SAN ANTONIO - "There being 76 siding and 54 nays, HB 25 is passed."
“When a governor calls three special sessions, and he's been gunning for transgender children since day one," states Jennifer Dodd.
This is MJ - a 9-year-old transgender boy. His mom, Jennifer Dodd, moved him and his twin sister more than 3,500 miles to Hawaii two years ago.
"He didn't know what bathroom to use, because there was no bathroom for him,” says Dodd. “He would go into, if he went into the girls bathroom. Everyone would look at him like, oh that's MJ, he, he's a really, he's not a girl.”
As a transgender parent, her greatest fear -- MJ facing more roadblocks -- like House Bill 25.
“Not only trans youth but supporters of trans folks are having to fight for the basic rights and their dignity and it’s disheartening,” says Robert Salcido Jr., Executive Director of Pride Center San Antonio.
The bill restricting transgender students from playing in school sports teams was amended and voted on one last time on Sunday. With a 76 to 61 vote, the bill is now headed to Governor Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.
“The potential for this to affect, it has far reaches beyond just the trans community,” says Robert Salcido Jr. “It also affects our non-binary students as well as cisgender girls, again, who all just want to play sports -- but their gender could certainly be called into question.”
That’s because HB 25 says athletes born male must play in boys sports teams
And those born females are only allowed to play in girls teams unless an all-girls team doesn’t exist.
“We're really excited that HB 25 has finally crossed the finish line. So that girls can now be champions in their own sports and not just spectators,” says Mary Castle, Senior Policy Advisor with Texas Values.
Passionate voices on both sides of the issue have been heard outside the Capitol throughout regular and special sessions
Reporter: “Why are women's sports threatened by transgender students?”
Mary Castle: “Whenever biological males compete in female sports, the biology just stands out. They are still stronger and faster and they still dominate by large margins in female sports, and it just makes it simply unfair.”
Robert Salcido Jr.: “It’s not accurate because there are no cases here in Texas or really anywhere of trans girls who are excelling in sports, that are taking away opportunities as they stayed at scholarship opportunities -- that’s just a false statement.”
Jennifer Dodd: “To say that a transgender woman is not a woman. And that's a really narrow-minded view of gender.”
The Pride Center of San Antonio says 2 to 3 percent of our overall population in San Antonio and the surrounding areas identify as transgender -- a population they say is already experiencing prejudice, bias, harassment - anxiety, and at times violence.
While Texas Values doesn’t condone bullying or harassment, they say HB 25 goes well beyond the playing field.
A biological male could be in a female private space, and so that's also a concern,” says Mary Castle.
The Pride Center of San Antonio says they are working with state partners to reverse the bill.
We also reached out to our local school districts. Northside ISD says HB 25 will not have a direct impact on Northside students. They say the district will continue to comply with UIL rules.
We'll let you know when we hear from the other districts.