On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers passed broad legislation banning gender-based drugs for transgender children, and developed separate legislation banning sex and gender identity classes in elementary schools, a measure critics dubbed “Don’t Say gay.
The Alabama House of Representatives voted 66 to 28 for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to help change the sex of people under the age of 19, a law that punishes serious crimes punishable by imprisonment. up to 10 years. The bill is now being sent to the governor of Alabama. Kay Ivy for her signature as Alabama becomes the last red state to discuss legislation and policies aimed at trans youth.
MP Neil Rafferty, the only outspoken gay member of the Alabama Legislature, seemed to be struggling to contain his anger and remain calm as lawmakers headed to the polls.
“This bill should not be passed,” Rafferty said. – This is wrong. You all sit here and campaign for the family … but this bill completely undermines the rights of the family, the right to health and access to health care. ”
Republican MP Wes Allen of Troy, who sponsored a version of the bill in the House of Representatives, argued during a debate Thursday morning that transgender people are not old enough to make decisions about drugs that confirm gender.
“Their brains aren’t developed to make long-term decisions about what these drugs and surgeries do to their bodies,” Allen said.
Representative Chris Englandwho also serves as chairman of the Democratic Party of Alabama, said the measure targets already vulnerable children and essentially tells them they are not welcome in Alabama.
“You say it’s about children. It’s not. It is about gaining political points and using these children as a side effect, ”England said.
The bill also requires school counselors, nurses and others to notify parents if a child discloses that he or she believes he or she is transgender.
A similar law banning drugs in Arkansas has been postponed by courts, and advocacy groups have vowed to quickly challenge Alabama’s measure if it is signed.
“If the law is passed and signed, Alabama will have the deadliest, most widespread and hostile law targeting transgender people in the country,” said Chase Strangeio, deputy director of trans-justice for the LGBTQ and HIV ACLU project.
White House spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has warned states that such laws and policies could violate the Constitution and federal law.
“Today’s vote in Alabama will only harm children,” she said.
The Alabama Senate has enacted separate legislation regarding toilets in public schools and discussions of gender and sexual identity in junior high school.
Senators voted 26-5 to approve legislation that stipulates that K-12 students may only use toilets and locker rooms that are gender-appropriate in their original birth certificate, not their current gender identity.
Republicans in the Senate also added a language similar to the law Florida that critics called the measure “Don’t say gay”.
The Alabama language “prohibits classroom instruction or discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity for kindergarten students up to the fifth grade of K-12 public schools”.
Alabama’s proposal goes further than Florida’s law, which applies to third grade.