Story at a glance

  • Florida is joining a wave of states banning transgender students from participating in school sports.
  • The new legislation provides for settling “disputes” over students’ gender through physical examination.
  • The LGBTQ+ community and advocates say this is a violation of students’ rights.

Under a new ban on transgender students in sports passed by Florida’s House of Representatives, schools would have the power to subject students to “physical examination” if their gender is disputed. 

The "Fairness in Women’s Sports Actbans transgender female athletes from competing on women’s athletic teams in both high school and college sports, although transgender male athletes may still compete on either team. In cases where a student’s “biological sex” is disputed, the law authorizes schools to require health examinations or documentation from the student's personal health care provider.


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"A dispute regarding a student's sex shall be resolved by the student's school or institution by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form or other statement signed by the student's personal health care provider which must verify the student's biological sex,” says the bill, which provides for “routine sports physical examination” of students’ reproductive organs, genetic makeup or testosterone levels.

"This is about giving women and girls an equal chance to succeed. It’s simple, it’s clear, I’ve reviewed it," said Republican state representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka, according to the local FOX affiliate


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The bill, which is now headed to the Senate for consideration is similar to dozens of laws being considered across the country restricting the rights of transgender students, but it goes even further by giving schools the power to conduct genital examinations. LGBTQ+ advocates argue that the legislation is not only discriminatory but could expose students to physical and sexual abuse as well as trauma. 

 

“I ask that you read this bill and recognize the threat to privacy and lack of legal protection potentially facing female athletes,” Andrew Coleman, a transgender man who’s a student at Florida State University, reportedly said at a press conference at the state Capitol. “Read this bill and recognize the perpetuating harm this legislation has to kids who just want to live.”


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Published on Apr 15, 2021