Texas lawmakers pass bill limiting transgender participation in sports

Texas lawmakers on Sunday passed a bill that would limit transgender athletes’ participation in high school sports.

The measure, which is expected to be signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, requires athletes to compete on teams that match the gender listed on their birth certificates instead of their gender identity, The Associated Press reported. 

“Biological males, in addition to having much higher testosterone levels, have many other physiological advantages that girls just cannot overcome,” state Rep. Valoree Swanson (R), one of the bill’s authors, told KHOU last week after the bill passed the state House. 

Equality advocates, including Ricardo Martinez, chief executive officer of Equality Texas, have criticized the measure. 

“This cruel and grotesque ban puts a target on the backs of transgender children and adults, erases intersex people and sends a clear message that transgender and intersex people aren’t welcome or safe in Texas,” Martinez said, per the AP. 

American Civil Liberties Union of Texas policy strategist Adri Perez said in a release after the bill passed the house that the measure violates transgender athletes’ constitutional rights, adding that “there is no evidence that transgender kids pose any threat.”

If signed, the bill will eliminate a current exception to a similar rule enforced by the state’s University Interscholastic League, which allows transgender athletes to participate on teams that align with their gender identity provided the change is reflected on their birth certificate, the AP noted. 

At least five other states have passed similar legislation limiting transgender participation in high school sports. 

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