TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite impassioned pleas from LGBT advocates, a Florida House panel on Wednesday approved a controversial proposal that would ban transgender girls and women from competing in women’s high-school and college sports.
The move by the House Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee put Florida among the ranks of at least two-dozen other Republican-dominated state legislatures that have considered or approved measures requiring student athletes to compete according to their sex assigned at birth.
Bill sponsor Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, said the transgender athletic ban is necessary to establish parity for biologically female athletes.
“There are inherent biological differences between men and women. The ‘Fairness in Women Sports Act’ supports women and girls by ensuring they have the same opportunities as men and boys to showcase their skill, strength and other athletic abilities,” Tuck said before the panel’s 13-4 vote in favor of the bill.
But critics of measures targeting transgender student athletes argue the proposals are rooted in fear, misunderstanding and politics.
“This bill would only marginalize and demonize the transgender community. If anything, this bill will create more unfairness, while we are trying to call it the ‘Fairness in Women Sports Act,’” Rep. Marie Paule Woodson, D-Hollywood, said. “We have to treat people the way we want to be treated. We need to focus on other matters that are critical to our state, to our youth, to our seniors, to our family.”