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Local group wary of LGBTQ+ rights with new Legislative session

InterWaco, a LGBTQ+ community group is worried certain bills that will be presented during the 88th Legislative session will be concerning for the LGBTQ+ community.

WACO, Texas — The 88th Legislative session brings some worry for an LGBTQ+ group in Waco.

Bills will be brought up in this session that could prevent sexual orientation studies from entering classrooms until a certain grade level.

Carmen Saenz, the founder of InterWaco, said this kind of legislation makes life harder for the LGBTQ+ community in Waco, pushing some families to feel they don't belong in Texas anymore.

Saenz added that preventing trans women from participating in sports could be detrimental to their well being.

"Somebody who is transgender female is female no matter what," she said, "Again, I think it's targeting the community based out of fear."

A bill, proposed by Valerie Swanson, would keep a transgender student from participating in an athletic team or sport that is with the gender they identify with rather than their biological sex.

Athletes, who identify as female, have spoken out against transgender women in sports.

"During all four years of high school, I was forced to compete against biological males and lost," Selina Soule, a former track and field athlete from CT, said.

In a message to the public about her upset over this, Soule said, "We [the team] were told that we [the team] have the right to participate but not the right to win".

Other bills proposed could keep sexual orientation studies from entering classrooms until the 5th or 8th grade.

For example, Representative Steve Toth's bill states that teachings should not happen in a way that isn't age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards. His bill, if passed would keep sexual orientation teachings away from the classroom until 5th grade.

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