Alabama's Senate reportedly passed on Tuesday a bill protecting minors from transgender treatments.
Advance Local (AL.com) reported that the Alabama Senate passed a bill banning the use of puberty blockers, hormone medications, and transgender surgeries for people below age 19 with a vote of 23-4. Senators Bobby Singleton, Bill Beasley, Vivian Davis Figures, and Rodger Smitherman voted against the bill.
Entitled, Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, the bill is sponsored by Senator Shay Shelnutt who provided definitions of gender dysphoria on Tuesday.
"I didn't think this was going on in Alabama, had no idea," Shelnutt told AL.com when he first heard the issue more than a year ago.
"I've been educated since then. I just think it's wrong for this to happen to children. Children aren't mature enough to make this decision on surgeries and drugs. The whole point is to protect kids," he stressed.
"Science shows that children that are going through this gender dysphoria, most of them mature or grow out of this stage if they are given the chance," he explained. "So why is (this bill) needed? It's just to stop these surgeries and these drugs on our children. It's to protect our children. That's my simple explanation."
Shelnutt pointed out to AL.com that he hasn't heard of any transgender surgeries in Alabama and wants to ensure it never happens there through the bill. He raised that he doesn't want children to be affirmed of their gender identity conflict through counseling but he does want them to get the help they need.
"There's no medical diagnosis. There's no medical condition that these kids have. It's just in their mind," he said.
AL.com said the bill will now move to the House of Representatives who have their own version of it. Metro Weekly reported that the House of Representatives version of the bill is under the sponsorship of Representative Wes Allen and goes by the title "Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act."
Like the Senate version, Metro Weekly said the bill will subject violators--any medical professional who "prescribes, dispenses, or administers puberty blockers and hormones or performs transgender surgeries" to minors to Class C felony, which is subject to a 10-year imprisonment.
The House bill also intends to protect the youth from making "an impulsive, life-altering decision that they will come to regret" based on studies that "pre-pubescent children who claim a gender identity different from their biological sex will ultimately identify with their biological sex by young adulthood or sooner when supported through their natural puberty."
In short, it just delays youths experiencing gender dysphoria from deciding on it until they are mature enough to do so.
The House bill version, unlike the Senate's, is reported by Metro Weekly to have a provision for schools to mandatorily report to parents on their transgender children stating that "no nurse, counselor, teacher, principal, or other administrative official at a public or private school attended by a minor shall" encourage or coerce a minor regarding their gender dysphoria and "withhold from a minor's parent or legal guardian information" related to the gender dysphoria.
AL.com said opponents lobbied against the bill through a rally held outside the legislature. Opponents were composed of parents, advocates, and organizations such as the ACLU of Alabama, the Southern Poverty Lw Center Action Fund, AIDS Alabama, and the Alabama Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.
As to the senators who opposed the bill, AL.com said Singleton pointed out it would interfere with how children experiencing gender dysphoria could be helped by parents and medical professionals.