A bill banning transgender students from taking part in K-12 sports swept through the Alabama House and Senate, and now it's got the governor's signature on it. The AP reports that Kay Ivey signed HB 391 on Friday, legislation that states "athletic events allowing competition by one biological gender against another [are] prohibited unless the event specifically includes both genders." In an email, Ivey's office adds that the bill will ensure that public schools "may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team." Those who support the legislation argue that transgender girls have a physical leg up on competitors that isn't fair, and that this bill will "[protect] the rights" of female athletes, per GOP Rep. Scott Stadthagen, who sponsored the bill, per CNN.
Critics, however, say those arguments are based in discrimination, misinformation, and fear. The AP notes that GOP legislators have had a hard time providing real-world examples of where a transgender girl's participation caused an issue, with "only a few" examples found among "hundreds of thousands" of high school athletes. "Transgender children are children," says Human Rights Campaign chief Alphonso David in a release. "They deserve the same opportunity to learn valuable skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition with their peers." As similar legislation has passed in other states, including in Mississippi, Idaho, and South Dakota, the NCAA has warned that it will permit college-level championship events to take place only in places "free of discrimination," per the AP. (Read more transgender stories.)