The GOP's assault on trans equal rights seems to have no end in sight with anti-trans bills being sponsored by Republicans around the United States, backed by the GOP's Evangelical Christian base.
Florida is no exception.
At a recent meeting of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, Republican Vice Mayor Heather Moraitis was called out for the transphobia of targeting transgender school children who want to play sports by a trans woman constituent, Carvelle Estriplet.
"Do you want to arm wrestle?"
The snarky quip was supposed to "prove" trans girls and women have a physical advantage. It ignored the fact a fit cisgender woman can defeat an unfit cisgender man in arm wrestling.
Cisgender female athlete Meghan Rapinoe could defeat the individual cisgender men on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission in a game of soccer and Serena Williams could mop the court with them in tennis. By Moraitis' logic, this would prove cisgender women have a physical advantage over cisgender men.
Moraitis' illogical comment can be seen here:
Estriplet's assumed advantage over Moraitis lies in her superior level of physical fitness, not her gender identity.
The Fort Lauderdale meeting was convened to discuss a recently passed law in Florida banning transgender children from playing school sports on the team that matches their gender.
Like many of the anti-trans sports bills, it looks to adults who transitioned as adults to prop up their arguments. However the bills target children who haven't entered or gone through puberty.
Many of these children will be on puberty blockers and/or receiving hormone replacement therapy. Both recommended treatments for transgender children are reversible. Children are not given irreversible surgical procedures despite fear-mongering rhetoric from the religious right claiming otherwise.
Fort Lauderdale's City Commission passed a resolution last week condemning the transphobic law, but Moraitis—despite being Vice Mayor of the heavily LGBTQ+ city—voted against the measure.
Estriplet, an appointee to the Wilton Manors Community Affairs Advisory Board, spoke at the meeting, criticizing Moraitis for her transphobia, citing the numerous transphobic comments she made about children.
"It's so hypocritical, Vice Mayor, that you champion yourself as a Christian... you're being hypocritical... Promoting hateful legislation, promoting ridicule... Use your Christian heart. You preach that you're a person of faith...
"...Follow through. Practice what you preach."
Estriplet's words fell on deaf ears.
Citing recent comments by trans woman Caitlyn Jenner in support of laws like the one proposed in Florida, Moraitis replied:
"I do have to say I think you have a physical advantage over me, being born a biological female..."
"Do you want to stand next to me? Do you want to compare? Do you want to arm wrestle me?"
"I do believe men are biologically stronger."
On Twitter, people were disgusted by Moraitis' comments.
Arm wrestling...really???? https://t.co/Bs5cmQKZZB— JBN_Blue (@JBN_Blue) 1620261478.0
????? https://t.co/s8lVRNSEBh— João Barbosa (@João Barbosa) 1620255383.0
Trans women are women, and we stand with our Region 8 Deputy Director Carvelle Estriplet. It's shameful and unaccep… https://t.co/I6HTqx9LUG— Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus 🏳️🌈 (@Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus 🏳️🌈) 1620260325.0
This is just incredibly offensive on so many levels. These people are feeling emboldened. https://t.co/noYEOhEyph— Casey Quinlan (@Casey Quinlan) 1620244547.0
Many others praised Estriplet for speaking out and standing up to Moraitis.
Carvelle Estriplet spoke courageously & passionately at last night’s @FTLCityNews commission mtg on #transgender ri… https://t.co/yk9P5B4HxZ— Michael Rajner (@Michael Rajner) 1620213306.0
The finalized Florida law is nearly identical to one previously passed by the state House of Representatives that allowed schools to enforce the ban by examining trans children's genitals.
The final version of the law will take effect in July.