Story at a glance
- An Alabama Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would bar transgender students in the state’s public K-12 schools from using gendered facilities consistent with their gender identity.
- The bill, which has already been passed by the House, now moves to the full Senate.
- Alabama lawmakers have introduced at least five bills this year targeting transgender people in the state.
Senators in Alabama this week advanced legislation to bar transgender students in state public schools from using gender-segregated facilities like restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
On Tuesday, the state Senate Governmental Affairs Committee approved the bill, which has already been passed by the House. It now moves to the full Alabama Senate for consideration with only a handful of days left in the legislative session.
Under the bill, introduced in February by Republican Rep. Scott Stadthagen, Alabama students in K-12 schools will be required to use the multiple occupancy restroom or locker room which matches the gender listed on their original birth certificate.
Stadthagen has argued that his bill will address issues in schools which have been asked to accommodate students wishing to use facilities that match their gender identity, suggesting that cisgender boys may pretend to identify as female to prey on young girls in places like restrooms.
“It’s a problem that was brought to my attention the last fall. The bill is short and sweet. It says whatever your original birth certificate states as your gender, that is the bathroom you use in K-12 schools,” he told the committee on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.
But opponents of the bill — and others like it — have said there is no evidence to support those claims.
“This bill is an embarrassment to the state of Alabama and endangers our gender-expansive youth … Transgender children struggled for years to understand their identity and using the restroom is the most basic of human rights,” Vanessa Tate Finney, who is the mother of a trans child in Alabama, told the committee, per The Associated Press.
A similar trans bathroom ban in Tennessee was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, though multiple legal challenges have been brought against it. In February, the families of two trans students in Tennessee dropped their cases against the law, deciding instead to move out of state.
Including its bathroom bill — House Bill 322 — Alabama lawmakers have introduced at least five bills this year targeting transgender people in the state, according to Freedom for All Americans. Most of them seek to restrict access to gender-affirming care, providing criminal penalties for medical professionals who perform or recommend these treatments.
Late last month, Alabama’s House of Representatives passed a resolution to recognize Emma Weyant as the “true” winner of an NCAA Division 1 title after she finished behind the University of Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas, who is transgender.