Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bill banning transgender collegiate athletes to take effect this August


A bill that restricts Alabama’s transgender community will be enforced starting Aug. 1.

House Bill 261 or The Women’s Sports Protection Bill restricts collegiate athletes to teams consistent with their biological sex. This means that transgender women can no longer play on women’s collegiate sports teams and transgender men can no longer play on men’s collegiate sports teams. The bill applies to all public two- and four-year institutions of higher education.

The bill is an extension of a previous ban from 2021 that restricts transgender athletes in public K-12 sports teams. It was sponsored by Republican Rep. Susan DuBose, who also spearheaded the “What is a Woman” Act.

The Human Rights Campaign publicly criticized HB261, calling it the fourth anti-LGBTQ+ law for Alabama in two years. Carmarion Anderson-Harvey is the Human Rights Campaign Alabama state director. She also released an online statement addressing the bill late last month.

“By signing HB261 into law, Governor Ivey is actively taking part in the systematic attack against LGBTQ+ people,” Anderson-Harvey said. “From dictating what bathrooms we can use to blatantly ignoring the actual problems in women’s sports, these politicians are making Alabama an increasingly hostile place for transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.”

ACLU of Alabama made similar criticisms. Dillon Nettles is a policy analyst at ACLU. Nettles said the bill leaves Alabama’s transgender community defenseless.

“This bill describes more the fear-mongering around trans experience in our state,” he said. “The students who are being discriminated against and singled out and targeted have no form of recourse to ensure that they could pursue their fair right to play with their friends, play in the sports they’re entitled to play [and] play as so many others do.”

But the bill was met with some online support.

Governor Kay Ivey released a statement in favor of the bill.

“If you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama,” Ivey said. “It’s about fairness, plain and simple.”

Governor Ivey’s Office also said the bill protects female athletes.

The bill itself stresses that men and women are fundamentally different, with biological male athletes being “bigger, faster, stronger and more physically powerful than their biological female counterparts.” The bill suggests because of these differences, having separate athletic teams based on the athletes’ biological sex “reduces the chance of injury to biological female athletes and promotes sex equality.”

However, Nettles said the bill will inevitably cause more prejudice and discrimination against transgender people.

“What we believe, at the ACLU, is that these types of attacks are only going to lead to more division, hatred and, frankly, even violence towards the trans community, which we’re seeing an uptick in, not only Alabama, but across the country in previous years,” he said.

HB261 was introduced to the state House in April and was approved by the Education Policy Committee later that month. It then passed the Alabama Senate in May before being signed into law by Governor Ivey on May 30. More information about the bill can be found on the Alabama Legislature website.

Joshua LeBerte is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.