The Senate Committee on Health & Human Services met on September 21st to take up SB 3 (Perry) relating to requiring public school students to compete in interscholastic athletic competitions based on biological sex. SB 3 was voted out at the end of the hearing (5-3).

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.

SB 3 (Perry) Relating to requiring public school students to compete in interscholastic athletic competitions based on biological sex.

  • Perry – UIL only version of the bill, seeing increases in minors getting birth certificates corrections, not difficult for people to do
  • Kolkhorst – Statistics are from where?
    • Perry – UIL provided statistics at prior hearings, changing sex markers has been trending up

Spotlight on Public Testimony

Below is a spotlight on the public testimony given at the hearing. In addition to those that spoke, 3 witnesses registered for and 76 witnesses registered against, but did not testify

Michael Belsick, Self – For

  • Supports SB 3 and women’s right to compete, highlights differences between male and female competitors

Alison Mohr Boleware, National Association of Social Workers – Against

  • Legislation like this causes negative mental health impact, social workers are very concerned
  • Kolkhorst – Have been very consistent

Mary Elizabeth Castle, Texas Values – For

  • Olympic committee re-evaluating criteria after Laurel Hubbard competed
  • This bill has popular support, highlights positive impact of participation in sports
  • Blanco – How did the Olympic athlete do?
    • Laurel Hubbard didn’t win, not sure if it was because of talent or social pressure, beat out several female athletes

Susana Carranza, League of Women Voters – Against

  • Against SB 3, saddened that body is wasting resources on bill that is hurtful for little benefit instead of solving more important issues

Ash Hall, Self – Against

  • Community is protesting hearing due to hostile attitude of the Committee, would hope the Committee receives training and could apologize for foul behavior

Valerie DeBill, Self – Against

  • Trans youth not showing up today due to attitude of the community; businesses are not moving to Texas due to legislative push

Eli McNeilly, Self – Against

  • Bill is in UIL rule, participated in sports and suffered injury and harassment

Jonathan Covey, Texas Values Action – For

  • Bill is an issue in Texas and other states, purpose is not against trans youth; majority of people agree
  • Blanco – How is the bill going to be enforced?
    • Will be statute, will be enforced according to birth certificates
  • Blanco – But how will it be enforced?
    • ISDs and UIL
  • Blanco – Not clear on enforcement?
  • Perry – UIL currently has a process, challenge process from students, based on circumstances of the challenge; doesn’t prevent participation in sports

Holt Lackey, Equality Texas – Against

  • Joining coalition partners in boycott, legislature has held many hearings on non-issue of transgender youth; no cases in Texas of trans women affecting competition
  • Continued hearings are an empty exercise that cannot do anything but expose children to trauma
  • Kolkhorst – Issues with enforceable?
    • Changes incentive and likelihood of enforcement, creates incentive for challenges to happen more often
  • Kolkhorst – Saying that cisgender women could be challenged as well?
    • Any number of female athletes
  • Kolkhorst – We are hearing you, but concerned about potential for someone older who transitions to have an advantage and cause potential harm
  • Blanco – Does SB 3 provide any guidance for when, how, where, why a student’s gender can be called into question?
    • I don’t think there is any guidance
  • Perry – Can challenges be made currently?
    • Yes
  • Perry – Bill doesn’t speak to anything to change that; sensitive to the challenges, issue is evolving; can disagree on import and frequency, have faith heightened awareness
  • Perry – Hearing of negative effect of hearings; wasn’t listening to Senate hearings when I was 12, not sure where students are getting the message
    • Transgender students are under Title IX, facing heightened scrutiny, actions cannot be merely speculative and must be compelling interest being advanced
    • Often worrying about potential problems, but need to tread more lightly
    • Transgender children are getting message because they are the group being impacted in terms of which sport they can play, getting the message they are being excluded by UIL rules
  • Perry – Not sure I agree with Supreme Court ruling as being end all, be all; different fact patter, concerned about people deciding to identify as female for advantage
  • Perry – Stealing opportunity from female, is that not a concern?
    • Not realistic to say that people just decide to become female; wide biological differences exist between cisgender men and women
    • For a student who is a girl in all senses under the law, makes sense for that student to participate in girls’ sports

Danielle Skidmore, Self – Against

  • SB 3 seeks to solve imaginary problem of trans youth dominating sports, bills is part of coordinated attack against trans youth; should stop attacking transgender Texans

Denise Seibert, Self – For

  • Mental and physical health of women being disregarded, god created men and women

SB 3 voted out 5-3