HEFLIN, Ala. — Nationwide controversy is brewing as states consider banning transgender athletes from sports teams that they identify with.
The new legislation will force transgender athletes to compete under their gender assigned at birth if it passes.
Alabama is currently pushing for the transgender athletes ban that many across the country have already established.
A bill that is sponsored by Alabama state Rep. Chris Pringle and is known as the “gender is real legislative act” or “girl act,” calls for transgender athletes in K-12 public schools to compete based on the gender listed on their birth certificate. Pringle is confident that the bill will pass.
“It will pass,” he said. “There’s a lot of support in the chamber from other colleagues, a lot of people want to be co-sponsors of the bill, so I see when we get it up, it passing overwhelmingly.”
According to Pringle, transgender students will still be able to compete, they just have to compete under the gender assigned to them at birth.
“I’m interested in protecting the young ladies, who have trained and worked very hard and competed as a female — cause we all know boys are stronger and faster and it’s all about fairness,” Pringle said.
However, LGBTQ organizations like GLSEN claim they are fighting to protect transgender students from discrimination.
Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, said there is no evidence of transgender student dominance in athletics.
“The bill we see here in Alabama is a very dangerous and cruel effort to bar transgender children from some important aspects of school life,” Byard said.
“Transgender students are being victimized by a rash of bills all across the country,” Byard said.
Other states considering similar transgender laws include Georgia, Washington, Missouri, Idaho, Ohio and Tennessee.
“There is already lawsuits pending for female athletes that have been denied their titles, they’ve been denied their victories, by transgender athletes,” Pringle said.
According to Transathlete, seven states have laws in place that limit trans student athletes from playing in some sports. Those states include Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas.
“It does not prevent transgender students from participating,” Pringle said. “It just simply says they have to participate in what is assigned on their birth certificate.”
Transgender advocates across the country believe this bill is an attack on one of the most vulnerable groups.
“If it were to pass it would send a terrible message to transgender students in Alabama and beyond – that you’re simply not welcome,” Byard said.
The bill is headed to the House for a vote and if it passes it will go to the Senate for a final vote.
According to Pringle, if the bill passes both state legislative bodies, it will go into effect immediately.