BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign Slams Texas Governor Greg Abbott For Signing Discriminatory Anti-Transgender Sports Ban Into Law

by Wyatt Ronan

TX HB 25 Becomes 10th State To Enact Anti-Trans Sports Ban, Risking Health & Safety Of Transgender Youth

AUSTIN, TX — Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law TX HB 25, discriminatory legislation that bans transgender youth from participating in sports alongside their peers, after placing an anti-trans sports measure on the agenda for all three special sessions. Texas becomes the tenth state to enact anti-transgender sports ban legislation, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota (by Executive Order), Tennessee, and West Virginia. Texas becomes the state with the largest LGBTQ+ population and largest economy to enact discriminatory anti-transgender legislation after having introduced more anti-LGBTQ+ bills than any state in 2021.

During each of the four sessions this year, the Human Rights Campaign joined coalition partners including the Transgender Equality Network of Texas, Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Lambda Legal, and others to oppose these measures. After HB 25’s final step to becoming law, Human Rights Campaign Texas State Director Rebecca Marques said:

“This is a dark and frightening day for thousands of families in Texas who fear for the safety and future of their transgender children. Transgender animus is on the rise in Texas and across the country as evidenced by discriminatory legislation, and this only serves to give fire to the hate we’re seeing. Transgender kids, just like any kid, simply want to play sports with their friends. They are being denied that chance by legislators whose arguments are not backed up by evidence, educators, medical consensus, or science.
This bill has always been a right-wing political “solution” in search of a problem, as Governor Abbott and Texas legislators have failed to provide examples of any issues in the state because there simply are none. In fact, the single Texas incident they cite - the participation of a transgender boy forced to participate in a female wrestling competition, is actually the very situation that this bill would mandate.
Governor Abbott’s relentless pursuit of an abortion ban and anti-transgender legislation during multiple special sessions show that he is more focused on appealing to a radical primary base than he is solving real problems like fixing the electrical grid against extreme weather. The Human Rights Campaign will use every tool in the toolkit to stop this law from taking effect and fighting to repeal this and every anti-transgender bill in the country.”

Texas transgender young people like 12-year old Adelyn and 11-year old Libby Gonzales and their families have spoken out against this dangerous legislation, telling their stories and speaking to the harms these bills would pose to them directly if enacted.

Legislation similar to TX HB 25 was passed by the Senate and considered by the House during the regular legislative session and the first two special sessions. Because passage through the traditional House committee of jurisdiction, the House Public Education Committee, could not be assured, this session the bill was routed through the Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies, a committee created by the Texas House Speaker in July expressly to address priority special session bills.

In Texas and in states across the country, legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks on transgender youth, laying bare the reality that they are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact. Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident.

Nationwide in 2021, 25 anti-LGBTQ bills having been enacted, including 13 specifically anti-transgender laws across 8 states. More than 280 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across 33 states this session, including more than 130 specifically anti-transgender bills. Each of these marks has set a new record for anti-equality legislation being introduced and enacted in a single state legislative session since the Human Rights Campaign began tracking legislation.

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • More than 150 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that has recently become law in Arkansas.

  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

A PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states.

In a 10-swing-state poll, including Texas, conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.

  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care

  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

These bills are solutions in search of problems that are driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or Texans’ concerns

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — hateful anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

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