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Alabama's law limiting transgender athletes in sports now includes college students

"It's about fairness, plain and simple," said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey about the new law.
Julie Bennett
/
AP
"It's about fairness, plain and simple," said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey about the new law.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Tuesday that would make it illegal for public higher education institutions to allow transgender people to participate in sports that do not correspond with the gender they were given at birth.

Public two- and four-year schools would "prohibit biological males from participating on an athletic team or sport designated for females and prohibit biological females from participating on an athletic team or sport designated for males," House Bill 261 says.

The bill is an addition to legislation Ivey signed in 2021 that makes athletes at the K-12 level participate in sports that align with the gender they were assigned at birth.

"If you're a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women's and girl's sports in Alabama. It's about fairness, plain and simple,"she tweeted.

Under the law, schools that uphold the ban would be shielded from any investigations or formal complaints, and those that report a violation of the law could not be retaliated against by governmental, athletic or academic entities, it says.

Students who are "deprived of an athletic opportunity or [suffer] any direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation" also have the right to sue, the bill says.

The legislation points to biological and physical differences between men and women.

"Physical differences between biological males and biological females have long made separate and sex-specific sports teams important so that female athletes can have equal opportunities to compete in sports," it says.

Last year, Alabama passed a law that would make it a crime for doctors or parents to approve gender-affirming medical care to minors, such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers. The ban was blocked by a lower court late last year.

It also approved a law banning transgender people from using bathrooms assigned to the gender they identify with.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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[Copyright 2024 NPR]