Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed legislation on Friday, April 23, that makes it illegal for student athletes who are transgender to participate in certain programs.

After signing the bill, the governor’s office stated that Alabama “may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team.”

These athletes still can compete in public K-12 sporting events, but they must adhere to the gender designated on their birth certificates and can only compete against other participants of that gender.

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the bill supported by Republican Rep. Scott Stadthagen of Hartselle by a vote of 74-19. The bill received a 25-5 vote in the Alabama Senate.

Advocates of the new legislation argued that transitioning athletes have physical advantages over female athletes.

“I want to thank Gov. Ivey for her leadership and for protecting the rights of Alabama’s female athletes. Standing up for what is right is not always easy, but it is always the right thing to do,” Republican state Scott Stadthagen said Friday.

State Sen. Garlan Gudger made the same argument ahead of the bill’s approval in the Senate chamber, stating that it was “unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports.”

Alabama is the most recent of more than a dozen states to prohibit transgender competitors from competing in some sports.

Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, a Republican, signed legislation last month prohibiting trans players from competing on girls’ or women’s sports teams. Idaho was the first state to enact such a prohibition last year, although it is facing a legal challenge.

Trans competitors’ civil rights have been violated, according to opponents of the law.

This new law “is nothing more than a politically motivated bill designed to discriminate against an already vulnerable population. By signing this legislation, Gov. Ivey is forcefully excluding transgender children. Let’s be clear here: transgender children are children. They deserve the same opportunity to learn valuable skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition with their peers,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David stated.

Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas recently rejected a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in girl’s and women’s school sports. She called the GOP-backed bill a job killer that would hurt children.

Many who oppose such legislation are concerned that they would prevent regions from holding sporting events. According to Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, the bill would give Alabama a “black eye” while it aims to attract businesses and sporting events to the state.

The NCAA, which oversees college sports in the United States, showed approval for transgender competitors and warned that championships would only be hosted in discrimination-free places as similar bills passed around the country.

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