AUSTIN, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Students who wish to participate in organized sports in Texas schools may now be required to prove their gender by submitting a birth certificate, after public school superintendents voted in February to enact the rule.
The amended rule, which now becomes part of the University Interscholastic League's (UIL) constitution, was approved by a vote of 586-32. Two of the superintendents abstained.
Under the rule, the school can now ask and must receive proof of the child's birth gender if they wish to participate in sports when the gender of the child is in question, or if the child claims to be of the gender he or she is clearly not.
Critics of the policy claim it unfairly targets transgender teens, but UIL officials claim the policy will prevent, for example, a transgender male from competing in female sports and having an unfair advantage.
Jamey Harrison, UIL policy director, claimed nothing new was being enacted in the rule, and that the procedure had always been to request a birth certificate. The amended constitution codifies the rule.
"When we were asked by a school for guidance, that was the recommendation we gave them, although we told them to work through their own process and own legal counsel as well," Harrison told the Dallas Morning News.
Still, in today's court system, transgender students can amend their birth certificates to change their gender (with their parent's permission).
If no birth certificate is available, the UIL rules state "other similar government documents used for the purpose of identification may be substituted."
UIL rules already require submission of the birth certificate if the age of the student athlete is in question.