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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But progress for transgender Americans is inevitable – and the Republican roadblocks are only temporary.
By the time we get to Arkansas
Among other things, the Republican brand proudly stands for standing against other Americans. It builds itself up by keeping others down. And the new law out of Arkansas is just the latest in a series of attacks on American’s civil rights and liberties.
In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act, which combats sexual assault and domestic violence against women, passed nearly unanimously. But every so often the bill needs to be voted on again for reauthorization, and this year, 172 Republicans opposed the bill. The rot at the heart of the Republican Party has eroded bipartisan support for women’s rights.
Republicans have gone to great lengths to leverage racial divide for political gain. As an electoral strategy, the party is more focused on winning by making it harder to vote instead of winning over a broader segment of the population. New voting restriction laws and rhetoric we see from the GOP today are the logical conclusion of a 50-year plan to define the Republican Party in opposition to rights for African Americans.
Former President Richard Nixon took the politics of racial grievance to a new level by pioneering a “Southern Strategy” that thrived off of racism against Black Americans. And now new laws making it harder to vote and giving Republican legislatures more ability to meddle in elections are cropping up all over the country in a movement that Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina called “the new Jim Crow.”
The Republican assault on non-whites extends to immigrants as well, with a white-nationalist talking point quickly taking center stage. Tucker Carlson is gleefully rehashing “replacement theory” for ratings gain, stating that immigrants are hell-bent on destroying and replacing white Americans. That this alt-right theory is proudly repeated on Fox News says everything you need to know about the modern GOP.
Republicans, naturally, have a long history of opposing LGBTQ rights – whether it be service in our military, the right to marry, or the ability to adopt children. But our country progressed, and Republicans could only slow, but not stop, the inevitable rights of LBGTQ Americans.
By the time we get to Arkansas, we know the playbook. Republicans will demean, delay and divide. They will dehumanize their fellow human beings. They will be the problem against progress. But the hearts and minds of Americans will be the triumph for trans Americans that beats back Republican fear.
The grand shrinking party
Trans Americans will be fully accepted and have every legal right eventually – but it won’t be because of Republicans. It will be despite Republicans.
Of course, there are vast numbers of good Republicans who aren’t Republicans because they live to hate. But their elected leaders are making cynical calculations about what makes some Americans tick. In doing so, they’re continuing to shrink what was once a big tent party.
As every group and American demographics simultaneously progress, Republicans will run out of people to hate and run out of people to turn off. And then they’ll just run out of people, living as a dramatically diminished party without inspiring ideas to take our country forward.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill Wednesday invalidating the “gay/trans panic” defense, which lawyers have previously used as an excuse to secure lighter sentences for people facing homicide charges.
Prior to the bill’s passing, people accused of violent crimes could claim panic as a defense, saying they reacted to a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill nullifies that argument in murder and assault cases.
A dozen other states have already banned the defense. Virginia, with Northam signing the bill, has become the first southern state to do so.
Virginia’s state House and Senate passed the bill in February, sending it over to Northam’s office.
A defendant claims that a victim “triggered a nervous breakdown” due to that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
A defendant claims that a victim’s proposition was “sufficiently ‘provocative’ to induce the defendant to kill the victim.
A defendant claims that “they believed that the victim, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, was about to cause the defendant serious bodily harm. This defense is offensive and harmful because it argues that a person’s gender or sexual identity makes them more of a threat to safety,” the National LGBT Bar Association said.
Research shows that more than 1 out of 4 trans people will experience a hate crime in their lifetime.
The bill comes 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.
Most recently,Arkansas became the first state to pass a bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth following a Monday state Senate vote.
The bill would prohibit doctors from offering gender-confirming hormone treatment or surgery to trans minors. Doctors would also be unable to refer minors to other providers for treatment.
The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk for signature. He is expected to either sign or veto the bill early next week.