DALLAS (KXAN) — An effort to further a ban on transgender student-athletes in Texas gained a powerful supporter this weekend.
During an event Saturday in Dallas, Gov. Greg Abbott told a crowd he would support bills introduced this legislative session that would block transgender students from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity at the collegiate level. His comments came at the Freedom Conference held by the Young America’s Foundation, which is a conservative youth organization.
“This next session we will pass a law prohibiting biological men to compete against women in college sports,” Abbott said. “Women, and only women, should be competing in college or high school sports as well as representing the United States of America in our Olympic sports.”
KXAN’s news partner The Texas Tribune first reported about Abbott’s comments this weekend.
Two Republican lawmakers, Texas Rep. Valoree Swanson and Sen. Mayes Middleton, introduced versions of the same legislation that would expand a law passed during the previous session. These latest proposals would only allow athletes to play on college sports teams that correspond to their sex assigned at birth. If they’re signed into law, for instance, a transgender woman would not be able to compete in female events
The law approved back in 2021 only applied to students in Texas public school sports.
Abbott is set to share what will make his list of emergency items for the current legislative session during his State of the State address on Thursday, though it remains unclear at this time if the college sports bill will be among those initial priorities. However, publicly sharing his support for this proposal will likely increase the odds of it clearing the state legislature this year and landing on his desk for his signature.
On Monday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, sent out a news release identifying the 30 pieces of legislation that made his own priority list. It included the proposed ban on transgender collegiate athletes, which he deemed as “Protecting Women’s College Sports.”
Advocates in the state expressed their concerns about legislation targeting the LGBTQ community when the bill prefiling period opened after the election last year.