Kim CHANDLER – Associated Press
MONTOMER, Alabama (AP) – On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers passed broad legislation banning gender-based drugs for transgender people and put forward a separate measure banning early learning in the classroom of sexual and gender identity. talk about gays ”. “
The Alabama House of Representatives voted 66 to 28 for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to help change the sex of people under the age of 19, a law that punishes serious crimes punishable by imprisonment. up to 10 years. The bill is now being signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivy as Alabama becomes the last red state to promote legislation and policies aimed at trans youth. Ivy did not indicate whether to sign it.
The issue of transgender people and LGBTQ identity has become one of the “wedge” issues of the Republican Party aimed at securing votes, because they are popular among the party base.
MP Neil Rafferty, the only outspoken gay member of the Alabama Legislature, seemed to be struggling to contain his anger and remain calm as lawmakers headed to the polls.
“It’s wrong,” Rafferty said. “You are all sitting and campaigning for the family to be the foundation of our nation … but what this bill is doing is completely undermining it. It completely undermines family rights, health rights and access to health care. ”
Republican MP Wes Allen of Troy, who sponsored a version of the bill in the House of Representatives, argued during a debate Thursday morning that transgender people are not old enough to make decisions about drugs that confirm gender.
“Their brains aren’t developed to make long-term decisions about what these drugs and surgeries do to their bodies,” Allen said.
Lawmaker Chris England, who chairs the Alabama Democratic Party, said the measure targets already vulnerable children and essentially tells them they are not welcome in Alabama.
“You say it’s about children. It’s not. It is about gaining political points and using these children as a side effect, ”England said.
The bill also requires school counselors, nurses and others to notify parents if a child discloses that he or she believes he or she is transgender.
Spokeswoman Ivey did not immediately respond to a text message asking whether the governor would sign the measure.
“I want the governor to know she doesn’t have to sign this, she can veto it,” said Jeff Walker, whose 15-year-old daughter Harley is a transsexual, on Thursday afternoon. “All you’re doing is hurting Alabama families with these bills.”
Arkansas approved a similar law in 2021, but the courts postponed it. Advocacy groups in Alabama have vowed to quickly challenge the measure if Ivy signs it into law.
In a written statement, Chase Strange, deputy director of trans-justice with the LGBTQ and HIV project ACLU, called the Alabama measures “the deadliest, sweetest and most hostile law targeting transgender people in the country.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has warned states that such laws and policies could violate the Constitution and federal law.
“Today’s vote in Alabama will only harm children,” she said.
The Alabama Senate on Thursday passed separate legislation regarding toilets in public schools and discussions of gender and sexual identity in elementary school.
Senators voted 26-5 to approve legislation that stipulates that K-12 students may only use toilets and locker rooms that are gender-appropriate in their original birth certificate, not their current gender identity.
Republicans in the Senate also added a language similar to Florida law, which critics called “Don’t say gay” to measure.
The Alabama language “would prohibit classroom instruction or discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity” for kindergarten students up to fifth grade.
Alabama’s proposal goes further than Florida’s law, which includes classes K-3.
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