Texas Democrats kill transphobic bill aimed at student athletes by stalling

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Eric Gay/AP</span>
Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

On Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers in the Texas house of representatives successfully stalled a transphobic bill from going to a vote until it hit its “pass-or-die” deadline and expired.

Senate Bill 29, which had already passed the Texas senate, would have forced all student athletes in the state to compete according to their sex assigned at birth.

The failed legislation was one of at least 35 such bills aimed at restricting trans students’ participation in school athletics mounted by Republican lawmakers in 2021.

In 2019, there were only two.

SB 29 is also part of a broader legislative assault on queer and trans people nationwide by Republicans and conservatives. The Human Rights Campaign has already declared 2021 to be “the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history”, with 17 bills targeting trans people’s access to gender-affirming medical care, trans students’ ability to participate in school athletics, and other aspects of public life enacted thus far.

More than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures since January – an effort that the HRC notes has been spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation and other well-funded national anti-LGBTQ groups.

But Texas house Democrats successfully ran out the clock on SB 29 with delaying tactics such as questions and amendments, making it the third such anti-trans bill to die in the state legislature this session.

SB 1646 aimed to codify the provision of gender-affirming medical care to youth as a form of child abuse. It never made it past a house committee. SB 1311 also targeted trans people’s medical access, threatening to strip the licenses of any provider who administered gender-affirming care. It also died in the house following an “unexpected” delay of a couple days, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

“At midnight, the final anti-trans bill at [the Texas state legislature] died,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas tweeted on Wednesday morning. “Thank you to the countless trans student athletes, parents, and advocates for your work to [stop SB 29] and [protect trans kids]. As a community, we must continue to fight for the rights of all Texans to exist without fear of discrimination and exclusion. Although SB 29 will not become law, the mere debate around the humanity of trans children has caused irreparable harm.”