Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 25, also known as the Save Women’s Sports Act, into law Oct. 25, banning transgender athletes from participating in sports that do not correspond with the biological sex listed on their original birth certificate.
“House Bill 25 is one of the greatest victories for equality for girls since Title IX passed 50 years ago,” State Rep. Valoree Swanson, who introduced the bill, said in a statement. “I have fought every political and legislative obstacle for an entire year—session after session—to protect the 332,000 girls in University Interscholastic League (UIL) sports, and I am overjoyed that Governor Abbott has signed my bill into law.”
Save Women’s Sports—a coalition that seeks to preserve biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports—echoed Swanson’s sentiments, detailing just how contentious the bill had become.
“It took a lot of dedication from everyone involved to achieve this goal,” the group said in a press release. “On one of the trips to testify for the special sessions, the team spent over 10 hours at the [Texas state] capital, and on another trip, they spent over 20! When the hearings normally last only an hour or two, this one really feels like a hard-fought battle, and we are so excited to have a victory in the end!”
Texas becomes the ninth state in the nation to pass this type of legislation. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have passed similar transgender sports legislation, and South Dakota’s governor signed an executive order.
Mary Elizabeth Castle, senior policy advisor for Texas Values, also celebrated the signing of the bill.
“We are grateful that Governor Abbott signed the Save Women’s Sports bill into law today,” she said. “Now, all girls across Texas are free to play without being forced to compete against biological males for precious championships or scholarship opportunities that were given by Title IX. Texas law now confirms the biological reality in sports, and Texas is joining eight other states in leading on this issue.”
By requiring original birth certificates, the law closes a potential loophole in the UIL standards that could have allowed conformity to birth certificates that are amended after gender “transitions.”
The law is scheduled to take effect Jan. 18.