Office of Gov. Kay Ivey
Office of Gov. Kay Ivey

In a major blow to LGBTQ+ rights, Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey has signed two horrific anti-trans bills into law.

On 8 April, the Republican official gave her stamp of approval for Senate Bill 184 (SB 184) and House Bill 322 (HB 322).

Under SB 184, also known as The Vulnerable Child Protection Act, medical professionals will face felony charges for offering gender-affirming care to trans youth under the age of 18 years old.

If an individual is found guilty of providing puberty blockers, hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries, the penalty could be $15,000 with up to 10 years in prison.

According to a report from NBC News, the bill makes Alabama the first state to implement felony penalties for giving gender-affirming care to minors.

In regards to HB 322, K-12 trans youth will be banned from using the bathroom or locker room that aligns with their gender identity.

Before heading to the governor’s desk, Republicans also amended the bill to include LGBTQ+ censorship within school curriculums – which prompted activists to name it the ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill.

Shortly after signing the atrocious bills, Ivey released a statement claiming she was “protecting children”.

“I believe very strongly that if the good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy and if he made you a girl, you are a girl. We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life,” she said.

She then condemned the “media and opponents” of HB 322 for naming it the ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill.

“That is misleading, false and just plain wrong. We don’t need to be teaching young children about sex,” she said.

“We are talking about five-year-olds, for crying out loud. We need to focus on what matters – core instruction like reading and math.”

LGBTQ+ activists and organisations have since come out to slam the governor and the state’s lawmakers for passing the anti-trans bills.

Chase Strangio, the Deputy Director for Trans Justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, described SB 184 as “deadly for trans youth.”

“The way to reduce harm to trans youth is to provide them with gender-affirming health care where it is medically indicated. This bill takes that lifesaving treatment option off the table and makes it a felony,” he said.

“Moving forward with this bill will be deadly for trans youth, push doctors out of a state that has a shortage of medical providers, hurt Alabama’s economy, and subject the state to costly litigation.”

Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, associate professor of paediatrics at UAB Paediatrics Division of Academic General Paediatrics, echoed similar sentiments in a statement to the Human Rights Campaign.

“The passage of this bill means that families who love Alabama and call it home will have to move away to ensure their children receive the basic medical care they need,” she said.

“The parents demonised by SB 184 are kind, loving and supportive. They come from every corner of Alabama. This bill puts doctors like me in the untenable position of choosing between ignoring the medical needs of our patients or risking being sent to prison.”

Fortunately, LGBTQ+ rights organisations like The Southern Poverty Law Center and Human Rights Campaign are set to challenge the horrendous bills with lawsuits.