Alabama Governor Makes History, Signs Transgender Sports Bill Into Law

By Alex Parker | Apr 24, 2021 10:00 PM ET

Last week, I covered the story of Alabama’s legislature passing HB391, which would ban males from competing in girls’ sports.

The crux, as worded by the bill:

Relating to public K-12 schools; to provide that no public K-12 school may participate in, sponsor, or provide coaching staff for interscholastic athletic events at which athletes are allowed to participate in competition against athletes who are of a different biological gender, unless the event specifically includes both biological genders.

At the time, it was uncertain as to whether the state’s Republican governor — Kay Ivey — would sign it into law.

On Friday, Kay put pen to paper.

The legislation laid out five points in its contention that one sex shouldn’t compete against the other:

  • 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.
  • Physical advantages for biological males relevant to sports include, on average, a larger body size with more skeletal muscle mass, a lower percentage of body fat, and greater maximal delivery of anaerobic and aerobic energy than biological females.
  • Even at young ages, biological males typically score higher than biological females on cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and speed and agility. These differences become more pronounced during and after puberty as biological males produce higher levels of testosterone. On average, biological male athletes are bigger, faster, stronger, and more physically powerful than their biological female counterparts. This results in a significant sports performance gap between the sexes.
  • Studies have shown that the benefits that natural testosterone provides to biological male athletes is not significantly diminished through the use of testosterone suppression. Testosterone suppression in biological males does not result in a level playing field between biological male and biological female athletes.
  • Because of the physical differences between biological males and biological females, having separate athletic teams based on the athletes’ biological sex reduces the chance of injury to biological female athletes and promotes sex equality. It provides opportunities for biological female athletes to compete against their peers rather than against biological male athletes, and allows biological female athletes to compete on a fair playing field for scholarships and other athletic accomplishments.

Alabama’s House approved the measure 76-3, while the Senate gave the go-ahead via 25-5.

Both chambers are, as you might imagine, GOP-heavy.

During debate, Republican Sen. Garlan Gudger had labeled the legislation “important to protect the integrity of women’s athletics.”

Democrat — and Senate Minority Leader — Bobby Singleton wasn’t into it:

“We are spending too much time on craziness like this.”

He called out the “black eye” it would give Alabama in terms of recruiting major sporting events and industries.

As for that — reports — Kay took a decidedly un-Kristi Noem approach:

Asked about the risk of possibly losing out on such events, Ivey said before she signed the bill, “That’s all speculation, and I’m the governor of the people of Alabama, not the NCAA or any of those groups.”

Bama joins four other states that have enacted similar bans (though one — Idaho — had its action interrupted by a judge).

Meanwhile, nearly 30 are considering legislation keeping athletics sex-specific.

As I wrote on the 16th, “One thing is sure: There’s much, much more to come.”

Given the national debate on the issue and Biden’s staunch position in favor of males physically challenging females, I’d guess this latest news only serves to make that more true.