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Texas anti-trans school sports bill comes into force

"I’m good because I practice my ass off."

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Unsplash

A law that prevents trans pupils from playing in school sports teams that match their gender identity has now come into effect in the US state of Texas. 

House Bill 25 (HB 25) states that pupils must play on teams that correspond with the gender they were assigned at birth, rather than how they identify currently. 

It was signed into law by Texas’ Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, last October. Texas is now the 10th US state to implement such a ban.

“I don’t think that I’m going to be able to run”

Supporters of the legislation argue it’s about protecting women’s sport, while those fighting against it say it will discourage them from taking part in sport.

One of those is Julia, a high-school cross-country runner and track athlete, who can’t compete against other girls because of HB 25.

She told The Texas Tribune that “The government and Greg Abbott think that I’m good because of how I was born, but really, I’m good because I know how to do the form, and I’m good because I practice my ass off.”

She laments: “I don’t think that I’m going to be able to run.” 

The Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted that “Transgender and non-binary Texans still have rights and are protected from discrimination under the U.S. Constitution and other federal and state laws.

“Schools and the UIL must follow these laws and not exclude transgender students from participating fully in school activities.”

The Trevor Project reports that only around one in three young LGBTQ people participate in sport, with discrimination being cited as a reason for many not to take part.

One young person told the Project: “I probably wouldn’t be allowed onto the boys’ team because I’m a trans boy (both parents and school won’t allow this), and even if I was allowed I’d be at a huge risk of bullying.”

HB 25 was one of many pieces of anti-trans legislation that were introduced in American state legislatures during 2021. Other states such as Idaho and Tennessee have introduced similar bans on taking part in school sports, while they and others have also targeted trans pupils access to bathrooms and changing rooms. 

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