April 8, 2022, 2:22 PM PDT
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed two bills Friday that target transgender young people and classroom discussion of LGBTQ identities.
One of the bills makes it a felony for medical professionals to provide gender-affirming medical care people under 19.
Her signature makes Alabama the third state in the country to pass a measure restricting transition-related care, though it is the first state to impose criminal penalties.
Ivey said in a statement that she signed the bill because she believes that “if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl.”
“We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life,” she said in a statement.
Major medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association — oppose restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors and say they go against best practice standards and will harm the wellbeing of trans youth.
Ivey also signed another bill that will bar transgender students from using sex-segregated school facilities that align with their gender identities and will prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-5 — adopting language used in a bill recently signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Ivey referred to the part of the bill that focuses on bathrooms and other sex-segregated facilities as a “no-brainer” and said it will also “ensure our elementary school classrooms remain free from any kind of sex talk.”
The restriction on gender-affirming medical care will take effect in 30 days unless it faces legal action, which is likely. Two groups of civil rights organizations announced Thursday that they plan to sue should Ivey sign the bill.
The bathroom- and education-related bill will take effect in July unless it faces litigation.
Transgender youth in the state are already bracing for the bills’ impacts.
Ninth grader Harleigh Walker, 15, spends her time after school like many girls her age: doing homework, listening to Taylor Swift, collecting records and hanging out with friends.
But this year, her spring break also included trying to persuade members of the state House and Senate to reject the two bills Ivey signed Friday. If the health care restriction takes effect, Harleigh will no longer be able to take testosterone-blocking drugs.
“Honestly, I’m a little scared now,” she said Thursday after learning the bill had passed. ”But we’re still going to fight no matter what.”
Harleigh said she is holding out hope the bill will be be blocked by a court.
Alabama is among multiple states with Republican-controlled legislatures that have advanced bills not only to block medical treatment but to ban transgender children from using school restrooms or playing on sports teams that don’t correspond with their sex at birth. The Alabama health care bill is one of the most far-reaching: It would put doctors in prison for up to 10 years for prescribing puberty blockers or hormonal treatment to trans kids under 19.