Texas Republicans are not backing down from their call to pass legislation restricting the participation of transgender students in school sports despite its failure in the state House last month. In a Wednesday email to constituents, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said he is still pushing for the state legislature to require trans-student-athletes to compete under the gender they were assigned at birth.
The Republican urged Texans to sign a petition calling for the issue to be included in a July 8 special session, purportedly to “support fair sports for women and girls.” (It should be noted that trans women and girls are just as many women and girls as their cisgender counterparts.)
“Though this bill was killed in the Texas House, it is one of my TOP priorities for the next Special Session,” he wrote. “Despite the attacks from the Left, I will not back down from what you have elected me to do.”
During the latest legislative session, Republicans in Texas introduced 13 bills targeting transgender youth ― the most anti-LGBTQ bills of any state, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. In addition to banning trans youth from competing in school sports that best correspond with their gender identity, the bills would prohibit doctors from providing trans youth with gender-affirming health care and criminalize parents who support their trans children.
None of the 13 bills passed. The bill targeting trans athletes, S.B. 29, argued that allowing trans girls to play on school sports teams gave them an unfair advantage against cisgender girls because of their physiological characteristics.
This argument is faulty because trans athletes vary in athletic ability, just like cisgender athletes. There has been documentation of cis girls performing as well or better than trans competitors. The argument also implies that a trans girl is in the same body with the same physiological characteristics as before she identified as trans, which is often not the case.
“A person’s genetic makeup and internal and external reproductive anatomy are not useful indicators of athletic performance,” Dr. Joshua Safer said last year. “For a trans woman athlete who meets NCAA standards, there is no inherent reason why her physiological characteristics related to athletic performance should be treated differently from the physiological characteristics of a non-transgender woman.”
Texas House Democrats spent the last day of the legislative session using delay tactics to keep several GOP bills, such as S.B. 29, from coming up in time for debate. The bill ran out of time for consideration in the state House as the lower chamber hit the deadline for passing all Senate bills in the session.
But on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he’s set a special legislative session starting July 8. According to the Texas Tribune, the Republican governor did not specify what legislative priorities will be included in the agenda, saying in an advisory that such items “will be announced before the convening of the special session,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Abbott has not yet indicated that S.B. 29 would be reintroduced in the session, but the lieutenant governor has asked him to include it.
“Failed, scared leadership is once again terrorizing trans Texas children despite widespread opposition and real issues they should actually be addressing,” Texas Freedom Network political director Carisa Lopez said. “It is downright cruel that Dan Patrick would even threaten to put this bill on the floor again, especially in the wake of widespread opposition from everyday Texans and Texas businesses.”
“Trans Texans just want to live a life like anybody else ― to be accepted and comfortable in their own skin. Patrick can put it back on the calendar at his own risk ― this backfired on him in 2017, and his lack of addressing issues that actually matter, the grid, the vaccine rollout, and our economy will backfire on him again in 2022,” Lopez continued. “In the meantime, we will continue to oppose these anti-trans measures and fight back every opportunity we get. This is bigger than politics; this is right and wrong.”