Politics

Alabama House prepares to take up “catastrophic” anti-transgender legislation

JUNE 13 2021: Protest at Brooklyn for trans youth rights.
JUNE 13 2021: Protest in Brooklyn for trans youth rights.Photo: Shutterstock

The Alabama House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill this week that would make gender-affirming care for minors a felony and would require teachers to out transgender students to their parents.

The Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (V-CAP) has already passed the Alabama Senate by wide margins, and Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has indicated she will sign it into law. If passed, it will outlaw any practices performed on a minor, “for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of or affirm the minor’s perception of his or her gender or sex, if that appearance or perception is inconsistent with the minor’s sex .”

Related link: Alabama is becoming the fifth state this year to ban trans youth from participating in sports

It would also require both public and private school staff to out transgender students to their parents, saying school staff may not “encourage or coerce a minor to withhold from the minor’s parent or legal guardian the fact that the minor’s perception of his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with the minor’s sex” and also cannot “withhold from a minor’s parent or legal guardian information related to a minor’s perception that his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with his or her sex.”

Anyone convicted under the law could be sentenced to 10 years in prison or given a $15,000 fine.

“It’s devastating for trans youth,” Trans Family Support Services Executive Director Kathie Moehlig told WHNT. “To have your rights taken away for medically necessary care that doctors and professionals agree is necessary and your family is in alignment that this is important care for my child and their life and wellbeing. It’s devastating to think that a politician can take that away from us in this country.”

ACLU attorney Chase Strangio called the bill “catastrophic.”

The language of the bill reveals a stark difference between lawmakers’ perceptions of gender identity and the lived experience of transgender people. It refers to trans identity as “a minor’s perception that his or her gender or sex is inconsistent with his or her sex.”

The media watchdog group Media Matters called out local news outlets in Alabama for failing to cover the bill accurately, noting that the much of the coverage parroted the bill’s advocates while neglecting to fact-check or contextualize their claims.

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