Texas Governor Greg Abbott addresses his supporters after his debate with Texas Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
DALLAS (KXAN) — An attempt to increase the ban on transgender student athletes in Texas gained a strong supporter this weekend.
During an event Saturday in Dallas, Gov. Greg Abbott told a crowd that he would support bills brought this legislative session that would bar transgender students from competing on college-wide sports teams that match their gender identity. His remarks came at a freedom conference held by Young America, a conservative youth organization.
“In the next session, we will pass a law prohibiting biological men from competing with women in college sports,” Abbott said. “Women, and women only, should be competing in college or high school sports as well as representing the United States of America in our Olympic sports.”
KXAN’s news partner The Texas Tribune first reported Abbott’s comments this weekend.
Two Republican lawmakers, Texas Rep. Valorie Swanson and Sen. Mays Middleton, have introduced copies of the same legislation that would expand the law passed during the previous session. These latest proposals would only allow athletes to play on college sports teams that correspond to their assigned sex at birth. If the law were signed into law, for example, a transgender woman would not be able to compete in women’s events
The law approved in 2021 only applies to students in public sports schools in Texas.
Abbott is set to share what he will make of his list of emergency items for the current legislative session during his State of the State address Thursday, though it remains unclear at this time whether the college sports bill will be among those initial priorities. However, publicly sharing his support for that proposal will likely increase his odds of him passing the state legislature this year and landing on his desk for his signature.
On Monday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, sent out a press release outlining the 30 pieces of legislation that made his own priority list. He included the proposed ban on transgender college athletes, which he viewed as “protecting women’s college sports”.
Advocates in the state expressed concerns about legislation targeting the LGBTQ community when the bill’s pre-run period opened after last year’s election.