Alabama bans gender-affirming drugs for young people

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama lawmakers on Thursday approved sweeping legislation banning gender-affirming drugs for trans children and advanced separate legislation to ban classroom teaching about sexual and gender identity in early childhood education. years – a measure that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.

The Alabama House of Representatives voted 66 to 28 for legislation to make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or drugs. hormones or perform surgery to help with gender transition for people under 19. The bill now returns to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey for her signature as Alabama becomes the latest red state to debate legislation and policies aimed at trans youth.

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Representative Neil Rafferty, the only openly gay member of the Alabama Legislative Assembly, appeared to be struggling to contain his anger and stay calm as lawmakers headed for the vote.

“This bill should not pass,” Rafferty said. “This is wrong. You all sit here and campaign on family…but what this bill is, totally undermines family rights, health rights and access to health care.

Republican Rep. Wes Allen of Troy, sponsor of the House version of the bill, argued during debate Thursday morning that transgender youth aren’t old enough to make decisions about gender-affirming drugs.

“Their brains aren’t developed to make long-term decisions about what these drugs and surgeries are doing to their bodies,” Allen said.

Rep. Chris England, who is also chairman of 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. This is about scoring political points and using these children as collateral damage,” England said.

The bill would also require school counselors, nurses and others to notify parents if a child reveals they think they are transgender.

A similar law banning the drugs in Arkansas has been stayed by the courts, and advocacy groups have pledged to quickly challenge Alabama’s measure if it becomes law.

“If passed and signed into law, Alabama will have the most deadly, sweeping, and hostile law targeting transgender people in the country,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director of Trans Justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, in a press release.

READ MORE: Biden commemorates Transgender Visibility Day, calls GOP bills ‘hateful’

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that the US Justice Department has warned states that such laws and policies could violate the Constitution and federal law.

“Today’s vote in Alabama will only serve to harm children,” she said.

The Alabama Senate proposed separate legislation relating to public school restrooms and discussions of gender and sexual identity in the early years.

Senators voted 26-5 to approve legislation requiring K-12 students to only use multi-person bathrooms and locker rooms that match the gender on their original birth certificate, rather than to their current gender identity.

Republicans in the Senate have also added similar language to a Florida law that critics have called the “Don’t Say Gay” measure.

The Alabama language would “prohibit classroom teaching or discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity for kindergarten through fifth graders in K-12 public schools.”

Alabama’s proposal goes further than Florida’s law, which extends to third grade.


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