Republican Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed legislation Tuesday extending the state’s ban on biological males competing in women’s sports to include college sports teams, prompting outrage from transgender–rights advocates.
The new law, which was passed by the Alabama State Senate 26–4 and the State House 83–5, mandates that students play in sports leagues corresponding with their biological sex regardless of whether or not they have undergone cross–sex hormone treatment.
“Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama,” Ivey said in a statement, adding that “It’s about fairness, plain and simple.”
Carmarion D. Anderson–Harvey, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign, contended the new law is part of a “systematic attack against LGBTQ+ people,” and is making Alabama “an increasingly hostile place for transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.”
Alabama’s new law adds to the recent wave of legislation passed by Republican states in opposition to transgender ideology. Last week Texas passed legislation banning the performance of drag shows in front of children, which now awaits Governor Greg Abbott’s signature. Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Montana have all passed similar pieces of legislation.
Similarly, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Utah, and Iowa have all passed legislation banning the administration of puberty blockers, cross–sex hormones, and sex change operations on minors.
Last month the Biden administration reversed a Trump–era directive that protected female athletes from competing against biological males, further raising concerns among conservatives and female athletes. Numerous states including Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi have since taken it upon themselves to pass laws in defense of women’s sports.
The new legislation is sure to draw the attention of the Justice Department, which is currently suing Idaho over the implementation of a similar law that was passed last summer.
Critics of the new law contend that it poses a threat to transgender student-athletes, and say that states should not be intervening in such matters. Others contend that the law protects women’s sports from a potential “unfair advantage” that biological males may possess due to their physical size and strength.
As the debate over transgender–identified athletes and the consequences of their participation in women’s sports continues, many will be watching closely as states attempt to grapple with the issue. In the meantime, Alabama is likely to remain among the growing list of states with stringent policies protecting female athletes from potential male competitors.
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