Senators gave their final approval today to legislation prohibiting biological men from competing in women’s sports at the collegiate level in Texas.

Senate Bill 15 passed along party lines – 19 Republicans voted for it while eight Democrats were opposed (three Democrats didn’t vote while a fourth was absent).

The controversy over biological men participating in women’s sports has erupted in recent years, and it was thrust into the national spotlight when University of Pennsylvania “transgender” swimmer William Thomas (who now goes by Lia) consistently dominated his female competition and won the 2022 NCAA Division I national championship in the 500-yard freestyle event. Thomas was ranked 462nd in the men’s division the previous year.

SB 15 was authored by Galveston Republican Mayes Middleton with the strong support of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – who made the issue one of his priorities for the session.

“In athletic competitions across America, statistics show the reality that men can run and swim faster, throw farther and jump higher than women,” said Patrick in a statement. “Women have been fighting for equality in sports for decades and have achieved massive success as athletes. Allowing men to play women’s college sports, in denial of basic common sense, deprives them of the right to be the best in their sport.”

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was quick to praise the action: “Honoring and protecting every women is the duty of every man. Transgenderism is a dangerous and mocking perversion of womanhood.”

The measure faces an uncertain future in the Texas House. Similar legislation has been filed there by State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring), but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the State Affairs Committee.

Last session, lawmakers enacted legislation to protect girls participating in K-12 sports in Texas.

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