Because SB29 requires trans youth to play sports on the team consistent with their gender assigned at birth, it effectively excludes them from all sports activities, which in turn increases their isolation and makes off-limits the social, physical and emotional benefits of sports - benefits which are especially important as we emerge from a pandemic that has isolated youth from each other and sports is serving as a bridge back to normalcy.
SB 29 would enact into law the premise that transgender people simply do not exist – that’s what it means to say a person’s gender is “correctly stated as determined at the student’s birth.”
Existing Texas Policy
The University Interscholastic League, the governing body for sports and other extracurricular activities for public schools in Texas, already has a policy regarding whom may participate in sex-segregated sports. The current policy says that to the extent participation in sports is limited by gender, that “gender shall be determined based on a student’s birth certificate. In cases where a student’s birth certificate is unavailable, other similar government documents used for the purpose of identification may be substituted”. This policy effectively excludes transgender youth, whose birth certificate will likely reflect their sex assigned at birth and not the gender with which they identify. It was this discriminatory policy that forced a transgender man, Mack Beggs, whose birth certificate identified him as female despite the fact that he identified as and lived as a man, to compete in girl’s wrestling in Texas. Beggs won the 2017 girls’ state wrestling championship because the UIL rules forced him to compete as a girl.
Codifying UIL Policy Is Discriminatory
Some have posited that since SB 29, as amended in committee, codifies an existing discriminatory policy that it is not harmful or discriminatory. However, the opposite is true. Since the law does not change existing policy, its entire purpose is restate discrimination: that is, to put the state’s imprimatur on a discriminatory proposal. The UIL policy ignores and obfuscates the existence of transgender people, and should SB 29 pass it would enact into law the premise that transgender people simply do not exist: that’s what it means to say a person’s gender is “correctly stated as determined at the student’s birth.” The UIL’s policy is discriminatory enough - to pile on further with a formal piece of legislation, one that is less easily altered and one that serves to do nothing but amplify a discriminatory message - compounds that discrimination.
A. Sports are a crucial element of childhood development, and every child should have an opportunity to participate. Trans inclusion in athletics has been happening successfully for years at every level of play. This bill is a discriminatory “solution” to a problem that even the proponents of this bill cannot provide examples of.
A. Enacting discriminatory laws like SB 29 would make it more difficult for your employees with transgender children to live in Texas. While on the surface, anti-trans sports bills may seem innocuous, or at least not a business concern, neither is true. SB 29 would codify discrimination against transgender people, particularly youth - which is bad for kids, families, and business.
A. No. Six years of state-sanctioned, state-sponsored discrimination is six years too many. And from the perspective of a transgender young person - or their parents - six years is a huge chunk of these children’s lives. This ban would effectively eliminate opportunity for students in 6th grade and above to ever participate in school sports. This bill is a violation of the equal protection of the laws - and the United States Constitution isn’t concerned about some arbitrary, easily-extended sunset clause. Neither are the trans youth whose very existence is being erased.
A. As a transgender boy, Mack wanted to compete against other boys but UIL rules forced him to compete in the female division. And yet many of the same people who found this appalling in 2017 are supporting SB 29 – a bill that would create that very same situation across Texas over and over again. In the same way that the bathroom bill would have forced transgender men to share restrooms with cisgender women, thereby achieving precisely the opposite of the proponents’ stated goal, this bill would force transgender boys like Mack to play with girls.
A. Unfortunately the UIL is already preventing transgender youth from participating, so this bill is not necessary to achieve the discriminatory goal. Further, this scenario relies on stereotypes and misunderstanding about transgender youth and the transition process. Transgender youth have been participating in sports consistent with their gender identity in sixteen states for many years, and trans women also are allowed to compete in women’s sports at the collegiate, Olympic, and professional levels, and there’s never been abuse of the system. There are real issues impacting women’s sports, like abuse of players, underfunding, lack of equal pay and investment, and many others. Letting transgender youth play sports is not one of them.
A. Sex and gender are different. However, this bill is designed to exclude transgender children from school sports, and whether it specifies sex or gender, it will accomplish that if passed.
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