Alabama bill would bar transgender students from some sports teams

Alabama

FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2019 file photo, Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn. Three Connecticut girls who participate on high school track teams have filed a federal discrimination complaint against a statewide policy on transgender athletes, saying it has cost them top finishes in competitions and possibly college scholarships. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A proposal to ban transgender students from playing on sports teams of the gender they identify with drew criticism during a public hearing on Thursday.

The bill titled the Gender Is Real Legislative Act, or GIRL Act, would require student athletes to compete under “the gender assigned at their birth,” said the bill’s author, Republican Rep. Chris Pringle. The bill would ban K-12 schools from allowing trans athletes to compete under their gender identity unless the event was co-ed.

Pringle said it’s unfair for girls to compete against athletes “born and raised with the benefit of testosterone in their system.”

“It in no way prevents transgender athletes from competing in athletic events. It just says they have to compete under the gender assigned at their birth,” Pringle said.

A public hearing on the bill only drew opponents.

Carmarion D. Anderson, Alabama state director of the Human Rights Campaign, said the bill stigmatizes transgender individuals for something that has not been proven to be a problem. Anderson said a small percentage of people identify as transgender and “not all of them are interested in playing sports and even fewer of them are elite level.”

“This bill targets transgender and gender non-conforming youth which is discriminating, plain and simple,“Anderson said. “Transgender people are people. Transgender men are men. Transgender women are women.”

The House State Government Committee did not vote on the bill Thursday. The committee is expected to vote at a later time.

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