Florida House advances ban on transgender athletes in girls’ athletics

ORLANDO, Fla. — A bill to ban transgender athletes from taking part in girls or women’s athletics is now ready for a full vote in the Florida House. On Tuesday, the House Education and Employment committee voted 15 to 6 to advance the bill out of its final committee stop.

The bill (HB 1475) would apply to all levels of school sports from grade school to collegiate. Under the bill, participation would be based on the student’s 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 to determine the student’s reproductive anatomy, the student’s genetic makeup or the student’s normal endogenously produced testosterone levels.

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“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.

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.

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“The fears that boys or men will pretend to be females to compete on a woman’s team are unwarranted given the entire 40 years history of sex verification in international competition, no such instances of such fraud have been found,” said Rep Kristen Arrington (D – Kissimmee). “Would any teenage boy go through transition just to receive a scholarship or receive an advantage in sports?”

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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 last Wednesday.

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