Texas poised to ban trans kids from playing sport

Texas lawmakers are set to pass two bills banning trans students from participating on sports teams that match their gender identity.

Republicans in the Texas Senate approved SB 2 and SB 32 earlier this week. SB 2 would only allow student-athletes in public K-12 schools, colleges and universities to participate on sports teams that correspond with the sex listened on their birth certificate.

SB 32 carries forward similar restrictions but would impact sports at K-12 public schools.

Both anti-trans bills are authored by Republican Senator Charles Perry. According to the Texas Tribune, Perry argued during the committee hearing that trans girls and women could take sporting opportunities away from their cisgender counterparts.

“It reminds us that it’s not OK to destroy the dreams of one for the benefit of another,” Perry said, reported the Texas Tribune.

However, LGBT+ activists and campaigners have continuously hit back at this dangerous notion. Dr Vinny Chulani, director of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Adolescent Medicine Program, explained in an interview with them last year that the idea that trans athletes’ physiological characteristics might provide them with an “advantage” in sports isn’t based on science.

“There’s not really any sound body of evidence that speaks to the advantage that testosterone confers,” Dr Chulani said.

Dr Chulani added: “When you take a look at some of the studies that have been done on transgender females in terms of their athletic ability, it overlaps with the range that you would find in cisgender women. There is no body of evidence to suggest that there is an advantage.”

Rebecca Marques, Texas state director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that state lawmakers have tried to “recycle the same discriminatory playbook to generate fear” towards the LGBT+ community.

She added the two bills will “harm Texas children and families” and denounced lawmakers pushing the “unconscionable” legislation.

“Collegiate and professional sports organisations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports at the K-12 level,” Marques said.

She continued: “Transgender kids are kids who just want to play, and they deserve that chance.”

Demonstrators protest for trans rights on 25 February 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

LGBT+ advocacy group Equality Texas wrote on Twitter that the bills push “fearmongering about the lives of trans/LGB people” and “fuels bias and discrimination” towards queer kids and adults.

“Despite the pleas from trans kids, parents of trans kids, allies, mental health clinicians, and physicians, anti-LGBTQ+ elected officials have brazenly prioritised attacking transgender children,” the group tweeted.

Last night, #SB2 and #SB32 passed a Texas Senate Committee. Despite the pleas from trans kids, parents of trans kids, allies, mental health clinicians, and physicians, anti-LGBTQ+ elected officials have brazenly prioritized attacking transgender CHILDREN. #Txlege #ImaTexanToo pic.twitter.com/YAwN36Dzyk

— Equality Texas (@EqualityTexas) July 13, 2021

The future of SB 2 and SB 32 remains unclear. On Monday (12 July), dozens of Texas House Democrats walked out to block Republicans from enacting new voting restrictions, according to NBC News. The outlet said the move will halt chamber business until the Democrats return or the legislative session ends.