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Alabama Lawmakers Advance Bill That Says “There Are Only Two Sexes, And Every Individual Is Either Male Or Female”

Alabama lawmakers are pushing forward with legislation aimed at narrowly defining male and female based on reproductive anatomy, sparking contentious debates over the rights of transgender and intersex individuals.

The proposed bills, endorsed by Republican legislators, seek to regulate various aspects of public life, including bathroom usage and access to gender-affirming medical care, amid growing national discourse on gender identity and expression.

Defining Sex Based on Reproductive Anatomy

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“There are only two sexes, and every individual is either male or female,” declares the Senate bill approved in committee on Tuesday.

It stipulates that schools and local governments can establish single-sex facilities, such as bathrooms, according to these definitions. A similar bill is slated for discussion in a House committee.

Republican Sponsor’s Assertion

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Republican Senator April Weaver, the sponsor of the bill, emphasized its importance in upholding traditional definitions of male and female.

“I am here today to stand for women’s rights,” she declared. She also said that the bill also “codifies the time-honored definitions of male, female, woman, man, boy, girl, mother, father, and sex.”

Clarity of Definitions

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Weaver argued that these definitions provide clarity for interpreting existing laws and ensuring privacy and safety in public spaces.

However, critics raise concerns about potential infringements on the rights of transgender and intersex individuals.

Opposition from Transgender Advocates

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During a public hearing, opponents of the legislation voiced concerns about its potential impact on transgender individuals’ daily lives.

It’s OK That We Exist

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Allison Montgomery, representing transgender voices, said “I’m here to say that I’m literally just a woman. I’m also transgender. People like me have always existed… and it’s OK that we exist.”

Critics argue that rigid definitions based solely on reproductive anatomy fail to account for the complexities of gender identity and expression.

Challenges Regarding Intersex Individuals

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The proposed legislation raises questions about its implications for intersex individuals, who are born with biological traits that do not conform to typical male or female definitions.

“Undefined” Sex

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In state records, sex may be listed as unknown “when sex cannot be medically determined for developmental or other reasons,” according to language added by the committee.

Medical Perspectives on Gender

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Medical experts caution against oversimplifying gender as a binary construct, highlighting decades of research indicating that gender exists along a spectrum.

Against Scientific Evidence

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The bill’s insistence on rigid definitions overlooks scientific evidence showing that biological traits, chromosomes, and genes do not always align with traditional notions of male and female.

Impact on Intersex Community

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The proposed legislation attempts to carve out exemptions for intersex individuals but fails to acknowledge their identities as valid and distinct from male and female categories. However, it declares that in the end, such people “are not a third sex.”

Supporters’ Rationale

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Proponents of the bill, such as Becky Gerritson from the Eagle Forum of Alabama, contend that clear definitions of male and female are necessary to preserve single-sex spaces and ensure privacy and safety.

Democratic Concerns

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Democratic lawmakers, including Senators Linda Coleman-Madison and Merika Coleman, question the necessity and implications of the bill.

“This is just so heartbreaking. We spend all of this time about trying to keep people down who are not like us. It’s sad,” Coleman-Madison said.

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