Politics

Texas House passes measure limiting trans youth sport participation

The bill requiring Texas public school athletes to participate only on sports teams that align with their sex assigned at birth appears poised to become law.

Members of the Texas State House of Representatives converse with one another on Aug. 9, 2021.

Texas House Democrats tried to tack on about 20 amendments to House Bill 25. Their goal was to either kill the bill or make it more inclusive for trans youth. The effort extended debate on the bill to more than nine hours. But, in the end, the bill passed with just little change.

The passage in the House appears to show a clear path forward for the measure. The bill is a priority for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Senate has cleared similar versions of the measure that would prohibit transgender public school athletes from participating on sports teams that align with their gender identity instead of their sex assigned at birth.

Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, authored HB 25 and said Thursday that it was about fairness.

"The bill I'm bringing before you today protects girls' safety and their right to equal access to athletic opportunities," Swanson said. "This is a right guaranteed to our girls under Title IX."

Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, argued against the bill and introduced one of the amendments designed to stop its passage.

"This bill has one target, trans and intersex youth. And knowing that this bill has a target and can hurt innocent children – why are we even having this debate?" González said.

Democrats and other opponents of the measure say not only will HB 25 cause harm to trans youth if it is passed – it has already caused harm.

The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide and crisis intervention organization, reports its crisis contacts in Texas have increased by 150% compared to last year. The group says many of the youth who contacted them said they were stressed and considering suicide over laws being considered by the Texas legislature.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story overstated how many amendments Democrats tried to attach to the bill as “dozens”. It was about 20.

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