MONTGOMERY, Ala (WKRG) — It is an issue that has been quite high profile in the Alabama Legislature this session. It is also an issue that has never impacted anybody in the state.
Friday Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill banning transgender athletes from competing in public school sports for teams matching their gender identities. The Alabama House and Senate passed the bill after weeks of committee hearings, public hearings and debate.
But when asked by WKRG News 5 if the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) if any transgendered teens, current or past, have played any sanctioned AHSAA sport, at any level, ASHAA spokesperson Ron Ingram responded, “I don’t think we’re aware of any.”
Opponents argue this is proof the Alabama bill and others like it are designed to solidify conservative lawmaker’s credentials while diverting time and effort away from more pressing issues.
“This is not about sports,” Chase Strangio, a transgender-rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Associated Press. “It’s a way to attack trans people.”
Opponents of the bill in Alabama say the state risks losing several upcoming major sporting events, including the 2023 opening-round games of the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament, and the 2025 NCAA women’s basketball South Regional, as well as the 2022 World Games, all scheduled to be held in Birmingham.
The bill’s supporters counter they are being “proactive” to address a potential issue that could put female athletes at a competitive disadvantage.