The Florida House passed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit school athletic teams and sports designated for girls and women from admitting males.
HB 1475, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, passed in the Republican-led state House by a vote of 77-40, mostly along party lines.
The bill would require admission to public school and college sports teams to be based on male/female sex, not gender identity.
The Hill reported the legislation, if enacted, “would require that sports team eligibility be based on a student’s ‘biological sex,’” and explained the phrase refers to “the sex assigned at birth.”
The legislation states:
It is the intent of the Legislature to maintain opportunities for female athletes to demonstrate their skill, strength, and athletic abilities while also providing them with opportunities to obtain recognition and accolades, college scholarships, and the numerous other long-term benefits that result from success in athletic endeavors and to promote sex equality by requiring the designation of separate sex-specific athletic teams or sports.
Additionally, the bill provides for the situation of “a dispute regarding a student’s sex” which “shall be resolved by the student’s school or institution by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form or other statement signed by the student’s personal health care provider which must verify the student’s biological sex.”
According to Fox 13, Florida Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R), the sponsor of the bill, argued that the legislation does not ban transgender students from participating in athletic teams and sports but is “simply asking that they play based on their biological gender.”
Tuck received an ovation from her GOP colleagues when she asserted the bill is “strictly to preserve the safety, integrity, fairness, and competitiveness of women’s sports.”
“This is about giving women and girls an equal chance to succeed,” added state Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R), a former tennis player and coach. “It’s simple, it’s clear. I’ve reviewed it.”
House Democrats, however, framed the legislation as an anti-LGBTQ bill.
“I don’t care how many times you tell yourself this is about women’s sports and not LGBTQ rights or discrimination, because that is wrong,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani (D).
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) reportedly said at a press conference hosted by LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida that, due to this type of legislation, “transgender children … have been weaponized and turned into political pawns.”
Smith complained about the Republican-led legislatures throughout the nation that have introduced similar bills.
Breitbart News reported Wednesday the NCAA Board of Governors, siding with LGBTQ activist groups, has announced it will no longer hold events in states that are not “free of discrimination.”
The board said it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” It recommended that, rather than ban biological males from women’s sports, that the men be required to undergo testosterone suppression treatments before competition, a method the NCAA board states “embraces the evolving science on this issue.”
As Fox 13 reported, the Senate version of the Florida bill (SB 2012) includes a provision for “persons who transition from male to female.”