Abbott signs sports bill targeting transgender students in Texas


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday signed a law banning transgender students from joining sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Under the new law, students in grades K-12 are required to play on sports teams that match the gender they were assigned on their birth certificate. It will go into effect on Jan. 18.

State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R), who authored the bill, said on Monday that she was "overjoyed" by Abbott's decision to sign the bill into law, according to The Texas Tribune.

“It's so very, very important that we protect everything that women have gained in the last 50 years,” Swanson said.

She has previously argued that the bill serves to uphold the principles of Title IX, which bans discrimination based on sex within the education system.

"We need a statewide, level playing field," Swanson said earlier this month, according to NBC News. “It’s very important that we, who got elected to be here, protect our girls.”

Advocates for transgender students have slammed the bill, saying that it is detrimental to the transgender community, the Tribune noted.

The CEO of Equality Texas, Ricardo Martinez, has opposed the bill and reportedly noted that his organization will focus on transgender children and advocates who have continued to speak out against such legislation.

“Our organizations will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and [LGBTQ] people is wrong,” Martinez said.

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