Pointlessly cruel anti-trans sports bill fails to reach the finish line in Texas

Anti-trans bill that would introduce transphobic sports ban stalls in Texas

An anti-trans bill in Texas that would ban trans students from playing sports on the team corresponding to their gender identity has failed to advance out of a House committee.

On Tuesday (4 May), Senate Bill 29 was taken up by the Texas House Public Education committee, which is made up of six Democrats and seven Republicans.

SB29 is the first anti-trans Senate bill to get a committee vote in the lower chamber, but it failed to get the requisite seven votes to move forward, instead receiving a 6-5 vote in favour.

Other anti-trans bills currently on the table in Texas include one that would make it child abuse for a parent to support their trans kid with gender-affirming healthcare, and another that would outright ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans kids.

“We thank the members of the House Public Education committee for their votes today against SB 29,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Texas American Federation of Teachers, according to the Texas Tribune.

“We did the right thing today for all the children of Texas by standing up for trans kids.”

SB29 mandates that trans Texans play on the sports team of the gender listed on their birth certificate – and goes one step further, stating that it must be the sex assigned at or around birth, targeting trans Texans who may have legally changed the gender marker on their birth certificate.

Supporters of the SB29 said it would “protect women’s sports”, claiming that trans women with higher testosterone levels would have an unfair advantage or could pose a safety risk. But Jamey Harrison, deputy director of the University Interscholastic League, said this was “not an issue” in Texas and pointed out that UIL rules already mean that trans university students must compete on the team corresponding to the gender marker on their birth certificate.

Marjan Linnell, a general paediatrician testifying on behalf of the Texas Pediatrics Society, told the committee that trans women often don’t have high levels of testosterone because of taking puberty blockers and hormone therapy – medications that could be banned under other anti-trans bills.

The committee also heard that last month, a cis woman called Heather Gothard won a women’s race and the day after was targeted on social media and by email by people alleging she was trans and should be banned from competing. At a rally last week opposing SB29, Gothard spoke out against the incident.