Texas House votes to keep transgender girls out of female sports

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10/15/21

The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that bans transgender women and girls from participating in female school sports after three previous attempts failed, all but assuring Republican Governor Greg Abbott will sign it into law. Texas is now poised to join seven other states that passed similar laws this year, part of a national campaign in which Republican legislators introduced such bills in 32 states. Conservatives say the law, which applies to public school teams through high school, are protecting fair competition. “We need a statewide level playing field,” bill sponsor Representative Valoree Swanson said during the debate. Equal rights activists have said there is no evidence that trans women and girls are dominating sports. Ricardo Martinez, chief executive of the LGBTQ rights group Equality Texas, called passage of the bill a “hateful, targeted attack on transgender people.” Political analysts say the campaign is meant to animate hard-core Republican supporters. “There’s no evidence that there’s a problem. This is red meat for the base,” said Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston. While the Texas Senate passed a companion bill, three previous House versions of the legislation stalled in the public education committee, which has a Democratic chairman. Republicans then created a new version of the bill and sent it through a select committee they control, enabling it to pass the full House late Thursday.

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