Austin – Transgender athletes can’t continue competing Texas varsity sports teams that don’t match birth sex That’s under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Greg Abbott.
The measure expands on a similar measure passed in 2021 and is one of several measures passed during this legislative session that have negatively impacted LGBTQ people — particularly transgender rights. It prohibits public colleges and universities in Texas from allowing athletes to compete in intercollegiate competitions against students assigned a different biological sex at birth.
Texas is the latest state to enact such a ban. At least 20 states restrict transgender athletes from participating at the K-12 level, the collegiate level, or both. Senator Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) introduced the legislation known as the “Save Women’s Sports” Act.
“Women’s sport is under threat,” Abbott said. “The legacy of women’s sport will live on for generations to come.”
Critics say law discriminates against trans athletes, point out Few openly trans athletes compete at the collegiate level.
“This discriminatory law does not help women’s sports and could put all of college sports in Texas at risk for athletes, fans and businesses by running afoul of NCAA Title IX rules,” said Policy and Advocacy Strategist Ash Hall said. American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Abbott signed the law during Pride month. He also signed a law banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth, making Texas the largest state with a medical ban. The law contradicts advice from the country’s leading medical organisation. The legislature also passed proposals to regulate discussions of LGBTQ issues in schools and limit “sexual orientation performances,” which were originally submitted as a way to ban minors from participating in drag shows.
The three-term Republican governor did not hold a public ceremony when he signed the transgender youth health care ban, opting instead to do it privately and without reporters. As of Thursday, he had not signed the bill restricting sexual orientation performances, but it would still become law if he does not veto it by Sunday.
A bill banning transgender college athletes goes into effect Sept. 1. A person’s biological sex will be determined by what is stated on the athlete’s birth certificate “at or near” the time of birth. A certificate amended since birth will only be considered correct if changed to correct a “clerkial or clerical error”.
The law allows people to file civil lawsuits against teams or institutions they believe violate the rules.
Texas has no openly transgender athletes playing at any of the state’s four-year colleges that play NCAA-sanctioned sports, austin american statesman Report March.
Representatives from 13 schools including the University of Texas and Texas State University told politician They were unaware that a trans athlete had ever competed; the rest refused or did not respond.
“It’s an answer to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Andrea Segovia, a senior field and policy advisor for the Texas Transgender Education Network. “What are the priorities for the country has always been my question.”
Former and current women’s athletes attended Thursday’s signing ceremony, which included two athletes from UT — rising senior swimmer Ellie McLeod and rising redshirt sophomore volleyball player Makenna Miller — as well as middle school Western State’s rising redshirt sophomore basketball player Kassidy Comer.
Athletic departments in Texas and the Midwestern state did not immediately respond to questions about whether athletes were participating as college representatives or voluntarily.
It’s unclear how the law would work if a Texas public school competed with another out-of-state university that has an openly transgender athlete. Abbott said it would be up to the individual teams to decide whether to compete against each other.
Supporters of the bill say it’s about fairness in women’s sports by ensuring women will only compete against other biological women. Jeri Shanteau, a former college All-American swimmer and 11-time Auburn national champion, said the law was not meant to discriminate against transgender people.
“We need to make sure we realize we’re protecting the women’s movement. We don’t want to take that away from anybody else,” Shanteau said.
Shanteau said she has never competed against a transgender athlete.
Leah Thomas, a trans woman who swam for the University of Pennsylvania women’s team in 2021 and 2022, is the object of conservative opposition to trans rights. Thomas is from Austin and attended Westlake High School. She graduates in 2022.
“Just like their fellow athletes, trans athletes vary in ability and size—factors such as conditioning, conditioning, dedication, and experience determine athletic performance more than anything else,” Dexa said. “Texas’ talented student-athletes deserve the freedom to express themselves on the field and on the court,” said Marti Bier, vice president of programs for the Texas Freedom Network.
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