A Texas Senate Committee approved a bill that would ban transgender collegiate athletes from competing against other athletes that don’t match with their sex of birth.
The Senate Bill 15 was discussed past March 16th by the Senate Committee on State Affairs and would prohibit transgender athletes from participating in competitions that are “designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex”. Also this bill allows female students to participate in competitions that are designed for male students if that competition is not available or offered for females.
Despite being approved by the Senate Committee, this Bill needs to be debated by the full Texas Senate and be approved by the House of Representatives and then by the Governor. This bill was filed by State Sen. Mayes Middleton and includes 17 original authors.
In the discussion, Riley Gaines, a former collegiate swimmer was invited to speak. She spoke about her tie with Thomas, a transgender woman and about how she felt sharing a locker with her. “The NCAA forced female swimmers to share a locker room with Thomas, a 6-foot-4-inch 22-year-old male equipped with and exposing male genitalia in a room full of vulnerable, undressed women.”
Currently the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allows transgender participation in any sport.
Transgender advocacy groups have also spoken about the Senate Bill. Valerie DeVille, parent of a transgender man, said about the anti-transgender measures: “Every time you do this, you reinforce the idea that Texas does not want trans people to exist. You would rather they not exist than that they have a minuscule impact on women’s sports.”
Also, Brian Klosterboer, an attorney with ACLU, Texas said: “We’ve heard a lot of information tonight about only a tiny handful of students,” Klosterboer said. “It’s immensely cruel to pass a law solely to target such a tiny number; there really is no real problem that this bill addresses.” According to a report by Outsports, there are 34 openly transgender athletes who have competed in colleges nationwide.
Banning trans athletes from competitions has been a priority for Abbott, who signed a similar bill in 2021, that time regarding to kids.
This bill will continue to be discussed this March 23rd in the Texas Senate.