A bill banning transgender student-athletes from playing on teams that do not align with their birth sex has passed the Texas House and Senate and is headed for the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbott has signaled he plans to sign the bill into law.
For the last five years, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in Texas, the state’s governing body for public school sports and nearly 850,000 athletes, has had a similar rule allowing student-athletes to only participate on teams that match the gender listed on their birth certificate. But UIL’s rule makes exceptions for individuals who received permission from a court to change the gender marker on their birth certificate to reflect their preferred gender identity.
If made law, this new measure will eliminate all exceptions, requiring alignment with the sex listed on originally issued birth certificates.
The bill cleared the Republican-controlled House 76-54 on Oct. 14, then went to the state Senate on Oct. 15, where it passed 19-12. After returning to the House for reconciliation, it was approved a final time, 76-61.
“Science and common sense have shown that biological males generally have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones and stronger muscles than biological women,” Jonathan Covey, director of policy at Texas Values, wrote in a blog post. “[This bill] defends the rights of women by not forcing them to compete against biological males in women’s sports. Women have fought for the right to have equal opportunities, including equal opportunities in sports.”
The author of the bill, State Sen. Charles Perry, argued that the premise of the measure is simple: Biological females should compete against biological females, and biological males against biological males.
When reporters countered, pointing out that Texas could lose its hosting rights for NCAA championships and other sporting events, Perry wasn’t swayed.
“Sometimes, things are worth more than money,” he said.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins urged other states to follow Texas’ lead and pass laws to protect female athletes.
“How many more young women need to be raped, violated in their locker rooms, knocked off their sports’ top standings or disqualified from scholarships because Democrats want to be ‘welcoming and affirming?’” he asked.
Above: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at the Faith, Family & Freedom Forum in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 24.
Photo: Bob Daemmrich/Alamy Live News