Following in the footsteps of fellow Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed a similar bill into law in Florida, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced his intention to ban transgender athletes from competing against biological females in college sports across his state.
Abbott has already taken action to prohibit biological males from competing against girls in high school sports.
He affirmed his position during a recent event in Dallas hosted by Young America’s Foundation.
“This next session, we will pass a law prohibiting biological men to compete against women in college sports,” Abbott said.
The governor went on to reference a case involving transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who sparked backlash from her own team and critics nationwide after clinching a win as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s team — after previously having been an average competitor on the team’s men’s team.
“We’ve fought for the rights of women to be able to succeed in this world only to have that now superseded by this ideology that men are going to be empowered to compete against women,” Abbott explained.
As in response to other efforts to maintain a separation between biological genders in athletic programs, Abbott’s proposal almost immediately sparked a backlash from activist groups including Equality Texas.
“This type of legislation would abandon trans athletes and leave them without a way to express themselves in sports.”
— Equality Texas (@EqualityTexas) February 13, 2023
Nevertheless, a growing number of female athletes are speaking out against the unfair advantage they say biological males have when competing against females.
Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who came back from a shark attack that cost her an arm to become a champion in the sport, recently expressed her opposition to allowing trans surfers to compete against women.
“I personally think that the best solution would be to create a different division so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent,” she proclaimed. “And I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15-20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change.”
Although her remarks attracted some criticism, she also received support from fellow female athletes including Olympic gold medalist skier Julia Mancuso, who wrote: “Thanks for speaking up for all women and girls out there. Those are all interesting questions to navigate this difficult topic and let’s hope we can keep fighting for the future of women’s sports.”