The Alabama House on Thursday passed a bill that would ban transgender youth from playing public school sports in the gender with which they identify. State Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, introduced House Bill 391 and said before the vote that he introduced the legislation because he believes it is needed to keep sports “fair.”
“It is unfair for biological males to compete against females in biological sports,” Stadthagen said.
“You understand Title IX protects transgender people, right?” asked Rep. Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham. “What could end up happening is a student is not allowed to play, they sue and suddenly we don’t have any control anymore. It’s out of our hands at that point.”
House Bill 391 was the first of several contentious bills debated in the House on Thursday. House Democrats spoke out against the day’s roster of Republican-introduced bills, which included one addressing babies born after abortions and another that would expand the definition of a riot, which opponents worry could result in the wrongful arrests of peaceful protestors.
“These bills on this calendar is a stab in our hearts,” said Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, before the first bill was debated.
After more debating on Stadthagen’s bill, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, asked for a vote to cloture the debate, which would end discussions after 10 more minutes and call for a vote on the bill. Ledbetter’s motion passed 74-25.
The bill passed on a 74-19 vote and now goes to the Senate.
The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, condemned the passage of the bill.
“The Trevor Project’s research demonstrates that transgender and nonbinary youth who have access to affirming spaces consistently have a lower risk for suicide,” said Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project, in a statement. “That’s why lawmakers should be fostering inclusion in the classroom and on the sports field, not pushing trans youth to the sidelines. The Trevor Project urges members of the Alabama Senate to reject this unfair bill and take time out of their days to meet with the trans young people in Alabama who would be harmed by this cruel policy.”