Transgender treatment ban fails in Alabama Legislature

Published 6:07 am Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Alabama lawmakers ended their legislative session without a vote on one of the most controversial bills before them: a measure to outlaw gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender minors.

The Senate-passed bill died on the final night of the legislative session after it was placed at the end of a debate agenda that lawmakers did not have time to finish before the session adjourned around midnight on Monday. The demise of the bill was a victory for advocacy groups and transgender youth and their parents, who held rallies outside the Alabama Statehouse to oppose the bill.

“This important victory is the result of trans people and their families mobilizing to defend this life-saving medical care in Alabama and around the country,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project.

The Alabama Senate approved the bill in March, but it did not get a vote in the House. Opponents say such measures interfere with medical decisions and target trans individuals for the sake of politics. Sponsors counter that they are trying to protect children from decisions that should wait until adulthood.

“Children aren’t mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs,” Republican Sen. Shay Shelnutt, the sponsor of the bill, said earlier this session. He said he had been unaware such treatments were happening in Alabama when he first introduced the bill last year.

Arkansas became the first state to enact such a measure earlier this year.

Alabama lawmakers did approve separate legislation banning transgender girls from playing on female sports teams. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed that bill into law last month.