The Republican-controlled Texas House has approved a bill that will make transgender students play on school sports teams based on their biological sex.
House Bill 25 was passed 76-54 on Thursday after Texas lawmakers debated for more than 10 hours.
The proposed legislation means students in K-12 public schools will only be allowed to play on school athletic teams that align with the gender they were assigned at birth.
The bill mainly seeks to prevent transgender girls, who are biologically male, from playing on female sport teams.
It does allow for girls to play on a boys’ team if a female team isn’t available.
The bill, which had already stalled in the House three times, is heading to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.
“Biological males, in addition to having much higher testosterone levels, have many other physiological advantages that girls just cannot overcome,” Rep. Valoree Swanson, one of the bill’s authors, said on the House floor Thursday.
Those against the bill argue it could have harmful impacts on transgender children if they’re banned from team sports according to their gender identity.
Rep. Mary E. González, who voted against the bill, compared it to proposed state legislation in 2017 that would have banned transgender people from using public bathrooms linked to their gender identity.
“This is bathroom bill 3.0, a bill that was not needed then and a bill that is not needed now,” she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas slammed the measure and vowed to fight it as it moves to the Senate.
“The Texas House just voted to discriminate against trans kids and exclude them from playing sports as their authentic selves. For months, trans kids and advocates have been fighting against bills like HB 25. That fight doesn’t end tonight,” the ACLU tweeted.