Anti-Trans Sports Bill Heads to Abbott's Desk

HB 25 makes Texas fifth state to pass legislature targeting trans youth this year

Advocates protest against HB 25 at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 30 (Photo by John Anderson)

Following its approval last week in both chambers of the Texas Legislature, anti-trans student-athlete House Bill 25 now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk, where it is poised to be signed into law.

Authored by state Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, HB 25 bans Texas K-12 students from competing on a school sports team that doesn't align with their assigned gender at birth. The measure passed the Texas Senate on a largely partisan 19-12 vote after the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted to advance the legislation during a rushed hearing in which its rules requiring 24 hours notice had been suspended. Under HB 25, a student's gender would be determined by the sex listed on their birth certificate issued at or near the time of birth. Currently, Texas' Univer­sity Interscholastic League determines student-athlete gender based on birth certificates, including those later issued to correspond to a student's gender identity. It remains unclear how birth certificates would be checked under HB 25's new restrictions, although the UIL has said that process is up to individual schools and districts.

HB 25 was one of three anti-trans student-athlete bills to advance through the 87th Texas Legislature in its third special session; HB 10 and Senate Bill 3 failed to clear both chambers by session's end Oct. 18. Texas Republican lawmakers had likewise failed to pass such a measure in the regular session or the preceding two specials, despite it being a priority of both Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The success of HB 25 makes Texas the fifth state to pass legislation to harm trans youth this year, which has seen unprecedented efforts to target trans Americans in the statehouses. "This cruel and grotesque ban has put a dangerous target on the backs of transgender children and adults, erases intersex people, and sends a clear message that transgender and intersex people aren't welcome or safe in Texas," said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, the state's largest LGBTQIA rights advocacy organization.

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87th Texas Legislature, Texas Legislature, 87th Texas Legislature special session, House Bill 25, Greg Abbott, University Interscholastic League, Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Valoree Swanson, anti-trans sports bill, LGBTQIA rights, Equality Texas, Ricardo Martinez

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