Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill on Monday banning transgender girls from competing in female sports at public schools.

Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, a trans rights advocacy group, denounced the law. “We are devastated at the passage of this bill,” he said. “Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, and the many emails and calls our community placed to the governor’s office to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law.”

Martinez continued: “Most immediately, our focus is our community and integrating concepts of healing justice to provide advocates who have already been harmed by this bill with spaces to refill their cup and unpack the acute trauma caused by these legislative sessions. Our organizations will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGBT+ people is wrong.”

The bill is set to take effect on January 18, 2022. Proponents of the bill claim it will promote “fairness” in school sporting competitions, citing the perceived physical advantage of transgender women athletes.

Back in March 2020, Idaho also attempted to ban athletes who were assigned male at birth from competing in female sports leagues in public schools or colleges. However, enforcement of the ban was blocked by a federal court.

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia, have tried to enact similar legislation.

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