The Texas House of Representatives just recently passed a bill requiring that transgender public school athletes compete on the teams that are the same as their birth gender, not how they identify. The bill, House Bill 25, passed on the second and final reading by a 76-54 margin, with school officials requiring to look up the biological sex that is on the student’s birth certificate.
Texas joins Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and West Virginia in stopping transgender students from participating in sports outside of their birth gender. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has also signed an executive order that would Barr transgender girls from participating in sports with natural-born girls in the state’s schools. Idaho has attempted to pass its own version of the order but was blocked by a federal judge.
GOP Rep. Valoree Swanson said she is excited for this opportunity to stand up for our “daughters, granddaughters, and all our Texas girls.” She said allowing transgender girls to compete with girls is a competitive advantage and that there is “absolutely no opportunity” as the results for races are set before they even start in the state of Texas.
Other reps, such as Julie Johnson, have said that Texas has no problems with transgender athletes and that there has not been a single complaint to the UIL about transgendered athletes being able to compete. She said they cannot justify girls being “unfairly positioned” in competition and that the legislature was about attacking children instead of understanding them.
The bill failed to pass in the chambers on three occasions before the most recent passing. The latest version of the bill still has to be sent back to the State Senate for procedural approval before being given to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to sign.
Many activists have been launching lawsuits against the rules, in which many believe that the U.S Supreme Court will eventually weigh in and make a decision. Some of the lawsuits have gotten out of hand, with girl athletes insisting on protection from men who say they are women.
Kristen Waggoner, a Connecticut lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom law firm, said she was representing young women and girls who deserve equal opportunities in sports. She said they are denied these rights when policies such as the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) forces female athletes to compete against biological males, even though they know that biology matters in sports. She took on the case of Selina Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools in the U.S District of Connecticut.
Waggoner was arguing against a case where two males scooped up as many women’s trophies as they could before graduating from K-12 schools. They were able to get female legal status under 2016 regulations set by then-President Barack Obama.
But Waggoner has pushed back that this is not a partisan issue, but a women’s issue. She said men and women are equal but different, adding that males are born with physical advantages that give them athletic advantages over females.
As Texas moves forward with common-sense laws, the future of athletics is changing as we know it.