Florida House set to take up ban on transgender athletes in girls’ athletics

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill to ban transgender athletes from taking part in girls or women’s athletics is headed to the full Florida House on Tuesday, one week after it passed its final committee stop.

The bill (HB 1475) would apply to all levels of school sports from grade school to collegiate. 

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Under the bill, participation would be based on the students biological sex with the bill stipulating three ways for determining gender.  If there is a dispute, the student’s personal health care provider would be asked to in a physical exam determine the student’s reproductive anatomy or the student’s genetic makeup, or the student’s normal endogenously produced testosterone levels.

“This is not a discrimination bill, this is to protect the integrity of women’s sports and make sure that every woman at every level can compete on a level playing field,” said Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R - Sebring), the bill’s sponsor during its final committee stop.

READ: Florida House advances ban on transgender athletes in girls’ athletics

But opponents say the bill is not backed by scientific consensus and only seeks to marginalize an already vulnerable group adding that the bill seeks to solve a problem that is not currently a problem in the state.

“Transgender students have been participating in team sports in the state of Florida without incident since 2013,” said Rep Carlos Guillermo Smith (D – Orlando) in a Monday conference call with the media.  “There is never been a single complaint, there’s never been a single incident and now here we have this legislation.”

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Democrats have filed 19-amendments for the bill, which will be heard on Tuesday.

Florida is currently one of 30 states advancing bans on transgender athletes competing in girls or women’s sports.

A similar bill in the Florida Senate passed its second committee stop late last month.