Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House blasts Texas bill targeting trans youth in sports as "hateful"

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol

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

A White House spokesperson on Tuesday condemned a Texas bill that would force public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, telling the Dallas Morning News the legislation is "hateful."

Why it matters: If passed, Texas would become the 10th state in the country to enact legislation banning transgender kids from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, per NBC News.

State of play: The bill was passed by the Texas House last week, and swiftly approved by the Senate on Friday.

  • The Texas Senate passed its own version of the bill in September.
  • The bill is now headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk to be signed, though it's not yet clear when the signing will take place, per NBC News.

What they're saying: “This hateful bill in Texas is just the latest example of Republican state lawmakers using legislation to target transgender kids — whom the president believes are some of the bravest Americans — in order to score political points,” White House spokesman Ike Hajinazarian told the Dallas Morning News.

  • “These anti-transgender bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation and undermine our nation’s core values.”
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki maintained that any potential challenges to the Texas law would fall in the purview of the Justice Department, but noted that "the president’s view is that transgender rights are human rights, whether for adults or kids," per the Dallas Morning News.

The big picture: 2021 has seen a record number of bills targeting trans youth, with Republicans in at least 25 states introducing over 60 bills targeting transgender kids.

  • Abbott has long been an avid advocate for legislation requiring transgender kids to play on sports teams according to their gender listed on their birth certificates.
  • In a statement Tuesday, the Republican governor praised both chambers for passing "legislation to protect the integrity of Texas high school sports."
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