MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, people will gather in Montgomery for the Drag Me to the Capitol march to take a stand for the LGBTQ community.
Alabama LGBTQ Action said people from all over the state are marching to demand equal rights for all Alabamians.
This comes on the heels of legislation passed that prohibits biological males and females from participating in sports of the opposite sex in the state of Alabama.
Groups like Rainbow Pride of Mobile tell me they feel some current bills pose a threat on the LGBTQ community that could impact how they are able to live their daily lives.
Executive Director Chance Shaw said some of these bills narrow down what they can do publicly to have visibility and embody representation, which could force their community back into the closet.
Shaw specifically noted bill HB401 that would prohibit gender-oriented materials like drag from various public places where minors are present, saying the wording is vague.
“One of the things we’re worried about is, you know, with the idea of a male or female impersonator written into it, you know, they didn’t define what that is,” said Shaw. “And that could be as simple as a woman walking out in a suit or pants or a man having long hair. If they decide well, ‘Oh this is a queer man with long hair- he’s impersonating a woman.”
Rep. Susan DuBose said she welcomes everyone to the capitol to speak their voice. She is the sponsor of the “What Is A Woman Act,” one of the bills in question.
“That’s one of the amazing things I’ve loved about being down there, is all the groups come down there and discuss their rights,” said DuBose. “That’s what we have a right to do as Americans and Alabamians. So, I welcome everybody, but I do suggest please just read the bills.”
Participants say they want everyone to be seen and heard whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ community or not.
“Visibility helps us do that,” said Shaw. “When you can see someone who looks like you, someone who walks like you, someone who holds similar traits, you know, you feel like you belong.”
Shaw said bills like the “What Is A Woman Act” have iffy definitions that aren’t applicable across the board.
Rep. DuBose said it’s a commonsense bill made of definitions applicable in situations where male and female distinction matters.
She said application is wide spread for things like athletics, prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, locker rooms, bathrooms, and other areas where biology, safety, or privacy are implicated.
She said she wants people to understand this bill is strictly about biological sex, not gender identity, and that it’s not trying to remove that or harm anybody.
“I understand that people may identify by something other than their biological sex, and they have a perfect right to do that and to be respected and to be honored and to be treated with love,” said Dubose. “This bill has actually nothing to do with what anybody chooses to identify as based on their gender.”
Rep, Dubose said she encourages everyone to read the bill to understand it for what it actually is. She is available to answer any questions you may have.