Alabama has barred transgender women and girls from female sports teams in public colleges and universities.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation to this effect, House Bill 261, into law Tuesday. The state has had a trans-exclusionary law for sports in K-12 public schools since 2021.
“Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama,” said a statement from Ivey. “It’s about fairness, plain and simple.”
HB 261 passed “with lopsided support” in both the Alabama House and Senate, although several House members abstained from voting on it, the Associated Press reports.
Alabama is one of 21 states restricting trans students’ participation in school sports, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Some of the laws bar all trans students from competing under their gender identity, while others affect trans females only. Some of the laws apply to both K-12 schools and higher education, some to K-12 schools alone.
Such legislation began to advance in conservative states in 2021, partly in reaction to having an LGBTQ-supportive presidential administration. They’re based on the much-disputed premise that trans girls and women have an innate advantage over cisgender females in sports. There actually is no widespread dominance of women’s sports by trans athletes.
Alabama has several other anti-trans and generally anti-LGBTQ+ laws. A law making it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to minors for the purpose of transition is currently blocked by court action while a lawsuit against it proceeds. In addition, it has a version of a “don’t say gay” law on public education that also bars trans students from using the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.
Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey released a statement condemning the state’s latest action.
“By signing HB 261 into law, Governor Ivey is actively taking part in the systematic attack against LGBTQ+ people. In just two years, she and extremist lawmakers in Alabama have passed four anti-LGBTQ+ bills,” Anderson-Harvey said. “From dictating what bathrooms we can use to blatantly ignoring the actual problems in women’s sports, these politicians are making Alabama an increasingly hostile place for transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. HRC will continue to fight state legislatures across the country that apparently think our rights are optional.”