Last week, a Texas Democratic state legislator, testifying against a bill that would bar transgender athletes from participating in sports at the K-12 level, insisted that there are six biological sexes.
Democrat James Talarico, questioning Republican state Representative Cole Hefner, who sponsored House Bill 4042, stated, “The bill seems to think there are two. The one thing I want us to all be aware of is that modern science obviously recognizes that there are many more than two biological sexes. In fact, there are six, which honestly, Representative Hefner, surprised me, too, because I am not well-versed in this issue area. I’m not a scientist; I’m a politician, a lot worse than a scientist…”
Prior to those comments, Talarico attacked the bill by citing the emotional impact of the issue, asking Hefner, “You know, I don’t want to play ‘got you’ with questions … I want to ask you a serious question. Do you, as the author, know why so many people are upset about this bill?”
“No, I don’t know that I could answer that,” Hefner answered.
“It’s hard to be a kid in school … especially if you’re different,” Talarico said. “I was a school teacher before I came to this body. And when I was growing up … I was not that different. I was cisgender, which means my gender identity aligned with my assigned sex at birth, so I wasn’t different in that regard. I wasn’t different in a lot of regards, but school was still hard. It’s still hard growing up, it’s still hard in being a kid. … Can you imagine being a trans kid in school and how this bill in particular, might make you feel?”
Hefner pointed out that boys and girls are biologically different and that girls could feel unsafe competing against boys.
Talarico followed by quoting a statistic that 42% of high school trans student in Texas had considered suicide, although he offered no evidence as to what had impelled such thoughts, then said, “Which of those sounds like a bigger problem to tackle with legislation?”
Hefner then returned fire, saying he had a question to answer Talarico’s question. He stated:
Let’s say we have a young girl from rural east Texas where I’m from, where we have a lot of people that live in the poverty level. Or we have a young lady in inner city Houston or Dallas. And they have a dream of being a doctor or a lawyer or maybe a high school volleyball coach. And their family doesn’t have the means to send that little girl to a college. They just don’t have the financial means.
And so this young lady is good at sports, so she applies herself at a young age and she works and sacrifices and dedicates herself for years with dreams of going to college on a scholarship and she gets to that high school level and she’s qualifying through all the levels, she’s moving up the ladder, about to achieve that dream. And then we have someone who’s born a biological male who has an unfair advantage… And then her dream of going to college and becoming that doctor, that lawyer, are taken away. What about her mental health? Her emotional state?
Jennifer Evans, from Save Women’s Sports, who has a son and a daughter, testified, “I’ve been an athlete all of my life. I’ve played soccer, gymnastics, track, I’ve coached track, I’ve coached co-ed soccer; both of my children are athletes. I’ve had a lot of experience seeing the difference between biological males and females, on the field and with my very own eyes.”
“Let me tell you about my daughter,” she continued. “Macy is a senior in high school and has been working very hard to earn a track scholarship since she was a little girl. She used to run around the house when she was little just because she wanted to run; she ran loops. She attended a small private school and topped out at her level of competition by winning state in the 400-meter dash as a sophomore. As a junior she transferred to a large public school to increase competition and increase the odds of running in college, which is her goal.”
“It was a sacrifice she chose to make, leaving her friend group of ten years, to achieve her goal,” Evans explained. “However, she lost that season and summer track due to COVID, but persevered on her own, jumping fences at high schools, running around park trails, lifting weights at home. I’m proud and joyful today to say that her tenacity, drive, and dedication has earned her spot at a D-1 college track team. Her dad and I couldn’t be more proud of her hard work and achievement.”
“However, she now faces an insurmountable obstacle: one that no amount of training or dedication could overcome, and that’s competing against a male,” Evans warned. “All of her years of hard work, overcoming adversity, shaving fractions of a second off her time, could be crushed by one male. The fact is, college-level runners easily could be beaten by high school boys, and yes, even by middle-school boys. One of the fastest female runners in the world … can be outrun by almost 300 school boys. She’s a gold medalist. We must simply look with our own eyes as rational human beings just to realize how unequal the competition is. We must put facts before feelings.”
Save Women’s Sports President Beth Stelzer countered Talarico, saying of the number of sexes, “They are dimorphic: XX, XY. The other ‘sexes’ mentioned are disorders of sexual development that are variants of XX or XY chromosomes. They are still disorders of male or female.”