Gov. Abbott holds ceremonial signing for 'Save Women's Sports Act'

Gov. Greg Abbott ceremonially signed the "Save Women’s Sports Act" at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in Denton Monday afternoon.  

"We gather today to safeguard that legacy for women in college sports," said Abbott.

The measure, also known as SB-15, bars trans athletes who are born male from competing on women’s teams at Texas colleges and universities.

"Women’s sports, women's records, women's teams, women's locker rooms, all are jeopardized when biological men are allowed to compete," said Abbott.

Abbott officially signed the bill in June after it was passed by the legislature.

"He sent a message to approximately 15 million Texan women that they will be treated fairly on the playing fields in the sport arenas and inside the locker rooms," said Gaines.

Gaines and Scanlan both competed against trans swimmer Lia Thomas, whose championship win they say exemplifies the need for this law.

"I hope other states follow in Texas' footsteps and make the pro women's choice to protect our sports," said Scanlan.

But opponents say this law is a solution in search of a problem.

"Having transgender teammates is not one of the threats to women's sports," said Ricardo Martinez, president of Equality Texas.

Martinez says the Save Women’s Sports Act is straight-up discrimination, and a loss for inclusion on college campuses.

"Bans do not allow for universities to think through innovative ideas on how to both improve women's sports and allow a small number of trans athletes to participate and compete," said Martinez.

More broadly, Martinez believes this and other bills passed in the legislature this year puts a target on the backs of LGBTQ Texans.

"We have seen a marked increase in phone calls to Equality Texas and our partner organizations of people experiencing violence, people experiencing bullying, harassment, discrimination. We're seeing more of it. And that's unfortunately what we expected to see," said Martinez.

Two years ago, Abbott signed a similar law requiring transgender high school athletes to compete only on teams that correspond to their biological sex.