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Bill would block transgender athletes from women’s teams

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By Pat Raia

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[email protected]

Transgender women would be prohibited in most cases from competing with biological female athletes under a bill currently pending in the State Senate.

Filed by State Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), SB 2012, creates the Promoting Equality of Athletic Opportunity Act that requires athletic teams sponsored by educational institutions to designate students’ eligibility based on their biological sex, and forbids athletic teams designated for female students from being open to male students.

The Act allows transgender women to participate on athletic teams as long as they have cleared their female gender identity to the school or institution and have maintained a low testosterone level for 12 months or more.

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A similar bill HB 1475 has been filed in the State’s House of Representatives.

Fair competition and safety are at the core of the legislation, Stargel said.

My concern is that the increase in athletes who have transitioned from male to female could displace female athletes and prevent them from excelling in athletic competitions,” she said. “The biological differences between men and women are significant, and we can’t have a situation where women are unsafe and at a disadvantage.”

Meanwhile, Gina Duncan, director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida called the measures attacks on already at-risk transgender young people.

This is a community of youth who are already facing discrimination, bigotry, and violence at higher rates than their peers,” Duncan said. “These lawmakers should be ashamed of how they’ve decided to use kids to fuel the fear-monger machine.”

SB 2012 has been referred to the State Senate committees of Education, Health Policy and Rules.

If passed, it would become effective on July 1.

 

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