Alabama’s governor has signed into law new rules that criminalise gender-affirming health care for trans minors and could see doctors or parents face jail.
In the latest sweep of US legislation targeting LGBTQ+ youth, Republican Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has signed into law two bills banning transgender healthcare for minors and teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Alabama is one of several states with Republican-controlled legislatures to have proposed such laws, along with Florida’s much-publicized ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which Texas is hoping to emulate next.
House Bill 322 (HB 322) and Senate Bill 184 (SB 184) were signed into law just one day after the state legislature approved both measures on the last day of the legislative session.
SB 184 bans gender-affirming care, while HB 322 bans trans students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. HB 322 also bans ” not age-appropriate” discussions on gender identity or sexual orientation from kindergarten through fifth grade, due to a last-minute amendment.
Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs for LGBT+ suicide prevention group The Trevor Project, criticized Alabama lawmakers for pushing the “most extreme anti-transgender agenda we’ve seen to date – all within a matter of hours”.
“These policies are not only cruel and unnecessary, they are unpopular among a majority of Americans,” Ames said in a statement.
“Criminalising doctors, isolating trans youth from their support systems and stigmatising conversations around LGBTQ identity will only fuel more bullying, anxiety and suicide risk among these youth.”
Lots of moments today in the Alabama Legislature. This is one of them. pic.twitter.com/XVmLuxayXy
— Kyle Whitmire (@WarOnDumb) April 7, 2022
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and legal partners have said they will challenge the legislation, calling it the “most deadly, sweeping and hostile law targeting transgender people in the country,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project.
Adding: “The way to reduce harm to trans youth is to provide them with gender-affirming healthcare, where it is medically indicated. This bill takes that lifesaving treatment option off the table and makes it a felony.”
BREAKING: Gov. Ivey has just signed this slate of discriminatory legislation into law.
Trans kids in Alabama — you are so loved and we’ll never stop fighting for your rights. https://t.co/CQSuLxi6dW
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 8, 2022