A new bill in Texas could essentially force transgender kids out of school sports in a roundabout way. Much like conservatives’ in the state attempt to outlaw abortion under the guise of protecting women’s health, this new bill purports to keep children drug-free. But it will really hurt transgender kids. The bill, backed by the Texas Senate, would give the University Interscholastic League (which governs high school sports) the power to kick students off of teams if they find that steroid use under a doctor’s care gets in the way of fair play.
Of course, much like professional leagues and universities, the UIL already bans steroid use in high school sports, but there was a protection in that law for transgender students who were getting hormone therapy as prescribed by a doctor. The new bill would revise that provision, so a transgender students’ hormonal therapy would be akin to some other student taking other types of steroids recreationally or without a doctor’s prescription.
See what they did there?
The bill would force transgender students to disclose their medical records to the UIL and then let the board decide. Luckily, there are some in Texas who see through the new bill’s revisions.
“I don’t believe we can sit back and ignore the fact that there are students who are transitioning and are taking legally prescribed medication from their doctors and they may be competing in UIL sports,” state Sen. José Menéndez said. However, four Democrats crossed the aisle and approved the bill. So now it just has to be signed by the governor.
Sen. Bob Hall, who introduced the bill, swears it’s just about fairness.
But “safe and fair” could mean not allowing a transgender student to compete, since total equality and acceptance of what “gender” means is still lost on many lawmakers. Just recently in Texas, there was a huge scandal after Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old transgender boy won the girls wrestling state championship while taking testosterone while under the current UIL steroid policy. Because the UIL forces students to compete on teams that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate, Beggs couldn’t compete on the boys team, even though he identifies as a boy.
In case you missed it, the timing of this new bill about steroid use comes suspiciously close to a transgender boy winning a girls competition, so it might not be about “fairness” in the way most people use the term. Hopefully, Texas will step up and do the right thing when it comes to transgender students and high school athletes. Like, let transgender students play on whatever gendered team they identify with, at the very least.