Florida Legislature Passes Bill to Ban Transgender Athletes from Playing Female Sports, Bill Heads to Gov. DeSantis’ Desk for Signing

By  //  April 28, 2021

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CeCe Telfer capped off her final season of college track in May with a national title in the Division II women’s 400-meter hurdles. Earlier in the day, she placed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles. “I felt so proud,” Telfer says. “I felt like, mission accomplished.” (NCAA Image)

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida legislature passed “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” Wednesday night to ban transgender athletes from competing in female college sports and high school sports.

The bill has been a hot topic as of late as advocates of the bill contend an unfair competitive advantage biological males have in sports over biological females, thus would tarnish female sports through scholarship opportunities and school records.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) says amendment’s passage was to achieve the goal that “women are going to play with other women that have the same physiological makeup.”

“I know it is unfortunate for the number of students who are transgender, but we are doing this so that women have the opportunity to participate, to get scholarships, to excel with other women of like strength capabilities,” Stargel said.

Critics of the bill believe LGBTQ individuals should be able to compete in the gender the individuals identify themselves as and called it discriminatory against LGBTQ people.

“In the 11th hour of the 2021 legislative session, Florida lawmakers are still hellbent on passing this discriminatory bill,” said Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality. “Despite hearing the voices of trans kids and their families time and time again, extremists in the Legislature have made it their mission to make trans children pawns in their culture war.”

Two weeks ago, the Florida House passed “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” on April 14 after a 77-40 vote, which will ban transgender athletes from competing in female high school sports and college sports in Florida.

The bill, HB 1475, will make athletes’ participation in events based upon the “biological sex” of the athlete, otherwise known as the sex of the individual assigned on the person’s date of birth.

“The Legislature finds that requiring the designation of separate sex-specific athletic teams or sports is necessary to maintain fairness for women’s athletic opportunities,” the Florida legislation reads.

News of the possible passage of the bill made the NCAA release a statement weeks ago, who threatened to pull championship host sites from states that ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports.

“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected,” the NCAA statement reads.

The message was a clear response to the Florida House as it prepared to take up House Bill 1475.

Sen. Rick Scott was not pleased with the NCAA’s threat, calling the threat “woke elitist psychobabble.”

“The NCAA likes to threaten Florida and other states. Well, here’s a threat to the NCAA – the American people are not going to allow biological males to compete in women’s sports. It’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Rick Scott.

“If you keep threatening the public with your woke elitist psychobabble, the NCAA will not last much longer. Florida cannot be replaced, but you can be replaced.”

The NCAA has yet to comment on the passage of the bill.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill soon.