Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill to protect female athletes and ensure fairness in girls’ and women’s sports by restricting the participation of male student athletes on girls’ teams.
The bill, which cleared the state legislature earlier in October, is applicable to everything from elementary school to university athletics. It will go into effect next January.
Rep. Valoree Swanson, a lead sponsor of the bill in the state House, described the bill as “all about girls and protecting them.”
"We need a statewide level playing field," Swanson said on the House floor earlier this month. “It’s very important that we, who got elected to be here, protect our girls.” Swanson said that the bill is intended to protect competitive fairness and safety for girls who would be forced to compete against biological males.
"We fought for this right, and now we have to defend it," she said.
The bill was approved 76 to 54 along party lines at the Texas House, and was fast tracked to the Senate, where it was approved and ultimately received Abbott’s signature on Monday.
As detailed by the U.K’s Sports Councils Equality Group, it is impossible to guarantee fairness in women’s sports if trans women are allowed to participate, Rebel News reported in October.
“Current research indicates that testosterone suppression does not negate this physical advantage over females and so cannot guarantee competitive fairness and/or safety,” the report stated.
Previously, student athletes in Texas had already been required to play on teams that aligned with their biological sex, as stated on their birth certificates. However, through court order, it was possible for these students to change the gender markers on their birth certificates and compete in school athletics.
Under the bill, which was signed into law, that option is no longer available.
Progressive critics have condemned the bill’s passage as discriminatory and argue that the law's supporters cannot provide examples of transgender athletes competing unfairly in women’s sports, according to NBC News.
Equality Texas, a progressive advocacy group said in a statement that if Texans “want to protect children, the goal shouldn't be to prevent trans kids from participating in sports, but to give all kids the freedom to make friends and play without fearing the kind of discrimination many older trans people face on a daily basis.”
As reported by Rebel News, a spokesman for President Biden’s White House says that the administration intends to take action against Texas over the sports bill. The White House has described the bill as “hateful,” and “bullying.”
“[This hateful bill in Texas is just the latest example of Republican state lawmakers using legislation to target transgender kids — whom the president believes are some of the bravest Americans — in order to score political points,” said the spokesman. “These anti-transgender bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation and undermine our nation’s core values.”