On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill protecting young athletes which mandates transgender athletes participate on school sports teams based on the biological sex listed on their birth certificate.
The bill has failed to advance in three previous attempts, but passed 76-54 and will now continue to the state Senate for deliberation. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Valoree Swanson says the intent is to protect women and girls from unfair competition.
According to Reuters, 32 states have attempted to pass similar laws, led by Republican legislators. Earlier this year the state of Arkansas passed legislation banning gender-transition surgery for minors, with legislature eventually overriding Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto.
National Review reports “West Virginia governor Jim Justice signed a law banning male athletes from participating in girls’ sports earlier this year, however a federal judge blocked that law in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, on behalf of a transgender girl.”
Rep. Swanson said of the Texas bill during a floor debate, “This is about protecting the 332,000 girls 7th through 8th grade playing UIL sports in the state of Texas.” “No matter how much a biological male takes suppression hormones they still have a tremendous advantage.”
Critics of the bill such as Democratic Representative Julie Johnson said Friday, “How can you say that girls are being unfairly positioned in competition in the state of Texas to justify this bill [when] there has not been a single complaint” to the state’s University Interscholastic League about transgender athletes.