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TX Governor to Try Again to Ban Transgender Student Athletes


Monday, September 13, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas - As part of a special session called by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, legislators will try again next week to pass a bill requiring transgender student athletes play on sports teams based on the gender assigned to them at or near birth.

It's one of several anti-transgender bills Texas legislators have introduced in recent sessions.

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen is executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality and a Cuban American transgender man. He said rates of bullying go up in states that introduce bills that prevent students from participating in sports.

"Can you imagine being 16 years old, all you want to do is play on your high school volleyball team with your friends," said Heng-Lehtinen, "and your governor is saying that you are some kind of demon?"

Gov. Abbott last week announced a third special legislative session that will begin on September 20 to address restrictions on transgender student athletes.

When it comes to transition-related health-care options for transgender kids, Texas lawmakers failed to pass proposed restrictions in an earlier session.

But Abbott has asked a state agency to determine whether allowing transgender kids to have certain gender-confirmation surgeries constitutes child abuse.

Heng-Lehtinen said for many young transgender people, gender-affirming health care is only available if they travel to a large city.

"There are not enough doctors out there yet that are fully informed about transgender health and are able really to care for us adequately," said Heng-Lehtinen.

Heng-Lehtinen said he expects anti-trans bills that didn't pass in conservative states this year to be reintroduced in future sessions.

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