Lawmakers in Alabama and Mississippi this week passed a pair of bills that would ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports and prohibit transgender youth under the age of 19 from getting hormone therapy, puberty-blockers and surgery.
The Mississippi House approved legislation on Wednesday that would forbid transgender women, who were born biological men, from participating in women’s sport in the state’s schools and universities, sending the bill to Gov. Tate Reeves, who is expected to sign it into law.
The Alabama state Senate voted Tuesday to make the use of puberty-blocking hormone therapies and sex-reassignment surgeries on people under 19 a felony with penalties of up to 10 years in prison, and require school counselors to report instances of “gender dysphoria,” the Alabama Political Reporter said.
The legislation now moves to the state House of Representatives.
Republican state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, the sponsor of the legislation, said it’s all about protecting minors.
“Children aren’t mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs. The whole point is to protect kids,” Shelnutt said.
Alabama is among eight states where lawmakers are pushing transgender legislation, measures that are opposed by trans youth, medical experts and human rights groups.
Scott McCoy, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Alabama’s law could be detrimental for educators and medical professionals making decisions for transgender youths and expose them to criminal penalties, and is likely to draw expensive legal challenges.
“The Alabama State Senate is dangerously close to passing yet another piece of discriminatory legislation that likely will lead to long and expensive litigation at high cost to Alabama taxpayers,” he said.
Meanwhile in Mississippi, the state House voted 81 to 28 to pass the prohibition on transgender athletes, a measure that the Republican controlled state Senate approved 34-9 on Feb. 11.
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Republican Rep. Becky Currie explained before the House vote. “Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities.”
It was a sentiment expressed by former President Donald Trump at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in response to the House-passed Equality Act, which will expand anti-discrimination laws to include gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender people — including trans female student athletes who seek to compete with other girls.
“Young girls and women are incensed that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological males,” Trump said. “It’s not good for women, it’s not good for women’s sports, which worked so long and so hard to get where they are.”
“The records that stood for years, even decades, are now being smashed with ease,” he continued. “If this is not changed women’s sports as we know it will die.”
Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the legislation being pursued in a number of states doesn’t address any problems being raised by voters.
“Mississippi is so determined to be on the wrong side of history that it is defying the evidence in favor of discrimination. There is simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination. Like all girls, transgender girls just want to play and be part of a team with their friends,” he said in a statement.
With Post wires