The Florida House of Representatives has passed a law banning female transgender students from participating in women’s sports sport – the move by proponents of transgender people states that it will harm an already marginalized community.
On Wednesday, lawmakers in Florida adopted it House bill 1475, also known as the Law on Fairness in Women ‘s Sports. The bill prohibits public colleges and K-12 schools from allowing transgender girls to play in sports teams designated for women. The move will prevent those transgender students from playing in teams that match their gender identity.
The law does not mention transgender boys playing in men’s sports teams.
If a competitor or anyone else questions the athlete’s gender, that student must undergo a genetic test, testosterone test, or examination of his or her “reproductive anatomy” by a health care professional and submit a statement to that school, according to the language of the account.
The law also allows any student who feels that a transgender girl has been deprived of sports opportunities to sue her school for damages, including any “psychological, emotional or physical damage suffered.”
Ancillary bill in the Florida Senate it must pass before the measure becomes law.
The bills come amid a wave of laws aimed at transgender athletes introduced by conservatives in Florida and across the United States Proponents of these laws argue that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in sports and that cisgender girls lose sports opportunities due to competition from transgender athletes.
Proponents of transgender people in South Florida say the bill further discriminates against a community already facing victimization and trauma.
“Instead of helping the most marginalized and afflicted people live better lives, they are being attacked,” says Tony Lima, chief operating officer of Arianna’s Center, an organization in Fort Lauderdale that provides services to transgender women of color.
According to a study by 2020, transgender people have an overall higher risk of suicide compared to cisgender people. National Institute of Biotechnology Information. In the national survey of transgender youth, non-profit organizations Trevor project found that 60 percent of transgender and non-binary youth engaged in self-harm and that 40 percent were seriously considering suicide, in part because of discrimination and lack of mental health services.
In an email to New Times, Casey Pick, a colleague from the Trevor advocacy project, said that when transgender youth have at least one space where their gender identity is accepted, such as a sports team or school, the risk of suicide attempt drops by 25 percent.
“The Trevor project is here 24/7 to support transgender and non-binary youth in Florida and across the country who feel attacked by these misguided policies,” Pick writes. “HB 1475 is extreme, unnecessary and illegal. You cannot discriminate against someone based on their gender identity.”
Lima says HB 1475, and especially its provision requiring students to undergo an examination of their reproductive organs, is harmful and misleading.
“It’s horrifying, inhumane and completely ridiculous,” Lima claims. “The genitals don’t identify gender identity. We have to pay attention to how they identify themselves.”
Jaime Jara, who lives in Kissimmee with her 9-year-old transgender daughter Dempsey, tells New Times her family followed the bill as he moved through the Florida house. The news of his passing devastated their household.
“Dempsey broke down and started crying,” Jara says. “She told me,‘ I don’t understand why these people hate me so much. “
Jara says Dempsey, who is in third grade, wants to follow in her older brother’s footsteps and join the cross-country team when she gets older. If the Florida law becomes law, Jara says, her daughter will not be able to make that dream come true. The Jaras were considering moving out of Florida to make life easier for Dempsey.
“It’s painful for me and her father and her brothers. We already feel we have to protect her from the world as it is, and this law is just even more of a goal. She just wants to be a normal child,” Jara says.
Jara finds the language that could require her daughter to undergo a medical examination particularly daunting.
“I do not subject my child to genital inspections. I will not have a violation of her privacy,” says Jara.
Conservative MPs claim that transgender girls have higher testosterone levels, which gives them an unfair advantage in sports over cisgender girls.
But said geneticist Eric Vilain NPR last month that higher testosterone levels are only somewhat associated with better performance in several sports and that transgender girls as a whole do not win more often than other girls. Proponents of transgender people say the bill is a solution to a problem that does not exist, as it exists it is not widespread evidence that transgender girls in sports have placed female athletes at a disadvantage.
Democrats in the Florida House offered a host of amendments to reduce the scope of the law, and all were hit by their Republican counterparts. One amendment sought to narrow the requirements for schools in colleges and universities, allowing transgender girls in primary and secondary schools to participate in women’s sports teams. Proponents say pre-adolescent children do not have problems with equal conditions because they have not fully developed and that banning transgender children from playing sports is unnecessary.
“This is a solution to the problem,” claims Joe Saunders, senior political director for Equality Florida. “There are no problems with transgender people playing sports in kindergarten.”
Saunders argues that, in addition to the risk to vulnerable transgender youth, the law could have unintended economic consequences for the state.
2016. Disney, AMC and Marvel threatened to withdraw from Georgia if the state passed a law that allowed religious organizations to discriminate against transgender people. An analysis by the Associated Press in 2017 found that a North Carolina law requiring transgender people to use public toilets related to their gender at birth it would cost the state billions of dollars of lost work, including the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).
“This threatens our state’s economic recovery,” Saunders says of the new Florida law. “There is now a long list of what happens when state legislatures pass anti-LGBTQ laws. The conventions leave, sport tournaments are canceled and companies decide not to move to the state. “
Earlier this week, in light of many laws targeting transgender athletes across the country, the NCAA published a statement saying that they will only hold championship sports competitions in locations where athletes will be safe and without discrimination. The NCAA has an existing policy of accepting transgender athletes, including transgender women, into collegiate sports. The NCAA also argues that arguments that transgender women have a competitive advantage over cisgender women are not based on scientific evidence, according to policy guide.
The NCAA did not immediately respond to the request New Times asking how HB 1475 could influence his decision to hold the championship in Florida.
Now that the measure has been passed in the State House, all eyes are on the Senate, where a similar account awaiting the decision of the board.
In a press statement, Stephen Gaskill, president Florida LGBTQ + Democratic Caucus, said the LGBTQ + community will fight to stop the law in the Senate to prevent it from becoming law.
“The Republican-controlled Florida House continues to embarrass our state, insult our citizens and attack marginalized Florida residents for political gain,” he said. “Our community thanks the Democrats who fought for the dignity of our transgender students. We will take this fight to the Senate.”
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