Texas Senate Defies NCAA, Gives Transgender Athlete Ban Initial Approval

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The Texas Senate approved legislation limiting transgender athletes to competing only in categories that correspond to their birth gender in contravention to the NCAA’s recent decision to allow transgender people to play in their choice of categories.

The Texas bill focuses on “biological sex.” It maintains that athletes born as males will be banned from competing in girls’ sports, although girls would be permitted to play with biological boys if there is no comparable female sport.

“This is about protecting female athletes and recognizing their accomplishments within their biological peer group,” said Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, author of the bill, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

The Texas Senate’s vote comes on the heels of the NCAA’s warning that it could pull events from states that approve bills restricting transgender athletes.

On Monday, the NCAA Board of Governors insisted colleges and universities that participate in NCAA tournaments must allow transgender athletes to play in any sport they want. The board insisted that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.”

The NCAA added that it is considering pulling tournaments from states that don’t toe the transgender line.

When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination should be selected. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.

Texas is not alone in considering laws to restrict athletes from competing in categories that correspond only to their birth gender. Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Idaho have already put similar laws in place. And up to a dozen other states are considering similar measures.

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