Story at a glance
- The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill seeking to bar transgender students from using school gender-segregated facilities that match their gender identity.
- K-12 schools under the bill would be required to restrict access to multiperson restrooms and locker rooms to the sex on students’ “original” birth certificates.
- Republicans argued the bill would protect young girls in Alabama public schools, while Democrats and pro-LGBTQ+ groups have said the bill — and others like it — is being used to win cheap political points.
Alabama House lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill that would prohibit transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. The bill now heads to the state Senate.
Under the bill, introduced earlier this month by Republican state Rep. Scott Stadthagen, K-12 schools in Alabama would be required to restrict access to bathrooms and other gender-segregated facilities “on the basis of biological sex,” or the sex on a student’s “original birth certificate.”
“Right now, you’ve got males who are dressing up as females, who are identifying themselves as females, and wanting to use the female bathrooms,” Stadthagen said Tuesday during the contentious two-hour debate, the Associated Press reported.
Stadthagen said the bill intended to protect the privacy and safety of young girls in Alabama public schools, which to his knowledge have already been asked to allow transgender students access to bathrooms aligning with their gender identity.
Alabama House Democrats on Tuesday said legislation like Stadthagen’s bill was being pushed for the sole purpose of scoring political points.
“All you are doing is demonizing an already vulnerable population. It’s all under the guise of protecting children just to win cheap political points. That’s all it is,” Democratic state Rep. Neil Rafferty said, the AP reported.
Rafferty added that schools in his Birmingham district have been able to accommodate transgender students “without targeting vulnerable youth that are already having issues with suicide, mental illness, bullying.”
Pro-LGBTQ+ groups like the Human Rights Campaign condemned the bill’s passage in the Alabama House.
“Today, the Alabama State House of Representatives took steps to discriminate against transgender students who deserve the fundamental human dignity of being able to use the bathroom without being discriminated against or humiliated,” HRC Alabama Director Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey said in a statement. “Study after study has shown that these bills make transgender kids afraid of using the bathroom and negatively impact their education and livelihood.”
Anderson-Harvey accused elected officials in Alabama of targeting LGBTQ+ youth in a “divisive political strategy” that harms “kids who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence.”
“The Human Rights Campaign and our partner organizations across the state will continue to work to block all attempts to legislate discrimination, and ensure Alabama is a safe place for transgender students,” she said.
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