender youth suicide attempts will increase. She points to Arkansas, where the Legislature overturned Governor Asa Hutchison’s veto of a bill banning sex care for minors last year.

In the week after the veto, Ladinsky said five young adults receiving sex-care care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock went to the hospital’s emergency department after they attempted suicide.

“This is not hypothetical,” she said. “Just look at Arkansas.”

The legislation appears to be having a broader impact on the mental health of LGBTQ youth in general. A poll released in January by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide and crisis intervention group, and Morning Consult found that 85% of transgender and non-bisexual youth and 2/ 3 LGBTQ youth say recent debates over state laws restricting transgender people’s rights have negatively affected their mental health.

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