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Texas Governor Signs Bill Restricting Participation for Transgender Student Athletes

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On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 25, which will prohibit transgender athletes from participating on K-12 school sports teams that align with their gender identity, Allyson Waller of The Texas Tribune reports.

The bill, which was authored by Republican state representative Valerie Swanson, requires athletes to participate on teams that are consistent with the sex listed on their birth certificates. It will take effect on Jan. 18.

Swanson has asserted that the bill aims to uphold Title IX and secure fairness in girls' sports. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in sports on the basis of sex.

“It's so very, very important that we protect everything that women have gained in the last 50 years,” Swanson said.

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Abbott's decision follows similar action taken by governors in other states earlier this year, including Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

The ACLU is exploring legal options in response to the bill's signing, according to policy and advocacy strategist Adri Pérez, adding that schools enforcing the new law could be subject to lawsuits stemming from potential variation in enforcement across over 1,000 state school districts.

In the meantime, advocacy groups—like Equality Texas—will refocus their efforts to fight for trans rights throughout the state.

“Our organizations will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues," Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez said. "(We will) prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and [LGBTQ] people is wrong."

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