Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) announced his intention to ban males identifying as women from competing in women’s sports at a meeting of Young America’s Foundation (YAF) in Dallas.
“This next session, we will pass a law prohibiting biological men to compete against women in college sports,” the governor said.
In 2021, Abbott signed a bill that banned transgender athletes from playing on public school sports teams that aligned with their “gender identities.” It only affected competitors in public schools from kindergarten through high school.
Texas lawmakers are now shifting their attention to universities, filing a bill to ban “trans women” from competing against biological men in college sports.
While speaking at YAF, Abbott made the case for extending the trans sports ban to the collegiate level by referencing the case of the former University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.
Thomas, a man, started his collegiate career on the men’s swimming team, ranking 462nd. However, upon switching to the female swimming division, he ranked number one, depriving women competitors of their scholarships.
“We’ve fought for the rights of women to be able to succeed in this world only to have that now superseded by this ideology that men are going to be empowered to compete against women,” Abbott declared.
If Texas lawmakers successfully pass a bill restricting trans athletes from competing at the collegiate level, a court battle will likely ensue.
In 2021, Florida passed a similar law, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which banned biological males from competing against women at public school and college levels.
In response to the passage of the law, a 13-year-old “transgender girl” sued Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for not being allowed to continue playing on female soccer teams.
Likewise, in Texas, LGBTQ groups pushed back against Abbot’s proposal.
“This type of legislation would abandon trans athletes and leave them without a way to express themselves in sports.”
— Equality Texas (@EqualityTexas) February 13, 2023
Activists told the “It Gets Better” project why they opposed Texas’ potential trans ban.
“To the lawmakers who support this legislation, leave us alone. Transgender youth are just normal teenagers who just want to play sports on the team that matches who we really are. These laws are ridiculous and there are much bigger issues that you should be concerned with instead of attacking the human rights of transgender youth,” they said.
Besides Texas, 17 other states have passed laws that have placed restrictions on transgender individuals from participating in sports.
Florida’s transgender sports ban survived its legal challenges. If Texas’ ban is also successful, other states will likely follow suit.