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Texas' transgender sports law goes into effect Jan. 18

The law requires transgender student-athletes to play on sports teams based on the sex assigned at or near their birth.

TEXAS, USA — A new requirement for transgender student-athletes goes into effect on Tuesday.

In October, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that would require transgender student-athletes to play on sports teams based on the sex assigned at or near their birth. The law does include an exception for girls who want to play a sport that doesn't have a girls' team, like football. 

The Texas Legislature passed the bill during its third special session of 2021. In past sessions, the bill had always died in the Texas House. 

White House officials, as well as many Texas residents and organizations, have spoken out against the legislation. LGBTQ advocates have said it is harmful to transgender youth. 

"It's truly sad that this is the political priority of certain folks in power, instead of ensuring that folks have access to safe and supportive environments," Armonte Butler with Advocates for Youth told KVUE in October. "It's truly sad."

Butler said that along with limiting transgender athletes' ability to play sports, the legislation is also "a narrative that stigmatizes, shames and, to an extent, criminalizes trans youth."

However, supporters argue the legislation does not keep anyone from playing a sport and that it just keeps things fair for athletes and protects women's sports. 

"We think this will be great for Texas, especially Texas girls, because it makes sure that they can compete on a level playing field and that they don't lose out on opportunities for scholarships and championships because they have to compete against a biological male," Mary Castle with Texas Values told KVUE in October.

Castle also said the bill ensures that Title IX protections stay in place.

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