FLORIDA – On Wednesday April 14, the Florida House passed a bill that would ultimately ban transgender females from playing on girls’ and women’s school sports teams.
House Bill 1475 passed 77-40 with all Republican representatives voting in favor – except two that didn’t vote – and all but one Democrat opposing.
The bill, called the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” would require female student athletes to play on the sports team of their assigned-at-birth sex, “prohibiting athletic teams or sports designated for female students to be open to male students.”
If there is question about the student’s sex, the student’s genitals would be examined by a health care provider. The student’s sex would then be based off of their biological makeup and anatomy.
“A dispute regarding a student’s sex shall be resolved… by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form… signed by the student’s personal health care provider which must verify the student’s biological sex,” states the bill.
According to the bill, a health care provider would verify the student’s biological sex as “part of a routine sports physical examination” by identifying:
- The student’s reproductive anatomy
- The student’s genetic makeup
- The student’s normal endogenously produced testosterone levels
But gender and sex are not always black and white. The term “biological sex” doesn’t “fully capture the complex biological, anatomical, and chromosomal variations that can occur.”
According to those in support of the bill, its purpose is to ensure fair competition in school sports.
“This is about giving women and girls an equal chance to succeed. It’s simple, it’s clear, I’ve reviewed it,” said Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka in a statement.
But others are calling this measure an anti-trans bill.
“This bill is codifying into law the ability for academic settings and schools to be able to bully and to harm our most vulnerable children,” Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby said in a statement. “Children are children. Transgender, cisgender. And they deserve to be loved, supported, and honored for who they are.”
Under rules adopted by the Florida High School Athletic Association, transgender students have been playing on their respective sports teams since 2013.
On April 12, the NCAA Board of Governors released a statement expressing its support for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.
“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” the statement said.
“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
This means that the NCAA may not hold championships in Florida if the bill goes into effect.