Dexter Avenue became alive with color Tuesday morning as members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community marched on the Capitol to protest a package of bills aimed particularly at transgender people.
The bills opposed include HB401, which would prevent drag and other “gender-oriented materials” in public places where minors are present; HB354, which would extend the state’s prohibition of discussion sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms through the eighth grade; a bill to prevent transgender women from competing in women’s sports, which has already passed both chambers and has gone to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey to sign; and more.
“I’m getting sick and tired of legislators and governments who prioritize the Second Amendment over the First,” Rev. Julie Conrady of the Unitarian Universalist Churches of Birmingham and Tuscaloosa told a crowd gathered on the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Hundreds of people marched from the Alabama Supreme Court to the Capitol, and then to the Statehouse, many of them dressed in drag, holding signs and waving pride flags.
Only a few anti-drag protestors were present, with one man accusing the community of “abusing children” and saying their “carcass will burn in hell.”
However, a group of former abortion clinic escorts shielded the man from the rest of the marchgoers, blocking him out with rainbow umbrellas.
The package of bills come as an anti-LGBTQ+ movement has swept the country, particularly focused on drag shows and transgender people.