By Tony Perkins
Plenty of parents have been fed up with Joe Biden’s fixation on letting boys into girls’ private spaces. But after the rape of one teenage girl in Loudoun County schools and the sexual assault of another, even fewer states are buying the line that the Left’s radical transgender policies don’t hurt anyone. If anything, it made states like Texas even more motivated to keep the two sexes separate — like voters demand, and students deserve.
It took four tries, but on Sunday, Lone Star Republicans (and a few Democrats) could finally celebrate the passage of a girls’ sports bill almost a year in the making. For members of the Texas House, that meant a draining, 10-hour debate that pit Biden’s party against common sense. For State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R) and State Sen. Charles Perry (R), who’d fought tooth and nail for this moment, it was “a long time coming.” Getting the bill through the House had been a major challenge this year, thanks to leading Democrats on the Public Education Committee who seemed determined to crush the dreams of female athletes.
This time around, conservatives tried a different approach: sending the bill through the Select Committee on Constitutional Rights, which happened to be chaired by a Republican, state Rep. Trent Ashby. When it looked like this version might actually have a shot, Perry and Swanson raced to capitalize on the special session Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) had called. “Moving with haste,” Austin reporters noted, Republicans hurried to use the last window of opportunity they might have.
“We need a statewide level playing field,” Swanson insisted during a debate that turned intensely emotional. Sticking close to the script, Biden’s party argued the bill was a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. We should be addressing real issues, Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D) scoffed, “not some boogeyman threat to little girls that doesn’t exist.” State Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D) piled on, calling it a “non-issue” that’s just used “to gin up hate.”
By then, Republicans had heard enough. “Our constituents expect us to see problems that are coming and not wait until there’s a disaster until everything falls apart, and then try to fix it,” Swanson fired back. And, “What about the females that are trying to play sports and compete and get scholarships, and they’re forced to play against people that are created differently. Are you thinking about them at all?” Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) asked Rosenthal. “Are you concerned about them at all, sir?”
Turns out, enough of the assembly was concerned to pass the bill 76-61 (with the help of Democrat Rep. Ryan Guillen) and send it over to the state senate late Friday night. There, in a night-and-day contrast from the other chamber, the two parties skipped debate and voted to advance the legislation 19-12 — with one Democrat, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, breaking with his party to support it. “A lot of times we say bills are transformational,” Perry told reporters afterward. “This is actually one that drew the line in the sand: that biological females should stay with biological females and biological males should stay with biological males.” When the media pushed back, arguing that Texas could lose their hosting rights for NCAA championships and other sporting events, Perry said simply, “Sometimes, things are worth more than money.”
Abbott obviously agrees. For weeks, he refused to bend on a bill that it was obvious woke members were going to fight him on. After statehouse Democrats fled the Capitol in protest this summer — eating up more than a month of the legislative clock — the governor refused to bend, adding the girls’ sports issue to the agendas of all three special sessions he’s called. As early as April, Abbott pointed out in a Fox News townhall that, “For five years, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in Texas has had a rule in place prohibiting boys from playing girls in girls’ sports. “But the Texas Legislature is working on a bill to codify that, which I will sign.”
When he does, it will send a resounding message from America’s second largest state (and arguably the biggest where high school and collegiate sports are concerned) that standing up for women’s rights and safety matters. If the Left wants to continue sacrificing our daughters on the altar of radical transgenderism, they can pay the political price. It’s when they insist there is no problem — like Democrats in Texas, Virginia, and all across the country have done — that ensures young women will be the ones paying for it.
Robert Stein, a political science professor at Houston’s Rice University, sounded an awful lot like embattled Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler, when he said, “There’s no evidence that there’s a problem.” But the problem exists all right — and in too many places, girls have the scars to prove it. How many more young women need to be raped, violated in their locker rooms, knocked off their sports’ top standings, or disqualified from scholarships because Democrats want to be “welcoming and affirming?”
Texas just took an important step by telling Democrats, “Hands off our female athletes.” Forty more states should be pressured to do the same.