Texas on the brink of restricting sports for high school transgender athletes
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the law
- At least five other states have passed similar legislations
- Supporters of the bill said it will protect girls from athletes who are bigger, faster and stronger
Texas state lawmakers passed a bill on Sunday that will mandate transgender athletes to play on teams that match with the gender listed on their original birth certificate instead of their current gender identity.
The bill, which is directed at public high school sports, was pushed largely by Republican lawmakers and is expected to be signed by Governor Greg Abbott.
The lone star state is on its way to becoming the most populous state to pass such a restrictive bill through the state's legislation. At least five other states, in addition to Texas, have passed similar measures in recent months and the bill may yet face legal challenges.
United States-based activists have reportedly called out the new bill and have tagged it as mean-spirited and discriminatory for the LGBTQ community.
Ricardo Martinez, who is the CEO of Equality Texas, “This cruel and grotesque ban puts a target on the backs of transgender children and adults, erases intersex people and sends a clear message that transgender and intersex people are not welcome or safe in Texas", according to reports from Associated Press.
But supporters of the bill said it is needed to protect girls from athletes who might be bigger, faster and stronger.
“We have the opportunity today to stand up for our daughters, our granddaughters and all our Texas girls,” Republican state Rep. Valoree Swanson said before the bill passed the state house last week.
Texas already had a similar rule enforced by the University Interscholastic League, the state's governing body for public school sports and the nearly 850,000 athletes who participate, according to reports from Associated Press.
However, that rule makes exceptions if a birth certificate is later changed to reflect current gender identity. The new measure eliminates that exception, but the process for how schools will check original certificates has been left unclear.
(With AP inputs)