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Texas Anti-Trans Sports Ban Now Includes College Athletes

Texas Anti-Trans Sports Ban Now Includes College Athletes

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

The state had already barred trans athletes from competing under their gender identity in K-12 public schools.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law Thursday barring transgender athletes from competing under their gender identity in sports at public colleges and universities in the state.

Texas had enacted a similar law for K-12 public schools and some charter schools in 2021.

“Women’s sports are being threatened. Some women are being forced to compete against biological men,” Abbott, a far-right Republican, said at a signing ceremony, according to CNN. The law goes into effect September 1.

To date, 22 states have adopted anti-trans sports laws, some affecting K-12 schools only, others including public colleges and universities. Backers of such laws claim trans women have an inherent advantage over cisgender women, but LGBTQ+ activists and scientific studies say this is not so — and at any rate, there is no widespread dominance of women’s sports by trans women.

The law, Senate Bill 15, “is yet another harmful attack from anti-LGBTQ lawmakers on transgender Texans’ right to be embraced, accepted, and able to thrive — particularly in Texas’ public universities and colleges,” said a statement from Marti Bier, vice president of programs at the Texas Freedom Network. “This bill would blatantly invalidate trans experiences by forcing trans college athletes to compete on teams that do not align with their gender identity. Just like their fellow athletes, trans athletes vary in ability and body type — factors such as physical training, conditioning, dedication, and experience determine athletic performance more than anything else. Texas’ talented student-athletes deserve the freedom to bring their full selves to the field and court.”

This legislative session also saw the passage of a ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors. Abbott’s other anti-trans actions include, last year, ordering investigations of parents who allow their children to receive this care, based on an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton that this is child abuse. Most of the investigations are blocked by a court order while a lawsuit is heard.

Paxton has been temporarily removed from office and will undergo an impeachment trial over charges that he unlawfully used his power as attorney general to reward a campaign donor.

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