Alabama Senate approves ban on transgender college athletes

The bill would require athletes to play with their “biological sex”

By: - May 4, 2023 7:00 am
Four people walking on a street, with a superimposed transgender flag.

A group of people walking with a transgender flag in the background. (File)

A bill banning transgender college athletes from playing sports with others of their gender passed its second house Wednesday.

HB 261, sponsored by Rep. Susan DuBose, passed 26-4. The bill is the latest in a string of attacks on LGBTQ Alabamians, and transgender youth in particular, over the last two years.

Sen. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, who carried the bill on the floor, said that “it requires that collegiate athletes compete on sports teams according to their biological sex.”

Smitherman had concerns about how it would be determined what someone’s biological sex is. 

“I heard some people say it depends on what’s on the birth certificate,” he said. “Then, I heard some people say some other things.”

Weaver said it would be up to the doctor or birth certificate, but it is not specifically addressed in the bill.

Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, had concerns about the bill’s impacts on Title IX.

“It does not provide the equal protection of women who have the ability to compete based on a federal law, which is Title IX,” she said.

Coleman-Madison asked Weaver if she would be amenable to an amendment to address Title IX concerns, and Weaver said no.

Jeff Walker, the father of a 16-year-old transgender girl, spoke about the bill when it was in committee and said the bill was not about women’s sports but hurting transgender youth.

We should stop trying to pretend protecting sports is what this is about,” he said. “You’re trying to keep transgender youth isolated and secluded.”

The bill is the latest in a series of bills from the last few years that have targeted transgender youth in Alabama.

The bill had a technical committee amendment and goes back to the House of Representatives for concurrence or a conference committee.


Editor’s Note: This story was updated to correct that the vote was not on party lines.

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Jemma Stephenson
Jemma Stephenson

Jemma Stephenson covers education as a reporter for the Alabama Reflector. She previously worked at the Montgomery Advertiser and graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.