Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that restricts transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Texas is the eighth state to pass legislation this year addressing transgender athletes and their access to sports, per ESPN. South Dakota and Idaho also passed legislation on the matter in the past. However, Idaho’s legislation has been blocked in federal court.
HB25, a Texas law, allows student-athletes to participate only in interscholastic sports that correspond with the sex listed on their “official birth certificate” per ESPN. For example, a student assigned female at birth may participate in boys’ sports only if a corresponding girls’ sport isn’t available, such as football and baseball.
BREAKING: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 25, which mandates public school student-athletes must play on teams that align with the biological sex listed on their birth certificates at the time of their birth. https://t.co/Bzgog19LMm
— KXAN News (@KXAN_News) October 25, 2021
People Voice Their Disappointment with Texas Gov.
People have voiced their grievances and disappointment with the state of Texas after passing this law. However, there are valid points from both sides of the argument. Texas joins Alabama in affecting not just transgender girls but also boys’ ability to participate in extracurricular activities.
“My heart is breaking all over again for our communities in Texas who have been tirelessly and fiercely fighting anti-transgender legislation session after session,” said Anne Lieberman, director of policy and programs at Athlete Ally. “HB25 is yet another callous example of lawmakers passing legislation that bullies and targets kids. They just want to play sports with their friends.”
Although this decision may anger many people, this shouldn’t come by surprise as Texas also passed a another law that disappointed many a few months prior. This law insinuates fairness and equal opportunity amongst sports for all genders. However, one cannot help but understand and feel a bit of an undertone of homophobia impacted the passing of said law. Many forget but two things can be true and coexist.
This existing University Interscholastic League policy requires all students participating in high school sports to do in accordance with the sex listed on their birth certificates.
“Some states protect the privacy of transgender people and don’t indicate that the name and gender marker has been corrected,” said Asaf Orr, National Center for Lesbian Rights senior staff attorney and transgender youth project director. “There are other states where the information has been amended in a way that discloses prior information, so it’s entirely possible that you could have two transgender athletes, and depending on where they’re born, one would be able to participate in sports consistent with their gender identity and one would not be.”
The State of Texas Has a History
With the law already set in stone, Texas has had a history of promoting “equality”. However, it excluded specific groups of people in this past. Texas being one of the largest states in the country generally means inflation of population. Therefore, the state has one of the largest transgender youth populations in the country since 2017, per sources. Moreover, there were 19 bills directly pertaining to transgender athletes. They also have had 54 anti-LGBT bills filed. The next highest state had 14 anti-LGBT bills, Tennessee.
“This is adults bullying kids,” said Andrea Segovia, the field and policy coordinator for Transgender Education Network of Texas. “At the heart of it is this body legislating trans people out of existence. We’re talking about public accommodations. Trans people exist in these spaces. When you’re letting bills like this become law, the message is, ‘We don’t want you in these spaces.'”