The bill that seeks to ensure fairness in sports for biologically female student participants was revived and passed by Florida’s Republican-led legislature, now headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis desk to be signed into law.
The state’s House passed the transgender bill, House Bill 1475, on Wednesday night but failed to advance in the Senate as they also have their own version of the ban by the name Senate Bill 2012, Orlando Sentinel reported. Both legislations aim to remove transgender athletes from scholastic sports for female students, requiring sport participants to submit proof of their biological sex when registering for competitions.
Hope for the Senate bill to be passed was low when the hearing for the measure was temporarily postponed on the last scheduled day of Senate committee meetings on Tuesday. They could not deliver SB 2012 into the chamber floor for Senate vote.
Until Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R-Lake Placid), sponsor of the HB 1475, changed the original House Bill into a charter school legislation, it passed mostly along party lines and was finally approved by a 23-16 vote on the Senate floor.
The revised version of the House bill also has several elements removed, such as a clause requiring transgender athletes in high schools and colleges to undertake testosterone or genetic tests, as well as having their genitalia checked, reported WESH. It would instead require proof of biological gender from birth certificate submission.
Orlando Sentinel reported that not all were happy with the amendment.
“We are told it’s a compromise because we’re no longer inspecting the genitals of children in schools,” said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando). “Members, not inspecting children’s genitals is not a compromise. The fact that we were doing it in the first place is absolutely insane.”
The Republican-backed proposal has been sent to Gov. DeSantis, waiting to be enacted into law.
The measure was constructed to reduce potential unfairness when biologically female athletes compete with the more physically advantaged, transgender opponents. According to New York Post, states nationwide have currently passed or considered similar laws, with Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee already enacted their ban recently.
“We don’t need to wait until there’s a problem in Florida for us to act,” Rep. Tuck reportedly said.
Democrats and members of the LGBT community argued that it only serves to deepen the discrimination against the already vulnerable transgender individuals.
“I ask that you read this bill and recognize the threat to privacy and lack of legal protection potentially facing female athletes,” said Andrew Coleman, a transgender man who’s a student at Florida State University, at a Wednesday press conference at the state Capitol, quoted by TampaBay. “Read this bill and recognize the perpetuating harm this legislation has to kids who just want to live.”
“This particular bill is not about exclusion, and it is not about discrimination. This bill is about a biological and scientific difference between men and women,” Dana Trabulsy (R-Fort Pierce), who voted for the bill, countered the common arguments against the transgender ban.