Apr 6, 2023 - Politics

Texas leads in anti-trans bills

Data: Trans Legislation Tracker; Note: Legislation includes introduced bills and resolutions; Texas Legislature meets every other year; Cartogram: Simran Parwani/Axios

Texas has more anti-transgender legislation filed this session than any other state, with 57 bills, and more than half of those are sponsored by Houston-area representatives.

Driving the news: The flood of state-level efforts to restrict transgender rights is being fueled by many of the Christian and conservative groups that led the charge against Roe v. Wade.

How it works: The groups, which have raised millions of dollars in recent years, have provided templates and support for similarly worded bills in statehouses across the country that seek to ban minors from attending drag shows, prevent trans minors from receiving gender-affirming care, and restrict their participation in high school sports.

Anti-trans legislation introduced in Texas, by category
Data: Trans Legislation Tracker; Note: Legislation includes proposed bills and resolutions; Texas Legislature meets every other year; Cartogram: Simran Parwani/Axios

What they're saying: In a statement, Alliance Defending Freedom's legal counsel Matt Sharp tells Axios that the group "strongly advocates" for policies like Texas' Senate Bill 14, which would ban gender-affirming care for Texans under 18.

  • "Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to advise lawmakers who prioritize adolescents’ and children's health and welfare," Sharp said.

The latest: The Texas Senate on Tuesday voted to ban gender-affirming care for Texans under 18, and last week, two anti-trans rights bills passed the Senate.

  • One would require college athletes to compete on a team that aligns with sex assigned at birth, regardless of gender identity.
  • The other bill — sponsored by Sens. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston), Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) — would require a person's sex at birth to be included on birth certificates and would limit the option for minors to update their documents to match their gender identity.

Zoom in: More than two dozen other anti-trans bills were filed by Houston-area representatives, including several by Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands), Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring), Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) and Rep. Teresa Leo Wilson (R-Galveston).

  • Some of the bills would change the statute of limitations on health care liability claims involving certain gender modification drugs. Others seek to expand the definition of a sexually oriented business to include establishments that present drag shows and prohibit such performances if they're on public property or in a location where a minor could be present.

Flashback: Two years ago, the Legislature restricted transgender high school students from playing school sports that align with their gender identity. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law.

State of play: The legislative proposals come at a time when roughly 8 in 10 Americans believe there's some discrimination against transgender people, a 2022 Pew Research Center survey found.

  • The survey also found that most Americans favor laws to protect trans people from discrimination.
  • But, about six in 10 Americans favor requiring transgender athletes to compete on teams that match their sex at birth.

By the numbers: The ACLU is tracking more than 430 bills targeting LGBTQ rights concerning schools, health care and free speech.

  • Trans Legislation Tracker, a data collection website that uses information from civil rights groups, says it has followed 492 anti-transgender bills in 47 states, as of Wednesday. That's a 2,489% increase since 2015.
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