Education News

Controversial Rule To Exclude Transgender Athletes In Texas Public Schools

More controversy surrounding transgender rights in Texas public schools. It began with access to bathrooms. Now a policy regarding school athletics and extracurricular activities is under fire.

Just last week, Texas along with 10 other states sued the Obama Administration over a new directive about transgender students’ access to bathrooms in public schools.

And in two months, a new Texas policy will make it nearly impossible for transgender athletes in the state to compete in high school sports.

Earlier this year, Texas school superintendents voted in favor of a rule change that requires all student athletes to compete under the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Kate Hector, spokeswoman for the University Interscholastic League, which governs Texas public schools’ athletics rules and policies, says the measure was necessary and needed to be put in writing.

“The UIL recently went through a complete review of all of our rules,” says Hector. “And this rule is something that’s been in place for a while and practiced, but it was not written into policy. So it was really correcting that.”

But Lou Weaver of Equality Texas says the rule is discriminatory and violates Title IX — a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs operated by those institutions who receive federal funding.

“The UIL is a part — it comes under the umbrella of the UT Austin System,” says Weaver. “The UT Austin system does have an updated non-discrimination policy that includes gender identity.”

Weaver says this new rule from the UIL goes beyond just school athletics.

“The UIL also impacts choir, band and other things,” adds Weaver. “So this has a broad reaching implication to our transgender students who want to participate in these kind of extracurricular activities while they’re in school.”

Recently, the Obama administration and the Departments of Education and Justice issued guidelines directing schools to ensure transgender students enjoy a supportive and non-discriminatory school environment.

When asked how the UIL would move forward in the event that an excluded transgender-student-athlete might file a Title IX lawsuit against a school, claiming discrimination, UIL’s Kate Hector says the group is not concerned.

“We feel that the rule was thoroughly vetted,” says Hector, “and that UIL school superintendents made a well informed vote.”

The policy is set to go into effect August 1st.

 

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Eddie Robinson

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A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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