The Texas House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would largely prohibit allowing students to compete in public school sports that are designated for members of the opposite biological sex.
The legislation, which the House chamber approved by a 76-54 vote, comes as ongoing cultural debate rages nationwide over whether or not students should be permitted to play on sports teams and utilize restroom facilities based on their gender identity when that identity is different than their biological sex.
While the bill would largely block students from sports meant for members of the opposite sex, it would allow girls to compete in competitions designated for biological boys if there is not a female version available.
The legislation states that "an interscholastic athletic team sponsored or authorized by a school district or open-enrollment charter school may not allow a student to compete in an interscholastic athletic competition sponsored or authorized by the district or school that is designated for the biological sex opposite to the student's biological sex as correctly stated on" that person's official birth certificate. If the birth certificate is not available, a different government record may be used.
According to the bill, the sex listed on the birth certificate would be viewed as having accurately stated the student's biological sex only if it was recorded at or around the time of the individual's birth or if it was modified to fix any sort of scrivener or clerical error regarding the person's biological sex.
The University Interscholastic League, which governs schools sports in the Lone Star State according to the Texas Tribune, already stipulates that gender should be identified based on an individual's birth certificate or similar government documents if a birth certificate is not available. The Tribune said that the UIL recognizes any legally altered birth certificate.
"This is all about girls and protecting them in our UIL sports," state Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson declared Thursday on the House floor, according to the outlet.
"The Texas House just voted to discriminate against trans kids and exclude them from playing sports as their authentic selves," the ACLU of Texas tweeted on Thursday. "For months, trans kids and advocates have been fighting against bills like HB 25. That fight doesn't end tonight."
The bill is expected to pass in the state Senate.