Hundreds protest legislation impacting LGBTQ Alabamians

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Hundreds of LGBTQ Alabamians and their allies marched across downtown Montgomery in protest against what they call anti-trans legislation. The group started at the judicial building, walked to the capitol, and finished at the Alabama State House.

There are five different bills protestors say target the LGBTQ community in Alabama. The sponsors say their bills are meant to protect women and children and welcome the debate.

“This is the people’s house,” said Rep. Susan Dubose, R-Jefferson County.

Dubose’s HB405 defines male and female by the biological definition and requires public agencies and schools to verify a person’s sex. There is a public hearing on this bill on Wednesday at 10:30 AM in the House Health Committee.

“It’s important for women’s spaces to be separate and safe,” she said.

Her other bill, HB261, requires NCAA collegiate athletes to participate on teams that align with their sex assigned at birth. The bill received final passage from the legislature and awaits Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature.

In a statement, Ivey said, “Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama. Plain and simple.”

Another bill protestors are against is HB401, which would ban drag queens and shows from places where children could be present. The bill was approved by the House State Government Committee and awaits action on the House floor.

“These laws are being used to erase trans people. These laws are being eradicated to erase what has been a part of your history for millennia,” said Sharon, a Birmingham drag queen.

The group is also against what they call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, HB354, which prohibits discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation from public school classrooms. The bill was approved by the House Education Policy Committee and awaits action on the House floor.

“They are about removing the entire generation of LGBTQ+ people, silencing us, and forcing us to go back into the shadows,” said Carmarion Anderson-Harvey, the Alabama State Director for the Human Rights Campaign.

Rep. Neil Rafferty, D-Jefferson County, is the state’s only openly gay lawmaker. He addressed the crowd.

“It is time for us to demand better government and representation that represents everybody,” said Rafferty.

The last bill on the protestors’ list is HB7, which prohibits divisive concepts from being taught in public classrooms. The bill was approved by the House State Government Committee and awaits action on the House floor.

“Keep certain aspects of revisionist history and race and sexualization out of our schools,” said Rep. Ed Oliver, D-Lee County.

With less than 10 legislative days left, Oliver expects his bill to pass this session.

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