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Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, signed a law preventing trans college athletes from competing in teams that align with their gender identity.

It serves as an expansion of Senate Bill 15, known as the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’, which refers to trans women as men and is framed as being a way to “protect” female athletes from what Abbott says is unfair competition.

“Women’s sports are being threatened,” he said while signing the bill last week. “Some women are being forced to compete against biological men.”

The law is due to take effect in Texas on 1 September and will allow individuals to take legal action against institutions that allow trans people to compete on the team that aligns with their gender identity.

Similar legislation impacting K-12 schools (from kindergarten to 12th grade) was signed in 2021.

READ MORE: Texas governor Greg Abbott signs bill banning gender-affirming care for trans youth

Marti Bier, the Vice President of Programs at the Texas Freedom Network, an organisation fighting conservative legislation and policies affecting education, told CNN: “SB 15 is yet another harmful attack from anti-LGBTQ lawmakers on transgender Texans’ right to be embraced, accepted, and able to thrive — particularly in Texas’ public universities and colleges.”

More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has been on the rise across several Republican-controlled states in the US, with the Human Rights Campaign tracking more than 500 such bills by the end of May.

The total number passed this year stood at 76 as of 7 June, a number higher than any year on record – prompting the organisation to declare a “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ people in the US.

READ MORE: Human Rights Campaign declares “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans

“We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year,” the Human Rights Campaign announced on 6 June.

“More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.”