Texas House passes transgender athlete bill
By Matt Dougherty, KHOU
(KHOU/CNN) — A bill that restricts how transgender students participate in school sports is heading to the Texas Senate. It cleared the House during a special session on Thursday, and the Senate is expected to pass the measure.
If House Bill 25 becomes law, Texas public school student athletes born male will only be allowed to play on boy's sports teams. Athletes born female will only be allowed to play on girl's teams unless an all-girls team at the school doesn't exist.
Republican state Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-District 150) from Spring helped author the bill.
"Biological males, in addition to having much higher testosterone levels, have many other physiological advantages that girls just cannot overcome," she said.
Most House Democrats, including Rep. Mary González (D-District 75), said the bill was unnecessary.
"To the community, this is bathroom bill 3.0; a bill that was not needed then, and a bill that is not needed now," she said.
Passionate voices from both sides of the issue have been heard for months outside the Texas Capitol.
Beth Stelzer, the founder of Save Women's Sports, favors the legislation. "It protects all athletes to play fairly," she said.
But Rep. Ann Johnson (D-District 134) argues that the proposed law will stigmatize and exclude transgender kids.
"The goal is to bully and harass trans children," she said. "When I was growing up, I was a lesbian, and I never told anybody because it wasn't okay."
A similar bill filed in the House previously didn't pass.