Trans kids in Alabama are officially banned from playing sports that don’t correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth

Trans protest
A protest to support trans people in 2017 in New York City.

  • A new bill passed Friday bans trans youth in Alabama from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity.
  • The new ban applies to all sports teams across Alabama’s public schools.
  • The bill is the latest amid a surge of anti-trans bills being considered in state legislatures this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday signed a bill into law that effectively bans trans kids from participating in school sports that match their gender identity.

The bill mandates that trans youth attending public schools in Alabama only play on sports teams that correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth.

“A public K-12 school may not allow a biological female to participate on a male team if there is a female team in a sport,” the text of Alabama House Bill 391 reads. “A public K-12 school may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team.”

The bill says “biological males” have distinct advantages over “biological females” when it comes to sports and claims to be acting in a way that “promotes sex equality.” Cisgender girls would have difficulty competing “on a fair playing field for scholarships and other athletic accomplishments,” the bill says.

Human-rights groups have repeatedly debunked the idea that including trans athletes on sports teams hurts cisgender people.

The ACLU, for example, says the myth “reinforces stereotypes that women are weak and in need of protection.”

“HB 391 is nothing more than a politically motivated bill designed to discriminate against an already vulnerable population. By signing this legislation, Gov. Ivey is forcefully excluding transgender children,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement.

“They deserve the same opportunity to learn valuable skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition with their peers,” David’s statement continued. “Simply put, Alabamans deserve better than lawmakers who legislate against the health and safety of all kids for cheap political gain.”

The Alabama bill is the latest amid a surge of anti-trans bills being considered in state legislatures across the country this year. Insider previously reported that 28 states are voting on anti-trans legislation in 2021.

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Arkansas governor’s new ‘medical conscience objections’ law could result in LGBTQ+ people being refused treatment, human rights group says

asa hutchinson arkansas governor
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AK) appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (

  • Gov. Hutchinson has signed a law that allows medics to refuse treatment because of moral objections.
  • It could lead to LGBTQ+ patients being discriminated against, a human rights group told AP.
  • Arkansas’s governor is also facing criticism for new legislation on transgender women in sport.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas signed in new legislation on Friday that allows medical professionals to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral objections, the Associated Press reported.

The new law says that doctors and healthcare institutions can object to participating in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience, the news agency said.

It will come into effect in the late summer, according to AP.

Read more: Biden gets busy reversing Trump-era restrictions on gender and reproductive rights. His policies are even more progressive than past Democratic presidents.

The legislation is facing fierce opposition from human rights activists who say that LGBTQ+ individuals could be denied treatment.

Critics have said that it could lead to doctors refusing to treat transgender patients or provide grief counseling for same-sex couples, AP said. It could also lead to women being denied prescriptions for birth control, according to the news agency.

“There is no sugarcoating this: this bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” ACLU Arkansas’s executive director Holly Dickinson said in a statement to AP.

Hutchinson is insisting that the legislation will not breach federal discrimination laws.

“I support this right of conscience so long as emergency care is exempted and conscience objection cannot be used to deny general health service to any class of people,” the governor said in a statement. “Most importantly, the federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, and national origin continue to apply to the delivery of health care services.”

Hutchinson is also facing backlash for signing a law on Thursday that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity.

Alphonso David, the president of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, criticized the legislation in a statement.

“Governor Hutchinson’s eagerness to sign this discriminatory legislation is an affront not just to the transgender kids it is bound to hurt but to all Arkansans who will be impacted by its consequences,” David wrote.

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Pope Francis says Catholic priests can’t bless same-sex unions because God ‘cannot bless sin’

pope francis 2020
Pope Francis delivers a homily during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican in November 2020.

  • A decree from Pope Francis on Monday said Catholic priests can’t bless same-sex unions.
  • A Vatican statement said “any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions” was illicit.
  • The note from the Church comes months after the pope said he supported civil union laws.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Catholic priests can’t bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin,” the Vatican announced Monday.

“The blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit,” said the Vatican statement, which was approved by Pope Francis. “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

God “never ceases to bless” each person, the Vatican added.

“But he does not and cannot bless sin,” the decree continued. “He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him.”

Gay people “who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching” can still be blessed by priests and the Catholic Church. But the Church said “any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions” was illicit.

The note – which was released by the church’s orthodoxy office in response to a question about same-sex unions – comes just months after Pope Francis said he supported a civil union law for same-sex couples in an interview for a documentary.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” he said in October 2020. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said. “I stood up for that.”

The Catholic Church has historically been opposed to giving LGBT people equal rights under the law, and Francis’ remarks at the time were groundbreaking.

But the Vatican partially walked back those remarks weeks later, saying they were taken out of context and “led to confusion.”

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis supported governments instituting same-sex marriage laws, as opposed to the decision being a “doctrine of the Church.”

About 70% of Americans surveyed for a national poll said they supported same-sex marriage, according to an American Values Survey published in October 2020.

There was also strong support for same-sex marriage when broken down by religious denomination. Nearly 80% of Hispanic Roman Catholics surveyed and about 67% of white Catholics said they supported it.

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