High school sports may be back, but Equality Florida is calling for a time out on a bill that limits who can play on the teams.
What You Need To Know
- House Bill 1475 would require students to play on sports teams that match their biological gender
- Supporters say it’s designed to protect female athletes
- Opponents say the bill is discriminatory
“I can’t tell you just the pit in my stomach when I saw several of these bills be filed in the 2021 legislative session,” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orange County).
In a virtual press conference, the group gathered to oppose a series of bills – specifically House Bill 1475 – which would require sports teams sponsored by an educational institution to “be designated on basis of students' biological sex…”
In other words, transgender students would only be allowed to play on a team based on their gender assigned at birth.
“What child should be disqualified just for being who they are?” asked Jeanette Jennings, whose daughter is transgender.
Jennings spoke about her daughter’s experience being forced to play soccer in a boys’ league, even though she’s been a girl for years.
“What’s between their legs doesn’t determine whether they will score a goal, win a race, sink a basket, or hit a home run. What will make the difference is whether they are accepted, embraced, and given a chance to build a sense of belonging with their peers,” Jennings said.
But Terry Kemple, president of the Protect Our Children Project, says the opposite.
“Regardless of whether the boys think they’re girls or not, the fact is there are physiological differences,” Kemple said.
He says Title IX was created to enhance girls sports, and allowing transgender girls to play on the team could be detrimental.
“Boys have just naturally far more testosterone, bigger muscle mass. They have longer bones,” Kemple said.
He says there are also safety concerns, adding he fully supports the bill to require children to play sports according to their biological gender.
It’s currently under review by several subcommittees in Tallahassee.