Florida’s House voted in favor of the cruel bill; now the measure moves to the state Senate
Quick question for all y’all: what’s up with these GOP lawmakers’ obsession with messing with the lives and happiness of transgender kids? Florida’s House passed an anti-trans bill last week that would prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams. If the bill passes the state Senate, it would allow schools to require visual proof of a student’s biological sex. The bill moved forward as dozens of other anti-trans bills are being introduced throughout the country.
The bill, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, passed the Florida GOP-controlled House 77-40. Except for two reps who didn’t vote, every Republican rep voted in favor of the bill. If the legislation clears the state Senate, it will land on the desk of Governor Rick DeSantis who could sign it into law.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kaylee Tuck, would “maintain opportunities for female athletes” by barring transgender girls from competing on women-only athletics teams.
That’s gross enough, but in a disturbing twist, the bill would allow the school or another party to “dispute” a student’s gender, which would force the student to provide proof of biological sex from a health care provider through a physical exam, genetic test, or bloodwork which shows testosterone levels.
It remains to be seen how the formal complaint process will be handled, other than it would be up to Florida’s Board of Education to create the procedure. (The Tampa Times reports that Tuck’s father is the chair of the Florida Board of Education).
The bill appears to be modeled after an Idaho law that was temporarily struck down by a federal judge last year.
As stated by GLAAD, a nonprofit group committed to the LGBTQ+ community, 122 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being introduced in several states; those encompass more than 50 bills that seek to ban trans players from participating in athletics and 35 bills that target health care access for trans youth. In March alone, states including Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas adopted bills that ban trans athletes from competing as their gender in school athletics.
The NCAA voiced support of trans athletes and hinted it would not hold championship events in states that have discriminatory laws. The organization also restated its policy on trans athletes, which involves mandating trans women to undergo testosterone suppression treatment to compete on women-only teams.
Many in favor of prohibiting trans girls and women from participating in athletics as their gender often quote contested data about contrasting physiological traits in women and men. The NCAA wrote in its policy that fears about trans women competing on women’s teams are “not well-founded” and are based on assumptions.
“The assumption that all male-bodied people are taller, stronger, and more highly skilled in a sport than all female-bodied people is not accurate,” the policy says.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that the bill was scheduled to be heard in a Senate committee Wednesday, but the legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Kelli Stargel postponed that discussion.
When the outlet asked if the hearing had been delayed because NCAA signaled it might pull championships from states with laws suppressing the rights of trans athletes, Stargel answered, “No.”
The current wave of anti-trans laws has become a big component of the Republican party’s agenda. The Republican party at large has a track record of backing laws limiting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community for years, notably lobbying against marriage equality before it was legalized under the Obama presidency in 2015.