The Texas House approved legislation, known as the "Save Women's Sports Act," that requires transgender college athletes at public universities to participate in sports based on their biological sex. The aim is to protect women athletes from competing against transgender women.
Senate Bill 15 builds upon a previous ban enacted during the 2021 legislative session, which prohibits transgender youth from participating in sports activities at public elementary, middle and high schools.
Following close to three hours of debate and various attempts by House Democrats to modify or reject the legislation, SB 15 received strong approval, with ten Democrats voting in favor of the bill.
Under the proposed legislation, an athlete's biological sex would be determined based on the information recorded on their birth certificate "at or around" the time of their birth. Birth certificates that have been modified after birth would only be considered valid if the changes were made to correct a "scrivener or clerical error."
The bill would also grant individuals the ability to file civil actions against teams or institutions they believe are in violation of these regulations.
In cases where women's competitions in their respective sports are not offered or available, female athletes would have the opportunity to compete against male athletes.
During the debate, Rep. Jeff Leach asked how he should discuss the issue with his daughter.
“He’s faster. He’s stronger. He’s taller,” Leach said. “He’s taken her spot on a team because he’s physically able to perform better than she is. But he’s still a biological male and she’s a biological female. And she’s lost her spot on the team to him. What do I tell her? How is that fair?”
However, research published by the National Library of Medicine shows there is “no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition.”
Leach did not respond to Local Profile’s comment request.
Those opposing the bill voiced that the goal was not to prevent trans athletes from competing but to further the discrimination trans people are already facing.
“Instead of working to create societies that are more tolerant and accepting, we are putting forward more senseless legislation that targets trans people in particular, and discriminates against communities at large,” said Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos.
The bill is likely to become law, but first, it must undergo another vote in the House, expected as early as Thursday, and the changes made in the Senate need approval from the senators before it can be sent to the governor's desk. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.