A Florida House bill was passed last week that bans transgender girls from playing girls sports and provides for inspections of "disputed" athletes before they can play.
The proposed HB 1475 was passed by the Republican-controlled Florida House, with the bill now going to the state Senate.
The controversial bill drew a lot of criticism, especially since it would negatively affect children.
The bill, called the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act" passed the House on a near party line of 77-40 vote. One Democrat, Representative James Bush of Miami, voted with the Republicans to pass the measure.
Critics of the bill say it is bigoted and unnecessary. The Florida High School Athletic Association, the NCAA and the IOC already have policies for trans students to play on high school, college teams and Olympic teams. No documented problems have ever arisen and trans girls and women are not dominating their sports despite it being a primary argument against trans equality.
House bill sponsor, Republican Kaylee Tuck of Lake Placid, Florida, doesn't think these longstanding rules put in place by athletic experts go far enough. She argued her bill doesn't ban trans girls from participating in sports but instead forces them to play on teams based on their "biological gender."
The idea of a set-in-stone biological sex that someone is born with, and determined by unsound science is one that oversimplifies what gender is in humans. Experts have repeatedly called for bad science to not be used to justify bigotry.
To try and account for this, Rep. Tuck's bill requires an examination of disputed athletes to verify their sex based on one or more of the following:
- The student's reproductive anatomy/visible genitals
- The student's genetic makeup
- The student's normal endogenously produced testosterone levels
It's important to note all three of these tests could produce different conclusions in the same individual. Many cisgender girls with conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome could also be banned based on these metrics.
Back in 2017, a cisgender girl was barred from playing in a soccer tournament because officials thought she looked "like a boy" despite documentation proving she was a cisgender girl.
With the new Florida GOP anti-trans bill, those same officials could now demand to see the girl's genitals as proof. The cisgender girl was only 8 years old.
It's an incredibly invasive testing standard that's not clearly defined, and far above and beyond what a standard physical would call for.
Many other states have anti-trans bills, with the topic of trans athletes becoming a wedge issue the Republicans are using to try and scare parents. Republican Senator Rand Paul scare mongered people by speaking of "hulking six-foot-four guys" playing on girls teams.
The NCAA doesn't seem worried, however, and in a statement said they planned to not hold championships in any state that does not provide an environment free of discrimination. This will come to a head, as there are several championship events planned in Florida later this year.
But the most affected of all in this are trans girls being discriminated against. Almost all the GOP sponsored bills don't provide restrictions for trans boys playing on boys' or girls' teams.
The bill has been heavily criticized for targeting trans girls and forcing anyone suspected of being a trans girl or woman to get an invasive, traumatizing examination.
Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani said:
"Sports have become another avenue to attack the rights of trans people."
"And those efforts have caused incredible harm to trans youth, who, like all kids, especially in the middle of a pandemic, deserve compassion and support."
Many called on people to listen to trans women about the discrimination they face.
The Florida House bill will be debated with the Senate's SB 2012, a similar proposal, but one that gives circumstances in which a trans woman could play for the women's team, technically making it less stringent.
A meeting on April 20 will continue this discussion, with people calling on the Florida Senate to protect transgender youth and not pass these bills.