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Alabama Passes Law Forcing Teachers To Out Transgender Students Without Their Consent

Photo: Vane Nunes | Shutterstock
person holding trans flag sign at pride parade

On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers passed a grim anti-trans bill, titled SB 184, that would force teachers and other school staff members in the state to out transgender students to their parents.

Alabama joins dozens of other states who have introduced anti-trans legislation within the last year, that will not only force transgender youth to be outed before they are ready, but will also make it a criminal offense for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming care.

Alabama's anti-trans bill is the latest attack on trans youths.

The Alabama House of Representatives voted 66-28 for legislation to make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of people under age 19.

RELATED: Texas Quietly Removes LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Resources From State Websites Amid Anti-Trans Directive

The bill also states that nurses, counselors, teachers, principals, and school administrators at any public or private school in the state are forbidden from "[withholding] 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."

There also seem to be no exceptions or consideration for transgender minors who could be living in a home where outing them could lead to violent repercussions or even cases of abandonment and neglect.

Alabama legislation had debated the bill for three years and it had already been passed in the Senate ahead of Thursday's House vote.

Alabama is also pusing a 'Don't Say Gay Bill.'

A second bill had been passed which prohibits any instruction on sexual orientation or gender in elementary school classrooms, eerily mirroring the recently passed "Don't Say Gay" bill in Florida. 

The bill, titled HB 322, would also ban transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. Children will be forced to use facilities designated for the gender that is listed on their birth certificates.

During the debate over the bill, Sen. Shay Shelnutt introduced the new amendment, according to the Montgomery Adviser.

"We just don't think it's appropriate to be talking about homosexuality and gender identity," Shelnutt said. "You know, they should be talking about math, science [and] writing, especially in elementary school."

RELATED: Why Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Is A Direct Attack On Children’s Mental Health

During the debate, Rep. Neil Rafferty, the only openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature, voiced his frustration with the two sets of bills just before lawmakers were set to vote.

"This is wrong," Rafferty said. "Y'all sit there and campaign on family being the foundation of our nation ... but what this bill is doing is totally undermining that. It's totally undermining family rights, health rights and access to health care."

Alabama physicians have spoken about how the legislation is filled with misinformation about how gender-affirming care actually works and how it affects children.

"When lawmakers attempt to practice medicine with a life without a license, they realize quickly that there was a lot more they didn't understand than what they thought they did," Morissa Ladinsky, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told ABC News.

Despite the fact that the bill bans minors from receiving gender-affirming "surgical procedures," in Alabama, such surgeries aren't allowed until the patient reaches the age to make legal medical decisions, which is 19.

Shelnutt had used the argument that gender-affirming healthcare is "child abuse," citing that puberty blockers can cause infertility and health risks.

However, Ladinsky clarified that the potential side effects only present real risks after puberty and are not a risk to youth taking puberty blockers.

Such bills being passed in states including Alabama and Florida, aren't actually protecting children but instead using them as a political point and further stigmatizing the reality of sexual orientation and gender identity.

RELATED: Virginia Supreme Court Reinstates Teacher Who Said Using Trans Kids’ Pronouns Will ‘Defile The Holy Image Of God’

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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