Texas Senate committee approves bill to allow trans athletes to compete according to biological sex

The legislative proposal advanced after a 7-3 vote. It will now go to the Senate floor and the House before being delivered to the governor.

The Texas Senate State Affairs Committee approved a legislative proposal to prevent transgender athletes from participating in intercollegiate athletic competition according to a sex different from their birth sex.

The bill known as Save Women's Sports and drafted by Republican State Senator Mayes Middleton, seeks to have college athletes compete based on biological sex, i.e., the sex shown on the original birth certificate.

"Senate Bill 15 comes down to one thing: fairness" Middleton stated highlighting that this bill would ensure the continuity of women's sports because, as she pointed out, if women feel that they are not taking part in a fair competition, they will not want to participate.

The bill passed on a 7-3 vote and will now go to the full Senate and House before it can be delivered to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature and signed into law.

Testimony before the committee

Former swimmer Riley Gaines was one of the athletes who recounted her experience after competing against a biological man in the NCAA championship and showed her support for the bill,

"My teammates and I, as well as female swimmers from around the country, were forced to compete against a biological male Lia Thomas," a  six-foot-four, 22-year-old male, she said, noting that he was allowed to compete in the women's division after having previously competed for the men's team.

Thomas managed to outperform the top athletes on the first day of the competition, which made Gaines feel betrayed and underappreciated. "The sacrifices I had made had been reduced to a photo shoot to validate [Thomas]," he recounted.

Gaines also highlighted how uncomfortable it was for her and the rest of her companions to have a man "exposing male genitalia" in a space full of "vulnerable, undressed" women.

"I truly hope you can see how this is a violation of our right to privacy and how some of us have felt uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassed, and even traumatized by this experience," she said.