Boys will play with boys and girls will play with girls. That’s the premise of the new Texas Senate bill that passed on Friday, requiring that student athletes play on teams that match the gender of their birth, not in which they identify.
The Texas Tribune reports that the bill passed 19-12 and will now head to the Texas House, which must approve the amendment. Should it be approved, it’ll then head to Gov. Greg Abbott, where it will become a new law. Texas will be the eighth state in the U.S. to implement the law if it goes into place.
One of the chief backers behind the bill was Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock. Lubbock said in a news conference that this bill was something they’d been looking to do for a long time.
“A lot of times we say bills are transformational,” Lubbock said. “This is actually one that drew the line in the sand: that biological females should stay with biological females and biological males should stay with biological males.”
The bill has received pushback from house democrats in the state, who argue there are ulterior motives for republicans to be pushing the bill. Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, said the bill is intended to limit freedom of gender expression more than anything.
“This [bill] is not about girls’ sports, this is about trying to police people and their behavior and their gender expression,” Zwiener said.
The debate of whether transgender athletes should be able to compete against the gender they identify with has picked up steam in recent years, coming to a head during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo over the summer. Two transgender athletes competed, with nonbinary soccer player Quinn representing Canada and transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard representing New Zealand.
Texas is looking to restrict that from happening in its state, which Abbott has been a long proponent of.