After three failed attempts to have the bill that will restrict the participation of transgender students in school sports, Texas House recently approved it. The bill received a 76-54 vote on Thursday.
Before the voting on Thursday, House Speaker Dade Phelan already hinted that the House would have enough votes to pass the bill. The bill will now go to the Senate, where many expect it to pass.
What House Bill 25 Is About
Click2Houston reported that House Bill 25, authored by State Representative Valoree Swanson, a Republican, is about student-athletes in K-12 public schools being required to compete only on sports teams that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate. This would effectively restrict transgender children from participating in school sports teams that match their gender identity.
Swanson On Codifying Existing Rules
Swanson said that the bill would simply “codify” the existing rules of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which governs school sports in Texas. UIL requires an athlete’s gender to be determined by that listed on the birth certificate. However, UIL recognizes legally modified birth certificates.
Although Swanson said the bill would codify UIL’s rules, HB 25 would not allow such a student who underwent the legal process to change their gender to what they identify with to play in the sports team that does not correspond with the original gender. HB 25 would only recognize legally modified birth certificates if it was due to a clerical error.
Transgender Students, Their Parents Think Bill Is Unfair
Many transgender students, their parents, and transgender advocates said that HB 25 is unfair because it targets children who may see sports as a refuge. Further, the bill and others that targeted transgender children have already affected their mental health.
Supporters of HB 25, on the other hand, said that the bill does not entirely bar transgender children from playing in school sports as the bill requires such students to play on the teams consistent with their gender assigned at birth. Click2Houston also quoted Swanson saying, “This is all about girls and protecting them in our UIL sports.” Swanson and other Republican legislators believe HB 25 will prevent cisgender girls from being displaced on sports teams by transgender girls.