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Texas House passes bill targeting transgender students in sports

The bill would require students at public schools to play on sports teams based on the genders on their birth certificates.

The Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would bar transgender students from playing on school sports teams based on their gender identities.

House Bill 25 would require that public school athletic teams must be based on students' genders on their birth certificates at or near the time of birth.

"The Texas House just voted to discriminate against trans kids and exclude them from playing sports as their authentic selves," the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas tweeted, adding that the fight against it and similar bills was not over.

The House passed the bill 76-54.

A coalition of businesses in Texas released a letter this week that opposed what it called efforts to exclude transgender youths from participation in their communities. Amazon, American Airlines and Dell are listed among the signatories.

Rep. Valoree Swanson, a Republican who sponsored the bill, has argued that it would protect equal participation of girls in school sports.

The University Interscholastic League, which governs K-12 public school sports in Texas, uses birth certificates to determine gender, but it recognizes certificates that are amended, according to its website.

Rep. Stephanie Klick, a Republican who co-authored the bill, also said it was about fairness to girls.

Democrats have pointed out that no complaints have been filed with the interscholastic league about specific transgender athletes competing in girls' sports, NBC affiliate KXAN of Austin reported.

The bill will next go to the Senate.