The Texas House of Representatives recently passed a bill banning transgender women and girls from participating in female school sports.
According to Reuters, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law after the Texas House voted 76-61 in favor of the bill.
Under HB 25, students would only be allowed to compete on sports teams that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate and that was assigned to them at or near the time of birth.
"We need a statewide level playing field," Representative Valoree Swanson, the bill's sponsor, said during the debate.
But critics of the bill say the law is a "hateful, targeted attack on transgender people," said Ricardo Martinez, chief executive of the LGBTQ rights group Equality Texas.
In Texas, public school sports fall under the University Interscholastic League, the Texas Tribune reports. The UIL has said that gender is determined by a student's birth certificate, but birth certificates that have been changed based on the student's choice of identity could be accepted. The UIL says checking birth certificates is up to schools and districts.
"A lot of times, we say bills are transformational. This is actually one that drew the line in the sand: that biological females should stay with biological females and biological males should stay with biological males," said State Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock.
Seven other states have already passed similar laws this year, with Republican lawmakers proposing similar bills in 32 states.
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have approved similar transgender sports legislation, and South Dakota's governor signed an executive order on the issue. Some of these face legal challenges, according to Reuters.
Last year, Idaho passed a similar law, but a federal court has blocked it. In July, a federal court ruled that an 11-year-old West Virginia transgender girl must be allowed to try out for the girls' track and cross-country teams at her school.
Photo courtesy: Jeffrey F. Lin/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.