Texas Governor Signs Bill on Transgender College Athletes

ACLU calls it 'unfair,' 'cruel'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2023 6:38 AM CDT
Texas Governor Signs Bill on Transgender College Athletes
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 15 at the Texas Capitol Thursday, June 15, 2023. The bill will require college athletes to play sports based on their gender assigned at birth.   (Mikala Compton/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law Thursday that was denounced by the ACLU of Texas as "unfair, unconstitutional, and just plain cruel." SB 15 requires college athletes to play on teams that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth, meaning transgender men will have to play on women's teams and transgender women are required to play on men's teams, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The law, also known as the "Save Women's Sports Act," builds on a 2021 law that banned trans girls from playing on girls' teams in K-12 schools, reports CBS News.

In a press release, Abbott referred to transgender women as "men," CBS notes. "Today is an important day for female athletes across the state of Texas, including little girls who aspire to one day compete in college sports," said Abbott. "The Save Women's Sports Act protects young women at Texas colleges and universities by prohibiting men from competing on a team or as an individual against them in college sports." The governor was flanked by fellow Republican lawmakers and collegiate athletes when he signed the bill.

LGBTQ+ right groups accused the governor of targeting a vulnerable minority, and Democratic lawmakers accused of him of wasting time on a "made-up issue." According to KXAN, "there are no reports from Texas NCAA universities of transgender athletes competing in any sport, let alone stripping awards from female athletes." The American-Statesman notes that according to Outsports, a total of 36 openly transgender athletes have competed in college sports nationwide over the last decade, none of them in Texas. (More transgender stories.)

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