AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A discussion on transgender public school athletes at Texas House continued into the evening hours of Thursday, October 14, after a day-long session.
Under Bill 25, athletes in school districts and schools with open enrollment contracts will only be able to compete in teams based on their biological sex listed on their birth certificate, not their gender identity.
Spring Republican Representative Valoree Swanson defended the legislation in the Capitol.
“I’m excited today to have the opportunity to stand up for our daughters, grandchildren, and all our Texan girls.”
There are more than 800,000 grade 7 through 12 athletes, including more than 300,000 girls, in public schools in Texas.
Swanson said that if trans girls are allowed to compete with girls, they will have a competitive advantage. “Also, he does it where he has absolutely no opportunity, they know it’s already determined, the results are set before they even start.”
But opponents, including Farmers Branch Representative Julie Johnson, said there was no problem with transgender athletes in Texas.
“How can you say that in the state of Texas, girls are unfairly positioned in competition, that this bill justifies that there is not a single complaint, not a single complaint to the UIL that transgender athletes can compete?”
Johnson and others said that discussions over this and similar bills over the past ten months have led to a significant increase in phone calls to transgender students’ suicide hotline.
The Trevor Project said it received nearly 4,000 crisis contacts from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas this year.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman who advocates for others at the Dallas Resource Center, is among those watching the bill on public school athletes.
“This legislature is all about attacking children, I don’t get it. I think it’s reprehensible. If you have a girl who is respected as a girl, treated like a girl in all her classes, by her friends, and in every way until she’s on the playground, if you suddenly get treated like a boy, that’s not true.”
If passed by the House, lawmakers would have to settle differences with the State Senate, which had already passed a similar bill during the special session.
They must do this by the evening of Tuesday, October 19, when this particular session will end.
McMurray believes that if the bill becomes law, there will be lawsuits against the state.