AUSTIN, Texas - The decision on which team a student can play on in Texas is currently based on which sex is listed on the player's birth certificate. House Bill 25 would make that designation limited to the original document.
Wednesday, members of the House Constitutional Rights & Remedies Committee were told by the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) that the legislation was drafted to protect women's sports.
"Our daughters and granddaughters to compete against biological males, to say otherwise doesn't just reject biology. It denies girls their dignity, self-confidence and humanity," said Swanson.
In questioning that, state Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) argued the bill will cause mental harm to students who are born male but have transitioned to the opposite sex.
"You talked about for those girls to have dignity, to have self-confidence, to respect their humanity. And all I think you're going to hear or you've heard before from the testimony of those who either are trans as athletes themselves or the parents of them is they want that same dignity. They want that same respect for their humanity. They want their children to have that same confidence in themselves," said Moody.
Those opposed to the bill held a rally before the hearing where Emmett Schelling with Transgender Education Network of Texas spoke out against the bill.
"I know that what we hear in this building often robs us or our dignity, of our self-worth and gives us a message that we are not equal, that we are not part of the state, and that is unequivocally false. We are here today to stand up to our leadership once again as they continue this attack on trans youth," said Schelling.
More than 100 people signed up to testify. Jocelyn Stringer, who plays vollyball, was among those who came to support the legislation.
"We're here to serve to protect young women in sports, to protect them from biological males claiming that they're women and coming to play," said Stringer. "Because I feel that as a disadvantage for me as a student athlete because I'm in competition with my peers, but I'm also in competition with the male. And that is, it's threatening because they're they're already stronger, faster and taller."
During the hearing, it was suggested a more comprehensive study should be done.
"And you know, I want to make sure that the decision we make, we have sufficient evidence to be able to make that decision. The medical evidence and along with sociological evidence and so forth and so on," said state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston).
Supporters of the Bill say nine other states have passed similar laws, but the committee was also told lawsuits have been filed against those states and the constitutionally of their laws may not hold up.
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