MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Transgender women in Alabama would be prohibited from joining female sports teams in college under legislation advanced Tuesday by the Alabama House of Representatives — a part of a wave of restrictions on transgender people being pushed in conservative states.
The House voted 83-5 in favor of the legislation that would extend a 2021 ban on transgender athletes in K-12 sports teams to include college teams. The bill states that sports teams “designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to a biological male.” Similarly, a “biological female” would also not be allowed to participate on teams for boys and men. The legislation now moves to the Alabama Senate.
“Forcing women to compete against biological men would reverse decades of progress women have made for equal opportunity in athletics,” Republican Rep. Susan DuBose, the bill’s sponsor, told lawmakers. DuBose said that “no amount of hormone therapy can undo” physical advantages.
At least 20 other states have now imposed restrictions on transgender athletes at the K-12 or collegiate level, or both. Supporters said transgender women have an unfair advantage in competition, while opponents argue the bills are rooted in discrimination and fear.
“This is discriminatory, and it is unnecessary. States and university sports leagues already have their own governing bodies to determine the best regulations that work for their students,” Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey, state director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. The Human Rights Campaign is an advocacy group for LGTQ+ individuals.
Rep. Chris England, a Democrat from Tuscaloosa who voted against the bill, said Republicans are acting like the issue is an “epidemic” problem when they can’t name examples of it happening in the state.
“This is just an opportunity for people to create an issue or a solution that is looking for a problem,” England said.
And Rep. Roland Hollis, a Democrat from Birmingham, said she thinks there are more important issues for the state to address, such as gun violence rates that rank among the highest in the country. Hollis abstained on the vote, along with 13 other lawmakers.
Other Democrats supported the bill, however.
“It is just not fair for a man to play against the women,” said Rep. Patrick Sellers, a Democrat from Pleasant Grove.