Oct 15, 2021 - Sports

Texas House passes bill targeting trans youth in sports

Photo of a crowd of protesters standing and holding signs advocating for trans youth in a building

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas state capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of trans student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 76-54 Thursday to pass legislation that would require public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is poised to sign into law, would make Texas one of nine states that passed laws targeting tans youth this year.

  • Republicans backing the bills say the legislation ensures fairness in women's sports, although multiple states that have passed bills — including Arkansas and West Virginia — have been unable to provide evidence of trans athletes gaining unfair advantages in competitions, Axios' Orion Rummler writes.

Details: The House's Democrat-chaired public education committee had prevented three previous attempts to push the bill through the chamber.

  • The Texas Senate passed its own version of the bill last month.
  • The House version now goes back to the state Senate for procedural approval before it heads to Abbott's desk.

What they're saying: State Rep. Celia Israel (D), a founding member of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, choked up on the floor describing her own coming-out story and speaking against the legislation.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Asher Price: Coming four years after business interests killed a bathroom bill that would have required transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on "biological sex," the success of this legislation shows the socially conservative wing of the Texas GOP is ascendant.

The big picture: 2021 has seen a record number of bills targeting trans youth.

  • "This has become the next political weapon," openly trans and nonbinary WNBA player Layshia Clarendon told Axios in August.
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