The Florida legislature passed a bill Wednesday night that would ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports at the high school and college levels.
The state House had earlier approved the bill, but it did not advance in the Florida Senate. Ultimately, the ban was made part of a popular charter school bill and was passed by a vote of 23-16 in the Senate, reported the News Service of Florida.
The bill is now on the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Florida joins Montana in having a bill to protect female sports sitting on their Governor's desk!
Who will be the next to sign it into law?https://t.co/PRUYYWBnzl
— Save Women's Sports (@SaveWomensSport) April 29, 2021
The legislation would require eligibility to play on female sports teams based on “biological sex” on the birth certificate.
State Sen. Victor Torres (D) criticized the bill, as did LGBTQ activists.
“We don’t need to destroy the lives of those children and their futures. If they want to play, let them play,” he said. “We don’t need this. We thought it was dead. But obviously, some don’t care. And we have to care.”
“Republican leadership is hellbent on harming transgender youth and kicking kids off of their soccer teams — and they’ve resorted to making backroom deals to resurrect and pass this bigoted bill in the final hours of legislative session,” said Gina Duncan, director of transgender equality for Equality Florida.
However, Florida Sen. Kelli Stargel (R) said it is “common knowledge” that males are stronger physically than females.
“It’s not meant to be hurtful. It’s not meant to be discriminating. It’s not meant to attack any group,” Stargel said. “This is not about that. This is about sports and having competitive advantage and having the ability to compete.”
“We’re doing this so that women have the opportunity to participate, to get scholarships, to excel with other women of like strength and capability,” she added.