HRC Condemns Alabama House for Passing Discriminatory Anti-Transgender Sports Ban; Would Be State’s Second Sports Ban and Fourth Anti-LGBTQ+ Law in Two Years

by Aryn Fields

The Human Rights Campaign condemned the Alabama House from passing HB 261, which would ban transgender college and university students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. The bill will now head to the Alabama Senate for consideration. HB 261 would be Alabama’s second anti-transgender sports ban.

Advocates for women and girls in sports support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports. This includes the National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Sports Foundation, Women Leaders in College Sports, and others — including prominent female athletes like Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, and Cheryl Reeve. That’s because while there are real issues facing women’s sports, including a lack of resources devoted to supporting them, transgender participation in athletics is not one of them. And nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states that have enacted anti-trans sports laws.

Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey released the following statement:

“This is discriminatory, and it is unnecessary. States and university sports leagues already have their own governing bodies to determine the best regulations that work for their students. An outright ban of transgender athletes perpetuates anti-LGBTQ+ stigma, is not based on the facts, and does nothing to actually help women’s sports. If the Alabama legislature is so concerned about fairness, they should address the actual concerns facing women’s sports, including ensuring that women’s sports receive the same amount of resources that men’s sports do. This is yet another shameful tactic to harm transgender Alabamanians.”

Earlier this month the Biden Administration issued proposed rules affirming that Title IX protects transgender students from discrimination in athletics and that state laws banning participation of transgender athletes are violations of federal law.

For more information, please access the following resources on HRC’s website:

State Lege Snapshot

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 210 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

This year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 120 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, eleven have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
  • More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
  • More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.

In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.

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