Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a law prohibiting student athletes who are transitioning into another gender from being able to compete in certain programs.
The state “may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team,” the governor’s office said after signing the law, without elaborating further.
These athletes, according to HB 391, are still able to participate in sports programs at a public K-12 school but must follow the gender designated on their birth certificates and can only compete against other athletes of that gender.
Supporters of the new law have been quick to point out that transitioning athletes have physical advantages over female athletes.
“I want to thank Gov. Ivey for her leadership and for protecting the rights of Alabama’s female athletes. Standing up for what is right is not always easy, but it is always the right thing to do,” Republican state Rep. Scott Stadthagen said Friday after the bill cleared his chamber 74-19.
Ahead of the bill’s passage in the senate chamber, state Sen. Garlan Gudger similarly argued it was “unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports.”
Critics of the law claim that it violates the human rights of trans athletes.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David described the new law as “nothing more than a politically motivated bill designed to discriminate against an already vulnerable population.”
“By signing this legislation, Gov. Ivey is forcefully excluding transgender children. 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,” he added.
Alabama becomes the latest of more than a dozen states to bar trans student athletes from certain competitions.