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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Just Signed an Anti-Trans Sports Bill Into Law

Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott via Shutterstock

Texas joins seven other states in passing trans-exclusionary sports legislation this year.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill barring transgender students in public schools from competing on the sports teams designated for their gender identity.

Abbott, a far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ Republican, "quietly" signed House Bill 25 Monday, El Paso Matters reports. Both houses of the Texas legislature passed the legislation this month in the third special session of the year.

Texas joins Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and West Virginia in passing such a law this year; 2021 has seen record numbers of anti-trans bills be introduced and passed. Idaho adopted a similar law last year, but it's temporarily blocked by court action. The governor of South Dakota has issued executive orders with the same effect. Bills like this have been vetoed by the governors of Kansas, Louisiana, and North Dakota.

LGBTQ+ activists quickly condemned the legislation.

"We are devastated at the passage of this bill," said a statement issued by Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas. "Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, and the many emails and calls our community placed to the Governor's office to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law. Most immediately, our focus is our community and integrating concepts of healing justice to provide advocates who have already been harmed by this bill with spaces to refill their cup and unpack the acute trauma caused by these legislative sessions. 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 LGB+ people is wrong."

"Opponents of LGBTQ+ equality are using our transgender youth as part of their politically-motivated assault on the equal rights of transgender people," said GLSEN Interim Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. "GLSEN strongly condemns Governor Abbott for signing HB 25 into law and we will continue to devote our support and resources to the transgender young people in Texas and across the country who are leading the fight against these kinds of cruel political attacks."

"Transgender and nonbinary youth are already at higher risk for poor mental health and suicide because of bullying, discrimination, and rejection," added Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project. "This misguided legislation will only make matters worse.

To every trans Texan who may be feeling hurt and attacked by this legislation and months of ugly political debate -- please know that you are valid, and you are deserving of equal opportunity, dignity and respect. The Trevor Project is here for you 24/7 if you ever need support, and we will continue fighting alongside a broad coalition of advocates to challenge this law."

And PFLAG National sent this tweet:

The move comes in a flurry of anti-LGBTQ+ activity including questioning the long-settled marriage equality ruling.

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