Texas Senate Passes Athlete Bill Targeting Transgender Youth

© REUTERS / LUCAS JACKSONTexas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 4, 2018.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 4, 2018. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.10.2021
The Texas Senate passed a bill Friday that requires students to compete on school sports teams that correspond with their birth gender and not the gender they identify with.
After more than 10 hours of debate, House Bill 25 which passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 76-54 Thursday, now heads to the Texas Senate, where it is expected to pass.
Introduced by Texas Representative Valoree Swanson (R-District 150), the bill restricts how transgender students participate in school sports. Texas public schools male born athletes will only be allowed to play on boy's sports teams, whereas female born athletes will only be allowed to play on girl's teams unless an all-girls team at the school doesn't exist.
Transgender male athletes will be allowed to play on male teams only if there are no other options available for the sport.
A modified birth certificate will be accepted if it had been changed "to correct a clerical error," the bill states.
Swanson, the bill’s author, said Thursday that the bill was about fairness.
“The bill I’m bringing before you today protects girls’ safety and their right to equal access to athletic opportunities,” Swanson reportedly said on the House floor. “This is a right guaranteed to our girls under Title IX.”
"Biological males, in addition to having much higher testosterone levels, have many other physiological advantages that girls just cannot overcome," she added.
Democrats didn’t hold back and attacked the House Bill 25 as a dangerous foray into discrimination towards already vulnerable transgender youth.
Texas Representative Mary Edna González (D-District 75), chair of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, reportedly called the bill unnecessary and compared the bill to a 2017 legislation that prohibited transgender Texans from using public bathrooms that marches their gender identity.
"To the community, this is bathroom bill 3.0; a bill that was not needed then, and a bill that is not needed now," she said.
Texas Representative Ann Johnson (D-District 134) reportedly said that the proposed law will discriminate and exclude transgender kids.
"The goal is to bully and harass trans children," she said. "When I was growing up, I was a lesbian, and I never told anybody because it wasn't okay."
Human Rights Campaign Texas State Director Rebecca Marques reportedly criticized the bill after the Texas House passed it, saying, "Texas legislators seem to take pride in passing discriminatory bills without any concern for the impact on Texans and the state’s growing negative national reputation."
The Texas ACLU also shared its input on the bill through Twitter:
Conservatives on the other hand say the law, which applies to public school teams through high school, is protecting fair competition.
"We need a statewide level playing field," bill sponsor Representative Valoree Swanson said during the debate.
Mary Elizabeth Castle, Senior Policy Advisor for Texas Values sided spoke at a press briefing Thursday and released the following statement:
“We are excited that the Texas House stood up for Texas girls by passing H.B. 25, the Save Women’s Sports Bill. We now urge the Senate to pass it quickly and for this bill to be signed into law to protect girls’ Title IX rights to play on a level playing field in sports.”
Republican-led Texas election House bill 25 is headed to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.
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