Metro Weekly

Texas governor wants to ban transgender athletes from sports during special legislative session

A rival of Greg Abbott's says the governor hasn't gone far enough, calling for a bill to bar trans youth from receiving gender-affirming care.

texas, trans, transgender
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott – Photo: Jay Godwin, via Wikimedia.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has promised to bring up a number of priorities embraced by social conservatives in a special session of the Texas legislature, including several bills dealing with hot-button issues such as a ban on transgender athletes.

On Wednesday, Abbott placed several items on the agenda, such as an “election integrity” bill designed to place more restrictions on when and how Texans can vote; a measure restricting what public school teachers can say about “critical race theory”; a ban on social media censorship of conservative viewpoints, allowing those banned from platforms to bring legal action against platforms; a bill seeking to prohibit people from providing abortion-inducing drugs via mail or delivery service; and a bill prohibiting transgender athletes from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

In a written statement, Abbott claimed the regular legislative session had been a “monumental success,” but that lawmakers have “unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America.”

The 30-day-long special session is estimated to cost taxpayers an additional $1 million. reports The Dallas Morning News.

The biggest roadblock to passage of several of Abbott’s agenda items during the regular session was the decision by House Democrats to “walk out” in protest of the elections bill, which they claimed will simply restrict the franchise to voters of color, thereby denying the House the two-thirds quorum needed to consider legislation. In retaliation, Abbott vetoed state funding for the legislature, its staff members and support agencies.

A bill to restore that funding has been introduced during the special session, in the hope that it will compel Democrats not to walk out so the Republican majority can pass more controversial legislation and send it on to Abbott for his signature into law.

Democrats have criticized Abbott for not including legislation to shore up the state’s electricity grid — which left millions without power earlier this year after the state was hit by severe winter storms, due to widespread deregulation of the state’s electricity market, as well as insufficient measures to winterize the grid to protect against inclement weather, which led to further disruptions when energy sources — including uninsulated gas lines and nuclear reactors, as well as wind turbines — froze and stopped functioning.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) said Abbott should focus on big issues, such as improving the state’s infrastructure or providing insurance coverage for Texans. 

“Instead, Abbott wants to pick on children, tell teachers they can’t talk about slavery, prevent women from accessing reproductive health care and infringe on Texans’ freedom to vote,” Turner said in a written statement, referring to the conservative “wish-list” of priorities.

Related: Texas Republicans want taxpayers to pay for a special session to ban trans athletes from sport

Former State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), one of two Republicans challenging Abbott in next year’s gubernatorial primary, criticized Abbott for failing to push border security measures and for not including a bill — proposed earlier this year — to prohibit transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care, which would have declared parents who consent to such treatments as child abusers and put them at risk of having their children removed from their custody and placed in foster care.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who presides over the State Senate, tweeted that the upper chamber will resume on Thursday and is “ready to pass all of the legislation” proposed by Abbott, beginning with the elections bill. He said hearings on that bill will begin on Saturday.

House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), who has been less enthusiastic about passing potentially controversial bills, such as those dealing with LGBTQ issues, was more subdued, tweeting: “Members, I’ll see you [Thursday] at 10 AM.”

Equality Texas, the state’s top LGBTQ organization, put out a call to supporters asking them to donate to its “special session fund” and to become part of its Rapid Response team, where individuals may be called on to testify with little advance notice.

In a subsequent Facebook post, Equality Texas wrote: “A special legislative session works a bit differently from a regular session. With only 30 days to complete the work, the urgency to show up and speak out is heightened. In addition, the regular deadlines we count on to stop some bills do not apply in a special session. A committee meeting can be called with only 30 minutes notice and a hearing will be announced only 24 hours in advance. We need you to become part of our Rapid Response Team to help us push back against the bill to ban trans youth from sports and any other anti-LGBTQ+ bills that may resurface during the special session.”

See also:

New Jersey appeals court requires conversion therapy practice to pay $3.5 million in legal fees

Anti-gay Catholic priest accused of having sex with men to “heal” their homosexuality

Young gay man beaten to death by mob in Spain

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