Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill banning transgender students from collegiate athletics

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Thursday that will ban transgender students from competing in athletics corresponding to their gender, expanding a similar ban on trans athletes in public schools enacted in 2021.

Per the Austin American Statesman, Senate Bill 15 dictates that transgender women will be required to play on men's teams and transgender men will have to play on women's teams.

Abbott signed the bill at a ceremony while flanked by current and former female collegiate athletes while hailing it as a protection for women's sports.

The law will reportedly create an avenue for "injunctive relief" against public higher education institutions and college sports teams in Texas that allow transgender athletes to compete against their own gender, and will prohibit retaliation against anyone who reports the violations. It also reportedly allows women to compete against men in college sports if now women's team is offered.

In the decades of female collegiate athletics across hundreds of universities and colleges, there are 36 known transgender athletes to have openly competed, per Outsports. None of them competed in Texas after high school. The Statesman also previously asked every four-year institution in Texas if they ever had a transgender athlete compete, with every school reportedly saying they hadn't or not responding.

One of the most notable transgender athletes in the state was Mack Beggs, a trans man who was required by state officials to compete amongst girls while in high school before competing at Life University in Georgia. His comment on the law passed Thursday, via Fox 4:

"I think they are just scared. They're just trying to win political points and they're just trying to appease their people," transgender athlete Mack Beggs said.

"I really don't think it's a choice. I think it's something you really feel deep inside. And, you know, people are taking advantage of the fact that we're now being open and we we've come to this point," Beggs said.

Senate Bill 15 is the latest in a long line of laws has Texas has enacted against the LGBTQ+ community during Abbott's administration. Per the American Civil Liberties Unionvia The Hill, Texas's legislature has introduced at least 53 bills targeting the community in this session alone, the most of any state.

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