Florida Transgender Athlete Bill May Be Off Table For 2021
According to a recent report from The Orlando Sentinel, a key senator noted there was likely not enough time to create legislation that would protect both athletic programs and “respects the inherent dignity of each person.”The Sunshine State’s House of Representatives voted last week to ban transgender women from girls’ and women’s sports, but the passage was called unnecessary and bigoted by opponents, The Sentinel reported.
Ultimately, time proved to be the biggest barrier in moving forward.
“I believe Florida should protect the ability of girls and women to safely participate in athletics, and I think there is consensus among my colleagues surrounding that underlying policy objective,” she said in an email, according to The Sentinel. “We want to get there in a manner that respects the inherent dignity of each person, while at the same time acknowledging the fact that the biological differences between men and women can be significant, and can vary based on how far along a person is within their transition.”
Opposers of the bill, like Gina Duncan, director of Equality Flordia, a statewide LGBTQ civil rights group, said the halt is “welcome news”, according to The Sentinel, and the group will be monitoring the movements of the bill closely.
The push for the bills was “unconscionable” and did harm to transgender youth, “the most vulnerable among us,” Duncan said to The Sentinel. “Make no mistake, this is a nationally coordinated effort to feed red meat to a socially conservative base at the expense of our kids.”
It’s worth noting that during the 2013-14 school year, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) adopted a transgender inclusion participation policy, stating: “All eligible students should have the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s birth certificate and/or records.”
The policy further outlines the procedures for transgender student-athletes to follow in order to determine their eligibility for participation in a gender-segregated sport or team consistent with his or her gender identity and expression. Since then, only 11 athletes have applied to compete in high school athletics according to the policy’s provisions, according to a report from JDSupra.com.