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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs flurry of anti-LGBTQ+ bills

Including a bill that would criminalize doctors for providing best-practice, gender-affirming care to transgender and nonbinary youth

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Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey (Screenshot/WVTM 13)

Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed a package of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation Friday including House Bill 322 which bans K-12 students from using bathrooms and school facilities consistent with their gender identity and enacts a bill similar to one recently enacted in Florida with “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” provisions for classroom instruction in grades K-5.

Ivey also signed SB 184 – a bill that would criminalize doctors for providing best-practice, gender-affirming care to transgender and nonbinary youth.

In response, major LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations – including The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – announced they would challenge the bill.

“A state cannot criminalize parents and doctors for following medical guidelines and providing needed medical treatments,” said Asaf Orr, senior staff attorney and Transgender Youth Project director at the NCLR. “This is a blatantly unconstitutional bill that will cause enormous stress and harm to Alabama families and cost Alabama taxpayers millions of dollars to defend.”

“At the eleventh hour, the governor of Alabama signed into law a slate of arguably the most extreme anti-trans bills we have ever seen. These policies attempt to make providing gender-affirming care a felony, and cut off access to nearly every support system transgender and nonbinary youth have – support systems we know are critical for reducing their suicide risk and for advancing their positive mental health,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “But they will not succeed. To trans and nonbinary youth in Alabama and across the country watching on this dark day: This is not over. We will fight as far as it takes, until the day every young person knows they are loved, supported, and worthy just as they are. We’re here with you today, we’re here for you every day, and we’re not going anywhere.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama, Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center, and Cooley LLP announced today plans to file a legal challenge to proposed legislation in Alabama that would criminalize medical professionals who provide gender-affirming care to transgender adolescents with up to 10 years in prison.

The bills have been opposed by doctors, medical associations, and the families of transgender youth who consider gender-affirming care to be medically necessary and lifesaving. Similar efforts by lawmakers in Arkansas and Texas to restrict access to gender-affirming care have been blocked by courts.

“If Alabama lawmakers insist on passing this cruel, dangerous, and unconstitutional legislation into law, the state will immediately have a lawsuit to deal with,” said Carl S. Charles, senior attorney for Lambda Legal. “The Alabama Legislature and Governor Kay Ivey need to consider the time and resources they will invest, not to mention the stain of discrimination that often means lost opportunity and investment, and ask themselves if targeting the health care of children is truly worth it because we are prepared to make that investment in order to protect transgender youth, their families, and their doctors in Alabama.”

New polling data from The Trevor Project and Morning Consult find:

  • A majority of U.S. adults oppose blocking students from accessing LGBTQ resources and educational content on the internet at school (57%), banning books on LGBTQ topics from school libraries (56%), and banning classroom discussions about LGBTQ topics — including sexual orientation and gender identity — in school (52%). 
  • Further, a majority of adults agree that transgender minors should have access to gender-affirming hormone therapy (55%) and puberty blockers (52%) if it’s recommended by their doctor and supported by their parents. And only 1 in 3 adults say lawmakers should have the ability to outlaw gender-affirming medical care for minors even if such a ban is against the recommendation of doctors and major medical associations.

Another poll released earlier this year found that found that 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth —and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health.

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Alabama

University of Alabama allows students to use “chosen names” on student ID

“Having something that accurately reflects who you are as a person and how you want to make sure that the world sees and respects you is obviously monumentally important, right?”

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Students, faculty and campus members at University of Alabama are now able to put their preferred names on mobile Action Cards, which are the official campus ID cards, for free.

The university’s assistant director of communications Shane Dorrill wrote in email that this option, available on physical cards for several years, will be available online as well after a software update.

ACT Card communications specialist Courtney Petrizzi said the ACT Card office recognized the importance of having the feature, which was previously available on physical cards, on mobile ACT Cards. 

“This change is an update that we created to reflect our campus community’s needs,” Petrizzi said. 

The Action Card office announced this change on May 19. They updated the policy in partnership with UA Safe Zone, a resource center for LGBTQIA+ individuals and their allies on campus. 

Eli Strong, one co-founder of UA Safe Zone said during an interview with AL, “Having something that accurately reflects who you are as a person and how you want to make sure that the world sees and respects you is obviously monumentally important, right?” 

Strong is a transgender man who graduated from University of Alabama. He believed that this change is important because it’s a safety issue. It’s a way for the university to acknowledge people and a way for people to feel affirmed by the documentation they carry around each day.

“It’s an exploratory time where you should be focused on learning and not be focused on the fear of being misgendered or harassed because of who you are,” Will Thomas, one of the co-founders of the University of Alabama LGBTQ+ Alumni Association, claimed that affirming documentation can help students have a positive experience.

This policy change comes after a series of anti-gay lesigilations passed in Alabama, including the Don’t Say Gay amendment and transgender bathroom restrictions.

Campus members can use Action Cards for various daily needs, such as meal plans and dining dollars, building access, sporting and entertainment events and health center access.

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