Yet another horrific law attacking trans kids just inched closer to reality in Alabama

Gender-affirming healthcare has positive benefits for trans youth's mental health, study finds

The Alabama House has passed a bill that would ban trans students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity.

House Bill 322 (HB 322) would require students attending K-12 public schools in Alabama to use restrooms and other multi-person facilities that match the sex shown on their “original birth certificate”.

Lawmakers in the state’s House of Representatives approved the bill with a 74-24 vote on Tuesday (22 February) night after two hours of debate.

Republican legislator Scott Stadthagen, one of the sponsors of the bill, claimed during the debate that the bill is about protecting the privacy and safety of girls, the Associated Press reported.

However, Neil Rafferty, a Democrat representative from Birmingham, said during the debate that the bill is just “demonising an already vulnerable population”.

“It’s all under the guise of protecting children just to win cheap political points,” Rafferty said. “That’s all it is.”

Rafferty also cited that some schools in his district had already accommodated trans students “without targeting vulnerable youth that are already having issues with suicide, mental illness, bullying”.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) denounced the bill in a searing statement for ‘discriminating’ against “students who already feel unsafe in school, suffer academically, and have a higher likelihood of dropping out of school”.

Carmarion D Anderson-Harvey, Alabama state director at the HRC, said the state’s House “took steps to discriminate” against trans students who “deserve the fundamental rights of being able to use the bathroom without being discriminated against or humiliated”.

“Anti-LGBTQ+ elected officials across Alabama are using this divisive political strategy to harm kids who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence — kids who already face relentless targeting and increased levels of discrimination in their community, as evidenced by the record incidents of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-binary people in 2021,” Anderson-Harvey said.

A person holds up a sign at a protest against anti-trans legislation in Alabama that reads "I am human" with the words "gay", "straight", "bisexual" and "transgender" crossed out

Opponents of several bills targeting trans youth attend a rally at the Alabama State House on 30 March 2021 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Getty/Julie Bennett)

The trans bathroom ban is the second bill in Alabama to target LGBT+ youth this year.

Earlier this month, a Senate committee passed Senate Bill 184, which would prohibit gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth.

It would also make it a Class C felony, which carries a hefty 10 year prison sentence, for medical professionals and healthcare officials to provide gender-affirming care to trans minors, Los Angeles Blade reported.

Under the proposed legislation, healthcare officials could face a 10-year prison sentence or a hefty fine for providing treatments, that researchers say is “life-saving”, to trans youth.

A similar bill, which would have banned gender-affirming care for trans youth, died on the final night of Alabama’s legislative session last year without being voted on.