As the radical left wrestles with the meanings of basic terms such as “woman,” “man,” “male,” and “female,” three Texas lawmakers have filed legislation that defines them in state law.

House Bill 3883 by Rep. Ellen Troxclair (R–Spicewood), House Bill 3902 by Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian), and Senate Bill 1082 by Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) each propose identical definitions for “female” and “male.”

In each bill, a female is defined as “an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova,” while a male is defined as “an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.” The bills authored by Troxclair and Harrison equate the terms “male” and “female” with “man” and “woman,” and further define “boy,” “girl,” “father,” and “mother.” They also define “sex” as “a person’s biological sex, either male or female.”

The definitions in each bill are borrowed from language espoused by The Women’s Bill of Rights, a joint project of the Independent Women’s Forum and the Women’s Liberation Front that aims to codify in state and federal law “the common public understanding of sex-based terms,” incorporating “current court precedent regarding single-sex spaces.” Their model legislation contains a list of assertions providing justification for establishing the legal definitions proposed, and this list is included as “legislative findings” in Troxclair’s and Hall’s bills.

Some of these assertions are basic facts such as:

  • “Males and females possess unique and immutable biological differences that manifest prior to birth and increase as they age and experience puberty.”
  • “Biological differences between the sexes mean that only females are able to get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed children.”
  • “Biological differences between the sexes mean that males are, on average, bigger, stronger, and faster than females.”
  • “Biological differences between the sexes leave females more physically vulnerable than males to specific forms of violence, including sexual violence.”
  • “Females have historically suffered from discrimination in education, athletics, and employment.”

The legislative findings further argue that separate spaces for each sex are warranted in some settings and that “inconsistencies in court rulings and policy initiatives … have led to endangerment of single-sex spaces and resources, necessitating clarification of certain terms.”

“HB 3883 provides a simple and common-sense explanation of what every person knows to be true, that men and women are not the same,” Troxclair told Texas Scorecard.

The progressive left is intent on redefining foundational truths—truths that our very Constitution assumes are “self-evident.” But despite their narrative, women do matter, and we will not let a woke mob erase our very identity from existence.

The bills come at a time when the issue of defining sex and gender has become a volatile political battle.

In March 2021, President Joe Biden created a Gender Policy Council “to advance gender equity and equality in both domestic and foreign policy development and implementation,” with one of its primary objectives being a review of the Trump administration’s actions to protect women’s rights.

Since then, his administration has reinterpreted federal civil rights legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” within the federal bureaucracy by health insurance companies, healthcare providers, and schools receiving federal financial assistance. This led to sweeping changes in the legal framework governing these institutions. For example, multiple gender options have been added to government documents, doctors have been required to perform “gender modification” surgeries despite their beliefs, and public schools have implemented policies allowing students to use the bathroom of their choice.

The Biden administration’s efforts to advance “transgender” rights dramatically escalated the intensity of the argument on the subject. Questions about “transgender” issues—such as men using women’s restrooms or participating in women’s sports and children being subjected to life-altering “gender modification” surgeries—have been fervently debated at various times during much of the last decade, but the controversy exploded into the spotlight when former University of Pennsylvania swimmer William Thomas—who now goes by Lia—won last year’s NCAA Division I title in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event. The previous year, he ranked 462nd in competition against other males.

Only a few days after Thomas won the national championship, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Kentucky famously askedSupreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson to define the word “woman” during a confirmation hearing. Brown replied that she could not, stating, “I’m not a biologist.”

Shortly after this exchange, Harrison and a group of Texas Republican lawmakers asked the same question of the Biden administration, but they never got an answer. When Harrison filed his bill on the subject, he said in a tweet, “Since the Biden administration has refused to disclose their definition of ‘woman’ or even if they have one, the State of Texas should do it for them.”

Although some have dismissed efforts to define basic biological terms as political posturing, Troxclair doesn’t have any illusions about what’s at stake.

“My own young girls are the inspiration for my ‘What is a Woman’ bill, HB 3883. If we do not stand up for them and their future, who will?”

HB 3883 and HB 3902 have not yet been referred to a committee, while SB 1082 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee.

Darrell Frost

Since graduating from Hillsdale College, Darrell has held key roles in winning political campaigns, managed a state legislator's Capitol office, and taught at a classical charter school. He enjoys participating in outdoor activities, playing the harmonica, and learning about the latest scientific developments.