AUSTIN, Texas — After nearly ten months of battling against Texas Republicans’ anti-trans, anti-child attacks, the GOP’s cruel House Bill 25 passed the Texas House Thursday night. Now one step closer to becoming yet another harmful Republican law, the bill heads to the Texas Senate for a vote.
The bill’s author was not able to point to a single child who actually benefits from H.B. 25 — which aims to block trans kids from playing sports on teams that match their gender identity. Despite repeated questioning, there was no evidence brought forth by either the bill author, schools, or school districts showing that there is a fairness problem in school sports. After massive mobilization by trans advocates and allies blocked this bill in the regular 2021 legislative session, Republicans have repeatedly revived the bill in irregular added legislative sessions — twisting normal lawmaking procedure to push these attacks forward, and ignoring powerful testimony from trans activists, parents, kids, educators, and mental health advocates on the harm this bill will do.
As if this bill weren’t harmful enough, H.B. 25 is far from the only Republican attack LGBTQ+ Texans have faced this year. Advocates are sounding the alarm about skyrocketing rates of mental health crises among trans kids in Texas due to proposed Republican legislation, and the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ hotline, recently reported that calls from Texas youth are up 150 percent compared to 2020. Despite this crisis, Republicans have persisted in their campaign of cruelty — even going so far as to take down a webpage with resources for young LGBTQ+ Texans from the state Department of Family and Protective Services website, including a suicide hotline, earlier this week. Gov. Abbott’s office was directly consulted in the decision to remove the resources — an apparent response to pressure from Abbott primary opponent Don Huffines.
Texas Democratic Party Co-Executive Director Jamarr Brown issued the following statement:
“All kids should be able to play sports with their classmates and friends. But, Greg Abbott and Texas Republicans are hellbent on stopping trans kids from being able to play sports on teams because of their gender identity — cutting kids off from the many benefits of group sports, and subjecting kids to invasive privacy violations. When Texas House Republicans voted to pass H.B. 25 in the middle of the night, they legislated cruelty and hate. It’s as simple as that.
“I’m deeply grateful to the many trans advocates and partner organizations who have led the fight against this bill all year long. I’m also in awe of the kids and parents who have stood bravely before these elected officials, time and time again, begging them to just let them play. Texas Democrats will continue to stand with you and fight for a Texas free of these hateful attacks. To trans kids across Texas: we see you, and we love you.
“For anyone needing support or resources during this painful time, I encourage you to reach out to the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. Y’all means all.”