A new Texas law bars transgender student athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity, Houston Public Media reported.
House Bill 25 is one of several laws that went into effect Jan. 18, months after the Texas Legislature approved the measures during a third special legislative session last year.
The controversial measure, championed by Republican leaders in the state, applies to athletic programs sponsored or authorized by a school district or charter school that participate in the University Interscholastic League. According to the bill, a student must compete on sports teams that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificate "entered at or near the time of the student's birth."
Gov. Greg Abbott added the issue to the third special legislative session agenda amid public pressure from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other fellow Republicans.
In a statement Windy City Times received, Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Shelly Skeen said, "HB 25 targets and attempts to further marginalize an already vulnerable student population by denying transgender kids the many benefits and opportunities full and equal participation in interscholastic athletics provides.
"It not only excludes them from the leadership skills, teamwork, self-esteem, discipline, health benefits and camaraderie that sports offer, but it also sets them apart from their peers each day at school, subjecting them to increased bullying and harassment, which is already all too pervasive in our schools. No student in our state, or anywhere, should suffer such unfair and unequal treatment simply because of who they are."