MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of people marched in Montgomery Tuesday, protesting bills they say would negatively impact the LGBTQ+ community.
They made their way from the judicial building to the Alabama capitol to the statehouse, urging lawmakers not to pass a few pieces of legislation. That includes HB401, which prevents drag shows in public places where children are present.
Demonstrators say the bill targets the transgender community in Alabama.
“Our rights are under attack. Trans people specifically are. The first amendment right to perform as drag entertainment. Our ability to just be gay in public,” Vice President of Rocket City Pride Lori Ellison said.
Ellison came from Huntsville to join the march. She says lawmakers need to know that LGBTQ+ people aren’t going away.
“It is so important that the LGBTQ+ community be able to be visible and just exist,” Ellison said.
Other bills being protested include one that bans transgender athletes from playing on public college sports teams that do not align with their biological sex and another that defines man and woman.
Rob Dodge with the Magic City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence says lawmakers should focus on other issues.
“There’s more things out there we need to be checking on and taking care of besides worrying about the LGBT community. Number one we need to worry about the gun violence in our schools,” Dodge said.
Rep. Susan DuBose is sponsoring the bill defining man and woman, or what the bill lists as the “What is a Woman Act.” Protest organizers referred to that bill as the “LGBTQ+ Erasure” bill in a press release.
DuBose says there could be safety ramifications without clear definitions in law.
“Think about a women’s prison or a rape crisis center or a domestic violence center– those places where women need to feel safe and protected. It’s important that we get it right,” DuBose (R- Hoover) said.
So far, just one of the bills being protested has passed through both houses, which bans transgender athletes at the college level. It now awaits the governor’s signature.