Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed into law a bill that bans transgender girls from participating in female sports in schools.
Texas's transgender student-athletes will be restricted from playing on K-12 school sports teams that align with their gender identity under the bill, reported local media The Texas Tribune.
House Bill 25 will require student-athletes who compete in interscholastic competitions to play on sports teams that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate at or near their time of birth.
It is set to go into effect January 18 and was authored by state Rep Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, reported The Texas Tribune.
The legislation goes further than current rules from the University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas. Under current UIL rules, a student's gender is determined by their birth certificate. But UIL also accepts legally modified birth certificates in which someone may have had their sex changed to align with their gender identity.
Swanson said in a statement she was "overjoyed" at Abbott's decision to sign HB 25 into law. Swanson has argued that the bill intends to ensure fair competition in girls' sports and uphold Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex.
"It's so very, very important that we protect everything that women have gained in the last 50 years," Swanson said during a committee hearing.
But advocates for transgender Texans have claimed the argument is not only detrimental to transgender youth but also cisgender girls and women who may not adhere strictly to societal standards, reported The Texas Tribune.
According to the Trevor Project, national suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, nine states this year have passed legislation restricting transgender youth participation in sports. In two of those states, Florida and West Virginia, legal fights have already emerged. (ANI)