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Texas Bans Transgender Girls From Female Sports In Schools

by : Emily Brown on : 26 Oct 2021 14:17
Texas Bans Transgender Girls From Female Sports In SchoolsAlamy

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that bans transgender schoolgirls from taking part in female sports. 

The bill was signed into law by the Republican on Monday, October 25, and is set to take effect across elementary school to university athletics from January 18, 2022.

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Supporters of the bill have claimed it is aimed at ensuring school sports remain fair for those involved, as they believe transgender athletes playing on female teams have a physical competitive advantage.

Texas governor Greg Abbott (Alamy)Alamy

Rep. Valoree Swanson, a lead sponsor in the state House, said the bill was ‘all about girls and protecting them’ in the state’s University Interscholastic League.

Speaking on the House floor this month, per NBC News, she commented, ‘We need a statewide level playing field. It’s very important that we, who got elected to be here, protect our girls.’

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Student athletes had previously been required to play on teams that aligned with the genders listed on their birth certificates, though if they wanted to play on the team they identify with, they could obtain court orders allowing them to change the gender markers and compete in interscholastic athletics. The bill has removed this opportunity.

LGBTQ+ advocates protest in Texas (Alamy)Alamy

The signing of the bill comes as part of a wave of similar measures being considered or enforced in other states, for example in Florida, where transgender athletes were officially banned from participating in female sports teams in public high schools and colleges in June.

Equal rights advocates and the transgender community have slammed the measures as discriminatory and unfounded, with many arguing there is little evidence that transgender women or girls have advantages in sports.

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In response to the bill, LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Texas released a statement to say 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’.

Rebecca Marques, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Texas State Director, described Monday as a ‘dark and frightening day for thousands of families in Texas who fear for the safety and future of their transgender children’.

In a statement, she continued:

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Transgender animus is on the rise in Texas and across the country as evidenced by discriminatory legislation, and this only serves to give fire to the hate we’re seeing. Transgender kids, just like any kid, simply want to play sports with their friends. They are being denied that chance by legislators whose arguments are not backed up by evidence, educators, medical consensus, or science.

Marques went on to say the HRC would ‘use every tool in the toolkit to stop this law from taking effect and fighting to repeal this and every anti-transgender bill in the country’.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News, Greg Abbott, LGBTQ+, Now, Sports, Texas, transgender

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NBC News
  1. NBC News

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs law restricting transgender students in school sports