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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Proposed state bill has no place in collegiate sports

Transgender+athletes+ill
Transgender athletes ill

A bill presented by the Republican party that will extend the restrictions on the already established House Bill 25 will prohibit transgender student-athletes from competing in collegiate sports in Texas.
The extension infringes on the human rights of transgender student-athletes as it will disallow transgender males from playing on college men’s sports teams and transgender females from playing on women’s college sports teams. The bill will also prevent transgender athletes who attend universities outside of Texas from competing in games against Texas schools.
This bill forces transgender student-athletes to make the difficult decision of choosing between the sport they love playing or being able to live life as the person they truly are.
Transgender men and women’s identification should be respected as their choice as this is a human right’s issue. Politicians shouldn’t stoop to using sports as a way to force transgender student-athletes to abide by their own beliefs which is precisely what HB 25 accomplishes.
The NCAA has yet to take action against the bill despite it directly affecting its teams. A total of 25 Texas universities partake in NCAA competitions; Texas State is one of them. Texas State currently has no transgender athletes competing on any of its sports teams which means it isn’t directly affected by this bill, but this could change.
State Rep. Valoree Swanson authored HB 25 in October 2021. The bill mandates that student-athletes ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors who participate in interscholastic competitions only play on sports teams corresponding to the gender identification on their birth certificates.
Another requirement for the bill is that student-athletes must present the certificates that were given to them at the time of their birth as a way to showcase what gender they were born as and determine whether they will compete in men’s or women’s sports.
Swanson has said HB 25 is to “protect fairness in women’s sports.”
HB 25 officially went into effect on Jan 18, 2022. A little over one full calendar year later, Texas lawmakers have their eyes set on collegiate athletics.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has supported this new bill, vowing that collegiate transgender student-athletes will not be permitted to compete in sports in Texas.
This will negatively affect sports teams as if a team’s best or most important player identifies as transgender, they will not be able to travel to Texas to compete in the games. This could very likely result in a loss or losses depending on the sport and have a major impact on the team’s overall season.
A single loss could cost a team the opportunity to clinch a postseason berth, play in a conference championship game and ruin an entire season’s worth of hard work and dedication all due to HB 25.
According to the Texas Tribune, 77 Texas House Republicans signed the bill as co-authors giving it more than the required amount needed to pass the 150-member House. Along with Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also said its passage was his priority.
Texas is not the only state passing laws that will affect transgender student-athletes. 17 other states have passed similar laws or restricted transgender athletes from competing in sports.
Sports are not meant to exclude athletes for any reason whether it be gender identification, race, religion or political beliefs. Sports are a way for athletes and fans to come together in unity to partake, watch and enjoy the sports they love and are passionate about.
Excluding student-athletes because of how they choose to identify themselves will cast a black cloud over the sports community by ruining the showmanship and grand spectacle that it presents. Lia Thomas is a prime example of this.
Thomas, a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania and Texas native, was referenced by Abbott during his speech on barring transgender athletes.
Thomas competed on the men’s swim team at Pennsylvania before transitioning, which caused her to move to the women’s team, where she has dominated the pool by breaking records and racking up national titles.
Former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who has competed against Thomas, has garnered national attention for loudly speaking out against transgender women competing in women’s sports and, like Abbott, has targeted Thomas in her attacks.
Gaines spoke on Twitter, claiming Thomas stole a championship from a “hard-working woman” and said the NCAA is responsible for allowing it to happen. Gaines considers herself a “women’s sports activist” and continually speaks out against transgender athletes despite no longer competing as of last year.
The Texas Tribune reports that the NCAA has permitted transgender women to participate in women’s collegiate sports as long as they’ve had a minimum of one year of testosterone suppression medication for treating gender dysphoria, which is how Thomas was able to compete.
However, the NCAA Board of Governors created a new policy that will officially take effect by the 2024-2025 season. This new policy will allow each sport to determine whether or not transgender athletes can compete individually, and it will be a requirement to report athletes’ testosterone levels to the NCAA.
This decision ultimately came after the controversy and backlash from anti-trans activists such as Gaines caused by the NCAA allowing Thomas to compete against women.
According to EducationWeek, last year, the Biden administration proposed explicit civil rights protections for LGBTQ students but has not spoken as of this month on whether or not this will also apply to transgender athletes.
Now, time will only tell what the future holds for collegiate transgender athletes in Texas and the United States, as the NCAA’s rules are currently being left up to states to decide as they lack clarity.
– David Cuevas is a journalism junior
The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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