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Florida Republican introduces bill banning transgender girls from school sports

The director of Equality Florida, an LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Miami Herald that the bill only demonizes the transgender community.
Credit: SeanPavonePhoto, Thinkstock
The Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Republican lawmaker recently introduced a bill in the Florida Legislature that would ban transgender girls from participating in women's sports, the Miami Herald reports. 

HB 1475 filed late last month by State Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, also would require any dispute of the student's biological sex to be resolved by a health care provider by examinating "the student's reproductive anatomy."

Florida's bill to restrict transgender women in sports is like those elsewhere across the country. The New York Times reports, citing the ACLU, that at least 25 states have had similar bills introduced during this year's legislative sessions. 

Freedom for All Americans, an organization that champions protections for LGBTQ people and is tracking the status of similar bills, says some bills "ill almost certainly attempt to single out and target LGBTQ people for unfair and unequal treatment."

State Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who similarly introduced SB 2012, would allow transgender girls to participate in girls' sports but would need to reach the same testosterone standard of the Olympics, the Herald said. 

Neither she nor Tuck could cite an instance when interviewed by the newspaper where a transgender athlete unfairly impacted scholastic athletic competition in Florida.

"I don’t think we should wait until there is a problem to have a policy," Tuck told the Herald.

Gina Duncan, the director of transgender equality at Equality Florida, told the Herald that the bills are about "marginalizing and demonizing the transgender community." The newspaper, citing the Florida High School Athletic Association, says the organization allows students to participate in groups that align with a student’s "gender identity and expression, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s birth certificate."

The existing rules, Duncan told the newspaper, are enough.

"Transgender people who transition want to live an authentic and truthful life,” Duncan said. "This isn’t about 'I just want to present as a woman today to win a track meet.'"

About 550 NCAA student-athletes joined a letter last week demanding the NCAA to stop holding championships and events in states that have passed or are considering passing laws that would prohibit transgender girls' participation in school sports, Sports Illustrated reports.

The NCAA reportedly said it is monitoring the situation across the country. 

"The NCAA claims to prioritize the safety, excellence, and physical and emotional well being of its student athletes and asserts that all athletes deserve a fair shot. However, it is impossible for female athletes to feel safe and supported in environments where their personal identity and integrity is questioned," the letter reads, in part.

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