Texas Governor Greg Abbot signs bill restricting trans student sports participation

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 25 on Monday, which will ban transgender athletes from participating in K-12 school sports teams that match their gender identity, Allyson Waller from The Texas Tribune reports.

The bill, drafted by Republican State Representative Valerie Swanson, requires athletes to compete on teams that match the gender listed on their birth certificates. It will take effect on January 18.

Swanson said the bill was aimed at upholding Title IX and ensuring fairness in women’s sports. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in sport on the basis of sex.

“It’s so very important that we protect everything women have earned in the past 50 years,” Swanson said.

Abbott’s decision follows similar actions taken by governors of other states earlier this year, including Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

The ACLU is exploring legal options in response to the signing of the bill, according to policy and advocacy strategist Adri Pérez, adding that schools enforcing the new law could face legal action stemming from the potential variation in enforcement in more than 1,000 school districts across the state.

In the meantime, advocacy groups like Equality Texas will refocus their efforts on fighting for trans rights across the state.

“Our organizations will also begin to focus on electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues,” said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas. “(We) will prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and [LGBTQ] people are wrong. “

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