AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas House gave initial approval Wednesday afternoon to a bill that would require transgender college athletes to compete on sports teams based on their biological sex, barring them from competing among athletes matching the gender with which they identify.
The vote passed the House by a vote of 93-49. Lawmakers will have to approve it one more time before it officially clears the lower chamber.
“It is not fair that young women are watching their records get broken, accolades taken and scholarships awarded, not to other women, but to biological man,” State Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, said. “This bill is about fairness.”
Senate Bill 15 by would prohibit intercollegiate athletic teams sponsored or authorized by institutions of higher education from allowing students to compete on a team designated for the opposite biological sex. That standard would derive from the sex listed on the student’s birth certificate.
There are no reports from Texas NCAA universities of transgender athletes competing in any sport, let alone stripping awards from female athletes.
The bill would allow female students to compete in male leagues if no female alternative is offered.
The bill faced immediate challenges from Democrats on procedural grounds. State Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, raised multiple points of order, but they were withdrawn.
State Rep. John Bucy, D-Austin, offered an amendment that would effectively render the bill moot by striking its enacting clause.
“There is no research or evidence to suggest this is affecting access or opportunity for Texas women,” he said. “We are wasting time on a made-up issue. When asked if they ever had a transgender athlete compete now or ever, [Texas colleges] said no. There are no transgender athletes in college sports. Not a one.”
If passed on the next vote, the bill will head to the Governor’s desk.