Despite the failure of legislation restricting transgender students' participation in school sports
in the state House last month, Texas Republicans
are not backing down from their call.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said in an email to constituents on Wednesday that he is still advocating for the state legislature to require trans student-athletes to compete as the gender assigned at birth.
The Republican urged Texans
to sign a petition requesting that the issue be included in a special session on July 8 in order to “support fair sports for women
and girls.” (It should be noted that trans women and girls are just as much women and girls as their cisgender counterparts.)
“Though this bill was defeated in the Texas House, it is one of my TOP priorities for the next Special Session,” he wrote, adding, “Despite the attacks from the Left, I will not back down from what you have elected me to do.”
Inbox:Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says requiring transgender student athletes to compete as the gender listed on their birth certificate is one of his top priorities, renewing his call for it to be included in the July 8 special session.#txlege pic.twitter.com/hzE5zpCRMW — Chuck Lindell (@chucklindell) June 23, 2021
Republicans in Texas introduced 13 bills targeting transgender youth
during the most recent legislative session, the most anti-LGBTQ bills of any state, according to the American Civil Liberties Union
. The bills would prohibit trans youth
from participating in school sports that best correspond with their gender identity
, as well as doctors from providing trans youth with gender-affirming health care
S.B. 29, the bill aimed at trans athletes, argued that allowing trans girls to participate on school sports teams gave them an unfair advantage over cisgender girls due to physiological differences.
This argument is flawed because trans athletes, like cisgender athletes, vary in athletic ability, and there has been documentation of cis girls performing as well as or better than trans competitors. The argument also assumes that a trans girl is in the same body
with the same physiological characteristics as she was before she identified as trans, which is frequently not the case.
“A person's genetic makeup and internal and external reproductive anatomy are not useful indicators of athletic performance,” Dr. Joshua Safer stated last year. “There is no inherent reason why a trans woman athlete who meets NCAA
standards should be treated differently than a non-transgender athlete's physiological characteristics related to athletic performance.”
Texas House Democrats
used delay tactics on the final day of the legislative session to keep several GOP
bills, including S.B. 29, from coming up for debate. The bill ran out of time for consideration in the state House as the lower chamber passed all Senate
bills in the session.
#SB29 #SB1311 #SB1646 pic.twitter.com/MaZystpLMy — ACLU
of Texas (@ACLUTx) June 16, 2021
But, according to the Texas Tribune, Gov. Greg Abbott
announced on Tuesday that a special legislative session will be held beginning July 8. The Republican governor did not specify what legislative priorities will be on the agenda, saying in an advisory that such items “will be announced prior to the convening of the special session.”
S.B. 29 has not yet been reintroduced by Abbott, but the lieutenant governor
has asked him to do so.
“Failed, scared leadership is once again terrorizing trans Texas children
, despite widespread opposition and real issues they should be addressing,” Texas Freedom Network political director Carisa Lopez said. “It is downright cruel that Dan Patrick would even threaten to bring this bill back to the floor, especially in light of widespread opposition from everyday Texans and Texas businesses.”
“Trans Texans simply want to live a life like anyone 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 failure to address issues that actually matter, such as the grid, vaccine
rollout, and our economy
, will backfire on him again in 2022,” Lopez added.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden
issued a slew of executive orders, including one that stated, among other things, that "children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports."
Many Republicans and right-wing organizations immediately objected to the idea and began spreading the lie that trans people pose
a threat to non-trans women, which is widely false, including in the context of sports, where anti-trans
officials have concentrated their efforts over the last two years.
Biden's order reaffirmed the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, a federal law that already prohibits sex discrimination
in employment, education
, health care, and credit. The Supreme Court
ruled in Bostock vs. Clayton County last year that it is impossible to discriminate against the LGBTQ community without discriminating on the basis of sex.
However, Biden's order indicates that the White House
is prepared to defend and enforce the legal protections afforded to LGBTQ people under federal law, which is a marked contrast to Biden's predecessor.
The Department of Education announced last week that it would broaden its interpretation of Title IX
, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination, to include sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination as well. Title IX applies to any activity offered by a school or institution that receives federal funds.
Despite the efforts of the Biden administration
, Republicans across the country have introduced at least 171 pieces of legislation aimed at trans rights this year, with 45% aiming to limit trans people's participation in sports, according to a legislative database compiled by the Progressive Caucus Action Fund.
“The Biden administration recently signaled that it is prepared to enforce what multiple federal appeals courts have agreed: Title IX protects transgender students from discrimination,” said Adri Perez, policy strategist for the ACLU of Texas. “Any attempt to codify discrimination by excluding transgender kids from playing sports and being kids as their authentic selves has no place in Texas.”