Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill on Monday that ensures public school athletes will play on sports teams that match their sex.
The law, which will take effect on Jan. 18, says student participation in certain sports teams will have to correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate. There is one exception that allows biological females, no matter what so-called gender identity they claim, to participate on male sports teams if no option is available for girls.
The Lone Star State now joins the ranks of eight other states, Idaho, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Florida, that have passed legislation to protect women’s sports.
Multiple organizations celebrated the new law and praised Texas for taking steps to affirm biology and protect women.
“It’s a good day for girls in Texas. Female athletes should grow up with a level playing field, in life and in sports,” Meridian Baldacci, a spokeswoman for Family Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “When males are allowed to compete in female sports competitions, they can and do take championship titles and other elite opportunities that were meant for girls. But in Texas, many girls can know that they have a level playing field, and a fair shot at the opportunities meant just for them.”
“We are grateful that Governor Abbott signed the Save Women’s Sports bill into law today,” said Mary Elizabeth Castle, a senior policy adviser for Texas Values, in a statement. “Now, all girls across Texas are free to play without being forced to compete against biological males for precious championships or scholarship opportunities that were given by Title IX. Texas law now confirms the biological reality in sports and Texas is joining 8 other states in leading on this issue.”