AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Public high school across Texas are required to use birth certificates to determine the gender of student-athletes.
The rule passed after superintendents in Texas voted 586-32 in a Jan. referendum adopting the new policy.
The new policy may hinder the participation of transgender students but it does not prevent it.
Brad Thiessen, Athletic Director at Amarillo Independent School District, said this has been an evolving issue.
"The background behind it, the reasoning behind it is to just create a level playing field, and to make sure that nobody gains an advantage," Thiessen said. "With that kept in mind the birth certificate is the easiest way to determine gender."
Many transgender teenagers undergo hormone therapy, which means the playing field may already be leveled.
"If you consider a male to female who them wants to play female sports, when their on estrogen and their own testosterone suppressant therapy, their bone density decreases, their muscle mass decreases they become much more like a female," said Gerald Rogers, Clinical Sexologist.
Studies show when males change to female their bodies become very similar to someone who was born female.
The new law is even getting mixed reviews among local residents.
Some parents support the rule saying it will prevent students from being involuntarily exposed to the opposite sex, while others feel transgender youth already deal with so much oppression they don't need anymore.
In order for transgender athletes to play on the team they identify with they have to change the sex on their birth certificate, which can be an expensive and lengthy process.
"Generally it requires sexual reassignment surgery, being on hormone therapy for at least 2 years, and then having the name legally changed," Rogers said. "Those are the three criteria for the International Olympic Committee for athletes to play as their newly assigned sex."
Transgender people generally do not or cannot receive their sexual reassignment surgery until after they turn 18.
The new policy will take effect on Aug. 1.