Debate over bill to define male, female based on sex at birth

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 7:19 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some Republican lawmakers want to define womanhood in state law. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan DuBose, R-Jefferson County, calls her bill the What is a Woman Act, and she says the goal is to protect women. However, members of the LGBTQ community have said the goal is to erase the existence of transgender people.

The bill defines male and female based on someone’s biological sex at birth.

Andrea Trenaman was one of the many trans and cisgender women who spoke out against a bill that defines male and female based on someone’s sex at birth.

“This bill seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. It implies that I, as a trans woman, am transitioning for nefarious purposes,” said Trenaman.

Trenaman is an engineer. Opponents are concerned about the state losing talent.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this is a bad bill, but yet here I am,” said Trenaman.

“As far as branding, we’re not saying that we’re open for everyone,” said Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Lee County.

DuBose says her bill still allows people to choose their gender and identity. She says gender identity is different than biological sex.

“This bill does not alter anyone’s legal rights. This bill does not create any new restrictions based on gender identity or transgender status,” said DuBose.

She says her goal is to protect women.

“If we don’t codify common sex-based terms, then laws that prohibit sex-based discrimination will cease to mean anything at all, and single-sex private spaces will cease to disappear,” said DuBose.

The only public proponent of the bill was Becky Gerritson with Eagle Forum Alabama.

“This law simply codifies biological reality,” said Gerritson.

Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Lee County, says the state needs to focus on other things.

“We’re number 50 in education. We don’t have healthcare for people who are in need, and we’re sitting up here trying to tell somebody how to live their lives,” said Warren.

The committee plans to hold a vote on this bill next week. DuBose says there will be at least one amendment to define an unknown sex, for cases when a child’s sex cannot be determined at birth.

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