Alabama lawmakers extend trans athlete ban to college sports

Published 9:22 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Transgender women in Alabama would be prohibited from joining female sports teams in college under legislation advanced Tuesday by the Alabama House of Representatives — a part of a wave of restrictions on transgender people being pushed in conservative states.

The House voted 83-5 in favor of the legislation that would extend a 2021 ban on transgender athletes in K-12 sports teams to include college teams. The bill states that sports teams “designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to a biological male.” Similarly, a “biological female” would also not be allowed to participate on teams for boys and men. The legislation now moves to the Alabama Senate.

“Forcing women to compete against biological men would reverse decades of progress women have made for equal opportunity in athletics,” Republican Rep. Susan DuBose, the bill’s sponsor, told lawmakers. She said, “every male given a spot on a women’s team displaces a deserving female.”

At least 20 other states have now imposed restrictions on transgender athletes at the K-12 or collegiate level, or both. Supporters said transgender women have an unfair advantage in competition, while opponents argue the bills are rooted in discrimination and fear.

Rep. Chris England, a Democrat from Tuscaloosa, said Republicans are acting like the issue is an “epidemic” problem when they can’t name examples of it happening in the state.

“This is just an opportunity for people to create an issue or a solution that is looking for a problem,” England said.

Rep. Juandalyn Givan, a Democrat from Birmingham, asked how a university would know if an athlete was trans. Dubose replied that athletes typically have medical exams before playing.

“Not all doctors are going to be checking to see if you have a va-jay-jay,” Givan said, using a slang term for vagina.